I spent 6 days in Madrid this summer, so here is a little recap of my time there, as well as tips/what I would suggest when visiting this city.
Things to see/do:
We first visited the Royal Palace, which was absolutely beautiful. It was so interesting to see the grandeur of the palace, and the lengths at which people went when building it. We did the visit with a tour guide, which was really helpful as we got to hear about the history behind each of the rooms, and what they are used for.
We also visited the Temple of Debod (pictured below), which was a gift to the country Spain from the country of Egypt. It rests on a mountain, so the views from up top were amazing; I could see so much of the city.
This, just like many other things in Madrid, wasn’t exactly a destination; it’s something that you can walk by, snap a photo of, and continue on. The Temple is actually in a park, so if you wanted to, you could grab some sandwiches and drinks and have a picnic. In the warmer months, I would recommend to visit it in the evening, or later at night, since it gets so hot during the day. We were there around 9 pm and it was still bright outside.
We spent a day just walking through the city. Although I didn’t find that there was that much to see, the architecture is so beautiful and so different than what we see at home. I enjoyed walking through the streets without having a destination; I was really able to take in all the sights.
We took the subway in to Puerta Del Sol a couple nights and that was my favourite part of my trip in Spain. There was something so magical about being in a super busy square at night, with the billboards lit up all around me (picture a European Times Square). We also had an ice cream on a patio in Plaza Mayor- I strongly suggest this. Yes, it costs a little bit more to sit out there, but I found it was worth it; you really do pay for the atmosphere.
If you love shopping, I strongly suggest you visit El Corte Ingles, which is a Spanish department store. It is just steps away from any of the Puerta Del Sol subway exits and it is HUGE. I’m talking 7 or 8 floors huge. Although they do carry high-end brands, I found some of the clothes to be very affordable. Also, you can find anything, and I mean anything in there: from shoes, to sports equipment, to kitchen appliances, to clothes, to jewellery- they’ve got it all.
Food and drinks:
One thing that surprised me was how inexpensive alcohol is in Spain. We went out for lunch with my grandfather one day, and for 3 beers and 3 ham sandwiches, it only cost 4.50 Euros! With these prices, it’s definitely easy to indulge in some alcoholic beverages while on vacation.
If I could recommend to try two food items while in Madrid, I would say to try the calamari sandwiches (Bocadillos de Calamares) and jamón (ham) sandwiches. La Campana Cerveceria (bar), near Plaza Mayor would be a great choice for the sandwiches. It’s a very small place and it’s constantly packed with people, but it has a great “cozy” atmosphere. Both tourists and locals love it. The Spanish ham is very similar to the Italian prosciutto, but it is usually cut a lot thicker, and usually in smaller pieces. I find that it also tends to have a darker colour than the Italian one.
Little side note, if you are able to get your hands on the strawberry ice cream “feet” popsicle, buy several of them! They are seriously delicious.
Bottom line, these are my top recommendations:
- Visit the Royal Palace
- Take a day + evening to roam around the city
- Have a meal or ice cream in Plaza Mayor
- Eat a sandwich at La Campana
- Spend an evening in and around Puerta Del Sol
- Go shopping at El Corte Ingles
- Take a day trip to a nearby city (Featured in the next Travel Thursday)
I hope this was helpful to any of you who are thinking of, or are taking a trip to Madrid.
Thanks for reading & have a wonderful day!