At the end of August Nathan and I went to Madrid for bank holiday weekend. I had organised the trip back in February as a ‘surprise’ for Nathan’s birthday in July… a ‘surprise’ that I ended up telling him about approximately 2 hours after I’d booked it back in Feb.
By the time it rolled around, we’d had an incredibly busy summer of holidays, socialising and heatwaves and therefore all we really wanted from Madrid was to relax a little (something we’re really really bad at!)
Luckily, Madrid is the perfect city break for relaxation. Compared to many other city breaks I’ve gone on, such as Paris and Budapest, there’s a lot less tourists and it’s even acceptable to take an afternoon siesta (which we took advantage of every single day!)
Madrid is all about wandering down beautiful streets, taking long lunches to indulge in all of the tapas, strolling through the leafy El Retiro Park, eating ice cream and sipping Sangria.
In this post, I want to share my favourite pictures from the trip and tell you about some of my favourite places – the ones I feel really capture the lovely atmosphere that surrounded this trip for us.
El Retiro Park was a real highlight for me. Although it was one of the sweatiest days of my whole life, the park is absolutely massive, the lake is stunning and there’s lots of benches under the trees to cool down and people watch.
Another outdoorsy spot to visit is Templo de Debod – the remains of this Egyptian temple are beautiful to look at alone (I’ve heard they’re best at sunset!), but there’s also a great lookout point over Madrid here if you want to get a birds eye view.
One of my favourite moments was when we visited the Sunday flea markets – El Rastro. A massive street gets blocked off for the day and is jam packed with hundreds and hundreds of market stalls, selling trinkets, clothes and little treasures.
There’s also a fair few galleries and museums, which are perfect to escape the midday August heat. Most of them also have a few hours a day that are free for everyone so if you can attend at that time, it’s 100% worth going.
Museo de Reina Sofia was the one we chose to visit as it has Pable Picasso’s, Guernica, a painting that I’ve wanted to see ever since I learnt about it in a Spanish class at school.
My other favourite things we saw were the Royal Palace (which we paid to go inside, something that I’d highly recommend spending your money on) and La Real de la Almudena, an intricate, old Cathedral directly opposite the palace.
As always for me, the food was a massive highlight too. Spanish food is one of my favourites and I love the freedom of trying a bit of everything when eating tapas. Madrid has some incredible restaurants, with my two ultimate favourites being Rosi La Loca and Inclan Brutal.
There’s also some incredible food markets that are a culinary dream (although a little on the pricey side), with Mercado de San Miguel being my absolute favourite.
The La Latina area also has some beautiful traditional Spanish restaurants. We tried one called Casa Lucas that consisted of the most gorgeous food, alongside excellent service and cheap wine.
Madrid also has some really tasty brunch options too and I could live off of the freshly squeezed orange juice, which was the sweetest and freshest I’ve had anywhere in the world. My favourite breakfast spot was Ojala, a very quirky cafe, that does different breakfast set menu’s from all over the world.
And of course, it wouldn’t be Spain without yummy, cheap Sangria on every corner. I particularly liked sitting around the Plaza Mayor for a pre-dinner Sangria – prime people watching territory.
As you can see, Madrid is a picturesque city, full of delicious food spots and stunning architecture. It doesn’t have the same sightseeing appeal that somewhere like Barcelona does, but if you’re after a more relaxing city break then Madrid is just perfect.