Madrid was by-far my favorite Spanish city. The cobblestone streets, adobe buildings, outdoor cafes and plazas every few blocks… how could you not fall in love with this old-fashioned Spanish town!
Lodging: We were lucky enough to find a beautifully located Air BnB in the heart of the city, near Plaza Santa Ana. We were fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to visit during summer so the weather was HOT! Our apartment had AC in the living room…and that’s about it. We ended up trading off nights sleeping in the living room because the actual bedrooms were just too hot. I would highly recommend a place with central AC if you plan on visiting during July-August.
FOOD: Tapas and wine galore! We ate “jamon y queso” and sangria (because it was too hot to drink wine-wine) almost EVERY day! Although the variety of food is pretty limited, the number of restaurants and cafes is definitely not in short supply. Some of my favorite spots included:
Stop Madrid – a classic tapas and wine restaurant that serves all types of fresh ham and cheeses. This was our first experience with Spanish tapas on our vacation and they did not disappoint.
Lateral Santa Ana – trendy, popular restaurant with a variety of dishes that are sure to appeal to anyone. Lateral has several locations all over Madrid but we visited the one in Plaza Santa Ana because of its close proximity to our apartment and because of the beautiful patio seating we just couldn’t pass up on.
We did wait a good 30-45 minutes for a table but were lucky enough to find seats at the bar while we waited. Their drinks are EXCELLENT! Made with fresh/exotic fruits, you can’t help but try one.
Patio seating was definitely worth the wait too! Very romantic (as is most of the dining in Madrid).
One thing to know is that Spain practices “siesta”. Between 3-6 PM many places shut down for a quick “nap” or rest. Locals usually enjoy dinner around 10 PM so be prepared to eat late! OH! And if you are not a night owl (like Spaniards) try not to get too upset when you hear them yelling and screaming outside your bedroom window at 5 AM.
Fun things we did: Most people will say that Madrid isn’t the most exciting place to visit which is partially true (in comparison to Barcelona) however, it’s the best place to sit back, relax and let the world pass you by. We definitely did this by spending a day in Buen Retiro Park (direct translation “Park of Good Retreat”).
Aside from the relaxed park life, we also did some other cool things:
- Tour of the Royal Palace
- Plaza Mayor – people watching (while drinking Sangria) & shopping
- Mercado de San Miguel – indoor market with LOTS of tapas, weird fish, fruits and drinks.
- Plaza Sol – shopping
- Azotea rooftop bar – drinks & sunset over Madrid (chill house music playing in the background).
- Eat churros and chocolate – a MUST try! They are literally TO DIE FOR!
Let’s just say, our 4 days in Madrid were not wasted. Major THANKS to my friend Sofia for providing stellar suggestions on places to eat and visit. For cute travel videos, check out her vlog, Midnight Travels!
For our full Madrid album, visit our Shutterfly website: Adventures w/ Rey.