Madrid was the last stop on my two month European trip last year. Typically, I struggle in my last ‘stop’ because I am both sad my trip is ending and sort of over living in hostels and ready to be home at that point. Fortunately, Madrid was such an amazing city, I didn’t really have any of these feelings while I was there!
Where To Stay:
I stayed at OK Hostel Madrid and I really liked it. The rooms were clean and not to cramped, the hostel also put on walking tours and other events to participate, and the climate was great for meeting other travelers! It was also a short walk from city center!
What To Do:
If your accommodation organizes it or you can find a tour company, I do recommend doing a walking tour! One of my favorite things about traveling is learning the history of a city and Madrid was no different. It takes you all through the Plaza de Espana and city center. This is also a great time to find hidden gems of restaurants or pubs to check out.
Make sure you check out Plaza Mayor and Puerto del Sol, which are home to amazing architecture and is a great place to grab a bite or do some shopping at little popups. These are definitely buzzing squares so expect crowds.
The Royal Palace of Madrid is also quite famous and has beautiful architecture. You can pay to go inside, however, I was a bit museumed out at this point so that is not something I did. Directly behind the Royal Palace are the Sabitini Gardens.
If you want to do a little shopping, be sure to check out Gran Via, Madrid. It is also a good place to stop and grab a bite to eat!
El Retiro Park is again beautiful! I love just sitting and people watching and relaxing when I travel, so I grabbed my sarong and popped my butt on the grass and read for a few hours. It was a great break in the busy day and I got to soak up the sun. The Palacio de Cristal is located here and is absolutely stunning!
If you are a big history nerd like me, you can’t pass up checking out the Temple of Debod, a temple that dates back to Ancient Egypt. It was dismantled and rebuilt, but still very cool to check out, though it is very small so it doesn’t take up much time.
Check out the Catedral de la Almudena and the Puerta de Alcalá for more history and architecture.
One of my favorite things I did in the city was shop at the Al Rastro Marketplace. It is MASSIVE and was literally right outside the door of my hostel. It is held every Sunday and you literally will want half a day to check everything out.
There are way more public landmarks to be seen, but I don’t want to list them all. I will recommend checking out all of the numerous tapas bars and eating and drinking your nights away! I found a couple really cool rooftop bars and Madrid had amazing restaurants that catered to vegetarian and vegans (whoop!). I also had breakfast at this amazing brunch place called Zenith and I cannot recommend it enough! One of my favorite meals while there.
Also, if you are there at the right time, I would check out a Futbol game! You can watch Real Madrid play and I imagine that would be amazing. That was not something I thought of before I got there and met a couple people going to a game and I would have loved to do that.
I absolutely loved Spain, Madrid was no exception. Once Covid-19 is under control, I would love the opportunity to go back and travel more around the country.