Madrid is a city we keep returning to. We’ve been there many times already and last summer we decided to spend another 1,5 months here. In this post, we explain to you why we love this city so much and share our tips and best finds in this wonderful city.
First of all, we just love the vibes and the ambiance of Madrid. There are always people on the streets and it looks like everyone is having a good time, no matter the day of the week. People love to eat and drink in cafés and restaurants and there are always lots of people in the outside seating area, whether it’s in- or outside the city center. It feels like the entire city is about enjoying life to the fullest and this is what we love most about Madrid!
THE CITY CENTER
The city center is always very crowded with both tourists and locals, especially in the evenings. Shopping in Madrid is amazing, there are so many stores and it would take you two days to cover the entire shopping area. Our favorite shopping street is Calle de Fuencarral, which has lots of sneakers and street style clothing stores. Everywhere in the city center you’ll find restaurants and cafés with outdoor seating areas and see people eating and drinking. Go to Calle de Hortaleza or Plaza Santa Ana (especially restaurant Lateral) for good food.
PARQUE DEL BUEN RETIRO
In Madrid you’ll find our favorite city park of all time: Parque del Buen Retiro, or just Retiro in short. As a former private park of the King of Spain, the park is very spacious and well-maintained and it’s so nice to walk around. It’s the perfect place to go for a morning run, which we tried to do as often as possible. The park is used by many to perform sports in the morning and in the evening. Sometimes you’ll see yoga classes on the grass fields. There’s also a beautiful lake and two very pretty palacios (palaces). We loved renting a row boat and just being on the water.
Close to the lake you’ll find Palacio de Velázquez and Palacio de Cristal. Both buildings are absolutely stunning and feature art collections of the Reina Sofia Museum. They’re free to enter and are open between 10:00 and 22:00. As Palacio de Cristal is made completely out of glass, it can get really hot on sunny days.
Besides the lake and the two palacios, there are also two nice gardens: Jardines de Cecilio Rodríguez and La Rosaleda. Both gardens are completely different but very beautiful in their own way. Jardines de Cecilio Rodríguez is not that well-known and therefore usually not crowded at all. There are peacocks walking freely around the garden which is fun. La Rosaleda is a rose garden and is at its prettiest during spring. However, when we visited mid-summer we were surprised that a decent number of roses were still blooming. Furthermore, there are lots of beautiful monuments to admire. When you’re in Madrid, Retiro is a must-visit!
We love exploring and Madrid is the perfect place for that. Besides Retiro, Madrid has a lot more to offer regarding sightseeing.
REAL JARDÍN BOTÁNICO
Madrid’s Botanic Garden is located next to Retiro. The greenhouses in the garden alone make this place worth visiting. It’s the perfect place for some nice Instagram photos!
If you like gardens, you should check out Atocha Station. Atocha is the main railway station of Madrid and features a huge tropical garden inside the main hall. It’s very impressive and definitely worth checking out!
As the capital of Spain, the palace of the royal family is in Madrid. El Palacio Real is a magnificent building located in the heart of the city center. The surroundings of the palace are beautiful (Plaza de la Oriente and the Jardines de Sabatini), but so is the palace itself. From Monday to Thursday, citizens of the European Union can enter the palace for free during the last two opening hours (from 6pm-8pm during Summer and from 4pm-6pm during Winter). The line to enter the palace during those hours can be very long, but it’s moving relatively fast and everyone will fit in as the palace is huge.
TEMPLO DE DEBOD
Templo de Debod is an Egyptian temple which was built in 200 BC. It was gifted by Egypt to Spain and relocated to Madrid in 1968. It is a beautiful sight, especially during sunset. The temple is located in Parque del Oeste and just a few foot steps away from the temple there is a beautiful viewpoint over Palacio Real and Madrid. In the evening, the park is filled with locals relaxing on the grass.
A must go when you’re in Madrid is Plaza Mayor. You probably can’t miss this place as it feels like all streets are leading to Plaza Mayor. It’s a beautiful square surrounded by orange-toned buildings and it can get really crowded during the day. The area surrounding Plaza Mayor is nice to walk around too. Even though it’s the most touristic part of Madrid, there are many beautiful, historical buildings in this area. When you’re in the area you should definitely check out Mercado de San Miguel, which is an always-buzzing market where you can eat lots of different tapas.
We’re sunset lovers, but catching sunsets in big cities can be quite hard. Madrid Río, and especially Puente de Toledo, is a perfect spot to watch the sunset which is not too far from the city center. Here you can watch the sun set behind the soon-to-be-demolished Vicente Calderón, which is Atlético Madrid’s former stadium. The sunsets in Madrid are very beautiful and dreamy. It’s a very nice place to go to when you have an evening off.
Hopefully, we convinced you to visit Madrid to enjoy everything it has to offer. Madrid, we will definitely be back (again)!
By Joop & Mika from @kipamojo