Starting off the new year reminiscing about one of my favorites trips to Europe in 2017!
Last September I decided to go to Madrid then Barcelona, alone! It was nothing short of amazing. I fell in love, with the city, the people, the wine and damn with myself. It was romantic, in an odd sort of way. I felt utterly free and for me that’s the ultimate boner.
On a serious note. If you haven’t been to Madrid, you really ought to. So I’m sharing a little guide based on my experience there.
I flew in via a nonstop flight which was great. Flying for me is not an issue. I honestly love being in the air, marveling at technology like a 5 year old, cramped space and all. However, I got an entire row to myself, so I had a lot of luck on my side (sorry, no first class here, single girl on a budget).
Where to Stay!
I stayed right in the heart of Madrid on Gran Via which was the best decision ever. Read More on my amazing hotel stay here. One of the major perks of Madrid is that almost all the major tourist attractions are within walking distance. I wanted the ultimate experience so I planned to wander and get lost in the city and boy, did I! Gladly! It felt like I was starring in my own movie- “single girl gets lost in a strange city and discovers herself”. It was so easy to explore, just wandering around led me to discover a monument, a park or an amazing museum. It made touring so easy.
Where to eat!
Food! Priorities! The food in Madrid is amazing! I fell in love with tapas and Paellas, now I am very selective of the tapas I eat. The best part about eating out in Madrid is that the wine is so cheap, literally cheaper than a bottle of water. Down side, there is no such thing as a free glass of water, you pay for everything. However, these restaurants are definitely a must try if you are in the city!
Mercado de la Reina – best tapas I’ve ever had. Orgasmic! I went here at least three times during my stay. While I was there, I got talking to some locals and they confirmed that Mercado de la Reina had the best tapas. My toes are curling right now, just thinking about it.
Oven Mozzarella Bar – On my last night in Madrid, I had dinner at Oven Mozzarella restaurant and it was the perfect send off. The ambience was amazing and you would love the interiors.
Lunch at Plaza Mayor –Doesn’t really matter where you end up eating, you are there mainly for the ambience and the view. This is Madrid’s main square and it is absolutely gorgeous with restaurants at every single corner of the square. I spent an amazing lazy afternoon at this location, eating, drinking wine and people watching.
Places to see
I didn’t want to miss a thing so I got a 2 day pass to see the city at my own pace. Just like the name indicates, I hopped on the bus touring the city but got off when I saw a place I wanted to explore more. I suggest this if you don’t have a long stay in the city, in order to cover more ground quickly. To be honest, I barely used the pass after I realized how close everything was from each other. I had six days so I preferred to walk.
Royal Palace of Madrid: On my first day in Madrid I encountered this majestic beauty! Go inside if you have the time, if you love art and history, you would definitely enjoy learning more about Spain. Nevertheless, I also urge you to see this place at night time. It is spectacular. I had to facetime time my 3 year old niece, Eliana, so she could see it. She is obsessed with Princesses rightness, so I couldn’t help but think of her. She was amazed for like 2 minutes before Peppa Pig came on television, then I lost her.
Right across from Palace of Madrid is the Almudena Cathedral, also a must see! A beautiful building with gorgeous intricate architectural details.
Buen Retiro Park : The Park is so pretty, you could walk and walk for miles. Or bike or roller skate. The park has a little lake where you could row around in canoes. It could be romantic if you are into that sort of thing.
Palacio de Cristal : As you walk deeper into Buen Retiro Park, you will stumble across Palacio de Cristal straight out of a disney fairy movie. It used to be a green house but now it is used for art exhibitions. Situated right next to a small lake, it looked spectacular underneath the Madrid sun. In my opinion it is the perfect location for a Spring or Summer wedding in Madrid.
As you exit the Buen Retiro Park, right across from the entrance is the Puerta de Alcala which is a monument in the shape of an Arch. Seriously, the perfect location for photos. You can admire from afar which I did) or go up close for photos.
Puerto del Sol: is a cute smaller square that comes alive at night with people just hanging out. You might score a Chanel dupe for 20 euros at this location. Just be careful, it’s frowned upon. Also you can just hang out by the water fountain and watch the coolest street performers or spend last evenings people watching.
For the best shopping look no further than Gran Via, a street that sports the best shopping brands and designers. High end stores like Loewe, to more affordable stores such as Zara line the streets of this aesthetically pleasing architectural playground. The buildings are remarkable, the streets are so alive and there is so much to see and love! I also loved people watching while having breakfast from my balcony.
Madrid is currently my favourite country that I have been to, and would absolutely love to return. I hope you get the chance to visit as well. Feel free to drop some questions in the comments below if you have any questions!