Of all of the places I’ve visited so far (and there’ve been to „a few“ 😉 ) Madrid is my favourite one!
Recently I got back to my love once again, for the ninth time, for some tapa and vine. I think the first sentences I’ve learned in Spanish were: “Un copa de vino, porfavor!” & “Una copa mas!” 😉 This is MY favourite city, doesn’t have to be yours, but as it might…’cause I’m a woman and ALWAYS right. Like it says on one T-shirt „I don’t need Google, my wife knows everything. “
I stumbled upon Madrid by accident, really, on my way to Marrakech, just a stopover on my way. Boy, had I known better! That was it, I was hooked!
That climate, sun lightning your face in December and Salamanca crème brulee. It was absolutely fantastic, and every following time I was there, I made my companions search for that specific Pastry shop where I got it. And I’ll certainly do it next time!
The sun, bonvivan living, joyful people…something money can’t ever buy. Every Madrileño would agree on that. Actually there was an article recently on Madrileño, who went to live and work in Germany, was earning a lot more money there, but came back to Madrid because „where else can you have this“. People are ACTUALLY interacting with each other here, even though they don’t know you, they’ll start talking to you, something modern world is losing…
Madrileños live life dearly, using every opportunity to celebrate. Celebrate whatever! Having coffee longer than Balkanians, parties, celebrations. There’s a rehearsal of New Year’s Eve. YesJ . It’s exactly as „the day“ but without countdown, so basically, they celebrate New Year for two days, on 30th and 31st of December. Main streets to mingle are Calle del Carmen & Calle de Preciados, leading to Sol square. Streets are for walking and eating. All restaurants are open, and you wonder from one to another, that’s how Madrileños celebrate, and those who feel assimilated ;). It’s a tradition to eat grapes.
One day before Three Kings Day (El Día de los Reyes) they organize a big carnival and exchange gifts.
It’s quite easy to get used to Madrid since it’s a big city but doesn’t feel touristic and you feel safe at 4 a.m. like you do at 4 p.m. People are walking around all the time.
My favourite neighbourhoods are:
Puerta del Sol – full of cafés, restaurants, bars and streets to walk around. With 3 shopping streets ( Calle Preciados, Calle del Carmen & Calle Tetuan) leading to Sol. There’s Zero Kilometer of Spain (Origen de las carreteras radials)
Austrias y La Latina – bars and numerous streets for walking with churches and remanings of Habsburg Dynasty.
Chueca – north of Gran Via, known as gay neighbourhood. Fuuull of people mingling, bars, fashion stores, craft stores, jewelry stores, you name it!
Barrio de Salamanca – posh neighbourhood with grandiose avenues, pastry shops, expensive fashion shops, bars and even more expensive restaurants. Though, there are some cheap ones like Lateralni (Calle Velasquez 57), Luspar (Calle Don Ramon de La Cruz 81) and Starbeers bar (Calle Don Ramon de La Cruz 95)
Food is great! And drinks too! J There’s my favourite snack bar chain, specialized for prosciutto, it’s Museo del Jamon J You can find special price menu every day, like jar of beer with big plate of cheese and prosciutto for 12 €. To continue in the same manner – I especially liked Penalaire bar. While you drinking, the waiter is bringing free tapas to you, all the time. And a little cute thing happened – while paying the bill, the waiter drew smiley on may receipt and wrote „Gracias! “
For best eats (lunches/dinners) go to Puerto Rico restaurant. Food is freshly made, delicious, with big rations;). And it’s not expensive. Best churros con chocolate are at San Gines. And hot chocolate is really good, it never thickens, like most chocolates do, and get that thick „skin“on top, like a pudding.
Now, to get melt all of those calories you could go for a walk down the Rio park, or walk to the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. There you can leave your „better“half and go for a shopping to Calle Velasquez in Salamanca, without nobody nagging you 😉 Or you can just window shop, ’cause prices are astronomically high. Ofcooooooourse, for the resto of us mortals, there are „normal shops“ at the center of Madrid!
You can do a lot of day trips from Madrid, as well! Like Toledo, Alcalla de Henares, Salamanca, Segovia or Avilla.
And by this time, you’ve spent all of your money J, it’s time to go home…but luckily, there’s a bottle of Rioja, so you won’t be sad getting home, instead of staying in Madrid J
It’s EU’s third city by its size, bohemic and enjoyable, walking city with numerous squares and streets for having coffee, drinks, cakes, „rebajas“, museums (lots of museums), art, cathedrals, synagogues, you name it!
You should give it a go! 😉
MADRID MINI GUIDE
Capital of Kingdom of Spain and the biggest Spanish city
604, 3square kilometers in autonomous Community of Madrid.
You won’t feel city’s grandiosity due to its relaxed way of life with much to offer (and tapas bars every 50 meters 😉 )
WHEN TO GO
All year round
Summer can be very hot, around 35 ˚C, but due low humidity temperature feels much lower. Autumn and spring temperatures are around 13 ˚C, with average of 13 rainy days. Winter temperatures are between 5 and 10 ˚C with 5 fours of daylight
Big Spanish sales “rebajas” start on 7th of January and 1st of July, and last till end of February and August. Last period of sale is called “ultimas rebajas” with prices down to 70% off
Madrileños have a rehearsal of New Year’s Eve. YesJ . It’s exactly as „the day“but without countdown, so basically, they celebrate New Year for two days, on 30th and 31st of December. One day before Three Kings Day (El Día de los Reyes) they organize a big carnival and exchange gifts.
WHAT I LOVE THE MOST
The fact Madrileño seem to enjoy life the best they can, bohemian life and smiling faces. The city itself is much cheaper than Barcelona.
HOW TO GET TO MADRID
By plane. The airport is sixth the busiest in EU, and by size like Charles De Gaulle in Paris, with direct flights to most of EU’s capitals.
By train, from any Spanish city, TGV from Paris and fast train from Lisbon.
Airport taxis are available 24/7, with fixed price of 30 € to city center. Metro operates every day from 6 a.m. till 2 a.m. EMT buses operate from 6 a.m. till 23:30 p.m., and night buses,”buhos”, operate from 23: 45 p.m. till 6 a.m.
BEST ATRACTIONS AND PLACES KNOW BY LOCALS
Museo Nacional Del Prado, Reina Sofia Centro de Artes, Plaza Mayor, Plaza del Sol, Palacio Real de Madrid, Catedral de Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena, Plaza Espanola, Puerta de Europa, Santiago Bernabeu Estadio, Catellana, Parque de El Retiro, Palacio de Cristal, Casa de Campo, Parque del Oeste, Templo de Debod, Madrid Rio park, Calle de Alcala, Plaza de Cibeles , Puerta de Alcala, Plaza de Colon, Plaza de Torosu de las Ventas.
Walking, walking and walking.
Walking through the city center and stopping for some tapas in many restaurants, including famous Museo del Jamon, San Gines chocolateria and many more
My favourite tapas bar is Indalo Tapas and Puerto Rico restaturnt
Take a metro to Salamanca, go back to Teleferico near Templo de Debod and go to Casa de Campo park
WHERE DO LOCALS GO
Penalaire, Calle: Embajadores 21
Museo del Jamon, Calle Gran Via 72, Calle Mayor 7, Paseo Prado 44, Calle Atocha 52
Puerto Rico restaurant, Calle Chincilla 2
Indalo Tapas, Calle Perez Galdoz 7, Calle de la Princesa 5, Calle de Atocha 14
El Corte Ingles, especially during sales period with discount uf to 70% off + additional discount card for nonresidents!
Any hotel in the city center, but I prefer Airbnb
Restaurant Puerto Rico, Calle Chincilla 2. Odlična, jeftina hrana!
San Gines, Pasaje San Gines 5 – you can buy hot chocolate with churros here
La Mallorquina pasteleria, Calle Mayor 2 – tasty cakes and sweets
VISAS AND DOCUMENTS
Valid passport or ID for EU citizens
HEALTH AND SECURITY
Nothing to worry about
Euro, ATMs are all over the city