A day to explore… Madrid

An elegant city with a relaxed vibe, renowned for its rich collections of European art, manicured parks and sophisticated boulevards….

It can only be the Spanish Capital Madrid, an exciting city waiting to be explored.

With statement architecture both old and new, tasty treats to sample and so much to see, how is it possible to experience Madrid in a day?

Below you will find a selection of ideas to help you plan your time in Madrid, after all, time is precious.

Places to see

An art lover or not The Prado Museum is not to be missed one of the world’s finest art museums, housing a vast collection of European art dating back to the 12thcentury. A luxurious museum ready to be explored, but with time so precious it is worth purchasing tickets in advance and planning what you would like to see before you go.

Don’t forget to include the major classics by Goya and Velázquez.

The Royal Palace of Madrid is a grand opulent building with fine, ornate architecture. The palace can be viewed inside with tickets but the gardens and plazas are free to explore, a pretty way to take in the grandeur of a home definitely fit for royalty.

Sitting opposite The Royal Palace of Madrid is the Catedral de Santa Maríala Real de la Almudena. A grand Catholic Church that looks like a delicately iced wedding cake from the outside but has a surprisingly modern interior.

Sunlight lights up the windows reflecting colour upon the stunning internal architectural details including the geometric pattern of the ceiling, a much more modern decoration than many of the traditional paintings and murals so often seen – for a small donation this is a good place to visit.

One of the largest parks in the City of Madrid is the Retiro Park, a beautiful park full of delicately manicured areas, ponds and sculptures. Take a moment to absorb the city in the tranquil surroundings while taking to the waters in a rowing boat. Afterwards, don’t forget to include a walk by the stunning Palacio de Cristala beautiful glass greenhouse in the centre of the park. Did you know? That the greenhouse is modelled on London’s Crystal Palace.

The perfect place to enjoy a coffee and sweet treat ready for the next sights to see is the Plazza Mayor. A large square with towering architecture all around and the equestrian statue of Felipe III at the very centre. With shops, cafes and street performers there is plenty to see and enjoy while absorbing the Plazza’s atmosphere.

In the Plaza Puerta del Sol there stands a very famous bear. The Statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree is a sculpture of a bear eating berries from the fruit tree and stands as a focal point in the plaza. Used regularly as a landmark for locals and tourists to meet at, the sculpture from the second half of the 20thcentury represents the coats of arms of Madrid and is made of stone and bronze, a sweet little piece of history to enjoy.

Situated in the Plaza de Cibeles is the famous landmark Cybele Palace an amazing build of gothic style architecture that stands tall and proud in pristine white. Today the building is used by the government and at the forefront is the impressive and iconic statue of the Goddess Cybele. Although difficult to access due to the steady flow of traffic around the statue there are many more creative examples of ornate statues in the surrounding areas that are easier to access.

Places to wonder

If you choose to use your time to soak up the delights of Madrid in a more relaxed way then here are a few ideas of places to wonder and explore at a leisurely pace.

La Letras – Full of history, literature and colourful art.

La Latina– Traditional Madrid, old buildings, winding streets and lots of Tapas choice.

Salamanca – Luxurious restaurants and designer boutiques and shops.

La Gran Via– A walk along this street will have you looking up in amazement. The architecture and details upon all the buildings is vast, with lots of shops to choose from it can get busy at times.

Food: churros, tomatoes on toast, famous market, long lunches

From a breakfast of tomatoes on toast to famous churros dipped in chocolate sauce, food is a big part of Spanish life and so in Madrid you will find lots of options. It would be wrong not to try some tapas while visiting the city and with so much choice the hard part will be deciding what to choose from the menu.

Lunch time is a special part of the day for the people of Madrid so you may find some places close to allow everyone time to relax, enjoy their food and re charge. If you fancy a colourful experience head to the famous market Mercado San Miguel where your eyes will be met with a rainbow of colour, tantalising aromas and tempting treats to try.

Top tips

  • The most famous place for churros in Madrid is Chocolatería San Ginés.
  • The Metro is a good way to get about the city and tickets for all day travel can be purchased, another good way is to hire a bike.
  • Where possible buy tickets in advance to save time.
  • Don’t forget comfortable walking shoes and your camera.

However, you choose to spend your day in Madrid take time to absorb the little moments that make this city unique. The smell of the chocolate and churros, the warmth of the sun in the park or the locals meeting loved ones or friends by the famous bear.

For more information about our trips that take in the unique sights of Madrid, visit our Spanish trips page or call 01347 825292.