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 really touristy, I absolutely loved how vibrant and cool Madrid was. I had also forgotten how spring south of the border 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 cool 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 in. The apartment itself was lovely, true to the pictures on the listing and within walking distance of everything. In case you are interested, it was this apartment: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/1786233
/EAT & DRINK/
Madrid is heaven on earth for foodies. I kept on spotting cool restaurants, cafes, and bars. 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. Oh and fun fact: in most bars in Madrid, if you order a drink, they will also give you a free tapa! If you’re not sure what to drink, try a Tinto de Verano. Trust me on this one!
El Tempranillo wine bar – Calle Cava Baja, 38 – For drinks and a couple of tapas before dinner. Did I mention they have an entire wall of wines to choose from behind the bar?
Mercado de San Miguel – Plaza de San Miguel – Go at lunch time and munch your way around this historic covered market.
Maricastaña – Calle Corredera Baja de San Pablo, 12 – Great place in Malasana for lunch. Try the Tomates verdes fritos con queso de cabra, mermelada de tomate casera y rúcula and the Quesadillas de alcachofas, portobello, tomate seco y albahaca. 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. We picked it upon recommendation from our waiter so I would recommend following the same method and asking for advice.
Mercado de San Anton – Calle de Augusto Figueroa, 24B. It’s actually more like a food court than your typical market. Head upstairs, they have lots of places offering pinchos and other Spanish bits. Pick what you want from each of the stalls and head to the shared tables to enjoy your feast.
El Huerto de Luca – Calle San Lucas, 13. Great spot for lunch. It’s actually 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.
/SEE & DO/
Lavapiés – Situated just east of La Latina, it is fast becoming a multi-cultural trendy neighbourhood. I love wandering its colourful streets.
La Latina – The place to go to for an evening tapas bar crawl. Essentially, it consists in munching 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, head to the Prado museum.