Madrid may be Spain’s capital city, but when it comes to planning a Spanish getaway I often find myself (rather unfairly) overlooking it, in favour of the beachside towns and cities like Barcelona. Earlier this month though, I finally got a chance to experience the best of the city as I got to spend a couple of days there with AC Hotels.
Here’s what I got up to…
One of my favourite things about visiting Madrid is arriving into the Barajas Airport. If you’re passing through, please take the time to appreciate this building. Unlike many other airports I’ve been through, this one takes my breath away every time. The sprawling wooden roof is beautiful, and every little corner of the building is picture worthy. If you’re into architecture like me then you’ll really love this place.
I jumped in a cab to my city centre hotel, which was a surprisingly short journey away and only cost 30€. I was stayed at the AC Cuzco hotel. It’s a modern hotel and sits just a stone’s throw from the Bernabeu, the home of Real Madrid. I recommend asking for a room on a high floor as the views across the cities rooftops are quite stunning, especially if you get up early enough for the sunrise when the rooftops are drenched in a warm golden glow.
Madrid is the home of tapas, so you should definitely enjoy some when you are here. Sala De Despiece is a really restaurant in the Chamberi district. I’d highly recommend this place as it’s tapas with a modern twist. It’s quite a small place and it’s super popular so make sure that you book in well in advance. When I arrived, there was already a queue right out onto the street of people waiting on a table!
After dinner, I headed back to the AC Lounge in my hotel for a nightcap. They are big into their gin here, but as I’m not really a fan I opted for a Mahou, the local beer and caught up on some football that was showing on the TV’s before retiring to my big comfy bed for the night.
Considering the Madrid is such a large city, it’s pretty easy to get around on foot so I headed off on a walking tour. As you’d expect, the area around the Royal Palace is one of the oldest parts and probably the most picturesque. This was the starting point for the tour which took in the Plaza Mayor, the old city council building and the Almudena Cathedral.
Tapas (again), this time I dropped into the San Miguel market to grab a snack from one of the many stalls inside. This little place is awesome and even if you don’t fancy something to eat, it’s nice to come in and wander through.
Shopping in the Malasana District. Madrid, like any major capital city has fantastic shopping and there are plenty of avenues lined with the world’s biggest retail names. If you are doing the main high shopping area, then defo swing by El Corte Ingles at Plaza del Callao and head up to their foodhall on the top floor for a great view of the city.
I headed to the modernist district of Malasana though to explore its quirky independent interiors and fashion stores. It’s actually not far from the main commercial area but was much more to my liking and it packed with small coffee shops, bars and food markets too.
I just about managed to squeeze in a visit to El Retiro park. It’s a lovely place to wander if the weather nice and should be on everyone’s to do list if visiting. There’s a large lake in the middle where (if you’re feeling romantic) you can go out on a little rowing boat. Make sure you seek out the Crystal Palace though, it’s the most spectacular building in the park and is an oasis of tranquillity.
As ever with a short city break, it’s all over too quickly and I left full of plans to return but as much as I loved Madrid it goes to the back of my list as there’s many more paces that I’m still dying to visit first…!