I fell in love with Madrid the day I got here; it’s truly the most beautiful, authentic and friendly city. My biggest tip would be to just stroll around as much as you can and stumble across all of its charming cafes and bars, squares and parks. But, if I had to pick 5 things that have made me particularly happy during my 3 months here, I’d tell you to head straight to…
1. Pez Tortilla
I went here weekly and I have no regrets. This place serves (arguably) the best tortilla in Madrid. It´s fresh, homemade, delicious, and an absolute bargain at 3€ a pincho. I´d recommend a) getting a good few to share between friends so you can try all the flavours and b) getting it to take away and walking 5 minutes down to Templo de Debod to eat it in the park there as the sun sets.
2. Café Federal
I´m a big fan of light and airy cafes with good coffee and better brownies and this was my pick in Madrid. It was set up by an Australian couple but feels charmingly Scandinavian with its minimalist architecture and big windows. It´s a great place to crack on with homework or any admin you have. Or alternatively their brunches are fantastic (and very Instagram friendly) for those lazy Sunday mornings. It´s right next to both Conde Duque and the Contemporary Art Museum so make a morning out of it.
3. El Retiro
I know everyone who visits Madrid will visit the gorgeous Retiro Park. Of course it´s the perfect place to take a picnic or a stroll, but there´s so much more you can do there. You can rent roller-skates from a shop just down the road and whizz round it. The boats are a cliché but they´re good value for money and have to be done. The memorial for the victims of 11.M is stunning and well worth visiting. Look for the turtles in the lake just by the Crystal Palace. Don’t forget the Rosaleda or the seriously cool bobbly trees on the West side. It´s so much more than a park and I absolutely love it!
4. Takos al Pastor
If you don’t get to this place for opening, expect a ridiculously long queue. Takos al Pastor is one of Madrid’s not very well kept secrets and it is exceptionally popular – for good reason. Here you can buy any taco you want for just 1€ and quesadillas for 2.50€. They are delicious, cheap, and there’s something for everyone. The one just off the Plaza Mayor is my favourite!
5. Cinema Wednesdays
Most cinemas in Madrid are half price on Wednesdays! I usually went the big cinema on Calle Montera, between Gran Vía and Sol, but most cinemas have special offers on Wednesdays so check out whichever is closest to your accommodation. The discount makes it really affordable and a great evening activity now the evenings are getting cooler. Fabulous practice for your Spanish as well! 😉
And that’s me done! Let us know if you give any of these a try! I hope you enjoy Madrid as much as I have. No quiero irme…