It Rains In Spain

Don’t Miss…In Madrid

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Guide to Madrid Spain

MADRID CITY GUIDE

Introduction      Don’t Miss in Madrid      Recommended Hotels Madrid

 

Whether you are visiting Madrid for a weekend or a few months, the city offers a dizzying array of attractions and sights. To make life easier for you, here is the It Rains In Spain list of Don’t Miss…In Madrid.

1. Don’t Miss in Madrid….The World Class Galleries

Galleries may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but when in Madrid, you’re in one of the world’s meccas for art. The three main galleries are the Prado, the Reina Sofia and the Thyssen, all within a ten minute walk of each other and all worth a slice of your time.

The Prado is dominated by legendary Spanish art from the likes of Goya, Velazquez and El Greco. The Museum is enormous – don’t even try to ‘do it all’ in one go. Much better to choose a particular section and focus on that, after all, who says you have to only come once?

Whilst the Prado is undoubtedly focused on the classic, the Reina Sofia has a pasion for the modern. It’s sleek outside exudes modernity whilst inside it is home to that world famous and spectacularly poignant Guernica by Pablo Picasso.

The Thyssen houses a who’s who collection of world famous works, from Monet, Cezanne and Van Gogh to Dalí and Titian. It’s like a one stop shop of artisitc greats – not to be missed.

2. Don’t Miss in Madrid….Barrio de las Austrias

The Barrio de las Austrias is fundamentally what could be called the ‘old town’ in Madrid. It is the location for a great deal of Madrid’s finest sights and has a romantically antiquated feel. Part of the pleasure is simply getting lost in the winding streets and chancing upon wonderfully atmospheric corners of this Madrid barrio (neighbourhood). Must-sees include the Plaza Mayor, the Palacio Real (Royal Palace) the Plaza Oriente and the numerous churches which abound. The area also houses the wonderful Mercado San Miguel (fresh market) and the fun and lively Calle Santiago for a drink , or two.

3. Don’t Miss in Madrid….The Rastro Market

If you happen to about on Sunday morning then head down to the Rastro market with it’s cacophony of vendors, selling everything from the kitchen sink to kitsch Franco keyrings. It is a great deal of fun to rummage about and see what’s on offer, you really could find anything. Head to La Latina Metro station mid-morning and start from there. The market spills down the hill, so if you’re unsure where you are, a good rule of thumb is to head downhill to continue into the market and uphill to get back out.

4. Don’t Miss in Madrid….The Retiro Park and Barrio de Salamanca

The Retiro is the main park in Madrid and makes for a wonderful stop off point to catch your breath and regain a little energy after the pace and life in the Spanish capital. It has a delightful boating lake with easy to follow paths and numerous little cafés dotted around (you’ll pay handsomely for the priviledge). From the park it is a short walk to the Salamanca district of the city where you’ll find Madrid’s beautiflu people perusing designer boutiques and posing on the open air terraces.

5. Don’t Miss in Madrid….A Night Out

It would be hard to argue that Madrid isn’t one of the party cities of the world. You will easily find somewhere to go at any time of the day and night to let yourt hair down and the party can go on for as long as you like. To get a feel for Madrid nights, avoid the area around Sol and instead head down to Calle Cava Baja and hop from bar to bar. Alternatively, Calle Huertas is a little more raucous, and if it is a warm day/evening head to Plaza Santa Ana or Plaza de la Paja to sit on an outdoor terrace and sup your favourite tipple.

6. Don’t Miss in Madrid….Malasaña and Chueca

Malasaña and Chueca are two barrios (neighbourhoods) with a character all of their own. Malasaña is the centre of alternative Madrid, with innovative shops, bars and restaurants popping up all the time it’s a great place to visit day or night – to people watch if nothing else. Chueca is Madrid’s gay district and houses many fabulous restaurants, shops and bars – be sure to head across to Calle Fuencarral if you’re in the area for fantastic shops.

7. Don’t Miss in Madrid….Fantastic Day Trips

Madrid offers a number of excellent day trips, all within an hour or so of the capital. Toledo, Segovia, Alcala de Henares and El Escorial are all easily reachable from Madrid and make a wonderful alternative to the frenetic pace of the city.

 

Reader’s Tips

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