Top 4 things to do in Madrid
Madrid is a wonderful city, and there’s so much to do that you may even feel a little overwhelmed! Here’s our guide of some of the top things to do to get you started.
1. Places to visit
Whether you’re in the city for a few days or several weeks it’s a great idea to take in some of the sights around town. Having an expensive cup of coffee (‘café con leche’) in the relaxing Plaza Mayor is one way to admire the statue of Felipe III on horseback and watch the hustle and bustle of city life.
If you love football you will be inspired by the impressive Plaza de Cibeles, the home ground of Real Madrid, and the spectacular Royal Palace where Spain’s Royal Family reside is a “must see” on any visitors list.
There are innumerable green areas in Madrid, the largest park being Casa de Campo totaling 6.6 sq. miles (1,700 hectares) of parkland that is infinitely bigger than Central Park in New York (5 times bigger to be precise). In the park you will find a huge lake on which you can enjoy kayaking or boating, a zoo which houses almost any animal you can think of and a funfair with something to do for all the family. Often concerts are held in the park as well as corporate and sporting events.
2. Beer and tapas
Beer or wine and tapas are a way of life in Spain. Spaniards go to bars to socialize in much the same we as anywhere else in the world, but an essential part of bar life is the tapa (small plate of food) that accompanies each drink. This is a great way of sampling the diverse cuisine of Spain as you are served a wide variety of dishes with each drink you order. The experience is made that much more enjoyable if the sun is shining, as it does for around 8 months of the year, since you can dine al fresco.
3. Grab a bargain at El Rastro
The El Rastro market is open on Sundays and it is enormous. A veritable sea of stalls can be found selling everything from jewellery to stylish clothes at extremely reasonable prices.
It’s essential to arrive early because the market is absolutely crowded by mid-morning unless you enjoy being jostled as people haggle over prices. You can also get the best bargains before the army of shoppers appear in droves. To go all round the market would take you the whole of the morning so if you need a break, there are plenty of bars to grab a beer or coffee.
4. Go to a fiesta
Fiestas take place all over Spain every summer. Madrid is particularly hot during the summer months but if you can brave the heat, it is well worth participating in the many festivals that take place there. Flamenco Tours are available in the city where you can enjoy watching authentic Spanish dancing or if you prefer you can join the locals as they dance the night away in the many squares. Live music is a feature of all fiestas and this is where you will find out why Spain is renowned as a nation of party goers. They really do know how to party!
This post was written by Insider’s Madrid, who have welcomed thousands of visitors to the Spanish capital with one of their tours of the real Madrid.