A Week in Madrid

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A week flies by when you’re having fun so here’s a little guide to help you pack as much as you can into your 7-day stay in Madrid: from a visit to the Prado and a tour of the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium to an evening relishing tapas in the San Miguel Market.

Monday

Today is a great day to discover the Art Walk, with free admission to the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum (from 12 noon to 4pm), the Reina Sofía (7pm to 9pm) and the Prado (from 6pm to 8pm). Have a bite to eat in the Literary Quarter and spend what’s left of the day shopping around Sol and Gran Vía. And what a better way to round off a day of culture than relaxing at the Spa Hotel Four Seasons, Spain's largest luxury city spa.

Tuesday

Pay a visit to the Palacio de Cibeles, Madrid’s city hall, check out their exhibitions and then make your way up to the CentroCentro observation deck to enjoy stunning views of the city. Take a walk along Paseo del Recoletos till you reach the Mafpre Foundation, which always hosts fantastic temporary exhibitions, or to the stunning National Library located opposite. Continue down Paseo de la Castellana to the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium (currently under constructionand go on a tour that includes the Real Madrid changing rooms. If you fancy a drink or a bite to eat, stop by one of the many restaurants or afterwork bars in the Azca area. Not far from there lies the modern area of Four Towers, the Salamanca Neighbourhood, a must place to visit to go shopping, and some of the best luxury restaurants in the city.

If you are more of a fan of the red and white side, you can visit the Wanda Metropolitano and have something to eat or drink below the stadium. In the surrounding area, you can find Quinta de los Molinos and Quinta de Torres Arias, two ideal places to reconnect with nature.

Madrid del Siglo XXI

Wednesday

Kick off the day venturing into the Hapsburg part of Madrid. Start off at Plaza de Ópera square and go around the Teatro Real opera house to Plaza de Oriente. After you’ve taken a look at the statues of Spanish monarchs that line the square, pay a visit to the Royal Palace – the largest in Europe – and La Almudena Cathedral with the newly opened Mirador de la Cornisa observation deck at the Royal Palace, with stunning views over the Campo del Moro Gardens and Casa del Campo.

Don’t miss the Changing of the Guard ceremony, which takes place on Wednesday and Saturday, weather permitting (the schedule is subject to change).  Take a well-deserved rest in the Sabatini Gardens and then make your way to the Oeste Park which houses the Temple of Debod. If you fancy a spot of shopping, then you can walk across Plaza de España (currently under construction until 2021) – where you can take a photo next to the popular monument to Cervantes -, and head to Calle Princesa, one of the city’s top shopping areas. Located in the emblematic Edificio España building, between Gran Via and Calle Princesa, is the luxurious Hotel Riu Plaza España, which offers incredible views of the city from its rooftop terrace.

Another option is to return to Plaza de Ópera and from there wonder down to Mercado de San Miguel. Located next to the Plaza Mayor, one of the city´s top sights, this cast-iron gourmet market is filled with stands serving delicious tapas and a selection of drinks to wash them down.  

Hotel Riu Plaza España

Don’t miss out on visiting some of the historic and traditional establishments with their headquarters in this area, such as Seseña (Calle de la Cruz, 23), specialised in the making and sale of cloaks or Casa de Diego (Plaza Puerta del Sol, 12), one of the must places to visit to take away a hand-made fan or umbrella.

Normally, on Wednesday you can get up to 50% off on your cinema or theatre tickets. Madrid has a vibrant theatre scene and great venues like the Teatro Real opera house, Teatro Lope de Vega or Teatro Nuevo Apolo.

Thursday

Just because you’re in a city it doesn’t mean that you need to forget about enjoying some nature. Madrid is one of the greenest capitals in the world and is home to two wonderful parks. El Retiro Park, situated in the centre of the city next to the Puerta de Alcalá gate, is a firm favourite among the locals. Casa de Campo, to the west of Madrid, is one of Europe’s largest parks and can be reached by cable car from Paseo del Pintor Rosales. Casa de Campo is a great place to go with kids. It houses Zoo Aquarium, one of the best zoos in the world, and a large Amusement Park with as many as 48 rides and attractions to suit all tastes and ages.

Another good option is to visit the city’s most original spaces and museums, such as IKONO, a unique interactive art gallery located opposite the Reina Sofia Museum that includes immersive activities to enhance the senses. The Sweet Space Museum, located in the ABC Serrano shopping centre, is an interactive tasting adventure that will delight those with a sweet tooth, a unique space full of innovative experiences and lots of fun. Located between Lavapiés and Puerta del Sol, the Museum of Illusions offers socially engaging and entertaining exhibits that enter the world of optical illusions and will delight audiences of all ages.

For many, the weekend gets underway on Thursday and you’ll find a thriving nightlife scene in lots of areas of the city: Malasaña, Chueca, Triball, the Literary Quarter, Princesa…The city has a wide variety of cocktail bars, particularly around Madrid’s Gran Vía. Some of the trendy establishments to enjoy a good cocktail are  DRY Martini Bar by Javier de las Muelas, located inside the Gran Melia Fénix hotel, and the Museo Chicote, an emblematic Art Decó cocktail bar that never ceases innovating to offer clients the best mixtures in a distinguished and revamped environment.  

Estanque del Parque de El Retiro / Monumento a Alfonso XII

Friday

The end of the working week is the perfect excuse for friends and work colleagues to meet up for cañas (small beers). You can expect bars to be even fuller than usual from around 3pm, in particular in the centre and in areas packed with offices.

Located in the central district of Chamberí is Calle Ponzano, a hugely popular street with food-lovers, bustling at any time of day (lunch, afternoon, and evening), serving up suggestive culinary offers. You could also take a culinary tour of Calle Ibiza and its surroundings, one of the areas with the highest concentration of bars and restaurants in Madrid.

Saturday

One weekend a month the Railway Museum (Paseo de las Delicias 61) hosts the Motor Market, a new European-style flea market that combines second-hand items with hand-crafted objects and gastronomy. And at the Design Market you can find art, design, street food and live music, all under the same roof at the largest visibility platform for Spanish emerging designers. Not far, lies the Casa Encendida, a multi-purpose cultural centre hosting visual art exhibitions, film cycles, concerts and stage productions every day of the week.

In the evening you can choose to watch one of the many shows being staged across the city, see a film in the cinema, go to a concert or enjoy an evening of flamenco at a tablao.

Located in Alameda de Osuna, El Capricho Park is one of the green areas that make Madrid’s artistic and natural heritage. It’s open on Saturday, Sunday and holidays only. Not far from here, Quinta de los Molinos is a romantic park with manicured gardens in the northern part and wilder lands on the south. It’s open every day.

Sunday

On the morning of the last day of the week, the one place you won’t want to miss is the Rastro flea market. Open only on Sundays and public holidays, it spreads out along Calle de Ribera de Curtidores and surrounding streets. Once you’ve honed your haggling skills and filled your suitcase with all kinds of knickknacks, it’s time to join the other crowd in La Latina for a few drinks and snacks.

In the afternoon you can go for a stroll along Madrid Río Park and then make your way to Matadero Madrid, a slaughterhouse-turned-cultural centre. In both cases, you can take advantage to visit the nearby Lavapiés neighbourhood, a melting pot of cultures and traditions, a traditional neighbourhood that has become the most multi-cultural area of Madrid in recent years.

A green space that is very popular with locals in the southern tip of Madrid, in the area of Puente de Vallecas, is Cerro del Tío Pío Park, which affords stunning views of the city from its seven hills. It features sports facilities, cycle paths, a kiosk and a viewing point in the highest area.

In the district of Carabanchel, you can tour Colonia de la Prensa, an amazing art-deco neighbourhood developed between 1913 and 1916, based on a design by architect Felipe Mario López Blanco.

 

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