I expected a busy european city, full of things to do, sightseeing, many tourists, and long lines. Madrid, is not your typical city capital, the sun comes out early and doesn’t set until 10 pm, the days are never ending and all the nights are young. I’m not going to lie, I spent most of my time, tanning by the pool, eating tapas and drinking sangria. In between all the drinking, eating, and tanning, I did enjoy looking at all the sites. The following were my absolute favorite, and must-see Madrid sites.
Gran Vía is the epicenter of nightlife and movement of Madrid. It is adorned by shops, if shopping is what you want, upscale restaurants and hotels. There’re also theatres and broadway and off broadway shows. The Lion King is a great attraction, make sure to visit their website for show dates and tickets.
Mercado de San Miguel
Madrid is a foodie’s town and Mercado de San Miguel will satisfy anyone’s palate. The best sangria I have ever tasted, not to mention the wide variety of drinks available. Enjoy from a wide variety of wine and olives at The Sherry Corner. Visit the mozzarella stand and enjoy seafood and a wide variety of Tapas.
Museo Del Prado
Museo del Prado is home to treasured pieces by Master painters such as, Goya, Raphael, Caravaggio, Rubens, Velázquez and Dyck among others. Allow yourself to be immersed by smooth brushstrokes, and vivid colors that adorn these timeless pieces, even if you’re not a fan of fine art. Some paintings that should not be missed, La Coronacion de Espinas, Moisés Salvado de las Aguas, Saturn Devouring his Son.
Museo Reina Sofia
Reina Sofia is a great place to admire modern art, video installations, paintings, and sculptures. At Reina Sofia, you will find iconic pieces such as Picasso’s Guernica and a few others. Salvador Dalí paintings also make an appearance. The architecture of the museum is a blend of modern open columns and a glass library, intertwined with an antique building, which also has a quad and a garden.
Parque Del Retiro
This 350 acre park belonged to the Spanish Monarchy in the late 19th century. The park has beautiful gardens, perfect to spend the afternoon strolling and sitting on the grass. It is possible to take a bike ride or pedal a boat on the pond. Walk into Palacio de Crystal and feel the blazing sun over your head.
You can tour the Royal Palace for 11 Euros and get a glimpse on how the royals live. You will be disappointed because you won’t see King Felipe VI, for he lives in a more modest palace on the outskirts of the city.
Catedral Santa María Real de la Almuneda
Almuneda Cathedral is a treasure in Madrid. The beautiful Neoclassical church is worth exploring. Spend some time admiring the altars, columns and the many rooms of worship. Adjacent to the Royal Palace, you can enjoy seeing both places.
More Tapas and Sangria
Turn an unexpected corner and let Madrid take you in! Enjoy a glass of caña, sangria or vermouth. Stop by a restaurant where the locals eat and eat some paella. Find a restaurant to eat and allow the waitstaff to persuade you to go in. Savor delicious churros and dip them in hot chocolate.
Despite being a large capital, Madrid is a very relaxing city. The days are long and the city doesn’t die down with nightfall, on the contrary it takes on a second life. Madrid’s hospitality is warm and inviting. Don’t let Madrid take a backseat to other European cities and make sure you stop by.