Things To Do In Madrid Spain / How I fell in love with Madrid

The day I landed in Madrid, I got robbed. Maybe that is why it took me so much time to write about the things to do in Madrid Spain. I don’t know the reason but anyway I have finally gotten around to writing about a city that affected me so much.

After such a harrowing experience, most people assume that I hate Madrid. But I don’t. Not even close and it is one of those cities I fell in love with once I got to know the city better. I can’t really blame a city or the entire population of a city for me being stupid. I know that is what most people around the world do these days in the age of globalization but that is not something I do. People who have never left their homes suddenly has a bad opinion about the people they have never met and about the places they have never been to. All based on what others have told them to believe.

Stopping the rant for now and taking you through things to do in Madrid, a city that I slowly fell in love with.

Things To Do In Madrid Spain _Beun_Retiro

Beun_Retiro Park

Getting to Madrid Spain:

It is after all the capital of Spain and many major airlines fly from Mumbai to Madrid non-stop. It is also accessible by train and bus to most European cities. I caught a train from Huelva in Spain and I caught a bus to Barcelona from Madrid. Driving will be a problem since parking is so difficult to find in the city.

Best area to stay in Madrid Spain:

There are numerous choices to choose from but one of the best places to stay in Madrid is ‘The Hat Hostel, Madrid’. I know I am biased but it is still one of the best hostels I have stayed in. It is extremely clean and they have a super awesome staff who were extremely helpful and were there for me when I really needed them. They are also located just behind Plaza Mayor, one of the best areas to stay in Madrid since it is so centrally located. The Hat, Madrid also conduct some fun activities and I ended up going for a beer tasting party and a pub crawl organized by them. They had a free walking tour every morning but I never got to go on one of those.

In case, you do not want to stay in a hostel, then you can choose one of the many hotels around Gran Via or Puerto Sol. There are many budget hotels in Madrid and this triad of Gran Via, Puerto sol and Plaza Mayor is one of the best areas to stay in Madrid.

Weather in Madrid Spain:

The weather in Madrid was just perfect. Summer had not yet begun but it was not too cold either. The place reminded me of my home city, Bangalore in that aspect. I mostly wore jeans here or dresses with tights.

Some of the things to do in Madrid Spain:

I sulked for exactly one day. I was robbed the night I landed in Madrid and I spent most of the next day moping in my room. The only time I went out that day was when I went to have some lunch and collect the money my brother in law sent me. I also did my laundry in the hostel that day since I was still not ready to venture out on my own.

But once I decided that I was just being stupid to stay all the time holed up in my hostel room, I decided to explore the city on my own. I mostly walked and I loved walking all around Madrid. Even though the Royal Palace of Madrid was more than 30 minutes by walk from where I was staying, I still ended up walking back and forth. So let me take you around some of the things I saw in Madrid while I walked.

Almudena Cathedral in Madrid Spain:

This is one of the first places I visited. It is a gorgeous cathedral and I spent a long time here taking in the beauty of the place. It is also massive and only a portion of it is open to the public.

Royal Palace of Madrid:

Even though it is the official residence of the monarchy, it is currently used only for state ceremonies. Around 20 rooms of the palace are open to the public but most people refuse to visit the interiors since that involves paying a fee of around 10-15 Euros per person. All residents of EU and Latin America can actually visit the Royal Palace of Madrid free of charge, every day between 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM. The timings change based on the season. So, please check their website before you go. Photography is permitted only in some common areas inside the Royal Palace of Madrid. The day I went, it was free for all.

Things To Do In Madrid Spain _Royal_Palace

Temple of Debod, Madrid Spain:

Did you know that there is an Egyptian temple in Madrid, Spain? In 1960, due to the threat owing to the construction of Aswan Dam in Egypt, there was a need to save this temple. At that time, Egypt gifted it to Spain for helping them preserve other temples in the region. The entire temple was dismantled and assembled in Madrid, Spain.

It is right next to the Royal Palace of Madrid. I heard of this place from my roommates who had heard that it is a beautiful place to visit in Madrid, Spain. They also knew that we had to go during sunset. Since it was right next to the Palace, I decided to walk there in the afternoon and was disappointed. It was not that impressive during the day.

But we then caught a metro train in the evening to see the monument during dusk. Since it was Summer, the sun set only post 9:00 PM and we had to wait to see the magic. That is when I fell in love with the place. It was gorgeous beyond words and you can see why from the pictures.

Things To Do In Madrid Spain_Debod

Things To Do In Madrid Spain_Temple_Debod

Buen Retiro Park and the Crystal palace, Madrid Spain

Did you also know that “Madrid is the European city with the highest number of trees and green surface per inhabitant and it has the second highest number of aligned trees in the world, with 248,000 units, only exceeded by Tokyo” – Source Wiki

Buen Retiro park is one of the largest parks in the city and it is a perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon in. It is huge and it is quite easy to get lost here. I spent a couple of afternoons here doing nothing but reading. It is really green and don’t forget the Crystal palace while you are here.

You can also go boating in the lake in front of the Monument to King Alfonso XII in the summer. The whole park is beautiful and I definitely got my much-needed peace here. There is nothing like fresh air to get you out of a bad mood.

Prado Museum, Madrid Spain

Prado Museum is right next to the park. I am in love with visiting museums and the Prado museum has a gorgeous Spanish art collection. Entry is free on weekdays after 5:00 PM in the summer for everyone. The wait time was only 15-20 minutes and I didn’t mind waiting in line to see some amazing art. Photography is only allowed in the common areas.

The museum is quite huge and I kept getting lost inside. I know I am directionally challenged.

Riena Sofia Museum

Another museum I loved visiting was the Reina Sofia museum and it is mainly for 20th Century art. Again entry is free on all weekdays between 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM. I still preferred the Prado Museum but if you have time don’t miss out this museum.

People watching in Plaza Mayor And Puerto Sol, Madrid Spain:

Even though most of the restaurants around the Plaza Mayor are quite expensive, I used to go here to just sit there and watch people pass by. Also, be extra careful in these areas since this is where most people (including myself) got robbed. There are lots of street performers and they are usually a distraction for people to rob you. I also went shopping around Gran Via for a purse since that was something I was robbed of.

Nevertheless, it is a really nice area to just watch people.

Things To Do In Madrid Spain_Plaza Mayor

Mercado De San Miguel, Madrid Spain

Madrid is definitely a foodie capital and I found so many options for vegetarians here. But my favorite place to find tapas was Mercado De Dan Miguel. The energy of that place is really infectious and do head out here if you are looking for tapas and drinks.

Flamenco show in Madrid

This is one thing I missed during my trip to Spain and hopefully, I will get to see it once I finally go to Seville. I had to cancel my plans to go to Seville and that was where I wanted to see a Flamenco show. Madrid also has many options but I never got to see one.

Things To Do In Madrid Spain_Cover

Day Trip To Toledo from Madrid:

My friends at the hostel advised me to go to Toledo but I never got my chance to go there since I never got up early when I was in Madrid. But if you do have time, I have heard Toledo is a gorgeous place and you should definitely check the place out.

Salsa dancing in Madrid, Spain

When my hostel mates asked me to join them to go salsa dancing, I was really hesitant since I had an early morning bus to catch to Barcelona. But they finally ended up convincing me and it was so much fun.

Even though I was initially awkward (trying to not look like a klutz) and found it weird to dance with strangers, I finally let go of my inhibitions and I had a fun night. We were out till 5 AM on a weekday. I don’t remember where we went but it was walking distance from my hostel. All I remember was that the place was lined with pubs and dancing clubs.

Hope I have covered about some of the things to do in Madrid Spain. I spent 4 days in Madrid and it is one of those cities that captured my heart once I allowed it to.

 

Things To Do In Madrid Spain

 

22 Comments

  1. I know that a terrible experience like being robbed can stay with you and cloud your view of a place. However I am so pleased you were able to overcome that on the basis that this could have happened anywhere. I love cities like Madrid where you can walk and enjoy so many attractions and lovely experiences that are not part of your everyday landscape. Great tips and list of attractions as well as some lovely photos. This makes me want to visit also.

  2. Sorry to hear about the awful start to your trip! I was in Madrid in March and it was definitely one of my favorite cities I’ve been to. Sounds like you had a great trip, despite the awful start!

  3. We’ve visited much of Spain but have somehow not gotten to Madrid yet. My daughter had a bad experience there, too, which has made me wary. Your photos are beautiful, though, and are making me want to give it a chance. I’m sorry to hear about you being robbed.

  4. I was robbed in Spain too, and so sorry that happened to you- it is very disheartening. Glad you could still go out and enjoy salsa with friends. The Prado is magnificent! Toledo is really worth the trip too, so recommend that to you if you re-visit Madrid 🙂

  5. This is such an informative post, it’s easy to see why you fell in love with the area. You’re photos really transport me there! I commend you for sharing your bad experience, and not blaming the whole city for it. I think it is as important to share negative experiences as well as positive so others can learn from mistakes or know what to expect from an area. Robberies and break ins can happen anywhere. We tend to lose sight of that when we travel and get in vacation mode 😉

  6. Oh gosh, I’m so sorry you got robbed! I love though how you didn’t let that incident destroy your experience in Madrid. That takes a lot of gumption. Gorgeous photographs, I loved seeing Madrid through your lens!

  7. I would love to visit Madrid one day, it looks like a beautiful city. Such a great tip about Europeans being able to visit the palace for free at certain hours, I never knew that. Glad the robbery didnt change your opinion on Madrid.

  8. So sorry to hear about you getting robbed. I am going to Barcelona next month and a lot of people have warned me to be careful there too. Its scary. I am glad you managed to moved past it and enjoy Madrid

  9. I also coupled some great things to do in Madrid and it looks like we all came down almost to share the same things. I really love your post and I’m glad despite all, you still gat the love for Madrid. We just have to keep an eye of the things a little more.

  10. Thank you for sharing the good and bad you experienced in Madrid. More travelers need to be honest so that others can learn from their experiences. These things humble and teach us valuable life lessons.

  11. Sorry to hear about the robbery, but good on you for getting over it quickly! The salsa dancing sounds like a lot of fun; had you ever done it before or did you have to learn the moves when you were there?

  12. I am not sure if I’d be able to enjoy the rest of my trip if I were in your situation. You were courageous. Your brother in law was really nice to send you money.
    I like that you visited a lot of museums. I just checked out your article about the vegetarian restaurants. They all look cozy and lovely.

    Iza c/o Fill My Passport

  13. I’m so glad that you were able to put the robbery behind you and carry on with your trip. It must have been an awful experience. Madrid looks absolutely stunning; I love the palaces and I had no idea there was an Egyptian tomb there. I’m with you – it looks much better at night.

  14. You sure visited some good sites in Madrid to balance it out from the bad experience. I was lucky enough to watch a Flamenco show in Madrid and it was a memorable night, although I lost my photos of the show which I secretly took, I guess that’s karma! I didn’t know about the Temple of Debod right next to the Royal Palace, the next time I’m in Madrid I’ll check it out.

  15. Good to know that the weather of Madrid was akin to that of
    Bangalore. I love pedestrian friendly place. Sad to hear that you were robbed.
    Would like to know more about that story. It will help your readers to be
    better prepared.

  16. I am sorry to hear about you being robbed. That is horrible and I need to read your other post about what happened. Going back to Madrid though, I’m sure it was such a lovely city given that you still rave about it despite of what happened to you. The Royal Palace is opulent and the level of detail on the architecture is just amazingly beautiful. Would want to explore the market square too, it seems like such a great spot to walk around!

  17. I’m so sorry to hear you got robbed in Madrid. My boyfriend got robbed there too, and I just got robbed in Paris 2 days ago :/ while on my way to vacation. So I know how traumatized you might have felt the following days. I’m glad you managed to enjoy the city anyway. It’s a beautiful city!

  18. Yes, I read that post about you being robbed. Madrid is a beautiful city, visited it twice but won’t mind another couple of visits. 🙂
    I love this post of yours. So neatly done with details. Your Table of contents look very good, gives an organized feel. 🙂 Great idea. I might copy you on this. 😉
    I can see your style of writing has improved a lot over time. Keep it up girl.

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