Why Madrid is me?
You cannot stay immune to Madrid. Madrid is passion, Madrid is a ham sandwich, Madrid is a couple of beers before a night out as you’re sitting on the pavement in the park. Madrid is a napkin thrown on the floor when you’re satisfied with your meal. Madrid is closed streets on Sundays where you can find anything you can think of. Madrid is Pedja Mijatovic on the Real Madrid Stadium. Madrid is football fans on Cibeles Square. Madrid is a boat on the lake by the statue of Alfonso XIII. Madrid is a full corrida packed with fervent supporters. Madrid is a city of differences, spontaneous and alive, with glamorous facades, quiet parks, and rich history. If I had to describe myself with a city, it would be Madrid.
Don’t ask me if I prefer Barcelona or Madrid. It’s like asking a mother which child she loves more. She loves them equally and cannot decide which one is more precious. My heart is big enough for all the cities in the world.
That kind of living your life to the full that starts at 10 am and lasts until early morning hours, soaked in liters of the tastiest sangria, layered with tapas you get with drinks and continues with hanging out on the grass in Retiro park. The city that doesn’t sleep, i.e. sleeps from 8-10 am.
To fully appreciate it you shouldn’t miss:
- ham sandwiches in Museo del Jamon, and bocadillo de calamares (calamari sandwich) on the main square – Plaza Mayor. The price of a ham sandwich is quite low so you will often see a lot of people in the restaurants of this type.
- El Rastro – a flea market opened on Sundays, when about 10 streets around Plaza Mayor and La Latina are closed to traffic. Here you can find anything you can think of, and the large number of people on the streets is quite impressive;
- Moscatel and paella at the Market of San Miguel;
- Changing of the guard in front of the Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real de Madrid), the largest royal palace in Europe by floor area. Near the palace is Plaza de Oriente, a square with gardens and statues of Spanish monarchs;
- An exhibition at the CaixaForum Museum – I visited an exhibition of characters from Pixar movies. Admission price is EUR 4. At the link you can find which exhibition is currently on display.
- A boat ride on El Estanque Grande lake, in El Retiro park, or simply lying around on the grass. Near is also Puerta de Alcalá, a triumphal arch;
- Plaza de Cibeles, a place where Real Madrid fans gather, with the Cibeles fountain (Fuente de Cibeles). Located on the square is also the Cybele Palace (Palacio de Ciebeles), entrance is free and you can climb to the top and take a picture of the square from above.
- Corrida, if you have the stomach for watching a bull being killed. Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas del Espiritu Santo is the largest bullring and it will definitely be interesting to all admirers of Spanish tradition. It is located on Placa del Toro square, to which leads the longest street in Madrid, Alcala. Hot blood, Spanish temperament, sun at its zenith – ingredients for a unique event.
- Atocha, a railway station with real flora and fauna, so the moment you enter you’re instantly aware of the huge difference in air humidity. This railway station is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world. At the station, while you wait for a train, you can enjoy different activities. E.g. you can feed the turtles.
- Bar el Tigre, where for an ordered drink you get a huge amount of the tastiest food. It’s a very lively place. The waiters don’t stop yelling, and people keep circulating. Here is the link if you want to learn more.
- Museo del Prado – the most important art library in Spain. It contains around 75 000 monographs. It is very impressive and it would really be a shame to miss it. Admission is EUR 15. There is an option to visit the museum before opening hours which costs EUR 50. Admission is free from Monday to Saturday from 6 to 8 pm and on Sundays and holidays from 5 to 7 pm.
- La Latina neighborhood – the most popular place for going out, where everyone is sitting on the pavement, drinking beer, standing in bars, relaxed and cheerful.
- Santiago Bernabéu Stadium – One of the most famous stadiums in the world. To tour the stadium costs EUR 24 and it truly is an attraction for all lovers of Spanish football and Real Madrid. What is included in the ticket price you can read here.
- Plaza de Espana, a square with a monument dedicated to the most famous Spaniards in the world, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza;
- Templo de Debod – a temple dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Isis, which once stood on the shores of the Nile, but had to be destroyed due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam. It was given to Spain as a sign of gratitude for the help Spain provided to Egypt and was thus preserved. Admission is free.
- Gran Via street because the architecture of this street is phenomenal and the street is full of life. There are many cafes, movie theaters, stores, and it ends with Plaza de Espana.
- Corral de la Moreria – tabalos where you can enjoy flamenco.
- Eat patatas bravas – the tastiest potatoes.
- Puerta del Sol (“Gate of the Sun”) – the most famous and busiest square in the city. It contains the following:
- Kilometre Zero, the starting point for Spain’s national roads.
- El Oso y El Madroño – city symbol. It’s a statue of a bear eating strawberries from a tree.
- The statue of King Carlos III
- Royal House of the Post Office (Real Casa de Correos)
You can find affordable flights to Madrid from the Budapest airport. We flew with Wizzair. More affordable tickets from Budapest to Madrid are with Ryanair. Even more affordable flights to Madrid you can find from Timisoara, also with Wizzair. In the previous post you can learn more about minivan transport to these cities.
Information about transport from the airport to any part of Madrid you can find here. For a ride to and from the airport you have to get a suplemento ticket, and for driving around Madrid, which would cost EUR 1, I recommend that you buy a 10-ticket pack, which costs EUR 6.7.
All photos by: Danica, Miloš
Camera used: Nikon D3000