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.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Getting to Madrid Spain:
- 2 Best area to stay in Madrid Spain:
- 3 Weather in Madrid Spain:
- 4 Some of the things to do in Madrid Spain:
- 4.1 Almudena Cathedral in Madrid Spain:
- 4.2 Royal Palace of Madrid:
- 4.3 Temple of Debod, Madrid Spain:
- 4.4 Buen Retiro Park and the Crystal palace, Madrid Spain
- 4.5 Prado Museum, Madrid Spain
- 4.6 Riena Sofia Museum
- 4.7 People watching in Plaza Mayor And Puerto Sol, Madrid Spain:
- 4.8 Mercado De San Miguel, Madrid Spain
- 4.9 Flamenco show in Madrid
- 5 Day Trip To Toledo from Madrid:
- 6 Salsa dancing in Madrid, Spain
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.