Things To Do In Madrid
Madrid is the city never sleeps, and why would it? When it takes regular siestas. This capital of Spain is perched in the middle of the country on a plateau and has seen ancient kings rise and dynasties crumble, crusades fought and Inquisitions carried out. Today the city is as much a historical paradise as it is a football hub, hoarding so many things to do for tourists visiting. Madrid’s markets and plazas are plush, museums insanely attractive, nightlife abuzz all night and food just too delicious to have only for your stay there. Here’s a list of Madrid’s best, some things to do when you are in the city.
Visit the Museums
Madrid is a city of museums, new and old. And when you are here, a circuit of its lovely museums is just what a day in your itinerary should look like. Start with the most famous - Prado Museum, exhibiting some of the oldest Spanish painters, then go on to Thyssen-Bornemisza, Sorolla and Reina Sofia. You will find contemporary pieces as well as masterpieces by artists like Picasso and Salvador Dalí. This makes for a great way to discover the history and art of Spain, as well as its ancient city Madrid.
Stroll around Puerta del Sol
Puerta del Sol is the heart of Madrid, a square situated right in the city centre with the largest crowd gathering on New Year’s Eve. It is an iconic space and hosts some of Madrid’s most famous bars, restaurants and shops. People descend here to enjoy late after dinner, stroll, meet friends, chill in the pub. For all intents and purposes Puerta del Sol or the ‘gate of the sun’ can be called the cultural centre of Madrid. You must stroll down this place, maybe come back after sundown and dinner to see how Madrid’s nights really never end. There are also many souvenir shops, cafes and relaxing spots for tourists.
Shop through Gran Via like Velvet
Well, remember those baroque buildings at the turning of Madrid streets, the ones where Velvet was situated in the Netflix show by the same name? Turns out, those buildings and streets do actually exist in the city and make for a very popular boulevard. Obviously, today there is no Velvet couture shop there but your Zara and H&M boutiques. There are also many Spanish brands and high street shops to check out the latest in Madrid’s trend. You must make sure to go shopping down this street.
Try tapas at La Latina
You cannot be in Madrid and not eat tapas! It is like the cardinal sin or something like that. What are tapas? Well, they are a type of appetiser foods, also eaten as snacks in Spain and may include everything from raw olives and cheeses to slices of Spanish omelettes, alio-olio brushed breads, mussels, fried potatoes etc. Now the La Latina area in Madrid is renowned for serving some of the most delicious tapas at its bars. In fact, you may get loads of platters just by ordering a drink. Sundays are the best days for this kind of an activity and you also get to mingle with the locals.
‘Real’ means royal in Spanish, and the Royal Madrid is the football team of this city. It was founded back in 1902 and has been one of the forerunners of football in the European subcontinent, lifting 10 European Cups and 1 FIFA Cup in 2014. Visit their home turf Bernabéu Stadium here and get personal guided tours through their historical wins and losses, players, paraphernalia and the field. If you are lucky, a game may also be on!
Picnic at Retiro Park
The Retiro Park is Madrid’s Central Park and you can do all that here, from picnics with friends and family to kayaking in the lake. People also rent paddleboat and canoes to enjoy some time on the water. Locals flock down to the park on weekends with baskets of food and wine, play cards, and just relax. You must do so too!
Bargain at El Rastro Flea Market
El Rastro is one of Madrid’s most coveted markets, setup every Sunday under the open sunny Spanish sky in the La Latina area. There are moe than 3000 stalls, from stolen ware to collectibles, vintage items to stamps, books to Che Guevara t-shirts, espadrilles to fresh seafood. You will also find hawkers and pedlars, too much local crowd and a buzz that is sweet and beautiful. What’s more is, this market has been put up every weekend since the year 1740, how cool is that!
Nightlife and Rooftop Bars
So the norm in Madrid is, nap in the afternoons and party late into the night, sometimes until sun up. Imagine such a cool city and what you could do here after sundown.
Most businesses close in Madrid for a siesta and after work, people eat dinner early, usually by 8. After which, the time for socialising begins as friends meet, go out, chill at bars, stroll through streets and squares. Some of the most hip nightlife areas are Malasaña, Barrio de las Letras, and Chueca. Cocktails, beers, wines - they all flow like water by night and tapas are devoured all over. Especially at rooftop bars that give you outdoor seating under the inky Spanish sky. Live DJs are playing at some bars, while others tune into the local radio - each experience is unique.