Madrid is a cosmopolitan and historic city, and a great place to experience the best of Spanish culture, art, and cuisine. Unlike many other popular European cities, many of Madrid’s best attractions, including some of its museums, can be visited without having to crack open your wallet. But we love Madrid for several other reasons:
1. We <3 la Gran Vía
This is Madrid’s most famous street, full of people 24/7. Gran Via is a home for Michelin-starred restaurants, cafes, and high-end boutiques. But a stroll down the street also leads past some great examples of classic Spanish architecture, and never forget to raise your eyes to the rooftops: Breathtaking.
2. We <3 el Rastro
El Rastro is another example of Madrid’s quirky local culture. A huge and crowded flea market, it offers great chances for cheap souvenirs (for people who are skilled at bargaining). However, this buzzing market is fun to visit even if you don’t want to make any purchases. It is one of the best places in Madrid for people-watching and mingling with locals. The market is open on Sundays and also on Spanish national holidays. Don’t forget having some Cañas and Tapas with some friends in the nearby Latina.
3. We <3 Going Out
Madrid nightlife is a world reference. It is one of the world’s liveliest cities, a city that never sleeps. It goes on all night until the sun rises, and Madrid clubs and pubs are open all year, all week around. Madrid’s nightlife has something for everybody, whatever your preferences, age or nationality.
4. We <3 Madrid’s Museums
A vitalist like Ernest Hemingway stayed away from museums. He liked to meet the living, not the dead. The Prado was many times an exception to his rule. It wasn’t like other museums. You don’t need to be an art enthusiast to appreciate the sometimes-dark, sometimes-whimsical works of these painting and sculpting masters.
The Reina Sofía Museum houses Spain’s most important modern art collection. Without a doubt, its most important masterwork is the touching Picasso’s Guernica, which finally found a home here after years of exile in New York City’s MoMA.
5. We <3 Madrid’s Parks.
Parque del Retiro, formerly the grounds of the palace built for Felipe IV, is Madrid’s most popular park. Its large lake in the middle once staged mini naval battles to amuse royalty, these days the more tranquil pastime of pleasure boating is popular.
You can find a distinctive indoor garden in Atocha Railway Station
with 4,000 square meters of tropical plants. Atocha station has become a hothouse destination in itself for plant lovers, with more than 500 species of plant life and ponds with turtle and goldfish in, as well as shops and cafes. It’s a nice place to visit on a cold or wet day with its even temperature of 24 degrees Celsius, or even on a scorching summer day as a retreat from the heat.
And don’t forget the huge Casa de Campo
: 1700 hectares of mediterranean forest, built by Felipe II to be his hunting grounds. Nowadays you can find Madrid’s Zoo, Waterpark and Fair, and get there with a nice Cable Car called Teleférico.
6. We <3 getting lost in Madrid’s quarters.
Depending on which barrio one currently is, one will know Madrid from a completely different side as expected. While Malasaña is famous for its sweet hippy scene, Salamanca for being for the rich and famous, Argüelles for its animated university atmosphere and Chueca for the colorful gay scene, La Latina is probably the most charming place to chill out and enjoy a drink in Madrid.
7. We <3 Madrid’s Tapas
Going out for tapas is clearly the madrilenos’ favorite hobby and a major part of their lifestyle. This quirky custom, now part of the rich Spanish culture is enjoyed all over the world, but nowhere better than in Madrid. The secret, however, stands in the habit itself, not in the quantity of the food that comes with the drink. The lovely Mercado de San Miguel or the new Mercado de San Antón are two musts to have some tapas.
We have more than this seven reason, but we hope we have already persuaded you!