Madrid City Guide: 7 Things You To Need To Do

‘Madrid is one of my favourite cities and the Spanish capital always delivers with its art, culture, attractions, romance and food…’

I’ve visited Madrid on three occasions and have been lucky enough to be shown round the city’s by my friend, Aurora.  On this trip, Les and I were alone so I dragged him around until he begged for mercy. The Travel Bug was also in tow. That little guy follows us everywhere.  These are 7 things you need to do on a trip to Madrid…

Cathedral next to Palacio Real

Palacio Real

The Royal Palace is the biggest building in Madrid, and the largest Palace in Western Europe. There are more than 3,400 rooms inside.  Imagine playing hide and seek in there!  I’m tired just thinking about it.   Anyway, the Palace is the official residence of the King of Spain, so if you are playing Hide and Seek, just be careful.  That’s all I’m saying.

There are 50 rooms open to the public and the Palace also has wonderful gardens in Campo del Moro.  Sabatini Park is also located in the immediate area.  In addition to this, just outside Madrid Palace perimeter is the Plaza de Oriente.  This is a beautiful square, adorned with the statues of 44 Spanish monarchs. The Palace and Cathedral next door look stunning when lit up in the evening.  I seem to say that about every building I see, but it doesn’t make it any less true.

the view from Parque de Oeste
sunset at Templo de Debod

Sunset at Templo de Debod

Rebuilt in Parque de Oeste, The Temple of Debod is one of the only examples of Ancient Egyptian architecture that isn’t in, well…in Egypt.

The Temple was donated to Madrid by the Egyptian Government in 1968 and is the only one of its kind in the country.   Spain must’ve done something really sweet, as this is quite a gift. Clearly, Egypt doesn’t believe in the whole ‘saying it with flowers’ thing.  Go Egypt.  I jest, of course.   The Temple was gifted to the people of Spain as a gesture of thanks for helping to preserve ancient buildings at Abu Simbel.

As well as the wonderful Temple that sits in the shallow waters, Parque de Oeste offers some wonderful views of Madrid. This is a sweet spot to grab yourself a patch of grass and watch the sunset.

Statue of Goya outside Museo Del Prado

Museo Nacional Del Prado

Museo Del Prado is home to some of the best European art in the world and look great inside and out.  It is home to awesomely creepy ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’ by Hieronymus Bosch, along with the far less nightmare inducing ‘Las Meninas’ by Velasquez.   In addition, it also has a great Café, but that’s not really the point I’m supposed to be making here.  

Entry to Del Prado is free for visitors from Monday to Saturday between 6-8pm

The iconic ‘Tio Pepe’ sign in Puerta del Sol
Its’a Bear and a strawberry tree…

Puerta del Sol

This is the busiest square in Madrid and it’s always bustling with action.  It leads off to many stores and bars and is home to the wonderful ‘Tio Pepe’ sign that is synonymous with the city.  Puerta del Sol is also home to ‘Kilometro Cero’, which is the spot from where all distances are measured in Spain.  And if that wasn’t enough, it’s also him to The Bear and the Madrono Tree statue, which is the symbol on the coat of arms of Madrid.

so pretty!
people watching….my favourite sport.

Tapas at Plaza Mayor

OK, so this can be a little pricey, but it is THE place to watch the world go by in Madrid.  The main square is popular with tourists and locals and there’s a great meeting place in the middle, by the statue of Felipe 111.  The main tourist centre is also located in the Plaza and has excellent staff and free maps of Madrid.

The Plaza is beautiful at night and definitely merits spending a little time and money for some quality beer and tapas to soak up the atmosphere.

Just give me them all…
paella, anyone?
You can put on weight just looking at these churros…

Churros at Mercado San Miguel

San Miguel is located in the heart of the city and is the only surviving iron structured market in Madrid.  It is located just a minute’s walk from Plaza Mayor and houses a massive range of fresh and local produce.  You can smell it well before you get there and we spent a very relaxing hour, wandering around, trying out various foodstuffs and watching the vendors cook paella in massive cast iron dishes.  LT particularly enjoyed his first taste of authentic churros, which he still talks about with a misty, faraway look in his eyes.

We also spent a brilliant aftertoon in Buen Retiro in the city, but that was worth of its own post…HERE.

Suzanne x


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