What better place to travel to than Madrid! Here you can find the most beautiful Flamenco dancers, an especially vibrant nightlife of fiesta, and a language so enticing it literally rolls of the tongue.
There are so many wonderful places to enjoy here whether is be devouring tapas and cañas, exploring the city which holds the plaque for being directly in the center of Spain, or enjoying an exotic Flamenco show. If there’s one thing I know for sure, Madrid does not hold a lack of culture and passion.
I’ve now been to Madrid twice. Both times in the summer, if you like the heat, then the summer is your time to visit. Both visits have given me the most intense sandal tan I didn’t realize possible. Under no other sun will I ever reach the same golden shade as the Spanish sun gives to me.
Both of my visits to Spain, I spent strolling through the streets, trying all the tapas, and trying to see as many historical places as possible. I was also able to make 2 day trips to Toledo and Segovia.
If you are thinking of booking a trip to Madrid.. do it!! I mean what’s not to love?? Tapas! Sangria! Fiesta! (In no particular order 😉 ) Um, hello!! Just writing this makes me anxious about my next Spanish trip. When’s the next flight back to this magical land?!
When a lot of people go to Spain, they can’t wait to experience the Spanish cuisine, so first up are my recommendations for foods and restaurants you absolutely must try in Madrid.
You’ll have to bear with me through with the lack of food photos. But really, that’s a good thing, all it does is tell you that when I saw the food, I only had one thought in my mind. Eating.
Where to eat
We always went to Miranda (Calle de las Huertas, 29, 28014 Madrid, Spain). It is close to the hotel which we stayed at as well as right in the center of the city so after breakfast you can start your exploring right away.
LUNCH & DINNER
There are a few restaurants in Madrid which were my favorites. But my absolute favorite was one that was recommended to us on a free tour, Restaurante Botín (Calle de Cuchilleros, 17, 28005 Madrid, Spain).
And get this, Restaurante Botín is the oldest restaurant in the WORLD!! It was founded in 1725.
Here you can enjoy classic Castilian dishes but my personal recommendation is the Shrimp omelette. It was absolutely delicious!!
By the way, if you have never tried a free tour before, you should! I have now done free tours in Vancouver, London, Madrid, Valencia, Hamburg, and Berlin. And if possible, do them with Strawberry Tours – they are the absolute best!! And yes, they really are free. At the end, everyone usually tips (this is how they actual money) but you can make the tip as small or as large as you want. That’s literally it!
Another place I loved eating at in Madrid was the Mercado de San Miguel (Plaza de San Miguel s/n, 28005 Madrid, Spain). Here you are able to find all sorts of different Spanish cuisines for a decent price.
What to eat
1: Tortilla de Patata – Potato Tortilla, I know this doesn’t sounds super enticing, but trust me, you will want to try this on your visit to Madrid.
2: Pan con tomate y jamón serrano – Bread with tomatoes and ham – a classic light, Spanish breakfast.
3: Paella – Rice dish with different types of vegetables and meats.
4: Churros – Deep-fried pastry with a sweet dipping sauce.
5: Jamón Serrano – Ham from Museo del jamón.
Now, I know from it’s experience that it’s hard, but eventually you’re going to have to drag yourself away from the food. When you do get to this point, brace yourself.
So while you’re wandering around the city, there are a few spectacular sights to see.
1: Puerta de Alcalá – designated in 1778, this city gate is regarded as the first modern post-Roman triumphal arch built in Europe. Only 1.5 km walk from the city center Puerta del sol.
2: Puerta del sol – Speaking of, you have to make it to the center of the Madrid. This is where everything happens. And I mean EVERYTHING. Here within 5 minutes walking in every direction from Puerta del sol, you can stroll to whatever your heart desires, whether it be tapas, flamenco, churros, or shopping.
3: Flamenco Show – Obviously you can’t visit Madrid without going to a Flamenco show. This is a must. Once you arrive in the center of Madrid, it will be very easy to find a place to view a Flamenco Show as flyers are handed out on every corner. I did; however, go to Tablao Flamenco Villa Rosa which is only 2 blocks away from Puerta del sol.
4: Free Tour – The best way to see the city and history of Madrid is to do a free tour. And I definitely recommend getting in touch with Strawberry Tours. They are the best. I’ve done free tours with them in Madrid as well as other cities in Europe and I have never been disappointed.
5: Botanical Garden – Just a 10 minute walk from the center of Madrid, you can the Botanical Garden, or Real Jardín Botánico, founded in 1755 The 8 hectare garden is a sight for sore eyes.
Now… if you’re up for making a day trip out of Madrid. Either north or south, you can’t go wrong.
About half an hour south by train, you will find Toledo.
This ancient city, also know as “Imperial City” or the “City of Three Cultures” with having influences from Christians, Muslims and Jews, is mentioned as far back as 59 BC – 17 AD.
Once you arrive in Toledo with the train, or car, you can stroll through the old streets.
If you feel like making a small hike, you can walk to the highest part of Toledo where you will find the Alcázar de Toledo.
If you’re up for going north of Madrid though, after about an hour’s drive, you will find yourself at Segovia.
Alike Toledo, Segovia also has an Alcázar dating back to about 1120.
When you first arrive, you will enter the city of Segovia, which has one of the best preserved and remaining Roman Aqueducts in the world, once used to transport water from the Rio Frio river.
And after a long day of exploring in Segovia, there is a gorgeous picnic area to relax behind the castle.
So there you have it. The (what I believe) is the best way to spend a week in Madrid. Of course you will have your own ideas when you arrive in Spain, but at least here are a few to get you started.
Happy travels!! Buen viaje!!