Destination Spotlight: Madrid

Madrid is the capital of Spain, and it is a wonderful, safe, and vibrant city. It boasts a diverse cultural scene, exciting nightlife, and an incredible restaurant scene. 

It’s also a walkable city, which makes it perfect for tourists! However, leave yourself enough time to fully experience all of its beauty, as well as escape to visit the nearby cities like Toledo, Segovia, and Cuenca. Keep in mind that public transportation (metro and buses) is an easy way to get around.

Madrid is known as Europe's “sunniest capital”. This is because Madrid can experience about 300 days of sunshine every year! (*reminder to pack for the weather and include hats, light clothing, sunblock, sunglasses, etc) Also, balance indoor with outdoor activities to give yourself a chance to cool down!

Madrid is home to world-class museums, beautiful parks, tranquil gardens, architectural delights, and a truly rich culinary life.

The locals are known for being warm and hospitable - so, be sure to connect with them to experience the true flavor of the city! Madrid offers something for everyone and is a wonderful city to explore.

5 Things To Do

  1. Prado Museum: Are you an art lover? Then you should not miss a visit to the Prado Museum. It is home to an extensive collection of masterpieces by renowned artists such as Goya, Velázquez, and El Greco. It offers a wonderful journey through Spanish art and art history.

  2. The Royal Palace: This is one of the largest palaces in all of Europe. If you enjoy seeing palaces, it is a must-visit attraction. The palace boasts many opulent rooms and stunning architecture, and it allows you to completely immerse yourself in the rich history and lives of the Spanish royals.

  3. Plaza Mayor: Plaza Mayor is a lively square right in the center of the historic district. It is filled with charming cafes, restaurants, and shops, that are ideal for a leisurely day of shopping and eating. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere while savoring traditional Spanish cuisine, people, and culture.

  4. Retiro Park: This park is a perfect break from the bustling Madrid streets. Picture the expansive oasis - perfect for lovely strolls and picnics by the scenic lake. You can also see the iconic Crystal Palace there and its gorgeous surroundings.

  5. Puerta del Sol: Puerta del Sol is the bustling city center and square, filled with life. While there, be sure to see the Kilometer Zero and shop along the Gran Vía. There are many delicious tapas bars there to enjoy!

4 Hidden Gems 

  1. San Fernando Market: Within the Lavapiés neighborhood, this unique Market is a hidden gem for those of you who enjoy culinary delights! In this market, you will find a wide range of Spanish products, fresh produce, and local delicacies. It will leave you with an authentic, rustic, and vibrant food experience.

  2. Montera's Secret Eden: In the middle of C/Montera Street, you will find an urban oasis, called Mintera’s Secret Eden. It is a beautiful and serene escape from the busy city and a perfect place to relax and enjoy the views.

  3. Chamberí Ghost Station: This closed Metro station has been preserved as a unique museum experience. You will find a special glimpse at the history of the city's transportation system.  You can see exhibits about this system with the original 1919 decor.

  4. El Capricho Park: Just outside of Madrid proper, you will find El Capricho Park. It is a true hidden gem, highlighting gorgeous landscaped gardens with fun hidden paths, alongside Spanish architecture that is picture-worthy.  This gem is perfect for an escape or a leisurely stroll - maybe pack a picnic!

5 Foods to Try

  1. Cocido Madrileño: This hearty Madrid stew is a classic dish enjoyed throughout Madrid. It is made with several meats (beef, pork, chorizo) with vegetables, chickpeas, and unique spices from the area. It has three parts: the broth, the meat and vegetables, and the chickpeas, and is a comforting dish that is quite filling.

  2. Tortilla Española:  (Spanish Omelette) A Spanish omelet is a true staple in Madrid’s cuisine. It is a tortilla Española made with eggs, potatoes, onions, olive oil, salt, and pepper - so delicious and satisfying! This traditional dish can be enjoyed as a tapas or you can order it as a main course.

  3. Jamón Ibérico (Iberian Ham): This cured ham and jamón Ibérico is a delicacy that is well known in Madrid. This top-quality ham comes from Iberian pigs and is known for being very rich in flavor. This tender ham is enjoyed as a dish on its own or as a part of a delicious charcuterie dish.

  4. Bocadillo de Calamares: A popular "fast food" (Squid Sandwich) dish in Madrid, it is a sandwich that is filled with fried crispy squid rings. Most locals enjoy this with a nice cold beer, and visitors enjoy it.

  5. Churros con Chocolate: This beloved Spanish treat is a must-try while visiting Madrid! It is a deep-fried dough pastry, and it is crispy on the outside while soft and warm on the inside. They are usually served with a side of rich hot chocolate to dip in. This indulgent snack is not to be missed - and can be a fast breakfast option.

Enjoy exploring the cultural, architectural, and culinary delights of Madrid!

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