Destination of the Week: Madrid
Art lovers, party-goers and history buffs flock to Madrid for a taste of the vibrant culture and the famous nightlife of Spain’s capital. One minute, you can be admiring paintings from the Spanish masters and the next, twirling down the cobblestones with a flamenco dancer. One thing’s for sure, forget about sleeping when you visit, there’s simply not enough hours in the day to soak it all up.
What to do
Visit Madrid’s spectacular Royal Palace, which is the largest in Western Europe, Madrid Cathedral and the Templo de Debod on a day of historical discovery. Stroll through bustling squares and indulge in some people watching at Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol. Wear your walking shoes for a shopping trip along the Gran Via.
For panoramic views of the city, take the Teleferico cable car or jump on an open-top bus to see all the sights and monuments. If you’re in town at the right time, watch Real Madrid play at The Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Explore one of Europe’s top museums, The Prado, and The Reina Sofia to see Picasso’s, ‘Woman in Blue’.
Get your dancing shoes on as night falls, because you’ll never be far from a party. Start off with tapas, take in a flamenco show to see some of the best dancers in the world and hit the streets for bars, live gigs and nightclubs.
Where to stay
From 5-star luxury to quirky apartments, Madrid offers a huge array of accommodation options. Best of all, it’s easy to find good value deals in mid-range hotels and apartments in central locations.
Westin Palace Hotel (£££)
A favourite of celebrities, the Westin Palace Hotel is across the road from Parliament House, within the Art Triangle. Experience the Palace Bar, made famous by Ernest Hemingway, a fitness centre, a restaurant and ultra-luxurious rooms.
Hotel Europa (££)
Close to the Puerta del Sol, Hotel Europa is wonderfully central and offers a restaurant, a bar and 24-hour reception. The hotel caters for families and all the rooms have everything you need, including Wi Fi, flat screen TVs and balconies.
Madrid Motion Hostel (£)
You need to be central when you’re backpacking and the Madrid Motion Hostel is just steps from the Gran Via. The hostel has bright rooms with bed linen included, a bar, computers and 24-hour reception.
Where to eat
You can’t walk more than a few steps in Madrid without stumbling across a fantastic restaurant, serving anything from churros, octopus and tortilla, to fried squid sandwiches and pig’s ears. There’s fine dining, there’s all you favourite fast food chains and, of course, there’s tapas.
Restaurante Sando (£££)
Just off the Plaza de Santo Domingo, Restaurante Sando is a place where fine cuisine blends with affordable prices. You can try Hake with Squids and Olive Oil, Duck Sirloin with Mushroom and Bacon Deluxe and Chocolate Sandwich with Orange Vinaigrette.
The Mercado de San Miguel (££)
For a taste of tapas, wine, cured meats, cheeses and breads, visit one of Madrid’s oldest markets, The Mercado de San Miguel. Eat your tasty morsels there or stock up, find a green space and have a gourmet picnic.
Casa Revuelta (£)
For famous fried cod, tripe, bacon bits and meat balls, head to Casa Revuelta, close to the Plaza Mayor. You may need to fight the crowds at this local favourite, but it will be worth it to sample delectable tapas at excellent prices.
Featured image source: (c) istock/thinkstock