3 days in
Spain's capital city has a lot to offer to the visitant; from neighbourhoods filled with character like Malasaña or Chueca to green spaces to unwind like the Retiro Park or museums like the Prado where you will find the works of some Spanish masters.
Madrid has a continental climate with cold winters and hot and dry summers. There is more rainfall during the spring and autumn seasons.
I visited Madrid in December and the weather was great: sunny and warm. During the day there was no need for a coat and we enjoyed pretty blue skies throughout our stay.
There are different ways to get to the city centre from Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport. You can use the underground service from Terminals 2 and 4 (Price: 5€). Another option is to take the Airport Express bus with a 24 hour service and a cost of only 5€. (For more info about this service check this link: Exprés Aeropuerto). The last option will be to take a taxi with a price of 30-40€ (the ride can take around 30 minutes depending on the traffic).
I travelled from Valencia to Madrid using the fast train AVE. It took me only 1 hour 40 minutes to get to Madrid Puerta de Atocha train station. Check times and prices here AVE Trains.
To move around the capital the best way is to use the underground and to walk. You can get a metro card and buy a 10- journey ticket for 12.20€.
PLACES TO VISIT AND THINGS TO DO
Start your day with a nice walk around the Retiro Park, one of the largest parks of Madrid where you will find plenty of things to do and see, like the "Palacio de cristal" (Cristal Palace), take a boat trip at the Boating lake a boating lake or visit a free exhibition at the "Palacio Velázquez" (Velazquez Palace); among other things. Not far from the park's main entrance you will see "La Puerta de Alcalá", a Neo-classical gate located in the Independence square.
Continue your day paying a visit to the "Museo Nacional del Prado" (Prado Museum).
Get lost at Lavapiés, a historic and multicultural neighbourhood where you can also stop for lunch. I recommend to try different Spanish taverns and have some drinks and tapas.
Finish your day at Puerta del Sol, a lively and busy square in Madrid. Here you can see the clock around which loads of Spaniards and tourists congregate to celebrate New Year's Eve.
Your second day can start walking around "El barrio de las letras" (The Literary Quarter). This neighbourhood was home to great 17th century writers like Lope de Vega or Cervantes (Miguel de Cervantes residence was located in the number 18 of the Huertas street of this quarter). While walking, pay attention to the famous texts written on the cobbled streets... I loved it!!
Time for some shopping at the Gran Vía, one of the most famous streets in Madrid, full of shops, bars and some iconic buildings like the "Edificio Carrión" (Carrion building) where you will see the famous Schweppes sign.
From Gran Vía you can arrive to Plaza de España, another popular square in Madrid. The neighbourhood of Malasaña is a short walk from this square. This area is filled with restaurants, cafes, trendy shops and it is a perfect spot to enjoy some nice food.
End your day with one of the many musicals, theatre plays or shows that the Spanish capital has on offer. We attended the musical Kinky boots and it was really good fun.
Your last day in Madrid can start with a visit to San Miguel Market, a covered and elegant market where you can go for a nice breakfast; or simply to have a look at the different stalls.
After this, head to the Plaza Mayor, a major public space where you can spend some time looking around some shops and admiring the buildings.
Get lost in the streets of Chueca, a gay neighbourhood filled with cafes, restaurants and cool shops. Stop at San Antón Market for some food.
For your last evening in the Spanish capital you can pay a visit to the Museo Reina Sofía (Reina Sofia Museum).
FOOD AND DRINK
As Spanish I love Spanish food and Spanish beer and wine. During my visit to Madrid I tried some white wines from this region that were really nice. Here I mention some typical dishes that you can try if you visit this city:
Cocido Madrileño: Cooked in a pressure cooker; this dish is made with different types of meat and vegetables.
Huevos estrellados: Fried potatoes with eggs and ham.
Bocadillo de calamares: Calamari in a baguette.
Torrijas: Dessert made with bread soaked in milk and then deep fried. Sugar and cinnamon are added on top.
My personal recommendations:
Rosi La Loca: A colourful venue that will transport you to the Alice in Wonderland World. Surprising cocktails, great service and top food at this restaurant where they have thought about the smallest detail. I personally can't wait to go back!! Book in advance if you don't want to miss it. Address: C. de Cádiz, 4, 28012, Madrid (nearby Puerta del Sol station).
Salvador bachiller: Amazing cocktails in a place that looks like a greenhouse. Address: C/ Gran Vía, 65, 28013, Madrid (nearby Callao station)
La Musa: Expect good quality food and an impressive service at this restaurant located in Malasaña. We went for the menu and it did not disappoint! Address: C. de Manuela Malasaña, 18, 28004, Madrid.
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at the Hotel Claridge, an elegant hotel located nearby Conde de Casal underground station. Spacious rooms with free WiFi and a fantastic bathroom.
We booked a room using booking.com. Check here for prices Hotel Claridge Rooms.
You will need a budget of around £120 (160€) to spend on food, drink and transport.