Elegant. Aristocratic. Gallant. These are just a few of the words visitors have used to describe the experience of traveling to Madrid. As the capital of Spain, this city has carved out a level of respect among tourists as a unique and addictive experience. You will return.
Madrid is a center of arts, culture and food in Spain as well as across Europe and the Mediterranean region. This is a city that demands that you spend a significant amount of time there, absorbing as much as you can.
Take in art history at the Prado Museum
Madrid is home to main national art museum in the country. And as one would expect, it is like taking a tour through an art history textbook. I’m pretty sure I’ve used that analogy to describe other museums, but it’s apt in this case, as well.
The Prado Museum is architecturally stunning to begin with but the art housed inside of it is exceptional. By far, the most represented artist in the museum is Francisco Goya though there’s also a lot of great examples of the work of Diego Velázquez and El Greco.
Stop by Mercado de San Miguel
As always, taking the time to stop by the central market is a great way to get to know any city you’re in. And Madrid is no exception to this. Honestly, the Mercado de San Miguel might be one of the most picturesque markets in the world.
This is the spot for anyone who is interested in experiencing as wide a variety of Spanish food as possible in one place. It stands as a living monument to everything that makes dining in Spain such a marvelous experience for travelers from around the world.
Relax in Retiro Park
A park by any other name would smell as sweet. This is certainly true of Madrid’s Retiro Park which is also known as Buen Retiro Park or El Retiro. This 350 acre green space in the city is actually a relatively quick stroll from the Prado, if you want to make a day of it.
Retiro Park was initially established in the 1600s but belonged the Spanish Monarchy until 1800s. At that time, it became a public park and Madrid was better for it. This is the place to enjoy the relaxing vibe of the city in a spot that makes you feel removed from the metropolitan bustle.
Stroll and dine Madrid’s Gran Vía
The name Gran Vía quite literally translates to Great Way, which is the best possible way to describe the part of Madrid. Development of the Gran Vía started in the 1800s, which can be seen in the incredible variety of architectural styles in the area.
Outside of taking in the scenery, there are three main reasons to spend time here; shopping, dining and the theater. It’s amazing how quickly an entire day can disappear checking out shops and getting bites to eat.
Enjoy a soccer (football) game
While soccer has its fans in North America, the vast majority of the rest of the world is obsessed with football. Madrid is no exception to this as much of the populace supports one of the their local clubs like Real Madrid or Atlético Madrid.
If you do plan on attending a game, make sure you wear the right colors depending on which home team you’re watching. People take these games exceptionally seriously. At the same time, these games are also a lot of fun to go to. It’s part of the culture.