Monday, 9 December 2019

A Perfect Day In Madrid

jorge-fernandez-salas-madrid skyline

On my way home after hiking the Camino de Santiago, I made a stopover in Madrid. Here I had less than 48h to spent so I filled my day with some quality sightseeing and culinary treats. Unlike sightseeing in Rome or my previous trip to Athens, I feel Madrid is not the "traditional" capital I would choose for a sightseeing heavy city break. However, there are a few things worth visiting as the city has an incredibly lively atmosphere with excellent food and interesting architecture. I had a great time and if I had to relive the day it would look as follows:

Starting The Day In Madrid

9am: wake up at one of Madrid's überstylish hotels. Barceló Imagine, H10, the NH collection or Tryp are all great choices when staying in Spain's capital. A great hotel can make all the difference and excite you to start the day, plus all of these are located centrally and are in easy walking distance to all the actions in the city.

breakfast served at antipode australian cafe in madrid

My stop for breakfast would be the Australian cafe Antipode in Calle de San Bernardo Street for 10am. The cafe offers healthy vegan and classic breakfast options such as avocado on toasts with poached eggs, but there's also porridge, homemade granola, and pancakes. Literally, anything from the menu is a winner. I ordered a variety from the card such as their tropical oats and matcha pancakes. Add a berry smoothie and freshly pressed orange juice for a perfect start to the day.

Lunchtime In Madrid

For 12pm it is time to give my mind some "food". Museo Reina Sofia, the local art gallery with contemporary paintings and displays of Miro, Dali, and Picasso, would be my address. The museum is renowned for showcasing a fine collection of Surrealism and Cubism, two art movements which Spanish artists are well-known for. On Level 2 I would admire Picasso's Guernica or engage in Miro's sculptures in the museum's courtyard.

salvadore dali surrealism painting at museo reina sofia madrid
miro sculpture in the courtyard of museo reina sofia madrid

Spending 2h at the museum is enough time to see everything. Afterwards, it is time to stroll along Calle de Bellevue and admire some beautiful architecture whilst aiming for the centre. There's some incredible architecture especially the countless old skool cinema buildings or the Telefonica building on Gran Via. 

The later was inspired by New York architecture and applies a world metropolitan touch to the city skyline. Pass by Playa Major the beating heart and Playa Sol to see Spain's geographical centre the Kilometre Zero. Then catch a first glimpse of the hustle and bustle of Gran Via, Madrid's major shopping street.

art nouveau cinema in madrid
kilometre cero in madrid in plaza del sol outside the post office
victor-streets of madrid

Spending The Afternoon Roaming The Streets Of Madrid

It is an unwritten rule that one can't go to Spain without indulging in Churros. Churroria Chocolateria San Gines is THE address in Madrid. The place exists since 1894 and offers outdoor seating for people watching. I ordered a batch alongside the classic hot chocolate dip and a bottle of water and paid 6.50 € in total.

traditional curros served by san gines in madrid

For the late afternoon, I can recommend a sightseeing bus tour. The tour starts at Museo Prado and I found 4pm a great time in the day to do this little trip around town. For around 2h I enjoyed circling the city twice. 

You will not only love the ride in the sun but also spot major sights such as the Royal Palace, The Egyptian Temple of Debod, the Neptune Fountain or Plaza de Cibeles.... and bypass a couple of nice restaurants, too, which are worth checking out later for dinner.

in the heart of madrid city centre
eleni-afiontzi-madrid metro sign

A Memorable Night In Madrid

6:30pm - Time to head to the rooftop bar and take in those stunning views over the city. ME Madrid in Plaza Santa Ana is the right place if you, like me, love spectacular views and an easy-going atmosphere. I loved their mocktails which were all delicious whilst listening to chill out beach tunes. Good vibes, great conversations, excellent views, and interesting people.

rooftop terrace views from ME Madrid

Before dinner, I decided to hit the stores on the Gran Via for a short late evening shopping tour. At around 8:30pm most places are empty and easy to browse.

Dinner is rather late in Spain, so for around 9:30pm, I can recommend to check out Ôven Mozarella Bar - a quirky Italian at the end of Gran Via. Although the place is a small chain it charms with a calm and modern ambient and affordable prices. I tried their pasta bake and my dessert wasn't too bad either. I could easily spend the entire evening here, have casual chats or hang out with friends. It is a fantastic place with lovely food and a feel-good atmosphere.

The city is still alive at 11pm, so I would take a final stroll before bedtime and admire the buildings such as Banca Espana, which are all lit up now.

Thanks so much for reading,

Till next time,

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