Madrid, the capital of Spain, is one of the most enchanting cities you will ever visit. It’s got everything you could hope for from a capital city, with amazing places to eat and drink, vibrant nightlife, incredible architecture, world-class museums, and unbeatable shopping. And we could go on!
In this post, we’ll take a look at six things you can strike off your bucket list by visiting Madrid. Hopefully, it’ll make it easier to plan your trip and really make the most of your time in the Spanish capital!
1. Improve your language skills and learn Spanish!
If you want to learn Spanish, there’s nowhere better to do so than Madrid. And don’t think that the only way to do so is by going to language school (though that does help, so we look forward to see you here at AIL Madrid)!
With friendly locals – many of which have a decent level of English, you’ll be able to try out your Spanish whether that’s ordering a coffee, being adventurous with tapas, or perhaps even going on a Tinder date. Being surrounded by Spanish will accelerate your comprehension of the language, and soon enough you’ll be reeling off this beautiful language with ease!
2. Surround yourself with art
Madrid doesn’t just have one world class art museum – it has many. The best are found in the Golden Triangle of Art – made up of the Prado, Reina Sofia, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Art.
The Prado is one of the best art galleries in the world, with masterpieces from most classical periods of art. You’ll see some of the best-known artists of all time’s works, including Rembrandt, Botticelli, and of course, Spaniards Goya and Velazquez. It’s best not to try and see everything in the Prado as that would take a long time!
The Reina Sofia is a more modern art gallery, and here you can see sculptures and interactive exhibits as well as paintings. It’s where you’ll see one of Picasso’s most famous works: Guernica.
All museums in the Golden Triangle of Art are free depending the time and day – great if you’re on a budget!
3. Stroll (and row) through the Buen Retiro
After spending a few hours in the Prado and other art museums, you might find yourself a bit drained. There’s no better way to restore your energy than in Madrid near city centre park, Buen Retiro. It was opened to the public in the 19th century, and there are huge avenues where you can take a walk. These pathways connect the boating lake and the Palacio de Cristal, among other attractions. At the pavilion, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for turtles!
4. Sample delicious Spanish Cuisine
It’s impossible to say where to go in Madrid for food. But one thing is for sure. How about a spot of breakfast before you start your Spanish classes at the Mercado San Miguel? Here you’ll find some of the tastiest fresh produce in Madrid, but it’s even better known as a place to sample the best of Spanish ingredients. Taste traditional tapas and perhaps pick up some culinary gifts for friends and family back home.
Mercado de Maravillas is where you’ll find the locals – it’s the largest municipal market in Europe and you’ll be able to get delicious dishes, probably at a lower price than at San Miguel.
As well as awesome markets, the restaurant scene in Madrid is unbeatable. You’ll even find the oldest restaurant in the world here – Sobrino de Botin. It’s been in operation since 1725 and suckling pig is its specialty.
5. While away the time in Plaza Mayor
Looking for something to do after you finish your Spanish class that’s not too taxing? Perhaps a stroll around the city and spending some time in Plaza Mayor is what you’re looking for. This central-square boast renaissance architecture and even if the weather is poor, you can stroll along under-earth the porticoes. The square is based around a statue of King Philip III, ruler at the time the Spanish Empire was most powerful.
In Plaza Mayor, there are a lot of restaurants and coffee shops here where you could enjoy a tasty meal. However, since it’s one of the most popular tourist spots in the city, you might find yourself spending a few more euros here!
6. Try stand up paddle boarding
Last but not least, one of the more unusual things you can enjoy in Madrid. While you might associate this as more of a beach activity, there are plenty of places near Madrid where you can enjoy the fastest growing water sport in the world. Some of the best include La Pinilla, Valmayor, and Atazar reservoirs.
Stand up paddling is probably better as a weekend activity from Madrid so you have time to get to a spot and make the most of the day there. It’s a perfect summer escape from the heat!
We hope to see you soon in Madrid, so you can enjoy our wonderful city!