Madrid the capital of Spain, Madrid is located in the center of Spain, it is so much more than just a business centre. Fascinating culture, history, architecture, museums, shopping and the pride of Madrid its football team, “Real Madrid” …. football is not just a sport in Spain, it’s a religion.
I only had 3 days in Madrid, there is so much to see and do. I tried to pack as much as possible but there is so much more I have to come back for. Following are the places I managed to get to and experience. I highly recommend you visit them especially if its your first time in Madrid.
(1) Tourists can do a tour of the Stadium, “Estadio Santiago Bernabeu”, but I highly recommend you go to a football game (doesn’t matter who is playing), it is an experience you will never forget. Even if you are not a football fan or sports fan. The atmosphere and watching people’s passion for this game alone will entertain and impress you. I was lucky enough to go with some locals, and get the insight stories of each team.
(2) Madrid is home to some of the most famous paintings in the world, Picasso’s Guernica at Museo Reina Sofua. Art lover or not you will admire and appreciate this collection. You can take a guided tour or you can do a self guided tour. For me I did a guided tour, I wanted to hear all the additional stories that are not available for the self guided tour. I normally have a ton of questions too ,so for me this was a fascinating experience.
(3) Puerta Del Sol, one of the most famous and busy squares, even though this is called a square, it’s actually in a shape of a semi-circle, like half of the sun rise. People watching is a must do here, it’s amazing, how much you learn about the culture of a place by just people watching. I sat with a glass of wine and a yummy spanish paella, people watching entertained me for few hours…. haha
(4) Plaza Mayor, this place comes alive at night, endless restaurants and cafe’s to choose from and endless street entertainment. You can try a nice spanish wine and tapas while enjoying the atmosphere. It is expensive to eat at this square but the experience is definitely worth it.
(5) Experience Spanish food like the locals do, Tapas Walking tour. Put the fun in to walking and eating …. we walked through the old/ historic Madrid at night, we visited 3 traditional bars/ restaurants, enjoying Spanish delicacies, I did not know blue cheese could taste this good.. For around $40 Euros, this tour will leave you feeling like a Madrileño. This is a must do……
(6) Walk around the city… even though this is a capital of Spain and a busy city, it is extremely clean and safe. Amazing Fountains all around the city, almost at the end of every avenue. Well maintained and landscaped gardens with seasonal flowers and fruits, and historical buildings tell the stories of Madrid
(7) Hop On Hop Off / Tourist bus, English commentary lets you be your own tour guide hahaha… For around $18 Euros, you get a day pass, which allows you to get off at the attraction you want to spend more time at and hop back on to get to the next, and includes a night tour. This was the best way to get the most done in just 3 days.
(8) Dancing, yes you heard me right, go dancing. Madrid has awesome night life. It’s not just for under 30 year old’s either. In Western countries, going out dancing is for younger adults, in European countries, you go out dancing at any age just to have fun. It was an awesome experience. Local music, local food, local wine and the beautiful spanish people. My feet were stuck on the dance floor until 5 in the morning.
Madrid’s summer is very hot, June, July, August been the summer months, so if you are visiting in summer make sure you have light ventilated clothes to help you stay cool. The city of Madrid has many gardens and resting areas, it offers you shaded areas to cool off and enjoy a cool breeze between your walks, sight-seeing and shopping.
If you visit Madrid in May or June, you are in luck, San Isidro bullfight festival is on, I will have to visit Madrid again to be part of that next time.
Madrid, is a spanish speaking country but regardless of your knowledge of their language, you will be welcomed with open arms and a big smile. My spanish was limited to Hi, Yes, No, Thank you, Please and Bye, when I arrived but now thanks to the locals who took time and pride to teach me their beautiful language, I can hold a very standard conversation … hehe at a very slow pace …..