Madrid the capital of Spain, Madrid is located in the center of Spain, it is so much more than just a business center. 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 religion.
I only had three 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. Following are the places I managed to get to and experience. I highly recommend you visit them especially if it’s 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, 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 Sofia. 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 usually 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 sunrise. People watching is a must do here, it’s incredible, 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, countless restaurants and cafe’s to choose from and endless street entertainment. You can try an excellent Spanish wine and tapas while enjoying the atmosphere. It is expensive to eat at this square, but the experience is worth it.
(5) Experience Spanish food like the locals do, Tapas Walking tour. Put the fun into walking and eating; we walked through the old/ historical Madrid at night, we visited three 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 immaculate and safe. You will see fantastic Fountains all around the town, almost at the end of every avenue. Well maintained and landscaped gardens with seasonal flowers and fruits, and historic buildings tell the stories of Madrid.
(7) Hop On Hop Off / Tourist bus, English commentary lets you be your 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 three days.
(8) Dancing, yes you heard me right, go dancing. Madrid has excellent nightlife. It’s not only for under 30-year-olds 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 excellent 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 scorching, 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 fresh breeze for your walks, sightseeing, and shopping.
If you visit Madrid in May or June, you are in luck, and San Isidro bullfight festival is on, I will have to revisit Madrid to be part of that next time.
Madrid is a Spanish speaking country, but regardless of your knowledge of their language, you will feel 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 languid pace …..
#Travelquote: “To awaken alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark
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