Hi everyone and welcome back. Today we will leave for a new adventure that will take away so much energy but you will see some beautiful things since we are heading to Madrid. So what do you think, are you ready to start? Let’s do it starting with the presentation!
Madrid is the most populous capital of Spain and the third most populous municipality in the Europe. A major political center and major financial center of the southern Europe, Madrid is one of the most important Spanish cities. Although the city is very modern it has preserved almost the entire original appearance of the historic districts. Besides the beauty, history and culture, Madrid has important traditions. These include the bullfights held in the Feria de Madrid arena and various popular festivals. Madrid is also the tenth most livable city in the world and is a popular destination for various tourists. Why? Let’s find it starting our tour.
To know more (what to eat, where to eat, where to have fun, things to visit…) continue to read.
It’s time to know a bit of history and culture of the madrileños (inhabitant of Madrid).
PLACES TO VISIT (MUSEUMS/THEATERS..)
Palacio real de Madrid
- Catedral de Santa María la Real de la Almudena: is the main Catholic place of worship in Madrid. Its main façade is inspired by the typical Tuscan architecture where two bell towers stand on its sides. The interior incorporates the neo-gothic art and this is visible through the dome, the organ and the architectural structure in itself. The cathedral in the evening is very bright and beautiful and the view from the highest point of the structure is spectacular, you can see the whole city. Another interesting place of worship, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site is the Escorial Monastery. A very nice place but it is far away from the center, so if you have enough time add it to the list.
- Palacio real de Madrid: this palace was for years (but also nowadays) the official residence of the Spanish royal family; its main function is to host ceremonies and conferences. The building is located on a large square, the Plaza de la Aremería. Think that the building is made up of 3418 rooms (wow!). Outside we can find the Jardines de Sabatini where the royal stables were located and Campo del Moro a wonderful garden. On the sides of the building there are two other important buildings: Real Botica, a real pharmacy. Why it is so special? Well you just need to know that inside of it there are recipe books with medications prescribed to the Royal Family. Real Armeria an important collection of weapons and armor belonging to the Spanish royal family.
- Museo del Prado: it is considered one of the most important art galleries in the world where there are exhibited works by major Italian and Spanish artists (Francisco Goya, Tiziano, Diego Velázquez). Its external elegance makes us already understand the beauty that it contains inside; it is mainly composed of galleries with arched ceilings. The façade where is located the Velázquez Gate, overlooks one of the main streets of Madrid, the Paseo del Prado. Annexed to the Museo del Prado we find the Casón del Buen Retiro, an art museum with a library.
- Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia: is a museum of modern and contemporary art, the works are dating from the twentieth century to the present day. The peculiarity of the aesthetic aspect of the museum is that it is a mix between ancient and modern architecture all thanks to the establishment of the two side windows of the building.
- Templo de Debod: is a temple of the ancient Egypt and is located on a hill where was located the Cuartel de la Montaña (a theater). We are sure you are wondering what Egypt has to do with Spain, well let’s say that this temple was a gift given to the Spanish by the Egyptians for their help for an historical reason. Everything suggests that this was a place of worship we can bet (just look at the pleasant landscape!); on the sides it is surrounded by the Parque del Oeste (a park that in addition to the temple offers other magnificent and unique corners) but the best view is the one that you can admire from there, in fact the best time to go to this place is absolutely at sunset or just before. What a show!
- Palacio de Comunicaciones: the palace is is the headquarters of the municipality, it is an emblematic building of the city (we can believe it!) its structure is really preponderant. It is located in the Plaza de Cibeles (that we will visit later) but the building completely steals the scene (also in the evening when the lights start to light up). The peculiarity of the palace is that its style is very personal and it is a mix of two architects who have acted each according to their taste. A very successful job!
- CaixaForum Madrid: is a gallery of modern art. Ah this structure! It gives the impression of an upside down house and is composed of two different colors. The building is flanked by a wall completely covered with vegetation. Once you reach the place you can not go wrong, it will immediately jumps out at you.
- Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando: art museum, houses a collection of Spanish paintings dating from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. It hosts artists such as: Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, Francisco Goya…
- Museo Cerralbo: this was the ancient residence of the Marquis Gamboa. Today the structure as well as hosting its collection, also hosts several archaeological site (if you love the archology a good museum to visit is the National Archeological Musuem). The interior rooms are all very lavish and notable on the artistic level. An excellent opportunity to visit a nineteenth-century noble house.
- Tour Bernabeu: an intregrant part of the city’s culture is the sport, in this case we’re talking about football. A tour is organized at the famous city stadium where you can reach the camp, sit on the bench, visit the press conference room, the changing rooms and you have the access to the history museum of the Real Madrid with trophies, photos, jersey of famous footballers (an example is that of Ronaldo). For everyone who loves football this is an opportunity that can’t be missed.
Here, in Madrid, there are lots of theaters, some of the most important ones are: Teatro Real, Teatro de la Zarzuela, Teatro Español, Teatro de la Abadía,Teatro de la Comedia, Teatro Maravillas,Teatro Tribueñe.
Templo de Debod
Plaza de España di Madrid
What you saw was only a small part of Madrid, there is much more… So let’s go on!
Now we start our tour going around the streets and squares of Madrid. Plaza de Cibeles, is the most symbolic square of the city (aka the central one and the busiest), marks the border of the Centro, Retiro and Salamanca districts. At the center there is the famous Fuente de Cibeles (fountain) and behind the Palacio de Comunicaciones. Not only is it important for its historical value but also because it allows to observe different perspectives of the city, the most characteristic background of Madrid. At the intersection of the square there is another beautiful square, the Calle Alcalá.
- Plaza Mayor also this square is among the most important in the city because it is here that takes place markets, events, Christmas markets, festivals and so on; and it is also here that the Arco de Cuchilleros is located, one of the nine access gates of the square. Anyway the latter is a square portico with a rectangular plan completely closed by buildings (which are houses). Doesn’t it remind you of something? Oh yes, the square we saw in Cordoba… Very similar!
- Puerta del Sol the center of Madrid’s nightlife, is a point of reference for locals and point of attraction for the tourists of course for its beauty but also for its function. It is here that takes place the celebration for the new year and it is here that at the center is located the statue of the Bear and the Corbezzolo.
- Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo where is located the Neptune fountain.The square is famous especially because it’s here that the Atlético Madrid fans go to celebrate the victories.
- Plaza de Santa Ana which houses the Teatro Español and the luxurious hotel Reina Victoria, (where the bullfighters usually stay before the bullfight). The square is a meeting point for the inhabitants as it is full of bars, restaurants and clubs. This square is also the center of Madrid’s nightlife.
- Then there is the Plaza de España, the characteristic “foreign” district of Lavapies; Latina, the colorful neighborhood full of bars, taverns and lots of charm that seems to be a small place in itself (a great opportunity to visit this district in all its beauty is during the feast of the Virgen de la Paloma); the Malasana district.
- If you want to attend a bullfight you must go to the Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas. It is the largest plaza de toros in the world and one of the most prestigious. It is located in the east part of Madrid, in the district of Salamanca. This is a good opportunity to take part in the cultural life of Madrid.
- Parque del Retiro: this park is one of the main places of interest in the city. The points of interest of the park are: the door of Spain that allows to access to the park, the small lake and the Rosaleda, a point where you can walk among great plants and beautiful flowers. Other points of interest are Palazzo di Cristallo, tree-lined avenue and the woods. Yep, there is lots to explore!
- Parque Warner Madrid: is a very nice and funny themed park (inspired by Warner Bros. Studios) such a great place to spend a few hours in joy if you are young or not. Inside there are several attractions to do: Coaster Express, Stunt Fall (roller coaster), Correcaminos Bip Bip and Road Runner and many more.
- Madrid Rio: is a modern pictoresque park so nice to visit. The green area is situated on the sides of the city’s river and it is a perfect place to stroll and just relax. The park looks very good and has many paths like the characteristic pedestrian bridge. It absolutely worth a visit!
- Zoo Aquarium Madrid: it is a zoological park that hosts over 6000 animals and more than 500 different species (pandas, dolphins, seals). Inside the park there are numerous restaurants and souvenir shops. If you are fan of the wildlife you can’t miss this place.
- El Capricho: it is considered one of the most beautiful parks in the city. Inside there is El Capricho square, a palace, small lakes, streams, fountains but there is also the one and only Romantic style garden in the city of Madrid. It is a very popular park especially during the warmer seasons (the famous “Tardes de Capricho”) where are organized concerts, theatrical performances and dances. The park is easily reachable by underground located just near the entrance to the park.. One more reason to visit it!
- Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid: it is a botanical garden located in the Plaza de Murillo (next to the Museo del Prado in Madrid, that worth a visit) in addition to the various species of plants and a large number of documents, the garden is very charming and a place to explore!
- Two are the most famous markets held in Madrid: the indoor one San Miguel Market; let yourself be overwhelmed by its elegant atmosphere (very unusual for a market) and let yourself be guided by the smell of typical food of Madrid.The other market is El Rastro and it is outdoors, unlike the San Miguel market this is located along the avenue and sells more general items, full of curious objects.
- Some of the major tours organized in the city of Madird are: Adventurous Appetites Tapas Tour (gastronomic tour), SANDEMANs NEW Europe – Madrid, Segway Trip Madrid. If you are looking for a game to do just to have fun and spend some amazing hours there is the escape game Enigma Expres. If this is not enough yet and you love shopping there is the Cortes Ingles, a shopping center in Callo with lots of important stores, bars and a terrace with an impressive view of the city… So great!
San Miguel Market
Madrid is a busy city by day so we can easily imagine how its nightlife can be. The main streets involved in this levely scene are: Huertas, Malasaña, Chueca, Moncloa and Argüelles, Salamanca Neighborhood, La Latina, Avenida de Brasil. Do you want to know what is the secret to resist the wild nightlife of Madrid?? Well, doing the usual afternoon siesta!
If you are looking for clubs, we will now suggest some of them:
- Mondo, sala Cocó: night club
- Vive Madrid: night club
- Mondo, sala Cocó: night club
- Moroder Sound Club: night club
- Independance Club: disco
- Exclusive Lounge Bar
- Tabú Lounge Bar
The food is another great aspect of the culture of Madrid and so we have to expect only the best. Are you curious??
- Cocido: is one of the main dishes, a true institution, of the cuisine of Madrid; it is based on soup, meat stew, vegetables, chickpeas, sausages. The dish is divided into three courses (tres vuelcos), the meat soup is eaten first then the chickpeas with the vegetables and finally the meat.
- Bocadillos de Calamares: another typical dish of the city. It is a faster but equally tasty meal that you can find in the bars or in the special kiosks. They are sandwiches filled with fried calamari and as a garnish you can choose or the lemon or the mayonnaise… it’s up to you the choice!
- Caracoles: this dish is very famous in Madrid and very special! It consist of cooked snails and seasoned with garlic, tomato and chilli sauce. Don’t be disgusted, we assure you that it is worth entering the spirit of the Spanish tradition and giving it a taste (when you will do it let us know!).
- Churros: who have never heard of it? They are famous sweets know all over the world. They are fried and covered with sugar are then served with a hot chocolate to drink but the best thing to do is to immerse the churros inside..one world: delicious!
- Violet candies: these are the typical candies of the city of Madrid with the shape, the flavor and the color of the violet flower. You can find them in the “la violetta” shop (near Puerta del Sol).
WHERE TO EAT (RESTAURANTS/CAFE’..)
The choice of the restaurant is important because it is the place where we can try the typical dishes. So let’s begin the search for the restaurant that best suits our tastes and needs.
- Toga: Mediterranean, European, Spanish, vegetarian cuisine, vegan options, gluten-free menu options.
- Restaurante Nuevo Horno de Santa Teresa: Mediterranean, Spanish cuisine.
- CalidaDe Madrid: Mediterranean, European and vegetarian cuisine.
- Taberna el Sur: Mediterranean, Spanish and vegetarian cuisine.
- La General: cafe with Mediterranean, European, Spanish, vegetarian cuisine, vegan options, gluten-free menu options.
- Casa 9 Restaurante: Mediterranean, European, Spanish cuisine.
- CalidaDe Madrid: Mediterranean, European and vegetarian cuisine.
- Gandarío: fast food/bar with Mediterranean, European and Spanish cuisine.
- Cafe Melo’s: Spanish cuisine.
- Chocolat: Mediterranean, European, Spanish cuisine.
- Casa Paco: Mediterranean, European, Spanish and vegetarian cuisine
The tour in the big city of Madrid ends here but don’t worry we are already looking for the next Spanish destination, you just have to stay tuned!
Let us know your opinions about this place. If you liked it or not, if you’ve been there or you’re going to go there? What you liked the most or least? We’re curious to read your opinions.
A big kiss to everyone.
Below we will list the accommodations that you can find in Cordoba.
http://www.booking.com/searchresults.html?iata=MAD&aid=960457&no_rooms=1&group_adults=1 – accommodation near Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas airport.
http://www.booking.com/searchresults.html?city=-390625&aid=960457&no_rooms=1&group_adults=1 – accommodation in the city.
http://www.booking.com/searchresults.html?district=176&aid=960457&no_rooms=1&group_adults=1 – accommodation in the center of Madrid.
http://www.booking.com/searchresults.html?landmark=1100&aid=960457&no_rooms=1&group_adults=1– accomodation next to the Atocha station.