Madrid was my first European love. I've spent a lot of time here over the years and I'm thrilled to share it with others. What's I've listed below are my favorite things to do in addition to what your guidebook or tour guide will offer. I hope you enjoy this very special place as much as I do and please let me know if you find something awesome to add to this list! Diviértete!
Food in Madrid (just to give you an idea about how I choose restaurants: I seek authentic and modern dishes, high-quality products, good service, reasonably priced places with good ambiance.)
1. Good QUICK food option: Go to "Gourmet Experience" on the 9th floor of the department store EL CORTE INGLES that's on the corner of Callao and Gran Via. During the day you have amazing views of Gran Via. It's fun and local. Very few tourists know about it. I go there for wine, tapas, cheese, coffee, pastries. The quality is high, the ambiance is nice and there are many options if you go there with a group. This is a great place to try different Spanish wines and tapas. HOWEVER, it's not a good option if you want a proper fine dining restaurant experience.
2. Yakitoro C/Reina 41 one of my favorites! Traditional Spanish Tapas with a Japanese twist. You need to make a reservation. High quality, fun, reasonable prices, nice wine selection. Open for lunch and dinner. http://www.yakitoro.com
3. TAPAS Bars!! (C/ CAVA BAJA, near el Mercado de San Miguel) you have a wide selection of many tapas bars. Try everything. If you have cheese ask for "manchego bien curado....at least 18 meses (24 months even better!)". Some of the tapas bars have better wine-by-the-glass selection than others) **OJO: In many of these bars, if you order a DRINK first, they will give you a complimentary tapa. However, if you order a drink AND food at the same time, you will NOT get the free tapa.
I order wine....wait...get the tapa and then order food ;-)
4. El Mercado San Miguel (Plaza de San Miguel) is a good option for quick food with many options. Look for the crowds of LOCALS. Some of the places are better than others. This market is close to everything...Sol and El Palacio Real. It's NOT my favorite, but if you're in the area and hungry, it's quick and easy.
5. If you like "gambas al ajillo", the BEST are at La Casa del Abuelo (C/ Victoria #12). There are other traditional tapas bars on that same street as well.
6. CHURROS Y CHOCOLATE!!! Even if this is not your thing, try it at least one morning (or really late night) in Madrid!! (My friends and I go early morning after we leave the discotheques!!) My favorite place is Chocolateria San Gines. Pasadizo San Ginés, 5,
Interesting places to visit:
7. Make sure you go up to the 8th floor of Cibeles building. The beautiful old (palatial) post office that sits at the head of Plaza de Cibeles. It's a beautiful view of the city for only 2 euros per person. You buy your tickets outside to the right of the security check.
8. There a cute local shopping area right off of Gran Via that's on Fuencarral street. (Across from the big McDonald's on Gran Via). This is mainly where I shop when I'm in Madrid.
9. Go to El Palacio Real to take pictures during SUNSET. It's beautiful and romantic!! There are some outdoor cafes in the areas if you'd like to have a glass of wine.
10. My absolute favorite thing to do when in Madrid is walking around the City!! There's so much to see and do! Enjoy!!!!
If you have extra time in Madrid.....I suggest:
Day trip to Toledo
Day trip to Segovia
Sheree M. Mitchell has traveled to 40 countries, lived on three continents and speaks English and Spanish (while currently working on Italian and Portuguese). In 2014, Sheree gave up her comfortable life in Miami to embark on an ambitious 14-month, five continent transformational solo sojourn around the world. Today she oversees Immersa Global and IG Scholar, two boutique firms that specialize in designing unique immersion experiences abroad for adults and students. Sheree also speaks publicly on transformational and immersive travel as well as serves as a travel coach in her spare time. Connect with Sheree and Immersa Global on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @immersaglobal