5 Things to do when visiting Madrid
Madrid is the capital city of Spain, and the cultural hub of the Mediterranean country. It has grown and grown as a city through the years and welcomed people from all every corner of Spain thanks to its central location in the country. It is the political, cultural and economic centre of Spain, and offers a European city break with a difference to those thinking of visiting.
Unlike many of Spain’s popular city holiday destinations (think Barcelona, Valencia and Seville), Madrid is surrounded by land and doesn’t have the sandy beaches and blue sea to offer visitors. What it can offer you though is a real taste of Spanish lifestyle and an introduction to the culture of this popular European country. A European city break is all about discovering new things and enjoying new experiences. Madrid has this in abundance, and to get you started on your next (or first) trip to Madrid, here are 5 things you simply must do when visiting ‘El Foro’.
5 Best things to do in Madrid
- San Miguel Market
The Mercado de San Miguel is the central food market in Madrid and has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance in recent times, following years of sitting dormant. The market can trace its roots back to 1916 but it’s only in recent years that it has really prospered as a popular foodie hangout for both tourists and locals, mainly thanks to the work of two young entrepreneurs.
The market is an impressive modern building in the centre of the city that has gone back to the traditional market roots. With some of the finest local food and drink on offer, the San Miguel Market is a must see for anyone visiting Madrid, especially those of you seeking the ultimate foodie experience.
- Enjoy the arts at Madrid’s golden triangle
Ask any local for suggestions on things to do in Madrid, there’s a high possibility they’ll tell you to visit one of the city’s popular museums. In fact, they’ll probably tell you to take a day and visit all three. The Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen are the most popular museums in the Madrid and up there with the finest museums to visit anywhere in Europe, especially Prado.
For those of you who are big fans of the arts (and even those of you who aren’t), a day trip to these three museums is well worth experiencing. They are located within walking distance of each other in one of the most popular areas of the city, the avenue of art (Paseo del Arte) and are easily accessible by bus, metro or feet, depending on where your Madrid hotel is located.
- Enjoy churros and chocolate
Barcelona may be famous for its tapas and Valencia for its paella, but if there’s one thing you simply must try when visiting Madrid, it’s churros. Churros are deep fried dough, a bit like a long donut, and are best enjoyed with some hot chocolate. There are plenty of places to enjoy churros in Madrid, but only one place that is an institution – San Gines. Located just a few minutes from the city centre Sol metro line, San Gines has been serving the finest churros in the whole of Spain for over 100 years. Whether it’s a late night treat you want or something to start the day, churros and chocolate at San Gines is an experience everyone visiting Madrid should enjoy.
- Take in a soccer match
Madrid is home to perhaps the most famous club in world football, Real Madrid. But there’s more than one successful team in Madrid, as Atletico Madrid have showed in recent years. Atletico are known as the club of the people while Real Madrid are seen as the glamourous club from the city, known throughout the world as Los Galácticos. Their football stadiums are located at opposite ends of the city but both easily accessible via bus or metro lines.
Tickets are relatively easy to purchase for both teams unless they are playing each other, or fierce rivals FC Barcelona. A trip to Santiago de Bernabéu (home of Real Madrid) or the Vicente Calderón (home of Atletico Madrid) will be an experience you will remember for many years to come.
- Take a stroll in the park
They’re can be so much to see and do in Madrid that it can be hard to get some time to yourself if you are only on a flying visit. One thing that is a must for anyone visiting Madrid is the Retiro Park, one of the largest parks in the city. The park is popular with many locals who run, walk and cycle their way around the vast grounds on many a fine day. Take a relaxing stroll through the park and take your time to take in everything this wonderful city has to throw at you.
Other notable places to visit
It’s hard to list just five places to check out in Madrid, so if you are planning on staying for more than a few days, be sure to check out the Plaza Mayor which is the central square packed with bars and restaurants, Gran Via (the main shopping street) and the stunning Temple of Debod. The Royal Palace and Plaza de Toros (bullring) are also well worth getting along to.
The weather in Madrid tends to be good all year round, so be sure to check out the weather a few days before you go, and pack accordingly. In the autumn / winter months Madrid can be very warm during the day but cold and night, while during the spring / summer months it is warm all day long. Pack appropriately and make sure you really take in everything this wonderful city has to offer you.
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