Madrid may lack the cachet of Paris, the monumental history of Rome, or Barcelona’s reputation for Modernista masterpieces. And no, there is no equivalent of the Eiffel Tower, Colosseum or La Sagrada Família that you can point to and say ‘this is Madrid’. But Madrid has nothing to be envious of. Spain's broad sweep of architectural history provides a glorious backdrop to city life, from medieval mansions and royal palaces to the unimagined angles of Spanish contemporary architecture, from the sober brickwork and slate spires of Madrid baroque to the extravagant confections of the belle époque. Put simply, this is one beautiful city.
BEST TIME TO VISIT MADRID
The best time to visit Madrid is in the fall (September to November) or spring (March to May), when balmy temps blow through the city, making it come alive. But if you don't mind drab weather and a rather listless Madrid, visit in the winter when hotels reduce their rates. Peak tourist season is summer – despite nearly unbearable heat – but many Madrileños close up shop this time of year and take vacations themselves.
September-November - Mild temperatures that range from the high 50s to the upper 70s in September and the low 40s and upper 50s in November make touring around Madrid's El Rastro market and Retiro Par immensely enjoyable.
December-February - This is a good time to find a deal on a hotel since many slash their rates this time of year. But it gets cold: In January – historically Madrid's coldest month – temperatures reach into the low 30s.
March-May - Springtime, especially the months between April and late May, is another great time to visit for beautiful weather. Average highs range from the low 60s to the low 70s.
June-August - Average highs are in the high 80s this time of year, making traveling around by foot – or even on the metro – pretty hot and miserable. You should also note that many local business owners close their doors in the summer, so they can take month-long vacations themselves (especially in August).
GETTING TO MADRID
Madrid is a very well connected city nationally and internationally by train, air and road. It is the center of the Spanish railway network, it has very good road network and the main international airport is just 8 miles (13 km) from the city center.
By plane - All flights, whether low-cost or standard carriers, fly into the main international airport in Madrid called Adolfo Suarez Madrid Barajas Airport, which is extremely well connected and close to the city centre.
By car - You can also get to Madrid by car from other parts of the peninsula or other European cities and towns. To plan your itinerary, I recommend Google Maps.
By train -Madrid’s two main railway stations are Chamartin and Atocha. Depending on where you come from, you will get to one or the other. The AVE (Alta Velocidad Española) is a modern high-speed train in Spain, which connects Madrid with Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Cordoba, Alicante, Cuenca, Albacete, Villena, Malaga, among other Spanish cities. AVE trains are very comfortable with short travel times and are normally punctual. Nevertheless, the tickets are a little expensive. If you want something a little cheaper, we recommend checking out Avant and Alvia tickets or Altaria.
GETTING AROUND MADRID
The best way to get around Madrid is by metro. A handful of metro lines extend as far north as the Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) as well as into the city's southern suburbs. Buses are an option, too, as are metered taxis, which can be hailed on the street or found in ranks throughout the city. Renting a car is another alternative, but you should note that it's nearly always rush hour in Madrid. To get from the airport into Madrid, you can take the metro (line No. 8). Taxis charge a flat fare of 30 euros (approximately $35). There are also several car rental companies located at the airport.
Metro - Madrid's metro system is clean, easy to use and extensive, with 12 numbered and color-coded routes that transport passengers throughout the central city, to the airport and suburbs. Fares are figured by a zone system with the cheapest one-way ticket costing 1.50 or 2 euros (about $1.75 to $2.30).
Visitors looking to use the metro often should purchase a Tourist Card for the number of days that they're traveling throughout the city; cards are sold in one-, two-, three-, four-, five- and seven-day quantities. The cost of the cards range from 8.40 euros to 35.40 euros for Zone A travel (Madrid's main attractions and popular neighborhoods are all located in Zone A). The metro is open daily from 6 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. and tickets can be purchased at all metro stations.
Bus - There are more than 200 bus lines tracing the city, with the cheapest one-way ticket costing 1.50 euros (about $1.75). Tickets can only be purchased on the buses, and the fleets of buses typically operate Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., and on weekends from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. The city's night buses, which operate from about 11:30 p.m. through the wee hours of the morning, are especially helpful to tourists who want to experience Madrid's nightlife and don't want to spring for a taxi. There is also 24-hour bus service from the airport to the city center.
Taxi - You can hail metered taxis on the street or find them lining up in queues throughout Madrid. The ones that are available will have an illuminated green light on the roofs. The meter starts at about 2 euros and adds a euro or so for every kilometer traveled. A word of warning: Make sure the taximeter is switched on. Some drivers deliberately keep it off to swindle tourists out of a few extra euros. You should also only ride the official cabs, which are white with the city's emblem and a red diagonal stripe across the driver and front passenger side doors. The Uber ride-hailing app also operates in Madrid.
WHERE TO STAY IN MADRID
Featuring free WiFi, Gran Vía Capital is 500 m away from Puerta del Sol. A seasonal pool with water jets, and a terrace with a chill out area are available. These luxury apartments feature a flat-screen TV. There is also a kitchen with a dishwasher, oven and a Nespresso coffee machine. Every unit features a private bathroom with free toiletries and a hairdryer. A washing machine is available. Gran Vía Capital also includes a fitness center. Airport shuttle and private parking are available for a surcharge. Callao Metro Station is right next to Gran Vía Capital and two metro stops are within 150 m. The nearest airport is Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport, 8.1 mi from the property.
Featuring free WiFi throughout the property and set 200 m from La Latina Metro Station, Ok Hostel Madrid offers accommodations in Madrid. The property offers a bar and shared kitchen. The property offers private rooms with a double bed, flat-screen TV, desk and bathroom, as well as dormitories for 4 or 6 people, fitted with bunk beds, lockers, and a bathroom. There is a shared kitchen and a communal lounge in the property. You can find several bars, restaurants, and shops within a 5-minute walk of Ok Hostel Madrid. Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol are 701 m away. Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport is 8.7 mi from the property.
Conveniently set in the Madrid City Center district of Madrid, Hostal Met Madrid is located a few steps from Mercado San Miguel, a 4-minute walk from Plaza Mayor and 549 m from Puerta del Sol. Among the facilities at this property are room service and a concierge service, along with free WiFi throughout the property. The property provides a tour desk and luggage storage space for guests. At the guesthouse, each room has a closet. Every room is equipped with air conditioning, a desk and a TV, and certain units at Hostal Met Madrid have a balcony. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Puerta de Toledo, Royal Palace of Madrid and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. The nearest airport is Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport, 17.7 km from Hostal Met Madrid.
Set in a 19th-century building, Only You Hotel Atocha is located in Madrid, 150 m from Madrid-Atocha Train Station. This hotel offers views over the Paseo Infanta Isabel and Calle Alfonso XII. All rooms are soundproofed, and they have a large flat-screen TV, safe, and a mini-bar. The private bathroom includes free toiletries. A bathrobe and slippers are provided. Free WiFi is available. This hotel offers a café, bakery, and various lounge areas. On the last floor you will find the breakfast room, from where you can enjoy stunning views of the city. You will find a wide range of shops, restaurants, and bars within a 10-minute walk of the property. The Prado Museum is 901 m from Only You Hotel Atocha, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is a 10-minute taxi ride away. The famous Puerta del Sol is just 3 stops away by metro. Madrid-Barajas Airport is 9.3 mi from the property.
Featuring a stunning terrace with views of Madrid's most emblematic buildings, Vincci The Mint presents a new kind of accommodations in Madrid. Experience a unique check-in/out process while enjoying a drink, all done at the hotel's reception-bar. Free WiFi is available throughout. Designed by Jaime Beriestain, this fun and original accommodations is set on the famous Gran Via, offering rooms and suites, as well as a wide range of services, including a 24-hour reception. The on-site gastrobar serves special à-la-carte gourmet breakfasts every day from 07:00 to 23:00. The modern and fresh-looking rooms at The Mint feature parquet floors. Combining green and white walls, they include air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, work desk, mini-bar, and a coffee machine. The bathroom comes with a bath or shower, hairdryer, and free toiletries. Some rooms also include a seating area where you can relax. Puerta del Sol is 500 m from Vincci The Mint, while Fnac is 601 m away. Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport is 8.1 mi from the property.
- B&B Hotel Madrid Centro Fuencarral 52
Featuring free WiFi throughout and a 24-hour reception, B&B Hotel Madrid Centro Fuencarral 52 is located in Madrid. The hotel offers a rooftop terrace with a relaxation area, providing stunning views of Madrid. Set in a 19th-century building, each spacious, soundproofed room has been carefully restored and has air conditioning and an elegant design. Rooms come with an LED TV, a mini-bar with 2 free water bottles and a safe. Private bathrooms feature novel design with large and powerful double-jet showers. B&B Hotel Madrid Centro Fuencarral 52 is located on a fashionable street with many boutiques and restaurants. You can walk to Puerta del Sol in less than 10 minutes. The nearest metro station, Chueca, is just 300 m away and connects with the rest of the city. Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport is 8.7 mi away.
Sungate Hostel is located in the very center of Madrid, 211 m from Puerta del Sol and 5 minutes' walk away from Callao metro station and Gran Vía Avenue. Free WiFi access is available. At Sungate Hostel you will find a 24-hour front desk where staff organizes a range of activities and sells tickets to local attractions. Other public areas include a shared kitchen and a shared TV lounge. Services like lockers, luggage storage and laundry can be requested onsite. Each air-conditioned room and dormitory has heating, a wardrobe and access to a shared bathroom. Bed linen are included, while towels are available for a surcharge. Sungate Hostel is surrounded by a wide range of shops, restaurants, and bars. Plaza Mayor Square is 500 m from the property, and the Prado National Museum is a 15-minute walk away. Madrid Puerta de Atocha Train Station is 4 stops away by metro, and Madrid-Barajas Airport is 9.3 mi away.
Toc Hostel Madrid is located in central Madrid, just 121 m from Puerta del Sol Square. This stylish, modern hostel offers smart, air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. At Toc Hostel you can book private rooms or a bed in a shared dormitory. The rooms and dorms feature attractive décor with parquet floors and light wood furniture. The property has a bar where they hold themed parties, and there is a games room where you can play pool for free. Staff at the 24-hour reception can provide information about what to see and do in Madrid. There are numerous shops, bars and restaurants in the surrounding streets, and Plaza Mayor Square is 250 m away.
Hostal Alexis Madrid is located in central Madrid, next to Plaza Santa Ana and just 300 m from Puerta del Sol. It offers modern, air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi. Located on the 4th floor of a stately building, the rooms at Hostal Alexis Madrid feature white and pink décor. Each one has a safe and a private bathroom with a hairdryer. Staff at reception can provide information about what to see and do in Madrid. You can walk to the Prado and Reina Sofía Museums in around 10 minutes. Located next to the property, Plaza Santa Ana is full of cafés with outdoor terraces. Located 200 m away, Sevilla Metro Station connects you with the rest of the city with ease.
Located just 150 m from Plaza Mayor Square, The Hat Madrid is a stylish hostel with air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and a rooftop bar with city and sunset views. Offering a variety of private rooms and single beds in both mixed and female dormitories, the hostel also caters for families and groups of friends. The bright rooms come with either a private or shared bathroom, and some have a small balcony. There is a supermarket opposite the hostel. The hostel has a restaurant and a variety of cafés and bars are within a 5-minute walk. With its medieval origins and vibrant nightlife, La Latina District is under a 10-minute walk away. Puerta del Sol and La Latina Metro Stations are within 500 m. The Hat Madrid has a 24-hour front desk, offers free activities and can provide a nightlife guide. Bicycles can also be hired.
PLACES TO VISIT & THINGS TO DO IN MADRID
Madrid might not have the status of Rome or Paris in terms of sights, but the Spanish capital is a pleasure to explore. From historical gems and world-class art, to an incredible food scene and picturesque parks, Turisti takes a look at the top attractions in Madrid to visit.
Madrid’s main square holds centuries of history in its cobbles, and has been the scene of everything from coronations to bullfights and beheadings. These days it’s a nice place in which to stroll and sample one of the city’s famed foods: bocadillo de calamares (a calamari sandwich) from one of the bars surrounding the square.
The official residence of Spain's royal family is these days used for official ceremonies only (King Felipe and Queen Letizia live in the more modest Zarzuela Palace just outside Madrid). Members of the public can visit the palace and check out centuries worth of paintings, furniture and armour.
Madrid’s most beautiful park is the ideal place to spend a lazy afternoon enjoying a picnic and messing about in a rowing boat on the lake.
Madrid’s very own Egyptian temple was bestowed on the country by Egypt and moved, piece by piece, in the early 1970s. It is one of the best places to watch the sun set in Madrid.
The seemingly gravity defying KIO towers in Madrid’s Financial District lean at a 15-degree angle, and were the first leaning skyscrapers in the world.
Madrid’s most famous street has a cinematic scope that has seen it star in Abre Los Ojos (the original Spanish-language movie of the 2001 Tom Cruise remake, Vanilla Sky). Head to the top of the Corte Ingles Gourmet Experience for a great view of the street’s famous Schweppes sign.
Head to one of Madrid’s rooftop bars for an unforgettable view over the city’s rooftops. We recommend Circulo de Bellas Artes for the best panoramic view of the capital.
All roads in Spain lead to the Puerta del Sol, known as kilometre zero and the very centre of the country. It is also home to the famous statue of the bear and the strawberry tree, the official symbol of Madrid.
- The Golden Triangle of Art
Madrid is home to a collection of the world’s best art galleries, and the three most famous are handily located close to each other in a triangle. The Prado (classical paintings), The Reina Sofia (modern art) and the Thyssen - Bornemisza (a little bit of everything) are full of artistic riches well worth exploring.
This grand building was, amazingly, the headquarters of Madrid’s post office until 2011. Today it is the home of Madrid City Council and a visitor attraction because of the incredible views from its observation deck.
The ideal spot for a tapas crawl, Cava Baja is Madrid’s famous ‘tapas street’ and on an evening is teeming with people enjoying a drink and a bite. Highly recommended are La Perejila, Txakolina and El Tempranillo.
Madrid is home to what is officially the oldest restaurant in the world – it has the Guinness World Record certificate in the window to prove it. Sobrino de Botin was founded in 1725 and has been going strong ever since. Its speciality is roast suckling pig and it appears in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.
This old cinema shows classic Hollywood and modern films from around the world for a bargain €2.50. Its tumultuous history saw it bombed during the Spanish Civil War, but today it is home to the Filmoteca Espanola, which restores and preserves old films as part of Spain’s Ministry of Culture. It appears in Pedro Almodóvar’s Hable con Ella (Talk to Her).
This square is in the heart of the trendy neighbourhood of Malasaña and is surrounded by a host of excellent bars, restaurants and shops – a great location for nightlife in Madrid.
Madrid’s famous flea market is held every Sunday morning, when the streets come to life with stalls, bars open out onto the streets and locals and tourists alike enjoy the fiesta atmosphere around the area of Lavapiés.
Madrid's Cathedral was consecrated by Pope John Paul on its opening in 1993. Its Baroque exterior matches the older Royal Palace next door, and it was where King Felipe and Queen Letizia married
Barrio de Letras (Literary Quarter) is one of Madrid’s most beautiful and coolest neighbourhoods. It was the home of Spanish literary giant and Don Quixote author, Miguel de Cervantes, and these days is full of eccentric bars and restaurants. Make sure to look down once in a while; the streets are peppered with famous literary quotes.
Madrid’s main train has a very unusual feature – its very own indoor rainforest, home to dozens of turtles.
This former matadero(slaughterhouse) – situated along the River Manzanares – was converted into an arts centre in the early 2000s. It has its own cinema and exhibition spaces and holds regular performances and food markets.
You cannot possibly leave Madrid without trying churros con chocolate (sugar-drenched deep-fried dough sticks with hot chocolate) from San Gines, which has been serving since 1894. It is open all night long, so is a great pitstop on the way home from a night on the town.
MADRID WITH KIDS PLACES TO GO & THINGS TO DO
Far from the early mornings when they have to go to school, the routine of homework and study, the weekends are the favourite time of the week for the youngest members of the family. I suggest 10 plans that get children and their parents out to enjoy this free time together without getting bored for a single second.
With over 30 attractions for both children and adults, the city's amusement park is one of the most popular weekend destinations for both locals and tourists. It's divided into different areas including tranquillity, nature and mechanization. In the children's area you can enjoy a leisurely boat ride through a truly 'living' jungle, get child-size thrills on a mini roller coaster, and even take a trip around the fun fair aboard a zeppelin. Thrill-seeking adults can try the famous vacuum drop on the Lanzadera shuttle, take your chances on the exciting Tornado ride, and have a go on the dizzying Máquina. In summer there are often long queues, especially for the water attractions.
The zoo and aquarium are located just a few metres from the amusement park in the Casa de Ocampo. You’ll see very few bars or wires here; instead the tigers, bears, lions and other wild animals are separated from the public by moats with or without water. It currently houses about 6,000 animals of 500 different species, some unique in Spain like the koala, the anteater and the panda, which is one of the stars of the zoo. Its aquarium is spectacular, and kids will have fun with the shows starring sea lions and dolphins. The animals look as happy as can be expected of beasts held in captivity, although the big cats could really do with a bit more leg-room, but it's certainly a good option for a day out with the kids. At the Tierra de Gorilas ('Land of Gorillas') a sheet of reassuringly thick glass separates you from the massive, glowering silverbacks that prowl about. Children will enjoy walking through the shark tank and dolphinarium. There is also a petting zoo and a train ride.
This theme park on the outskirts of Madrid is where you can find all the Looney Tunes characters romping around posing for photos and signing autographs. Built with the aim of competing with other major leisure facilities including Port Aventura and Disneyland Paris, it has six dizzying roller coasters, dozens of children's attractions and some water rides, as well as numerous restaurants and shops. You’ll also find shows in its theatres, workshops and, above all, lots of fun.
In this large natural area, animals, including peacocks, run around loose over most of its 14 acres. With 4 ecosystems and 13 thematic areas adapted to each species, the zoo can be visited in four or five hours, if you stop to enjoy its carefully preserved natural surroundings, lakes and ponds and exhibits, like the flight of birds of prey. The penguin enclosure is one of the most popular exhibits and is great fun for children. Another crowd-pleasing attraction is the latest animals to arrive, the Komodo dragons. The best thing about Faunia is that visitors can interact with the animals. So children can stroke sea lions and feed goats and donkeys.
Stuffed African elephants, dinosaur fossils and specimens of extinct animals – the treasures inside this museum are sure to surprise both children and adults. It’s currently divided into three zones, one on natural history, another on the Mediterranean Sea and the third a reproduction of the old Royal Cabinet of Natural History. Kids will have fun with activities specially prepared for them, like a laboratory to experiment and play with while learning, a digital gymkhana that includes an interactive tour of the museum, and a variety of educational workshops.
Being able to have a leisurely cup of coffee while the kids play and have fun in a safe space is a luxury, and special places like Cups & Kids are few and far between. Located in the Barrio de las Letras, it’s a café, a toy shop, a bookshop and a space for workshops for children of all ages. Another similar spot is Baby Deli, an organic food store, where, in addition to giving advice about food and natural, fair-trade cleaning products, they organise workshops for parents and children and have a café, a courtyard and an area full of educational toys.
- Not your average toyshops
A world away from the classic Barbie dolls and toy racetracks, Madrid has plenty of original crafted toy shops. One of them is El Lobo Feliz, whose motto is ‘You are what you play’. On offer here are educational toys that are long-lasting and suitable for each stage of a child’s development, including soft toys, wooden planes, puzzles, musical instruments and much more. Another shop to check out is Kamchatka Magic Toys, which sells ecologically-friendly educational toys made of wood and cloth, in addition to children's books and even furniture to decorate children’s bedrooms.
Having fun outdoors is definitely a good choice choice for children, weather permitting. Retiro Park offers a lot of possibilities for kids to have a great time, from shaking the dust off those bicycles, rollerblades and balls that you've got stored in a corner of the house, to having a boat ride on the pond located in the centre of the gardens. Also, at weekends there's a puppet theatre that always makes the kids laugh their little heads off.
Nothing like traditional kindergartens, as well as caring for kids, the play centres ('ludotecas') in Madrid also offer lots of activities and games for them to have fun in style. One of the best known is Ludoteca VeoVeo, where children learn through play. They have workshops for all ages, from infant massages for babies and fun English lessons to street dance classes for kids over five years old, always under the watchful eye of teachers and early childhood experts. Another well-known centre is Grey Elephant, in the district of La Latina. Here, children and their parents will feel at home among dozens of toys, colours, games, craft workshops and lots more.
Madrid's theatres also offer musicals and plays for kids. They are usually scheduled at weekends in the mornings and tickets are more affordable than programming for adults. The bill is constantly changing, and theatres like Cuarta Pared, La Escalera de Jacob, Teatro Sanpol and Teatro del Arte stage funny stories, magic and puppet shows, and songs. It’s a good way to spend a morning with family and make the theatre more approachable to children in a fun way. Note that most performances are in Spanish.
WHERE TO EAT IN MADRID
Madrid is a culinary haven. From humble tapas bars and open-air markets to high-end establishments, it’s impossible to not feast in the vibrant Spanish capital. Here are the top places for travelers to dine on any budget. ¡Que aproveche!
Once you manage to elbow your way through this normally packed place just off Gran Via, you’ll be rewarded with a wide assortment of innovative tortillas (Spanish omelettes) and croquetas (croquettes), like the brie, truffle and jamón tortilla, and croquettes with monkfish and salsa verde. Pez Tortilla also offers a wide selection of craft beers and vermouth.
Popular at any time of the day, this authentic Mexican taqueria peddles assorted tacos at only 1 euro ($1 USD) each. A long line usually snakes outside the restaurant during busy lunch and dinner hours, but it goes pretty fast. After ordering, patient customers sit down at tables and have their orders served to them personally. Margaritas and micheladas (traditional spicy Mexican beer cocktails) wash the flavours down perfectly.
This no - frills haunt at the heart of the gay-friendly Chueca neighbourhood is a favourite for a budget-conscious set. For every drink order, either a beer or a tinto de verano (similar to a sangria), they serve a huge plate of Spanish tapas, usually a tortilla, Spanish ham, chorizo or patatas bravas (fried potatoes with a spicy sauce).
This enigmatic Valencian restaurant is half-hidden in the shadows of an unremarkable street. Once inside, you’ll be treated to an avant-garde setting with suspended laboratory equipment and artfully hung laundry. They’re known for their patella rice — an innovative twist on the classic paella and smoked salmon, which go perfectly with various wines from their fine selection.
Basque chef/owner Iñaki designed a “choose your own culinary adventure” structure wherein he sits down at every table to tailor customers’ menus according to their taste and experiential preference, starting with the question: “Hunger, craving or enjoyment?” chef Iñaki suggests seasonal Spanish dishes with such flourish that makes everything sound mouthwatering. A memorable dining experience from appetizer to dessert.
Minimalist, contemporary interiors, exposed brick and candlelight set the mood for a unique culinary experience, where classic Spanish ingredients are given a creative twist, like Galician sea urchin topped with a creamy sauce américaine served on a bed of stones and Iberian beef cheeks brioche with summer truffles. It may sound lofty, but it is far from pretentious thanks to the lively, social atmosphere.
This Dani García venture that opened in 2019 showcases fish that come from Spain's coasts while also giving a leading role to paellas and different kinds of popular rice dishes, plus there's practically an altar to tuna. García's second spot in Madrid features a bar area that's perfect for indulging in 'choco' squid croquettes and seafood tripe, a bustling main dining room and two private rooms.
The world's oldest restaurant according to the Guinness World Records, where the likes of Hemingway and Goya frequented, serves excellent cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig) and cordero asado (roast lamb) cooked in its original cast-iron wood-fired oven. If you can navigate through the tourists, it’s worth venturing down the basement steps to see a gloriously dusty 16th-century cellar still intact.
A stone’s throw from Plaza de la Puerta del Sol is this iconic restaurant that hasn’t changed much since the Romantic era, retaining its original chandeliers, varnished wallpaper and gilded fixtures. Lhardy is well-known for serving elevated versions of traditional Spanish cuisine such as cocido (chickpea stew) and callos a la madrileña (beef tripe and sausage stew).
This historic restaurant along Cava Baja in the La Latina Neighborhood was originally established as a traveler’s inn, replacing Madrid’s only existing flour mill back in the 17th century. A grand wood-fired oven is the restaurant’s centerpiece that still cooks the house specialty — roast lamb — after over three centuries.
This lively local favourite is a great gathering spot where you can share good quality traditional tapas such as tostas (toasted bread with toppings), artisanal anchovies and empanadas. Giving a modern twist to a traditional beer garden, El Enfriador offers a good selection of beers, Spanish wine and cava (sparkling wine) at friendly prices to last until the final call.
Stylish and modern, Lateral is an ubiquitous dining chain that offers a wide range of excellent tapas and pintxos, or small plates, at very reasonable prices. Some great dishes to share are the brie and caramelized onion tosta, meatballs, tortilla and calamares (deep fried squid). This bustling local hotspot attracts everyone from the working crowd to entire families on weekends.
WHERE TO SHOP IN MADRID
Madrid has some of the best shopping in Spain, with some fantastic local brands as well as the very crème de la crème of international designers. Here are the five best areas in the city where tourist will be able to make the most of their time and their money.
The area around Gran Vía is one of the liveliest areas of the city center and is great for shopping, dinning, or bar crawling. The area featured all major Spanish brands, including Zara, Stradivarius, Massimo Dutti and the wonderful department store El Corte Ingles, situated near the Callao square. El Corte Ingles sell a wide range of products, from computers and phones, to hats and shoes, to gourmet food.
Serrano is one of the trendiest and expensive neighhborhoods of Madrid, where travelers will find luxurious shops located in what were once small palaces. Noted for their striking interior design, many are decorated with shimmering chandeliers and high ceilings. Visitors with smaller bank accounts shouldn’t be intimidated, as this area also has many high street brands, including Madrid’s biggest Zara, with three floors dedicated just to women’s wear, as well as separate sections for children and men.
An outlet shopping center situated on the outskirts of Madrid, Las Rozas Village can be reached by bus. Tourists usually flock here to take advantage of the great deals, as do many Spaniards from the surrounding area. The layout is particularly picturesque, with stores laid out in the style of small Mediterranean houses. Brands such as Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Armani, Ray Ban and Dolce & Gabbana are all available at reduced prices.
Fuencarral is one of the streets bordering the quirky Malasaña neighborhood and has great things to do, amazing barsand excellent restaurants. This part of Madrid was previously one of the most run-down areas, but a renovation has turned it into one of the best shopping streets in the city, with both high-end and high-street brands. Levi’s, Brandy Melville, Mac, Lush and Intimissimi are just a few of the shops on Fuencarral.
Close to Gran Vía, this street has some of best cinemas in Madrid, as well as amazing shops. In Princesa there is yet another El Corte Ingles, with spacious parking space for those who choose to go by car. The Spanish department store is surrounded by many other shops, such as the popular Zara, with a glass façade facing the street, or Mango, where you can shop for both clothes and accessories.