…As recommended by you guys. We had the best time in Madrid, partly because it’s just such a cool city, and also the Spanish have a way of making everything fun. But also because we knew all the cool places to go, thanks to you! In fact it would be wrong for me to take the credit for this guide, considering just how much time and effort you guys put into telling me where I should (and shouldn’t) go. Sadly with only 3 nights in such a big and interesting city, we weren’t able to see or do everything you guys suggested, but I tried my hardest to tick off as many things as possible. If you’re here to work out what to see and do, take a moment to look over this previous post, where so many lovely readers with Spain intel were kind enough to share.
We stayed at Dear Hotel, which I really liked and was fairly affordable (in fact a lot of accom in Spain is affordable). Even though it has a hectic lobby, and the pool is nice but not amazing (fyi the photos make it look better than it is) the real drawcard is the rooms – the decor and vibe is perfectly minimalist but also homely. We got a balcony room and loved! Another one I looked at was Praktik Metrople, but it was undergoing renovations at the time.
See & Do
Fall in love with the afternoon light at Palacio de Cristal aka the Crystal Palace. Heart eyes!
Then, hire a boat around the corner on the lake (also in Buen Retiro Park).
Wander the Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid (Botanic gardens) and stop in at the Cacti Greenhouse… You know me and my plants guys!
Visit El Rastro flea markets and the rest of the La Latina area on a Sunday.
Wander the Malasana District in the late afternoon as all the shops start to open up – by 9pm it’s truly buzzing!
Visit triangle of art – the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza are all within a short walk of each other. We loved the modern collections at the Reina Sofia the most.
Shop at homewares store/ cocktail bar KikeKeller. Spain seems to be full of these cool mashups!
Finally, if you have time head out for a day trip to Toledo, I’ll be sharing more on that soon.
Eat & Drink
Have a long relaxed lunch in the garden at Bosco Des Lobos – the library was gorgeous too but the breeze and plants were calling me. These guys have a few other restaurants in Madrid and Barcelona – worth checking out if you’re looking for something not on this list.
Round out a Sunday afternoon visit to La Latina with drinks on the terrace at El Viajero.
Have tapas at Mercado de San Miguel. I enjoyed going around 11am for that pre lunch snack, eaten standing at a tapas bar or counter.
Have a late dinner of fish and calamari at La Pescaderia.
Have the best tortilla at Bodega La Ardosa – they even have certificates on the wall to prove it’s the best! (?). I’m hungry just thinking about that tortilla!
Chow down on Bocata de Calamares (calamari sandwiches) in Plaza Mayor.
Take tea in the garden at Museo Nacional del Romanticismo (or… wine? The waiter tried to get us to drink this blue coconut wine but we chose rose instead).
Pay your 5 euros and join the masses at the Tartan Roof Bar. A few of you said it was too touristy, and I tend to agree. But as long as you’re looking out at the sunset instead of at the 462493 people around you it’s worth it. We had dinner there (I was hangry again!) and inside the restaurant is quite nice and a little bit away from the crowds.
Good to know
When you arrive, you really to get on Spanish time. Meaning, push all your mealtimes back 2 or 3 hours – lunch and dinner at least. You could eat dinner at 8pm, but you’ll be the only people there. I get truly hangry so was only able to conform to the 3pm lunch and 10pm dinner but having another meal between breakfast and lunch. Not a bad thing!
Everything’s just better looking in Spain, you know?
Always searching for that cactus garden.
El Rastro Flea Market
View from the top of Tartan Roof
Tiled frontages, and an accidental snap of Ben!
The library at Bosco.
Beauty everywhere you look in Madrid.
Crystal Palace was so incredibly gorgeous.
Afternoon drinks in Spain *always*
Finding ourselves a Botanical Gardens to hang out in!
The pretty facades of Madrid
This was a sight for tired, jet lagged eyes. And hungry tummies!
The pool at Dear Hotel… Small but sweet.
Sunday (market) blues
My favourite little store along El Ribera.
Keeping it light and casual – Madrid in summer is boiling hot!
Wishing I had Mary Poppin’s suitcase at this moment.
Naturally lots of the trip was captured on snapchat (add me! @apair_andaspare) – in all its randomness. Ps if you want value for money when drinking in Spain, opt for a Gin and Tonic (said as one word: ginandtonic) – they come in these giant glasses that were the size of my head, and the waitresses and pretty relaxed on the free pouring :). But don’t blame me for your headache the next day ok?
Thanks once again guys for all your insights, it’s times like these I’m so happy to have started this blog – and created a place where so many cool, lovely and generous people come and share. Here’s to travelling somewhere amazing soon! x