So you’re thinking about heading to Madrid? As the capital of Spain with sun and siestas, there’s no better place to enjoy the laidback Mediterranean vibe. The city is renowned as hectic, bustling, energetic and friendly and there is so much to do that the passing-through traveller may struggle to fit it all in.
From the traditional restaurants to the plentiful museums and from shopping to the lively nightlife, we consider how you can make the most of 48 hours in Madrid.
Where To Eat
The Spanish are famously stubborn about altering their food. A staunchly meat eating nation, it is only recently that visiting vegetarian’s have found their needs catered for by many restaurants. However, the legacy of this is that you are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to finding traditional places to eat.
The food of Madrid proudly originates from the Castilian high plains. One of the most popular dishes is cocido Madrileno, a stew that mixes chickpeas, potatoes and other vegetables with chicken, pork cuts and beef.
If you’re happy to spend some money on eating out, dinner at Sobrino de Botin is well worth it for a taste of the real Spain. Founded in 1725, it has been awarded the title of the world’s oldest restaurant by The Guinness Book Of World Records.
A trip to Madrid isn’t complete without eating some traditional tapas. A tapas tour is a popular activity for hunting out the best bars.
If you’re looking for culture, this is the city for you. Madrid is famous for its museums and art galleries and there’s no way you could squeeze them all into 48 hours. If you only have time for one, head to the world famous Museo del Prado to see works by Goya, Velásques, Rubens, Bosch and many more masters. The museum is free from 6-8 pm, so stop by in the evening if you’re on a budget.
Madrid is also famed as a centre for shopping. With the Beckhams as previous residents, it had to cater for them somehow. If you’re only interested in window shopping, head to the swanky district of Salamanca, which is jam-packed with high-end outlets.
If you fancy some retail therapy spend a couple of hours in the district of Puerta del Sol, where you’ll find many of the big high-street brands as well as some more traditional Spanish shops.
Nobody parties like the Spanish and Madrid comes into its own when darkness falls. It’s necessary to acknowledge the cities nocturnal tendencies. Nobody goes out dancing before around 2am. You will need to pace yourself and take advantage of the traditional afternoon siesta.
The nature of the clubs differs depending on which district you wander into. Chueca fashions itself as a lively gay district and has an odd combination of dens of iniquity and friendly cafes and dance clubs.
On the other hand, the grungy bars of Malasaña cater for hip indie rockers, whilst Moncloa is the haunt of students. Live music is also popular in the form of jazz, blues, folk, world music and flamenco, which can be seen in venues like Clamores.
Where To Stay
When you’re on a short break it’s important to find a central hotel. You don’t want to waste valuable time travelling between attractions. The most popular areas to stay in are the Plaza Santa Ana, the area near Sol, and the area in and around the Plaza Mayor. These districts are all relatively safe within walking distance of the main attractions and have plenty of places to eat out. A number of sites offer hotels in Madrid and can help you to find the best deal.
Whether you’re just passing through or on a weekend break, Madrid has more than enough to offer. It’s virtually impossible to fit everything there is to do into 48 hours. By following this guide you can ensure that you get to see the best of the city in the small time that you have. Who knows, you may even extend your stay!