I simply realized it’s been method too lengthy since I’ve written about my beloved Spain and I assumed I’d share a few of my causes to like Madrid.
For these of you who’re new to the weblog, I lived in Spain for 3 years on and off earlier than transferring to New Zealand in 2013. Spain has at all times been one in every of my houses, and I hope it at all times will likely be. And whereas I’ve known as Salamanca, Cordoba and Logroño dwelling, I noticed I’ve uncared for to speak about a spot the place I spent fairly a little bit of time over time – Madrid.
For me, Madrid is the guts of Spain and it’s a spot I do know rather well. Geographically the middle of the nation, it’s additionally the middle for journey and work and I just about am at all times passing by there over time. It’s the place lots of my associates are and it’s a large hub for expats. I do know it properly.
For some cause Madrid doesn’t at all times have the most effective rep – folks have a tendency to check it to Barcelona quite a bit. Madrid versus Barcelona is extra than simply an epic soccer rivalry, and vacationers have a tendency to like the flashy beachside Catalán capital much more than conventional Madrid. Having spent lots of time in each, I can safely say I hate Barcelona and love Madrid.
For me, Madrid is the actual Spain. It doesn’t get anymore Spanish than Madrid. With nice meals, superb arts and tradition, historic neighborhoods, lovely previous man bats, fabulous buying and tremendous enjoyable occasions, to not point out it’s the middle for almost wherever, Madrid a really livable vigorous metropolis. I’ve a lot nostalgia for it, particularly in summer time!
Why have I not talked about this earlier than on the weblog? Why? Higher late than by no means, I suppose.
I visited Madrid for the primary time in 2005, spent lots of time there in 2007/2008 and eventually lived there for the primary time in the summertime of 2009 which researching for my faculty senior thesis on the Nationwide Library and have been coming again on and off ever since.
Despite the fact that Madrid is a widely known metropolis, for me it doesn’t really feel touristy. It nonetheless has an genuine, conventional Spanish vibe that I like and adore. And whereas I typically at all times take pleasure in being within the countryside or small cities, I actually additionally love massive cities, particularly ones that I do know fairly properly.
I spent over every week chilling out in Madrid a yr in the past and thought I’d piecemeal collectively some bits and items of my time there and why I like Madrid a lot. I actually spent a lot time there that I needed to drive myself to go away and head south to go exploring!
There are such a lot of causes to like Madrid. Removed from being any form of clear information of what to do or what to not do in Madrid on vacation, and since I’ve by no means actually gone to Madrid for a vacation in any case, I assumed I’d go forward and share private causes for why I like Madrid, what retains bringing me again there and the place my favourite haunts are.
Get pleasure from!
1. Pigging out on all of the superb meals
It’s no secret, I like meals; and Madrid has some banger Spanish meals which by default means I like Madrid. And since Madrid is often my first cease on my technique to or from Spain, I at all times begin my stick with consuming my favourite Spanish meals.
Deliver on the ham!
Since I had left Spain, a very good buddy of mine Lauren from Spanish Sabores launched Madrid Meals Excursions which have grown massively over time. I used to be so stoked to test them out once I was in Madrid. Whereas I do know quite a bit about Spanish meals (principally if it’s scrumptious or not and what wine to pair it with) I don’t know that a lot in regards to the historical past behind it, which is why I wished to provide it a attempt to be taught extra.
I’ve recognized Lauren for the reason that very starting of my weblog over six years in the past after we had been each English lecturers and I’m so impressed with the enterprise she has constructed out of a ardour over time.
I opted for the Huertas neighborhood meals and market tour because it was I place I didn’t know that properly. I’m a giant believer you can be taught quite a bit a couple of nation by its meals and traditions, so I like to recommend taking meals excursions everytime you get the prospect as a introduction to a brand new place. It’s additionally an effective way to expertise a metropolis like a neighborhood.
A morning tour, don’t eat something earlier than displaying up! You’ve been warned.
Exploring throughout Huertas, we acquired a literal and figurative style for just about each facet of the Spanish eating regimen. From churros with chocolate to the mighty acorn-fed cured ham to the everyday cheeses to tapas to drinks, you actually get all of it with tales and historical past and fascinating journey ideas woven in.
It’s the proper introduction to meals in Madrid but in addition to Spain and nice for folks like me who simply like to eat!
2. Airbnb on Gran Vía
My final journey to Spain I spent most of my time staying round Gran Vía. If I’m solely there for a brief period of time I wish to be as central as doable. Gran Vía is just like the Broadway of Madrid, an enormous ornate boulevard that sprawls by the middle and is close to the well-known Plaza del Sol. However regardless that it’s massive, it’s tremendous straightforward to show down a facet avenue and get misplaced for hours.
Additionally Gran Vía has like each main store you could possibly ever need, and I at all times sit up for heading again to Spain and shopping for as a lot Zara, Mango and every thing else that I can get my fingers on. No disgrace.
I stayed in an excellent cute Airbnb proper subsequent to Gran By way of, it was tiny and lovely, good for solo vacationers. Airbnb’s are actually reasonably priced in Madrid and you may get ones which might be very central. Whereas I typically keep in accommodations on work journeys and campaigns which I like, I are likely to favor residences when I’m by myself or have longer to discover a sure place. This time round in Spain I principally stayed in Airbnb’s.
If you’d like one thing extra intimate, my favourite different neighborhoods are Malasaña or La Latina – my buddy Lauren has a very good weblog about neighborhoods right here.
Signal as much as Airbnb with this coupon and get $32 in credit score! You’re welcome!
three. Hanging on the Prado
The Prado is Spain’s biggest artwork museum, and I first visited again once I was in highschool over a decade in the past – what?!
Seeing works like Velázquez’s Las Meninas after studying about it in my Spanish highschool textbook is one thing that sparked my deep love for journey. The journey to seeing or experiencing one thing you’ve heard about for a very long time is kind of particular for me. Like an artwork pilgrimage. I’m an enormous historical past and artwork nerd, so I completely fizz at museums and love spending lots of time in them. Particularly ones which have as nice of collections because the Prado.
I child you not, each single time I’m in Madrid, I acquired to the Prado. And I typically return a number of instances once I’m there, I simply adore it. By now I’ve been dozens of instances, particularly as you get free admission for the final two hours of each day.
Right here is 16 yr previous me in Spain for the primary time (inexperienced gown) – glad to see my posture hasn’t improved
four. Naps at Buen Retiro
El Parque del Buen Retiro is a large previous public park within the heart of Madrid. As somebody who loves inexperienced areas, it makes me so completely happy to seek out one this massive within the coronary heart of an city jungle.
There’s a lake you may paddle round in, so many gardens and terraces the place you may sit out within the solar, or take naps within the grass after an extended morning on the museums close by. Although one in every of my favourite locations is the previous Crystal Palace.
Retiro is the form of place that exists on any traveler’s must-do listing for Madrid, nevertheless it’s price it. And it’s sufficiently big you by no means actually really feel crowded there and an ideal place to check out a siesta and sleep off a hangover. Cough cough.
5. Tapas at Mercado de San Miguel
If you end up within the heart of Madrid with a hankering for tapas however don’t know the place to start out, head to the well-known Mercado de San Miguel. Whereas it might appear to be very touristy, and belief me, it may be. On the similar time it’s a very conventional and reasonably priced market.
When you can choose up your bits and items and get an concept of staple substances within the wholesome Spanish eating regimen, there are additionally loads of tapas ready available right here.
Put on your stretch pants.
6. Getting misplaced among the many cute streets
My favourite pastime in Madrid is to wander and get misplaced amongst the lovable streets and quirky neighborhoods. Madrid is a really walk-able metropolis so it’s price it to simply wander round although you may at all times hop on the Metro if it’s good to go additional.
Fortunately Madrid has these in abundance. You possibly can stay there for years and by no means discover all of them. Since I flew in from New Zealand I used to be extremely jetlagged and drained as soon as I acquired to Spain; I used to be awake round 5am which meant I went for loads of early morning walks across the metropolis. Oh how instances have modified. After I lived in Madrid in my early twenties, the one time I noticed the town at 5am was once I was stumbling dwelling from the discotecas.
I undoubtedly recommend constructing in time to simply wander round and discover. You’ll discover the cutest locations that method. And undoubtedly try the Huertas neighborhood meals tour with Devour Madrid – you’ll get to discover the previous Literary Quarter of Madrid and get to eat properly on the similar time!
7. Rooftop sunsets
This final time I used to be in Madrid, I used to be actually beginning to get into my pictures and wished to go as much as a stupendous spot for sundown. After doing some research I noticed that close to the place I used to be staying on Gran Vía is the Círculo de Bellas Artes which has an epic rooftop bar known as Tartán Roof.
It’s superb and has among the greatest views of Madrid I’ve seen, take pleasure in!
eight. Day journeys galore
Among the finest issues about Madrid is that it’s geographically within the heart of Spain and it’s very properly linked to just about in all places, particularly by practice which is my most well-liked type of transport. On most of my longer journeys in Europe I find yourself touring with an Eurail practice move which helps get me round. Since I used to be simply in Spain I used the one nation move this time round.
Ever since I first began visiting, there have been three locations I’d at all times find yourself occurring day journeys from the town. Toledo, Segovia and El Escorial. Whereas I didn’t get round to visiting these spots on my final journey, they’re nonetheless superb spots that I wish to return to.
Toledo is an historical metropolis on a hill that has the most effective views in Spain and it’s a straightforward fast practice journey from Madrid; you may even get there on the excessive pace practice. Segovia is one other favourite spot exterior Madrid with an historical Roman aqueduct and a Disney-esque fairytale fort. Lastly one other well-known daytrip I typically make is to El Escorial which was the historic residence of the king of Spain. Together with the close by grim and controversial Valle de los Caídos, the place Franco is buried, it’s the proper daytrip from the capital.
9. Indulging on the Corte Inglés
No disgrace – I like El Corte Inglés – Spain’s main mega division retailer. I am going into the one in Sol within the morning and might spend all day there AND not even purchase something! Simply sucks me in!
10. Benefit from the Madrileño way of life
However above all I like Madrid due to it’s vibe. A really Spanish metropolis that whereas it may very well be fast-paced and have a hustle way of life, it nonetheless manages to take care of a way of peacefulness about it. I like hanging out on the terraces with associates consuming and consuming after work, going buying on the weekends, occurring walks by the park and simply take pleasure in being there.
Like most locations in Spain persons are pleasant and social and revel in being out and about as a substitute of caught inside. It’s low-cost and reasonably priced and delightful in addition, what’s to not love?
Have you ever been to Madrid? Do you adore it too? Madrid versus Barcelona? The place’s your favourite metropolis to eat?