I couldn’t contain my excitement when Karl revealed he was taking me to Madrid for my birthday last weekend. Though I absolutely love Spain, Madrid was never a city which stood out for me and how wrong I was. It is possibly the most beautiful city I have ever had the pleasure of visiting, with temperatures in excess of 26C during May, buildings that even your boyfriend will want to take a photo of coupled with the tastiest tapas in Spain, it truly stole my heart.
We stayed in Puerto Del Sol in the centre of Madrid which was the perfect location if you want to be near everything. Most of the ‘sights’ are within easy walking distance, anything between 10-20 minutes, or a couple of stops on the Metro. Barajas airport is only around 20 minutes away on the tube from the centre of Madrid if you want to beat the traffic and save money on a taxi.
Our first stop was for some food at ‘La Venganza deMalinche’ which is a buzzing Mexican café/bar in Puerto del Sol on Calle Jardines with small corona’s for €1.20, the best cocktails in town for just €6 and fantastic food paired with the funniest and friendliest staff. Though Mexican, they still stick to the Spanish tradition of providing free tapas with every drink so we were spoilt with mini nachos, quesadillas and spicy nuts.
We then made it to Gran Via within 10 minutes, which is Spain’s answer to Oxford Street but much prettier. The streets are lined with tapas bars and shops from Zara to H&M (both of which were the biggest and most beautiful stores I have ever seen) After a spot of shopping me made our way left on Gran Via towards Sabatini Garden’s, which is part of The Royal Palace and the perfect spot to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. If you take a 15 minute walk outside these garden’s you reach Temple de Debod which is a must when visiting this city as not only is the temple stunning but the view is phenomenal, and is the best place to watch the sunset. Unfortunately as the sun wasn’t setting till 9:30pm we didn’t catch it, but it’s just as pretty in the day!
Late afternoon is when the temperature really sores in Madrid so this was a great time to stop for Gelato. I didn’t take note of the place but it was along Gran Via and they sell the best Pistachio gelato which you must try! After walking across what felt like the whole of Madrid we freshened up at the hotel and headed out for drinks and dinner, bearing in mind Spaniard’s don’t eat until past 10pm. After probably the worst meal I’ve ever had (avoid El Zagal Restaurant) we went exploring and trying different cocktail bar’s before finding ourselves back at La Venganza Mexican drinking our body weight in cocktails, before stumbling home at 2am.
Madrid day 2 coming shortly...