Madrid is the vibrant capital city of Spain, all day and all night long. Madrid is a city that would require years to satisfactorily explore. Its lengthy history, mysterious cobbled lanes and startlingly modern skyscrapers beckon to tourists from the world over.
However, most people only have a few days to delve into all that this quintessentially Spanish city has to offer, making it imperative to identify its must-see sights and attractions.
While it might not have the architectural wonders of Barcelona, this is where the true Spanish culture is most vibrant, and there are many ways to soak up the Spanish culture, history and atmosphere.
Madrid is a city that would require years to satisfactorily explore. Its lengthy history, mysterious cobbled lanes and startlingly modern skyscrapers beckon to tourists from the world over. However, most people only have a few days to delve into all that this quintessentially Spanish city has to offer, making it imperative to identify its must-see sights and attractions.
Whether you want to spend your days gazing at awe-inspiring 17th century cathedrals or looking for fantastic bargains at the Rastro, you’ll find something fascinating around every corner. This is one city where the ancient and the modern sit comfortably side-by-side.
It’s possible to enjoy the traditional spectacle of bullfighting by day and then patronize some of the most cutting-edge clubs at night. Experiencing it all is impossible.
Still, there are a few sights that most people agree are the ones that visitors shouldn’t miss. One of these is the Museo del Prado, Spain’s national art museum. It is the Louvre’s rival in every way with its stunning collection of European art ranging from the 12th century to the modern day.
Established in 1819, the Prado quickly made a name for itself as the showplace for Spain’s great artists. It maintains that reputation although the collection’s depth has grown considerably.
Madrid Spain the ultimate Spanish experience
Not far from the Prado is the National Archaeological Museum. It houses collections that were once a part of the Prado but had to be moved to make additional space for art galleries.
This other museum features fascinating collections of art and artifacts from Mesopotamia, Rome, Egypt and Greece. Together with the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum which is where the Prado moved much of its works by Dutch, German and other painters, this complex makes for a fascinating day of exploring art history.
If seeing a castle is high on your list of things to do, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to explore the New Castle of Manzanares el Real.
Built in the 15th century and situated only 30 miles north of the city, the castle looks precisely as a fairy tale edifice ought to. A breathtaking backdrop of mountains and a sparkling reservoir provide the perfect setting for the crenellations and ramparts of this classically-designed castle.
The village of Manzanares el Real is equally charming, offering a wonderful day trip for lovers of history and culture.
Authentic Madrid can be experienced at Plaza Mayor, a one-time food market that is now the ideal spot for al fresco dining, people watching and souvenir shopping. Thanks to its excellent acoustic properties, this is also one of the best places in the city to listen to live music.
Visitors seeking unexpected or unusual bargains won’t want to pass up El Rastro found just south of Plaza Mayor. At this outdoor market shoppers find antiques, junk and everything in between. Whatever you’re looking for, you’re certain to be entertained.
Madrid is a wonderful city for enjoying tapas, watching exciting flamenco dancing or getting familiar with bullfighting. Whichever adventures you choose are destined to be memorable.
Madrid Spain the Ultimate Spanish Experience Tapas Bar Crawl
Madrid has perhaps more tapas bars than any other city in Spain, and one of the best ways to indulge in these delicious delicacies is to go for a tapas bar crawl. You see, every tapas bar is famous for their own specific dish, and rather than picking one place, it’s better to have one dish at one bar, then go to the next for their speciality, and then to the next.
That way you also get to see more of the city and explore different bars and meet lots of people.
The colorful, joyful flamenco can be experienced in many venus across the city. To get the most authentic experience, watch it at a tablao (restaurant with a stage). The highlight of the shows are past midnight, which may sound late to many tourists, but it’s actually not until then that the nightlife truly begins in Madrid.
Shop For Shoes
Madrid is a great shopping city in general, but when it comes to shoes, it is one of the best in Europe.
The street where you will find the best buys is along Augusto Figueroa, in the heart of Chueca, which is lined with outlets for factory samples.
Some great shoe brands to look for are Farrutx, Camper and Lowee.
Visit the Parks
One of the most beautiful places in Madrid is the Parque del Oeste in Argüelles, which is a favorite among locals to hang out and relax on sunny summer days.
During summer the whole park smells of roses from the huge blossoming rose garden, and every year there is an international rose contest taking place there.
The park also has views over the Palacio Real and the Egyptian temple Templo de Debod.
Spanish Desserts You Must Try
Spain prides itself on its unique and distinct cuisine, and while their hearty meals will certainly fill you up, we do recommend that you save some space for the desserts – because they’re absolutely amazing..!
Here are five favorite Spanish desserts you must try…
Flan is a type of egg custard topped with caramel sauce. It’s jelly-like in texture, and melts in your mouth. It’s one of those dishes that you’ll be able to finish no matter how full you think you are after the dinner meal.
This is the Catalan version of crème brulée, with a crispy top of burnt sugar, and a soft pudding inside.
Generally prepared on Spain’s Father’s day, but you can find it throughout the whole year as well.
Turrón is a very old traditional sweet of Moorish (Arabic) origin. This almond candy / nougat treat is a typical Christmas sweet in Spain.
While almonds and honey are the main ingredients, it also comes in many different flavors and varieties.
Bunuelos de Viento
Spanish fritters have to be among the best fried snacks there is! Light and fluffy, these fritters filled with egg custard, marmelade or pastry cream literally melt in your mouth!
Another Christmas cookie, the Mantecados are a favorite among locals and something to look forward to every winter.
The rich crumbly cookies have that significant anise flavor that few other cookies manage to balance this well.
Polvo is the Spanish word for dust, and as the name suggests these cookies are very dusty and crumbly in texture.
They’re soft and heavy, made of flour, sugar, milk and nuts – and are very easy to make.
Although traditionally a Christmas cookie, people eat these all year round today.
These are just a few out of many delicious Spanish treats and desserts, you can enjoy in Madrid or Barcelona!