Top 5: Harry

1. ‘Late Motiv’

What better way to immerse yourself in Spanish culture than going to a late night talk show!? ´Late Motiv´ is one of the most popular shows in Spain, and its host Andreu Buenafuente is now a household name. It´s true, there are quite a few cultural references, and the guests definitely don´t hold back on how fast they talk, but you´ll no doubt have a really fun evening whilst learning a lot about the Spanish sense of humor! To be on the show, all you have to do is apply through the show´s website, and if you´re lucky enough to get tickets, they´re completely free!

¿Qué mejor manera de sumergirse en la cultura española que asistir a un programa de entrevistas? ´Late Motiv´ es una de los programas más populares en España, cuyo presentador Andreu Buenafuente ha llegado a ser un personaje súper conocido. Es verdad que hay bastantes referencias culturales, y los entrevistados suelen hablar a toda velocidad, pero no hay duda de que lo pasarás bien ¡mientras aprendiendo mucho del humor español! Para asistir al programa, solo tienes que solicitar una plaza a través del sitio web del programa, y si consigues obtener entradas, ¡son gratis!

Late Motiv

2. Museo Sorolla

Before coming to Madrid, I didn´t know much about Joaquín Sorolla, nor had I seen many of his paintings, so I was pleasantly surprised when I went to the museum that is dedicated to his artwork (which is held in the beautiful house he used to live in!). Sorolla was largely known as an impressionist painter, and his works, I think, are very appealing and easy on the eye. Tickets are only €3, but if you´re a student, you can get in for free.

Antes de venir a Madrid, no conocía mucho de Joaquín Sorolla, ni tampoco había visto muchas de sus pinturas. Por lo tanto, me puse sorprendido cuando visité por primera vez el museo que le está dedicado (¡que se sitúa en su antigua casa bonita!). Sorolla era conocido principalmente como pintor impresionista, y sus obras, en mi opinión, son muy atrayentes y llamativas. Las entradas cuestan solo 3€, pero si eres estudiante, puedes entrar sin pagar.       

Sorolla Museum

3. La Catedral de Justo Gallego

This is perhaps Madrid´s gem that is still waiting to be discovered! In 1961, a monk named Justo Gallego was expelled from his monastery for contracting tuberculosis. Convinced that he was still called to serve God, he set about constructing his very own cathedral from scratch, without any architectural qualifications. All these years later, Justo hasn´t given up on his mission, and at the age of 95 he continues to get up early each morning to carry on building. The result of his efforts is this enormous edifice that, although looking very much unfinished, still retains an astonishing beauty, made even more impressive by that fact that Justo has done pretty much all of the work himself! To get to the cathedral, you can catch a short bus ride towards Mejorada del Campo, which is on the outskirts of Madrid.

¡A lo mejor esto es la joya de Madrid que queda sin descubrir! En 1961, el monje Justo Gallego fue expulsado de su monasterio por haber caído enfermo. Con la certeza de su vocación de servir a Dios, empañó la construcción desde cero de su propia catedral, sin ningunas calificaciones arquitectónicas. Después de todos estos años, Justo no ha abandonado su objetivo, y con 94 años sigue levantándose temprano cada mañana para continuar a construir. El resultado de sus esfuerzas es este edificio enorme que, aunque parece incompleto, aun retiene una belleza extraordinaria, una hazaña aún más impresionante si tenemos en cuenta que Justo ha hecho la mayoría del trabajo solo. Para llegar a la catedral, puedes coger un autobús de 30 minutos hacia Mejorada del Campo, que está en las afueras de Madrid.

Catedral de Justo Gallego

4. La Caja Mágica

If you´re as a big a tennis fan as I am then there are two events that you definitely can´t miss! The Mutua Madrid Open takes place every year in May, whilst for the foreseeable future the Davis Cup (´the world cup of tennis´) will be played in Madrid every November as well. These two tournaments are highly regarded fixtures on the tennis tour, thus attracting some of the biggest players from all around the world. What´s more, ´madrileños´ really know how to provide a great atmosphere (especially when a Spaniard is playing!) so you´re bound to enjoy yourself no matter what.

Si eres tan apasionado de tenis como yo, ¡hay dos eventos que no puedes perder! El Mutua Madrid Open tiene lugar cada año en mayo, mientras por ahora la Copa Davis (el mundial de tenis) se disputa en Madrid cada noviembre. Estos dos torneos son muy apreciados, así atraen algunos de los mejores jugadores de todo el mundo. Es más, los madrileños saben cómo proporcionar un ambiente electrizante (¡sobre todo cuando juegue un español!), por eso  sin duda lo vas a pasar bien.

Caja Mágica

5. MISKI RESTOBAR

This café/bar is one of my favourite places to chill and/or work in Madrid. They do awesome brunches, great coffee, all the while providing a really cozy setting just to spend a few hours away from the hustle and bustle of the city. What´s better, as it opened only fairly recently, it doesn´t become as crowded as some other, more well-known establishments.

Este café/bar es uno de mis lugares favoritos para descansar y/o trabajar en Madrid. Hacen un ´brunch´ increíble, el café fenomenal, todo el tiempo proporcionando un ambiente acogedor para matar el tiempo lejos del ajetreo de la ciudad. Aún mejor, dada su apertura bastante reciente, no se hace tan concurrido como otros establecimientos más conocidos.

Miski Restobar

Top 5: Adam

¡Hola! After living in Madrid for a few months I have quite a lot of favourite places, but below you can find my top 5. I hope it’s helpful and you try some of them out whilst you’re in Madrid.

1. Parque del Retiro

Sorry to be basic but this is by far my favourite place in Madrid. You can go rowing, visit the book fair (in June), sunbathe and get a glass of sangria at the cafeteria. Rowing there is great value for money and costs around 7€ for 45 minutes. I cannot recommend it enough and it is particularly amazing to watch the sun set there. It’s really easy to get there from the centre too and you can even walk if you’re feeling brave enough.

Retiro Park
2. Palacio Real

This is another classic. The architecture and interior design of this palace is really something else. I went 3 times whilst staying in Madrid and have got to say it is one of my favourite places. You can access most of the palace, its gardens and take pictures in front of amazing views. Each room has its own theme and it really is a must-see if you want to try out being a Royal for the day. There is a discount for students too if you book it online in advance too at www.patrimonionacional.es/ and this will make sure that you avoid the extremely long queues for visitors who haven’t booked tickets in advance.

Royal Palace
3. LLBar, Chueca

I would highly recommend this little drag bar. Coming from Manchester which has the biggest gay night scene in Europe, I really didn’t expect to find much to compare it with here in Madrid. However, I was wrong. Chueca is a part of the city which really embraces LGBT culture. This bar has drag queen shows most nights and really is so fun and a great way to practice your Spanish talking in the queue or listening to the extremely talented Drag Queens singing and dancing. The entry is free and the copas (doubles) are good value for money.

Chueca
4. Purmina Indian Restaurant

This is by far my favourite place to eat in Madrid. Although not particularly Spanish, it serves authentic Indian food and is run by local Bangladeshi people who are extremely friendly. You can personalize each dish to have it as spicy as you want and the interior design really is to die for. It is a bit further out from the city centre but it is worth the effort, trust me! It is a bit pricey but the mains are extremely big so you could always share a main with a friend or just have a whole dish to yourself! We are all kind of holiday after all ;).

Indian restaurant
5. Ojalá, Malasaña

My favourite café to have brunch at on a Sunday morning is definitely Ojala. It is really quirky inside (as you can see in the photo) and the food is delicious, particularly the breakfast menu. All the brews come in tiny little cute tea cups and the avocado on toast is gorgeous. Go whilst you can! It is in the very trendy area of Malasaña, which is full of cool restaurants and cafes so you can go and do a bit of retail therapy in nearby vintage clothes shops after a delicious breakfast.

Ojalá, Malasaña