What to do In Madrid
Although It is a rival of Barcelona, Madrid remains a great destination for travellers in Spain. A multicultural city, with neighbourhoods all different from each others with their singular atmosphere, big monuments to see, local food to taste, It is impossible to resist Madrid life.
From the airport, you can take the metro to go in the city centre. You will have to buy a metro card at the airports machines, you can fill the card with one ticket, or various if you plan to take the metro several times.
Best places to visit in Madrid:
This big park is situated in the heart of Madrid, it has different types of gardens and houses statues, fountains, and some architectural monuments, such as Velazquez Palace, Cristal Palace, Monument to Alfonso XII.
Puerta del Sol
This Square is the busiest place of Madrid, there are always people going through it. On Puerta del Sol you will see the symbol of Madrid in a bronze statue, a bear, standing on his hind legs on a tree.
The Cathedral started to be built in the 19th century by the architect Cubas. It took inspirations from gothic styles and Reims cathedral for example. When Cubas died, other architect made projects for the cathedral, with the civil and global wars of the 20th centry, the cathedral has been finished officially in 1993. The Cathedral faces the Royal Palace, when you go visit the cathedral, you can have a great view over it and over the city if you go at the top of the cathedral.
Royal Palace and Sabatini gardens
The Royal Palace was built in 1738 century by order of Philippe V, and was finished 7 years later. It keeps around its walls, the royal armoury, a rich collection of armour and weapons used by Spanish royalty, since the 13th century. The paintings gallery has some of the most precious paintings from the national heritage. Caravage, Sorrolla, Goya, Velazquez, Juan de Flandes, are amongst the other painters exposed in the gallery.
Going to the Palace is the occasion to go to Sabatini Gardens, right next to it. This place is particularly beautiful at sunset, where the colors of the sky are mixed with the colors of the gardens and the Palace.
Museo del Prado:
Inescapable place of visit when you come to Madrid, the museums houses 8 600 paintings and more than 700 sculptures. El Prado has the largest collection of Spanish paintings in the world. Italian and Flemish paintings are also well represented.
This Arcade square is the main place in the historical part of Madrid. The current architecture was realised in the beginning of the 17th century after a fire had destroyed the old square. In its center, there is the statue of Philippe II, made by Juan de Bolonia and given to the municipality by Queen Isabel II in 1848.
Templo de Debod:
An old Egyptian temple, from the 2nd century BC, that was offered to Madrid by Egyptian government in the 20th century. It was rebuilt in Madrid stone by stone and opened to visitors in 1972.
Mercado San Miguel:
San Miguel Market is a covered market, where you will find all the local food of Spain: cheese, sausage, olives, tapas, chocolate and so on.
El Rastro is a market that takes place every Sunday morning in La Latina neighbourhood. It is a flea market, that sells clothes, artisanal works, and old objects. If you want to do Madrid off the traditional pathways, locals would suggest you to go to this market.
Circulo de Bellas Artes (CBA):
Multidisciplinary centre, the CBA offers different activites around arts, literature, science, philosophy or cinema, and has an exhibition room. Furthermore, at the top of CBA, there is a terrace, where you go have a drink or eat or just admire the panorama it offers of Madrid.
Gran Via is the main avenue of Madrid, day or night, there are always people on this big avenue, where there are shops, clubs and restaurants. If you look up you will see the beautiful architecture of its building.
Palacio de Cibeles or Madrid town Hall:
This Palace was built in the beginning of the 20th century and was inaugurated in 1919. Built by Antonio Palacios and Joaquin Otamendi, this monument is one of the first examples of Modernist architecture in Spain.
Although there are town hall services in the Palace, it is mainly a cultural centre, there are exhibitions, visits, conferences for visitors. If you go up the tower, you will have a nice panorama fom the city (closed until end of June 2018 because of restoration work)
What to do in Madrid at night?
Joy Eslava is a big disco where mostly commercial music is played, but also house, dance, techno, funky and pop-rock. It is located in a theater, and it often hosts other events, concerts, fashion shows, films premieres... On some mights, they even organize parties for the teenagers, where no alcohol and tabacco are allowed, until around midnight. There are always a lot of people there, although the entrance is expensive (about 18 euros, with two drinks)
Corral de la Moreria Flamenco
This restaurant offers the customers a very high qualitied show of Flamenco. The show is composed of 9 artists, directed by the national price of Flamenco Blanca del Rey, and lasts 1h10. Furthermore, the chef offers a gastronomic cuisine. Since the inauguration in 1956, the restaurant rose to be one of the "1000 places to visit before dying", from the New York Times, and was awarded the best "Tablao of Flamenco" of the world. Many celebrities have come to Corral de la Moreria, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Natalie Portman, Hugh Grant, Jennifer Anniston, Goerge Bush, Richard Nixon and many others.
In Madrid you can have tons of different experiences, going to the Ice bar is definitely one of them. This bar has a 70 sqm room made in ice, the bar, the couches, the sculptures are all in ice. If you go there they will provide you with warm clothes. You can have a drink but also shop some items related to the world of ice, finest minerals water for exemple. Also, the offer a unique experience: to see northern lights. Indeed, in a special room, they reproduce northern lights, as if it was real, and in the same temperature conditions.
Faro de Mocloa
Faro de Mocloa is a 100 meters high tower, you can go up until 92 meters and enjoy a panorama of Madrid. Inside, there are explications about the buildings you can see from there. The best moment to go there is at the end of the day when you can still see all the city, meanwhile the sun sets.
Author: Hélène Marchandise
Photos' credit: Hélène Marchandise