Madrid: Top 10 Things To Do

Posted on December 15, 2006

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by ben

In town over the holidays? Here’s our Notes from Spain recommendations for 10 things to do in Madrid. For more details and maps, see your guide book! (Time Out Madrid is great.)

1. The No-Brainer
Visit at least one of the big three art museums, the Prado, the Reina Sofia and the Thyssen. If in doubt pick the Reina Sofia and see Picasso’s Guernica.

2. Tapas Grazing
Start on Cava Baja, stopping at will on this bar-packed street, then head into the depths of La Latina for more.

3. Something Different
Take a trip on the Teleferico, out into the depths of the Casa de Campo.

4. A Walk
Go to Plaza de la Villa and take one of the small alleys on the left hand side or at the back of the square. Wander aimlessly, follow your nose, change course at will, check out the churches – it’s the best way to see Madrid de las Austrias, the ancient city centre.

5. Everyone misses
Malasaña – a really charming Barrio centered around Plaza Dos de Mayo. Check out the lovely tiled shop fronts, ignore the graffiti, and have a drink at Manuela Cafe, on Calle San Vicente Ferrer 29.

6. A Park
The Retiro: for people-watching, romance, rowing, and relative peace and quiet.

7. A Shop
Antigua Casa Talavera, an incredible ceramics shop on Calle Isabel la Católica, 2

8. A trip out of the city
El Escorial or Toledo. It’s a toss up as to which is best. If you really can’t decide, try Chinchón instead.

9. A reasonable restaurant
Taberna Miranda, at Plaza del Conde Miranda, 4, is local, cheap, has amazing food, and is generally very Spanish. Our favourite in Madrid. Arrive 9ish at weekends if you don’t have a reservation. Otherwise do snacks at the lively bar.

10. Hidden Culture
El Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales, at Plaza de las Descalzas Reales, 3. A closed order of nuns still live in the private quarters of this monastery. Amazing treasures lie within.

10+1. Last thing at night
Ward off a hangover with Chocolate con Churros at Chocolatería San Ginés, on Pasadizo de San Ginés, 11. Things lived up after 3 a.m., when locals gather to dip thick battery churros sticks into gloopy hot chocolate.

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Posted in: madrid, where to go