Easter weekend in Madrid
This Easter, we decided to go to Madrid for a long weekend. It was our first time visiting the capital and hopefully, it won’t be the last. Where I had found Barcelona stunning but somewhat over-crowded and perhaps more geared towards tourists, I absolutely loved how vibrant and stylish Madrid was and how you weren’t constantly surrounded by masses of fellow tourists. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I felt like we had a slightly more authentic experience in Madrid than in Barcelona and I loved that. I had also forgotten how spring in Southern Europe starts a lot earlier than it does in England so I was happily surprised with the balmy temperatures mid-April, which made our wanderings around the city even more enjoyable.
Although Madrid has a plethora of great hotels to choose from, we decided to go through Airbnb and rent an apartment. The place we found was located between Lavapies and La Latina, both of which are buzzing districts I knew I wanted to spend some time exploring. The apartment itself was lovely, true to the pictures on the listing, affordable and within walking distance of everything.
/EAT & DRINK/
Madrid is heaven on earth for foodies. A Spanish friend of mine and fellow foodie kindly recommended some places for us to go to. We also ended up trying a few other restaurants that we stumbled upon while we were exploring. Fun fact: did you know that in most bars in Madrid, if you order a drink, they will also give you a free tapa? Yes, free apero! And it really helps to keep you going until dinner time since the Madrilenos eat really late.
Mercado de San Miguel – Plaza de San Miguel – Go at lunch time and munch your way around this historic covered market. I wanted to try everything!
Maricastaña – Calle Corredera Baja de San Pablo, 12 – Great place in Malasana for lunch. Try the Tomates verdes and the Quesadillas. Perfection!
Celso y Manolo – Calle Libertad, 1 – Lovely tasca for dinner. Make sure you book ahead. I can’t remember what the dishes we ate were called but there was this tomato dish we had as a starter that was incredible. Ask the waiter for recommendations. Everything ours recommended was delicious.
Mercado de San Anton – Calle de Augusto Figueroa, 24B – It’s actually more like a food court than your typical market. Go upstairs, they have lots of places offering pinchos and other Spanish bits. Pick what you want from each of the stalls, grab a beer and head to the shared tables to enjoy your feast.
El Huerto de Luca – Calle San Lucas, 13 – Great spot for lunch. It’s part restaurant, part market. You can buy everything and anything from fruits and vegetables to juices…etc. The seating area is in the middle, under hanging plant baskets and lots of natural light. Lovely space and the food was delicious.
Pum Pum cafe – Calle del Tribulete, 6 – I had the most amazing eggs benedict there for breakfast. The cafe tends to fill up very quickly after opening so head early to avoid queues.
Chocolateria San Gines – Pasadizo San Ginés, 5 – for the yummiest chocolate con churros. Be prepared to wait in line though. There is a reason why this café has been going since 1894.
/SEE & DO/
Lavapiés – Situated just east of La Latina, this area used to be the Jewish quarter and it is now fast becoming a multi-cultural trendy neighbourhood. My favourite part was how colourful and picturesque the streets were.
La Latina – The place to go to for an evening tapas bar crawl. Essentially, it consists in eating your way from one tapas bar to the next. We enjoyed the experience so much, we did it twice! Most famous street to crawl is La Cava Baja.
Malasaña – One of my favourite parts of town to have a wander. Lots of shops, cafes, restaurants…
Palacio de Cristal in Retiro Park – Incredible glass building built 130 years ago. Initially, its purpose was to be a greenhouse and now it is used to host art exhibits.
Real Jardin Botanico de Madrid, in particular, the gorgeous Cacti Greenhouse and the Palmeria
Museums: if you are into contemporary art, go to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. If you are more into classical painting and sculpture, I recommend the Prado museum.