De Madrid al cielo! Loosely translated means ‘From Madrid to Heaven’ an excellent summation of the feeling you will be left with after leaving this magnificent city.
Slightly under the shadow of other Spanish destinations such as the sea-side resorts of Barcelona and San Sebastian or Seville and Granada on the Southern coast, Madrid is often overlooked but has much to offer the discerning traveller.
A very diverse and modern city, the stark contrast between new and old is evident everywhere you look in Madrid with incandescent high-rise skyscrapers on one side and 16th century chapels within cobbled streets on the other.
Most visitors leave Madrid with memories of the Prado Museum, the Royal Palace and the raving nightlife. To these visitors my heart truly goes out as they have merely scratched the surface of what real Madrid really has to offer.
The Spanish capital – Madrid, is Spain’s largest city, with over 3 million inhabitants many of which having immigrated from elsewhere in the Hispanic world. People are generally renowned for being friendly, especially towards outsiders and you don’t have to be born in Madrid to be considered a ‘madrileno’.
Madrid’s transport network, arguably one of the best in the world, makes Madrid extremely easy to get around and explore. With great national links it is also a great base to explore many of the surrounding areas and venturing further afar for the more adventurous traveller is easy and convenient.
While exploring all that Madrid has to offer, it would be wise to wear comfortable footwear as your feet will grown after slowly making your way through the endless corridors and rooms of the Prado Museum with collections rivalling those of the Louvre! Look in awe as you take in the masterpieces of the Spanish masters such as Velazquez and Goya, you are in Madrid after all.
For over 500 years, Madrilenos have been shopping at el Rastro. The most popular open-air flea market in Madrid is located along Plaza de Cascorro and Ribera de Curtidores just south of La Latina metro station. Open every Sunday and on public holidays, a great variety of products are available, both new and used but get there early as the real bargains would have been haggled and long gone by late morning.
El Toro! The madrilenos are extremely passionate about their bullfights. bullfighting in Madrid is a big deal and needs to be experienced. The city’s largest and most famous bullring is the plaza de toros at Ventas where thousands watch and admire the banderilleros’ footwork and the charging of the bulls.
After a long day sightseeing, shopping or watching an exhilarating bullfight, you may want to start your evening off with a tapeo (Spanish for Pub Crawl), going from one tasca (tapas bar) to another on Ventura de la Vega, Plaza de Sanata Ana or the Plaza de Santa Barbara. Sitting back, sipping on fine Spanish wine wondering whether you should go for that last piece of spicy chorizo and manchego cheese while also eyeing the stuffed peppers across the table will be a common feeling, and we haven’t even got to dinner yet! An indulgent and varied Spanish cuisine with many delicacies await. Some favourites to try are Andalusian gazpacho, Valencian paella and cocido (Madrid’s version of a lamb and vegetable stew).
Whatever you are after you can only be sure of one thing – visiting Madrid is an experience that will keep you wanting to come back time and time again. Explore our site to discover more about Madrid and make your visit to Madrid one to remember.