Most will say they love Madrid more than Barcelona, which honestly, we did! I think my friends and I fell in love with Madrid’s old school charm, laid back attitude and friendly hospitality. We toured this city with so much laughter and love, while meeting so many different and interesting people from all over the world. I wanted to share with you today my 48-hour guide to Madrid.
Getting around Madrid, Spain
Getting around Madrid is easy and affordable. I suggest getting a Tourist A Pass for €14.50, this pass includes the subway and buses in the city of Madrid. You can get one of these at any subway location and it will be in a small paper format like in the image above.
Retiro Park is a beautiful park in Madrid that is free to visit. This park is enormous with a lot of walking trails, a rose garden, grassy areas and more. This is the place to see the Crystal Palace also known as Palacio de Crystal, which is a beautiful palace made of glass and in front of a beautiful pond and water feature. You can stroll around with ice cream in hand and just enjoy the scenery. Near the Crystal Palace is also the Palacio de Velázquez which is a historic museum that displays art. We stumbled upon this location and it happened to be free the day we went!
Plaza de Cibeles is something free you can see in a pretty plaza on a busy round about street. This plaza is right in front of the Cybele Palace, which on our trip was hanging a sign letting everyone know that refugees were welcome in Madrid. It was honestly the perfect time for us to see it because during our trip in Madrid is when the attack in Barcelona happened.
Temple of Debod
Temple of Debod is a classic site in Madrid. These are an ancient Egyptian temple that was disassembled and rebuilt in Madrid. It is a phenomenal piece to check out and just think this was built in 200 BC which I think make the piece impressive itself. This place is a great place to have a picnic and just relax on the grass and enjoy. It would be a great place to see the sunset and to the left near the back of the park you will get an amazing view of the city.
You can join the tapas tour that we had from our Hostel at the Hat Madrid for about €20 to the locations below and enjoy the food options listed. It was a good deal for everything that you had on the tour but honestly, I would probably just go back to eat at the Rosi la Loca because the food presentation and taste were on point.
This was absolutely my favorite place for tapas in Madrid. This was one of the first stops on the tour and the food was amazing probably my favorite in all of Spain honestly. It has an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere which included a beautiful interior and exterior appeal. This location is a restaurant with other food options other than tapas including paella and other popular Spanish dishes!
Sarmorejo – This is like a Gazpacho with the flavors similar to a tomato bisque. It is delicious and a must have!
Patatas Bravas – Potatoes with a sauce over them or to dip.
Mouse de Mango – Goat Cheese and Mango Puree
Sollomio – Goat Cheese with Pork
Berejnas con Miel – Eggplant Chips
Sidreria el Tigre
Sidreria el Tigre is a great place for Bar Food with a Bar atmosphere. It was a great place to hang out with friends, drink and chat. This place gets very busy and it can be difficult to find a table inside. Some tables are standing and some are sitting, there is an upstairs part to this place but it gets crowded fast. Also, from what I am told, when you order beer here you get free tapas!
Patatas Bravas – It is a popular tapas dish in Spain so you will see it everywhere!
Lacón Gallego – This is a popular dried Ham in Spain that they placed on bread
Jamon – More Ham on bread which is popular in all of Spain
Croquettes – Breaded Fried Ball stuffed with Mashed Potatoes and Ham
Sangria – Most of you know what Sangria is, but it is wine mixed with Vermouth
Chocolateria San Gines is the popular place in Madrid to get chocolate churros and they are open 24 hours, which is perfect for those late-night snacks. I seriously can’t get over how amazing these churros were. We tasted other churros in Barcelona and other parts of Madrid and seriously this was the best place.
San Miguel Market
Go out to San Miguel Market for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner or even desserts. This place has a variety of food and is a smaller location than the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria in Barcelona. I found this location more intimate and the food was just incredible. I suggest you get the olives and cheese tapas, try the tortilla, and get a wonderful fresh mojito.
Visit the Palace of Madrid
I suggest you buy your tickets in advance which are €11, since we did not buy our tickets in advance, we were unable to visit the Palace of Madrid. You cannot buy tickets at the door or day of. It seemed busy but we did get to see a lot of the beautiful exterior and probably wouldn’t have had the chance to see the Cathedral of Alemundo since we noticed we could tour it by accident.
Cathedral of Alemundo
I found this Cathedral beautiful and interesting, more so than I think I would have of the Palace of Madrid. The Cathedral costs €6 and is worth the money. Some of the items we were unable to take photos of, but this Cathedral has one of the best views of the city of Madrid. You can view a good portion of the Palace and city at the top which is worth seeing. There are lots of religious relics and beautiful decorated chapels within this beautiful cathedral that make it a must to see in Madrid.
Museum del Prado
I suggest you go to Madrid prior to Barcelona only because you will see the famous “Les Meninas” by Diego Velazquez. In Barcelona, at the Picasso Museum you will see Picasso’s studies, obsessions and interpretation of this piece by Velazquez. Although, if you don’t go to Madrid first, just make sure you see the original by Velazquez and Picasso’s version to compare. The Museum del Prado only cost us about €15 to get in and you can seriously get lost in this museum, it is a large art museum that takes a good chunk of your time, however, being an art major, I only saw the artists I studied and wanted to see.
We decided to do our Flamenco show in Madrid since we had so much to do in Barcelona. We quite enjoyed ourselves and saw we could purchase tickets for the night while at the San Miguel Mercado for €39. If you have not seen a Flamenco show, I highly suggest it. There is so much passion and emotion in what these dancers do that my friends and I had goosebumps throughout the show.
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Let me know what you thought of Madrid in the comments below!