Things to in Madrid

A trip to Madrid was long overdue for me. Spain’s capital city is warm and welcoming, and it is the perfect destination for a weekend break. One can wander through narrow cobbled streets to discover atmospheric squares and awe-inspiring architecture. Then there is the endless culture: unrivalled art collections, imaginative independent boutiques, busy bars and tasty traditional tapas cafes. I hope my list below features something for everyone, from stadium tours for footy fanatics to cool nail bars for manicure dependents – Madrid certainly has more to offer than first meets the eye.

TO SLEEP

Hotel Villa Magna – this 150 room 5* hotel has always been a favourite amongst the luxury options in the city. I personally vouch for their sheets which I’m sure are the softest in Madrid.

TO EAT

El Club Allard – a gastronomic adventure, this two Michelin-starred restaurant will ignite your imagination and delight your senses with creative and delicious food.

Estado Puro – with the same proprietors as the two Michelin-starred La Terreza del Casino, this quicker and cheaper alternative offers delicious tapas-style dishes and the best orange juice in town.

Zalacain – a gloriously traditional dining room serving Michelin star Spanish specialities.

The Ritz – a delightful and palatial property, the perfect place for afternoon tea although I would recommend the local alternative of churros and chocolate.

Mercado de San Miguel – an exciting covered food market. Open until 2am at the weekends – grab a glass of local wine or appropriately named San Miguel beer and wander around picking up bite size delicacies.

Chocolateria San Gines – Churros heaven. This institution is open 24 hours a day for hungry passers-by and is always full to the brim.

TO DRINK

Le Cabrera – a de luxe gastro-bar with cocktails in the basement.

Toma Cafe – This chic and cool coffee bar serves exemplary hot drinks. Order a Cortado to go and sip it while you wander through the streets.

Dry by Javier De Las Muelas – the seventh bar by this cocktail magician. You won’t find a better Martini anywhere else, though I preferred the fruitier options!

La Bicicleta – full of young locals this cafe serves up fine coffee and cake. Always crowded with creative people chatting away.

TO SEE

Miro at Palacio de Congreso – it is not difficult to spot a Miro, the colourful cursive drawings are quite unique. Here you will see a huge ceramic design that will make you stop and stare.

Museo ABC – This outlandish contemporary building exhibits an illustrated retrospective of over a century of Spanish history.

Reina Sofia – many come just to see Picasso’s epic monochrome painting Guernica, but this contemporary art museum is worth visiting for the impressive architecture.

Prado Museum – one the world’s greatest museums with an unmissable collection. The Goya rooms are particularly special.

Botanical gardens – for a few moments of calm, head to these blissfully quiet and beautifully floral gardens. Wander amongst the foliage before embarking on more sightseeing.

TO DO

Tour Bernabeu – home to arguably the greatest football team on the planet, the Santiago Bernabeu stadium is a must for all sports lovers. Serious brownie points to be won for willing girlfriends here… pose politely with Ronaldo and you will be rewarded with shopping time later.

IvoryPress – a publishing house specialising in artists’ books with an innovative exhibition shown downstairs.

Teleferico de Rosales – Admire the city from the air with the cable car experience.

MCNY – this New York inspired nail bar offers the best manis and pedis in town, sit back and let your hands and feet be pampered.

El Rastro – the biggest flea market in Europe held every Sunday and on public holidays, colour and chaos everywhere.

Calle de las huellas – an atmospheric street… read the quotes on the floor beneath your feet and enjoy a glass of Cava in one of the authentic Spanish bars.

TO SHOP

Mini – a carefully curated selection of mens designer garments including brands: Acne, Kenzo and lesser known Gitman Bros and Save Khaki.

Nest – set in a beautiful square in Malasaña, Nest is instantly inviting with colourful flower baskets hanging outside. Step inside to discover a unique selection of items… gifts, stationery, craft papers, wall stickers and jewellery.

Mott – I fell in love with the clothes here, a brilliant edit of European and American brands attractively displayed. Dangerously tempting.

Isolee – The top concept store in Madrid, this emporium will remind some of the Parisian equivalent, Colette. Treat yourself to a bottle of perfume or a foodie treat upstairs in the Clementine café.

Cacao Sampaka – This chocolate shop is beautifully designed and sells intricate and delectable cocoa products that make perfect gifts.

Many thanks to the Madrid Tourist Board for their help with this trip, more information here.

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