Madrid is one of the most popular European city break destinations and certainly a must-visit if you haven’t managed to tick it off your list yet. Tourists flock from around the continent and beyond to explore the wonders of the Spanish capital, but as with any short trip abroad, there’s often a range of things to do but not too much time to do it, so picking out the best is key.
Worry not, we’re here to help – if you’re lining up a jaunt to this intriguing holiday spot, make sure to set aside space to do these 7 amazing things…
It’s one of the busiest areas of the whole city, so whether you’re looking to people-watch from a quaint café, shop around in the many souvenir stores or take in a lively street performance, Puerta Del Sol is a place you simply need to visit.
There’s a metro stop right in the centre, so the area is very easily accessible, and the action goes on late into the evening night.
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The city’s main sports team, Real Madrid, are arguably the most well-known football club in the world, so stopping by at their famous Santiago Bernabéu home to pick up some merch and have a standard tourist snap outside the main stand is a must.
Tours are typically done at your own pace so it’s easy to get a real feel for the history-laden stadium, and it’s also reasonably well priced at around £20 per person for an access all areas pass.
Churros are a hugely common sweet treat throughout Spain and can often be purchased in traditional bakeries and café spots, or even as a dessert in more formal food establishments. One of the most popular places to pick up the snack in Madrid is Chocolateria San Gines, a traditional and historical bar that recalls the cafes of the late nineteenth century.
Open until the early hours of morning, you’ve got ample time to pencil in a pit stop and get your sugary fix.
If you like to watch the world go by with your evening meal, Plaza Mayor is the place for you. An abundance of high-quality restaurants offer all the typical Spanish cuisine you’d expect such as gazpacho, paella and tapas, set on the outskirts of a huge square which is perfect for witnessing Madrid locals and tourists alike going about their business.
You may pay a slightly higher price for the privilege of eating in a more sought after area, but it’s definitely worth parting with the extra pennies.
Featuring a number of exhibitions, paintings, sculptures, engravings, books and documents, Circulo de Bellas Artes is a non-profit organisation full of culture and history, dating all the way back to 1880.
That may not sound appealing, but the rooftop bar certainly will! You could pay the small entry fee and simply head straight for the elevator, which will lift you high above the Madrid skyline and provide unobstructed, 360 degree views of the whole city from the comfort of a luxury sofa bed, with a drink in one hand and your camera in the other.
Perhaps surprising for a bustling city the size of Spain’s capital, Madrid is home to a number of beautiful parks with lush green grass and trees, delightful wildlife and calm, blue lakes. It’s El Retiro Park that gets our vote however, ideally situated close to the aforementioned Circulo de Bellas Artes which will also give you a near bird’s-eye view of the stunning setting.
Full of museums, pretty photo spots and eateries, it’s the perfect place to go for a quiet or romantic walk with your nearest and dearest and admire the pristine upkeep.
Boasting the title of the largest functioning Royal Palace in Europe, this amazing structure is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, complete with 3,418 rooms and 135,000 square metres of floor space.
Large parts are regularly open to the public to come in and admire – though you may not be able to get a glimpse of King Felipe VI or other royals, as they reside at the Palace of Zarzuela on the outskirts of the city.
Have you been to Madrid? Tweet @icelollyholiday and let us know what got up to!
Published on 24th February 2017
Published on 13th July 2020
Published on 29th June 2021