• A Guide To Exploring Madrid In 5 Days

    Are you planning on visiting Madrid for a week or so? My guide to Madrid and giving you my 5 day itinerary will help you plan your trip to the best you can. Giving you the best attractions to see and the ones I wish I saw during our time in Madrid.

    DAY ONE:
    Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
    Tapas at Grama Lounge

    DAY TWO:
    Sol

    Palacio Real Madrid
    Jardines de Sabatini
    Temple of Debod
    Tapas at H10

    DAY THREE:
    Toledo

    Tapas at La Catedral

    DAY FOUR:
    El Retiro Park

    Hard Rock Cafe
    Shopping on Calle Gran Via
    Tapas at La Casa del Abuelo

    DAY FIVE:
    Plaza Mayor
    Mercado de San Miguel


    DAY ONE:

    Estadio Santiago Bernabeu

    If you are a huge football fan or not, it is definitely worth a trip to Real Madrid’s football stadium. They are one of two football teams in Madrid, with the other team being Atletico Madrid which located at a 20 minute drive away from Sol (city centre).

    Sadly there was no home game when we visited (just our luck) but we did do the stadium tour around the grounds and pitch which was awesome. The stadium tour cost €25 for an adult ticket. I will explain more about the stadium tour in a separate post.

    Tapas at Grama Lounge

    There is nothing better than trying delicious Spanish tapas. Our first night we caught a taxi into Sol before we knew the trains were a better option. My brother had found Grama Lounge and said it got good reviews. We decided to try it out as we were so hungry, going a little early than we should have but we had been up early that morning and we were all so hungry.

    Grama Lounge is actually Venezuelan tapas but my god was it delish! And what can I say about the decor, it totally spoke to my vibes. Plants everywhere real and fake, neon pink word lights and palm print cushions = heaven for me! The food was amazing and I could have definitely eaten another round of dishes.

    I ordered their Cachapitas Crujientes which were delicious. They are like croquettes stuffed with latin cheese and a homemade sour cream dip. We each ordered a different dish and shared a little bit around with each other so we tried something different.

    You can check out their website here and find out where else they are located across Madrid.

    DAY TWO:

    Sol

    Sol is the main city centre where everything happens and definitely should be the place to eat out and go out exploring. We stayed quite close to Sol in terms of catching a train a couple of stops away from Sol but still further out from it to not be right in the noise of it at night. Sol is where you can find the Palacio Real Madrid and Plaza Mayor which are two hot spots in Madrid to explore.

    Plaza Mayor is a huge main square that has plenty of restaurants and shops around for you to enjoy. It’s lovely sitting in one of the restaurants in the square with a cold drink and maybe some tapas or a dish for lunch.

    performer in madrid

    Palacio Real Madrid

    Palacio Real Madrid is the royal palace which is said to be based on the Palace of Versailles in Paris. Sadly we didn’t visit inside but we sat outside and admired it’s beauty. Around the outside of the palace are plenty of performers and beggars as well.

    Don’t get fooled into a free bracelet from men originally from Ghana and Senegal as they will eventually ask you for money for their bracelets. But there are plenty of talented people around the outside including a man playing music with glasses filled with water and two gentlemen playing a violin and a harp – they even played Despacito together.

    NAVIGATE YOUR WAY AROUND MADRID…

    Open this blog post / map on your phone and use it to navigate when you’re there to find your way around Madrid and visit my favourite hot spots…

    Jardines de Sabatini

    Jardines de Sabatini is a gorgeous garden just a short walk from the Palacio Real Madrid and it part of the palaces gardens. It has it’s own maze and water features in the centre of the gardens. There garden was opened to the public by King Juan Carlos I in 1978. It’s the perfect place to relax and escape the sun on a very hot day.

    Temple Of Debod

    The Temple of Debod is an ancient Egyptian temple that was dismantled and rebuilt in Madrid, Spain. The shrine was originally erected 15 kilometres south of Aswan in Upper Egypt, very close to the first cataract of the Nile and to the great religious center in Philae dedicated to the goddess Isis.

    Tapas at H10

    After we had explored on our second day, we went out for dinner in Sol to a restaurant called H10, we had yummy tapas again and then went out for a drink and some desert in a quirky restaurant called Revoltosa: Taberna para Gatos that had cool industrial lighting and copper gin distillers behind the bar. I had their Grandma’s chocolate cake which was delicious but so chocolatey aha!


    BOOK YOUR EXCURSIONS HERE…


    DAY THREE:

    Toledo

    Toledo is a gorgeous city outside of Madrid that is widely famous for it’s knife and sword making. Toledo is an ancient city set on a hill above the plains of Castilla-La Mancha in central Spain. The capital of the region, it’s known for the medieval Arab, Jewish and Christian monuments in its walled old city. Toledo was the old capital of Spain before Madrid took it’s place back in 1606.

    We caught the train to Toledo from Chamartin and then to Atocha station. The train to Toledo takes about 2 hours but the journey flew by which was amazing. We arrived at the gorgeous little train station in Toledo and walked over the bridge and into the city walls.

    We wanted to find somewhere to have brunch. We came across a lovely little cafe that did traditional Spanish omelettes and sandwiches for brunch which hit the spot after our early morning catching trains.

    Whilst in Toledo we visited their cathedrals and a Jewish synagogue which was gorgeous. In Toledo, they have 3 main religions being Muslim, Christianity/Catholicism and Jewish. I wish we got to visit more of the cathedrals and churches but we would have run out of time to see everything otherwise.

    We explored down some of the backstreets and came across some very quirky shops including a lovely old sweet shop which we bought some sweets from, old traditional knife and sword shops and even a light shop with some huge chandeliers in which were amazing.

    There are so many lovely places and things to see in Toledo, you could definitely spend more than a day there. Most people tend to book a cute hotel in Toledo and spend a few days there before heading back to Madrid. After we had explored most of the city, we then caught the train back to Madrid and went out for dinner.

    Tapas at La Catedral

    For dinner we visited a cool restaurant we had walked past the night before called La Catedral which was very old fashioned and like a cathedral decor inside. We ordered a few dishes between us and shared them around – we tried the most delicious garlic stuffed potatoes and I had yummy cheese croquettes with a chutney dip.

    After dinner, we visited the cool rooftop bar in the middle of Sol called RadioMe which was crazy busy but we managed to get a seat near the bar and I ordered a Baileys that was the biggest Baileys I’ve ever had – almost like a double measure but for the price of a single measure aha.

    DAY FOUR:

    El Retiro Park

    On mums birthday we explored more of the city and visited El Retiro Park. El Retiro Park is a gorgeous massive park and gardens in the city centre of Madrid and is the largest park in the whole city. The park once belonged to the Spanish Monarchy until the late 19th century, when it became a public park.

    El Retiro Park is famous for it’s large artificial lake in the centre which you can go out on pedal boats or the solar powered passenger boat, have a cold drink and tapas whilst people watching by the lake or hire electric scooters to get around the park on. It covers over 125 hectares and has more than 15,000 trees, El Retiro Park is definitely a green oasis in the heart of the city.

    We stopped at one of the cafes for cold drinks in the shade as it was so hot. I had one of their chocolate and vanilla ice cream milkshakes which was delish and so cooling in the hot weather.

    Hard Rock Cafe

    After walking through El Retiro Park, we then walked through the city gates to find Hard Rock Cafe. If you didn’t already know but I like visiting every Hard Rock Cafe in the cities I visit. I have ticked quite a few off my list and I’ve now added Madrid to my list. We stopped for a cold drink and a little snack to eat which we ordered their Bangkok Spicy Shrimp. They were a little spicy but so delicious and a nice cold drink on such a hot day to wash them down with.

    Shopping on Calle Gran Via

    Calle Gran Via is a massive shopping street, a little bit like Oxford Street in London and Champs Eyleese in Paris. On our way back to the hotel we stopped to do a little shopping and checking out the shops on Calle Gran Via. Me and mum stopped in Zara and had a little look around whilst the boys went into Nike and some other shops.

    I picked up the most gorgeous pink leather jacket and a lace trim cami. I don’t normally wear pink but the jacket I bought is gorgeous. I wanted to wear it on that night for mums birthday as it was a little chilly in the evenings.

    Tapas at La Casa del Abuelo

    For dinner we wanted to have dinner in Rosi La Loca which got amazing reviews on TripAdvisor but sadly they were all fully booked. It is quite a small restaurant so we understood that we needed to book before going. Instead we stopped at quite a few tapas bars including a traditional tapas bar called La Casa del Abuelo and another small restaurant called Majaderitos Cafe that has a churreria inside.

    After dinner, we stayed out quite late and headed to a cool music based bar called Cafe Central which had red lighting (not dodgy at all) and had live bands in every night. I tried my first Vodka and Pineapple which I loved.

    DAY FIVE:

    Plaza Mayor

    It was our last day and we spent it exploring around Plaza Mayor. There are so many pretty streets around Plaza Mayor that are worth exploring. We walked around for a little bit and then stopped at one of the restaurants in the plaza for some cold drinks as it was a very hot day.

    After finishing our drinks, we walked a little bit further and stopped at another restaurant for some more drinks to chill with and got talking to the restaurant owner who was originally from Leeds. He and his wife moved to Madrid and set up their lovely restaurant.

    We had a few rounds of drinks, I started with a fruit smoothie and then had a caipirinha which was an error as I asked for a Vodka and Pineapple in Spanish but he heard caipirinha aha. (Mid day drinking isn’t like me!).

    Mercado de San Miguel

    After finishing our drinks we walked a bit further to Mercado de San Miguel which is a famous food market filled with lots of different stalls selling food and drink. It’s a bit like Borough Market but with more cooked food. The market is a great place to sit and chill with friends or family and eat some super yummy food.

    I have two warnings for you:

    1. Be careful of it being super busy as you will struggle to find a seat. We hovered around a bit until someone left and got into their spot and then hunted down some stalls. We went up 2 at a time to get food whilst the other 2 stayed by the spot to save it.

    2. Watch out for some seriously overpriced food. My dad bought 2 cones of shrimp and it cost him €15 each. Most of the dishes are priced around €2-€3 each but make sure you check the price before buying.

    Before heading back to the hotel to collect our suitcases, we walked around a bit more and came across some very awesome art murals and quirky shops down some hidden streets. There were so many lovely art murals around including this mural of two women with a plant basket on their head.

    Please note I may not always recommend every place I have visited or restaurant I have eaten at unless specified. This is just a view of what I did whilst in Madrid. I have linked the TripAdvisor pages for you to read the reviews and make up your own mind.


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    guide to madrid

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