This Spring, I took my first trip to Europe. Needless to say I was very excited. We decided to visit Spain (because my husband is a football fanatic) and France (because, Paris duh).
We started our trip in Madrid, taking a direct flight from Dubai which was about 8 hours.
We had 4.5 days, and a lot of our time was spent chilling (sleeping in, leisurely strolls) but I created a 3 day itinerary which I think will work pretty well if you’re shorter on time. Personally I really liked Madrid: the architecture is stunning, it extremely clean and the city is so well planned. We were able to walk everywhere, no Ubers needed.
[ T I P S ]
We had a lot of funny little mishaps despite doing all of our research (or so we thought we did research). We ended up being in Madrid on Labour Day and *everything* was closed, including all monuments and museums, a lot of restaurants and supermarkets. We are also in the city during a major football match, so there were a lot of boisterous footie fans running around with beers but I didn’t mind watching them go crazy. It was also COLD, Accuweather played us. It started raining and hit 8 degree celsius when we reached there and stayed pretty consistent. I love the cold weather and rain, so again, I didn’t mind.
[ R E C A P ]
Where to Stay: Anywhere near Puerto del Sol, it is the most central area and everything is walking distance. We stayed at the Petit Palace Alcala and I highly recommend it. The room is kind of teeny, but the breakfast was amazing and we were able to walk everywhere.
What to Do: Sightseeing for sure! There are palaces, museums, parks. But my most memorable time in Madrid was strolling through Puerto Del Sol and Gran Via at night. The area is bustling well into the night.
What to Eat: As basic as it sounds – churros and paella all day every day. Please visit the Chocolatería San Ginés which is the oldest chocolateria in Madrid and has iconic churros.
[ I T I N E R A R Y ]
Day 1: We spent the first day in Puerto del Sol, which is a bustling square and the center of Old Madrid. It is so vibrant and full of energy. We steered clear of the restaurants/bars in the main square and spent a lot of time in the alleys which were full of character and charming little places. The historical palaces are a walking distance from here.
- Puerto de Sol Square
- Royal Palace of Madrid( 10 min walk from Plaza)
- Café Central, Plaza del Ángel, for drinks (13 min walk)
- Chocolatería San Ginés, for churros
- Sobrino de Botín (oldest resto in the world 5 mins from churros)
Day 2: Spend the day at the Latin Quarter. When we went it was unfortunately Labour Day and everything was DEAD. We still took the opportunity to walk around and get a feel for the neighborhood, which seemed super cool and boho. In the evening we hit up Gran Via which is a long street pretty much made for shopping.
- LATIN QUARTER: San Francisco el Grande (21 min walk from hotel)
- Evening in Calle Cava Baja
- Flamenco performance? We didn’t do this, but there are a lot in Alcala and Gran Via
- Gran Via
Day 3: In the morning we walked over to the Retiro Park and the Crystal Palace. There is a cute little cafe area in the park where you can have coffee, wine, churros etc. We decided to visit the Prado Museum over the Reina Sofia and were not disappointed. It is a beautiful building with an outstanding art collection including a number of masterpieces. Over the San Miguel Market for the remainder of the day which is AMAZING. Highly recommended to everyone.
- Retiro Park/Crystal Palace: While walking to the park we came across a street market which was great fun. Got a few random bits for the apartment from here.
- Prado Museum
- San Miguel Market: this is a food market, the oldest in Spain, with unending variety and LOTS of people.