T R A V E L / C I T Y G U I D E S
Discover our favourite hotels, restaurants, nightlife and things to do in Madrid right now.
Updated Summer 2017
This insider's city guide has been a long time in the making. We've eaten in countless Madrid restaurants, dined in the best local eateries and visited the latest hotspots. We've also asked the most discerning locals we know to share their favourite hangouts – whether brand new or classic institutions. We bring you our hand-picked selection of our favourite places in Madrid right now.
| MADRID |
Whether you're looking for the ultimate luxury hotel, a cosy boutique hotel, or an ultra-cool design hotel, here is our pick of the best places to stay in Madrid.
1. Sophisticated Oasis ...
Enjoy the tranquility of this stylish boutique hotel in the upscale Salamanca district ...
Housed within a 19th-century palace, Hotel Unico is a haven of grand staircases, gleaming marble and verdant private gardens. With an exclusive, sophisticated feel, Hotel Unico has the air of a dramatic private residence, where guests can sink into a plush sofa in the hotel’s cosy library, retreat to one of 44 classically-elegant rooms, or enjoy an indulgent Natura Bissé spa treatment. The hotel also boasts one of the city’s most prestigious gastronomic experiences by two Michelin-starred chef, Ramon Freixa.
Claudio Coello, 67, 28001 Madrid
unicohotelmadrid.com | +34 91 781 01 73
2. Designer Haven...
ONLY YOU BOUTIQUE HOTEL
ONLY YOU ATOCHA
Contemporary urban comfort by one of Madrid’s hottest hotel groups ...
Lovers of design will be in their element at the designer-chic Only You hotel group’s two Madrid hotel addresses, where interiors by Lázaro Rosa-Violán blend contemporary style with vintage touches. At Only You Hotel Atocha, a 19th-century building has been given an industrial makeover – the vast lobby marks the hub of the action with its relaxed lounge bar and funky fusion restaurant, and make sure to soak in the panoramic views from the 7th-floor YOUniverse restaurant. At Only You Boutique Hotel, a former palace has been transformed into one of hottest hotels in the city, with rooms featuring Juliette balconies, charming window shutters and a palette of deep blue tones. Unwind at El Padrino, the hotel’s elegant book shop and bar, where you can share tapas plates and sip delicious cocktails. €€
Only You Hotel Atocha - Paseo Infanta Isabel 13, 28014 Madrid
onlyyouhotels.com/atocha | +34 914 09 78 76
Only You Boutique Hotel Madrid - Barquillo, 21, 28004 Madrid
onlyyouhotels.com/boutique-hotel-madrid | +34 910 05 27 46
3. Boutique Gem...
A luxury boutique hotel with an eye for design ...
With the air of an exclusive members club, TÓTEM Madrid nestles in the elegant Salamanca neighbourhood, home to some of the city’s most fashionable boutiques and restaurants. Oozing cosmopolitan style, TÓTEM features a minimalist aesthetic throughout its 20 sleek rooms. Sink into a plush velvet booth in the Art Deco-style cocktail bar, then unwind amidst the natural tones of Hermosos y Malditos Mediterranean restaurant.
Hermosilla, 23, 28001 Madrid
totem-madrid.com | +34 914 260 035
4. Urban Retreat...
URSO HOTEL & SPA
An urban escape surrounded by chic art galleries ...
Situated within a luxurious early 20th-century palace on the fringe of the trendy Chueca district, the Urso Hotel & Spa offers the perfect retreat from the bustle of Madrid with its soothing marble and oak modernist interiors by acclaimed Spanish designer, Antonio Obrador. Beyond the original tiled facade a wealth of historic features can be found, from beautiful stained glass windows to elegant mahogany elevators. The luminous rooms boast marble bathrooms, luxurious amenities and custom-made furniture. At the state-of-the-art Natura Bissé Spa, expect the latest well-being treatments such as diamond dust and magnetic massages. €€€
Mejía Lequerica, 8, 28004 Madrid
hotelurso.com | +34 914 444 458
5. Understated Luxury...
A luxurious haven of design in the fashionable Salamanca district ...
Eschewing the over-the-top, marble-clad opulence of other luxury hotels in Madrid, the Hotel Villa Magna offers a sophisticated blend of five-star indulgence, immaculate design and discreet service that attracts visiting dignitaries and celebrities. The 150 contemporary-classic rooms ooze understated luxury with plush velvet armchairs, rich mahogany woods, marble bathrooms and exclusive scents by French perfumer, Blaise Mautin. Sip champagne on the sultry Magnum Bar patio which is surrounded by the exotic greenery of the hotel’s lush garden, before deciding between the superb Cantonese cuisine of Tse Yang restaurant and the casually elegant terrazza of the Restaurante Villa Magna.
Paseo de la Castellana, 22 28046 Madrid
villamagna.es | +34 915 87 12 34
6. Luxury Boutique...
THE PRINCIPAL MADRID
A luxury boutique hotel with one of the hottest after-hour scenes in Madrid ...
Located just moments from the Puerta de Alcalá and the Prado, The Principal couples a superb central location with some of the best views in downtown Madrid from its stunning rooftop terrace. Capitalising on its elegant early 20th century architecture, The Principal’s lofty spaces flaunt towering columns in light-filled interiors, while rooms are irresistibly chic in charcoal and black. The Principal’s trendy rooftop retreat is the jewel in the crown, with the 6th floor Atico restaurant overseen by top chef Ramón Freixa. La Terraza is the glamorous rooftop oasis showcasing romantic panoramic views.
Marqués de Valdeiglesias, 1 (corner of Gran Via 2), 28004 Madrid
theprincipalmadridhotel.com | +34 91 521 87 43
7. Art Hotel in Central Madrid...
A sleek, modern art hotel in Madrid’s city centre ...
Hotel Urban ticks all of the boxes - industrial contemporary interiors, a glamorous rooftop lounge bar and a prime central location. Avant-garde interiors in glass and metal contrast with original art pieces from owner Jordi Clos Llombart’s personal art collection, while designer bedrooms feature a contemporary, masculine look with dark woods and leather. The hotel is home to several hip drinking and dining spaces, where you can sip cocktails at the trendy Glass bar before enjoying creative Mediterranean cuisine at Ceba. Don’t miss a visit to the hotel’s gallery which showcases a permanent collection of ancient Egyptian artworks. €€€
34 Carrera de San Jerónimo, 28014 Madrid
hotelurban.com | +34 917 877 770
HOSPES PUERTA ALCALA
A favourite of the fashion and design crowd ...
Revealing sleek contemporary living spaces within a beautiful 19th-century setting, the Hospes Puerta Alcalá oozes a warm, intimate and exclusive feel. Devote an afternoon to relaxation at the state-of-the-art Bodyna Spa with its modest candle-lit pool, Turkish hammam and spacious outdoor terrace, then retire to the classic elegance of a Deluxe Suite for sweeping views over Retiro Park. The Hospes Madrid blends a sense of tranquil opulence with an enviable location overlooking the Alcalà Gate. €€
Plaza de la Independencia, 3 28001 Madrid
hospes.com | +34 914 322 911
ROOM MATE HOTELS
A young, funky hotel chain with budget-chic properties in the city’s best neighbourhoods ...
Spain’s innovative Room-Mate Hotel Group offers a portfolio of fun, funky and affordable budget-chic hotels around the world, several of which are based in Madrid. Designed by acclaimed Spanish designer, Tomas Alia, each of the Room Mate hotels are themed with a fictitious character in mind : from the bold minimalism of Room-Mate Mario, to the retro look of Room-Mate Laura. Room-Mate Oscar is our favourite, with an eye-catching modern design and outdoor terrace swimming pool. With a youthful vibe, Room Mate Oscar’s 75 rooms and suites are designed with curvaceous modern furniture, bold prints and fabrics, and the latest modern conveniences. €
Plaza Vázquez de Mella 12, Madrid
oscar.room-matehotels.com | +34 917 011 173
Average Price of a Double Room: € = Around €100 or less; €€ = Around €200; €€€ = > €300
| MADRID |
Whether you're looking for a fabulous foodie dining spot, the city's best casual eatery, or a see-and-be-seen dining spot, here is our pick of the best places to eat in Madrid right now.
1. Wow Factor!
Madrid’s trendiest culinary address ...
The place to see-and-be-seen in Madrid, Amazonico represents another smash hit dining spot by chef Sandro Silva and Marta Seco, whose portfolio of local hotspots includes Restaurant El Paraguas and Ten con Ten. Start with a craft cocktail at the elegant bar then savour inventive fusion dishes, such as Argentine steaks, sushi, succulent tandoori grilled meats and Hawaiian specialities.
Calle Jorge Juan 20, 28001 Madrid
restauranteamazonico.com | +34 915 15 43 32
2. Foodie Favourite...
One of Madrid’s most in-demand fine dining experiences ...
Famous for its highly inventive fusion cuisine, the 3-Michelin star DiverXo sees young chef Dabiz Muñoz crafting unique dishes with Mediterranean, Chinese and Japanese influences. With only 30 seats, Muñoz and his team seek to challenge diners with their unique flavour combinations, radical cooking techniques and exquisitely presented dishes. Choose between three tasting menus and let the DiverXO experience stir your senses with inspired creations such as the ‘Spanish Tortilla”: a potato and caramelised onion ball served with a side of bean puree and Mexican chili sauce – a play on Chinese dim sum. €€€
C/ Padre Damian, 23 28036 Madrid
diverxo.com | +34 915 700 766
3. Creative Cuisine...
Soulful Michelin-starred cuisine ...
Renowned chef Diego Guerrero says everything about his culinary philosophy in his restaurant’s name, Dstage – i.e. “Days to Smell Taste Amaze Grow and Enjoy”. Set within a funky industrial setting, Dstage invites you on a surprising and sensory 12-, 14- or 17-course tasting odyssey, which may include nostalgic dishes inspired by Guerrero’s mother’s cooking, or more theatrical modern creations. Every table enjoys a front row view of the action of Guerrero’s open kitchen, where you’ll feel as though you’ve joined an intimate local dinner party.
Calle de Regueros, 8, 28004 Madrid
dstageconcept.com | +34 917 02 15 86
4. Modern Tapas Bar...
Discover where Madrid’s chefs choose to eat at this stylish family institution ...
A favourite dining destination of Madrid’s leading chefs – including celebrated local chef, David Munoz (DiverXo) – Sacha was launched by chef Sacha Hormaechea, whose parents named the restaurant in his honour in 1972. Famous for his mastery of meats, exceptional local ingredients and superb seafood, Sacha riffs on a seasonal theme in dishes such as spider-crab lasagne, hearty beef with marrow, and fried scallops drizzled in butter. While intimate low-lit interiors reveal antique furnishings, framed sketches and hanging jamons, the leafy terrace is home to a scattering of coveted tables during the warmer months.
Calle de Juan Hurtado de Mendoza 11
No website| + 34 91 345 5952
5. Traditional Tapas…
LA TASQUITA DE ENFRENTE
Market fresh Spanish cuisine by chef Juanjo López ...
One of Madrid’s most beloved culinary addresses, La Tasquita de Enfrente is an institution of inventive, seasonal Spanish cuisine by chef Juanjo López. Loyal locals and avid foodies flock to hear the chef personally explain the daily menu, which is crafted from the finest market-fresh produce and pairs perfectly with La Tasquita’s great wine list. Surrender yourself to chef López’ expert selection, where the nightly tasting menu combines contemporary flair with traditional flavours. There’s only a handful of tables in this intimate dining space decorated with white-wooden panelling, bare brick and an elegant gallery of framed prints, thus reservations are recommended.
Calle de la Ballesta, 6, 28004 Madrid
No website| +34 915 32 54 49
6. Modern Mexican...
Experience Michelin Star Mexican cuisine ...
The first Mexican restaurant in Europe to be awarded one Michelin Star, Punto MX is the brainchild of chef and owner Roberto Riaz, whose fusion of bold Mexican flavours and contemporary cooking techniques has made this one of the hottest tables in Madrid. The Punto MX experience begins in its chic upstairs bar, where expertly-crafted cocktails are served amidst plush armchairs and monochrome tiles – this is also Spain’s first ‘MezcalLab’ with the largest selection of Mezcal in Europe. At the restaurant, enjoy house-specialty guacamole made to order at your table, followed by dishes such as red tuna tacos, braised duck enchiladas and oxtail colado tamale, all crafted using ingredients grown in Punto MX’s in-house organic garden.
General Pardiñas, 40 B, 28001 Madrid
puntomx.es | +34 91 402 2226
7. Foodie Gem...
Expand your culinary horizons ...
In Madrid’s upscale Salamanca neighbourhood, award-winning chef Javi Estevez celebrates nose-to-tail dining at La Tasqeria, the chef’s passion project housed in a funky industrial space. Amidst concrete pillars, exposed brick walls and industrial lamps, Estevez’ famous signature suckling pig’s head emerges from the open kitchen along with succulent sweetbreads, pig’s trotters and hearty stews of chorizo, pig snouts and tripe. Enjoy an innovative culinary adventure for daring gourmands.
Calle Duque de Sesto, 48, 28009 Madrid
latasqueria.com | +34 91 451 10 00
8. Trendy Scene...
TEN CON TEN
Experience the flavours of Spain’s Asturias region in a trendy, relaxed setting ...
Following the success of his local hotspot, Restaurant El Paraguas, talented young chef Sandro Silva opened sister restaurant, Ten Con Ten. Quickly establishing itself as one of the hottest dining venues in the city, Ten Con Ten places a modern spin on the cuisine of Spain’s northern region of Asturias. Discover a wide range of tantalising Spanish flavours, such as the anchoas con tomates secos (anchovies with dried tomatoes), pulpo de Pedreiro Asado (grilled octopus), and bacalao negro asado con manzana (roasted black cod with apple). Book up to one week in advance for dinner reservations. €€
Calle de Ayala, 6, 28001 Madrid
restaurantetenconten.com | +34 915 75 92 54
9. Local Tapas Bars...
THE BEST TAPAS BARS
A selection of the best tapas bars in the Spanish capital ...
Some of the best tapas and wine bars in Madrid can be found in the vibrant district of La Latina, only a short walking distance from the iconic Plaza Mayor in the center of the city. Head to Cava Baja, a long, narrow cobblestone street filled with one tapas bar after another, where you can expect creative, flavoursome and highly affordable Spanish tapas. Try the fashionable Tempranillo (Cava Baja, 38, Madrid) which has an excellent selection of Spanish wines and tapas bites. Another popular option is La Chata (Cava Baja, 24, Madrid) which has a wide selection of traditional tapas, along with their signature jamon de jabugo (sliced cured meat). Casa Lucio (Cava Baja, 35) is one of the most renowned tapas bars in Madrid with high quality local dishes, where you’re likely to see at least one famous face in the crowd. Just around the corner is Juana La Loca (Plaza Puerta de Moros, 4, Madrid), a stylish bar and restaurant with Basque-inspired pintxos such as the tortilla espanola (Spanish omelette) with caramelised onions. €
Cava Baja, La Latina, Madrid
10. Local Food Market...
MERCADO DE SAN MIGUEL
A must-visit local food market ...
Our favourite food market in Madrid is the Mercado de San Miguel, filled with fresh food stalls and tapas bars. The Mercado de San Antón is another popular local market, where you’ll find everything from fresh flowers to a wide variety of Spanish wine, cheese, meats, seafood, desserts, and more.
Mercado de San Miguel - Plaza de San Miguel, 28005 Madrid
mercadodesanmiguel.es | +34 915 42 49 36
Mercado de San Antón - Calle de Augusto Figueroa, 24, 28004 Madrid
mercadosananton.com | +34 913 30 07 30
11. Magnificent Setting...
Chef Dani García blends the flavours of Andalucia with global inspiration ...
Awarded two Michelin Stars for his original Restaurant Bibo in Marbella, chef Dani García has brought his Andalucian fusion cuisine to an elegant address in Madrid. Defining his cuisine as “borderless”, the chef has created an eclectic menu of specialities such as his signature cherry gazpacho with fresh cheese snow, pistachios and basil, and the sumptuous foie gras and goats cheese millefeuille. Spectacular interiors are the work of designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán, who has transformed this 800-metre space into a dream-like scene where a hot air balloon hangs above the circular bar and 7,000 light bulbs illuminate the dining room.
Paseo de la Castellana, 52, 28046 Madrid
grupodanigarcia.com | +34 918 052 556
Average Price of a Main Meal: € = Less than €10; €€ = Around €20; €€€ = More than €30
| MADRID |
Whether you're looking for the perfect cocktail, the city's best alfresco bar, or a late-night club, here is our pick of the best places to drink and party in Madrid right now.
1. WOW Factor!
Discover one of Madrid's hottest nightlife destinations.
Madrid’s hottest see-and-be-seen destination, Tatel blends a sleek cocktail lounge, intimate restaurant and live performance space inspired by the irresistible elegance of the 1920s. Live vocalists and visiting DJs take centre stage at Tatel, where guests can sink into red leather Chesterfields and enjoy superb cuisine by renowned chefs Nino Redruello and Patxi Zumarraga, or sip premium cocktails in the sultry-lit, stone-clad bar. With celebrity investors including Rafael Nadal and Enrique Iglesias, Tatel now boasts glamorous outposts in Miami and Ibiza.
Paseo de la Castellana, 36, 28046 Madrid
tatelrestaurants.com | +34 911 72 18 41
2. Sophisticated Cocktails...
SALMON GURU BY DIEGO CABRERA
Discover a glamorous gastro-bar by Spain’s most famous mixologist.
Setting the bar for cocktails in Madrid, Salmon Guru is a favourite with the city’s celebrities and cocktail connoisseurs. Argentine cocktail star Diego Cabrera is the talent behind this quirky drinking den, where deep green ceilings and jet black tiling set a sultry mood. Order some gourmet bites, perch at the wooden bar and watch as Salmon Guru’s friendly staff craft a potent mix of cocktails, from the classic gin fizz and mojito to more avant garde creations - don’t miss the range of mezcal creations. Famous for its warm welcome and speakeasy feel, Salmon Guru is the go-to address for mixology in Madrid.
Calle de Echegaray 21, 28014 Madrid
No website | +34 910 00 61 85
3. Wine & Cocktail Bar...
A subtle speakeasy vibe holds sway in this stylish wine bar and restaurant.
A haven for wine lovers, Angelita Madrid is the work of the celebrated Villalón brothers, whose renowned El Padre restaurant is still fondly remembered by local foodies. Using ingredients taken from the brothers’ own garden, a contemporary seasonal menu is served in the restaurant on the ground floor, while in the trendy basement an intimate world of Chesterfield sofas and bare brick pillars awaits those in search of meticulous mixology. Peruse an international wine list of more than 500 labels, choose from a range of artisanal beers or enjoy the playful presentation of Angelita’s expertly-crafted cocktails.
Calle La Reina 4, 28004 Madrid
madrid-angelita.es | +34 91 521 66 78
4. Trendy Scene...
A collection of sleek spaces for cocktails, eclectic cuisine and al fresco glamour.
With its eclectic interiors designed by world-famous creator Philippe Starck, Ramses reveals an array of glamorous spaces, from the futuristic Champagne Bar in immaculate whites, to the sleek terrace with its stylish after-work cocktail crowd and views over the Puerta de Alcalá. Savour contemporary Japanese cuisine at Natsuki, where tables are decorated with moving digital images and neon graffiti pops against a white palette, or discover the elegant grandeur and Mediterranean cuisine of the more formal Suria restaurant.
Plaza de la Independencia, 4, 28001 Madrid
ramseslife.com | +34 914 35 16 66
5. Gin & Tonics...
A stylish see-and-be-seen tapas bar and restaurant.
Affectionately known as ‘Quintin’, this relaxed tapas bar is the work of local gastronomic trend-setters Sandro Silva and Marta Seco, whose hotspots include Ten con Ten and El Paraguas. Attracting a stylish clientele of celebrities and well-heeled locals, Quintin’s elegant spaces buzz with conversation as small plates of classic Spanish morsels weave through lofty interiors in red brick and wood, where delicate iron-work and an abundance of greenery lends a colonial feel. Candlelight flickers beneath vaulted ceilings by night, as visitors share plates of Iberico ham, traditional pan con tomate - fresh bread with garlic and crushed tomatoes - and artichoke lasagna. Sidle up to the bar to peruse the expertly-curated wine selection while soaking up the vibrant atmosphere.
Calle Jorge Juan 17, 28001 Madrid
ultramarinosquintin.es | +34 91 78 646 24
6. Classic Cocktails...
1862 DRY BAR
Classic cocktails meet bespoke creations at this relaxed cocktail bar.
Celebrated cocktail craftsman Alberto Martínez helms the shakers at 1862 Dry Bar, an award-winning temple to mixology in the trendy Malasaña neighbourhood. Join the after-work crowd who come to sip classic Cosmpolitans in the elegant ground floor bar, or arrive late in typical Spanish style to join the revels in the intimate basement bar. While the meticulously-crafted cocktail menu is guaranteed to tempt, allow 1862’s talented team to create something special just for you. You won’t regret it.
Calle del Pez, 27, Madrid
No website | +34 60 95 311 51
Discover this exclusive, after-hours scene.
Art and hedonism collide at Madrid’s Arts Club, where sophisticated fun-seekers are lured into a heady world of expertly-crafted cocktails, DJ-spun sets and exclusive weekend parties. You’ll find Madrid’s beautiful crowd surrounding the sunken bar to watch dapper mixologists craft premium cocktails by Rocio Ferrer. With a Martini in hand, sink into a velvet Chesterfield and admire the work of British street artist Inkie, whose vast mural is on permanent display.
Velázquez, 96. 28006, Madrid
artsclubmadrid.com | +34 912 770 365
8. Tapas & Cocktails...
A fun, creative-yet-casual tapas bar.
Launched by two charming young Spanish brothers (one is the chef and the other the architect), La Gabinoteca is a fresh tapas bar concept that’s fun, quality-driven and unpretentious. La Gabinoteca offers tapas classics such as tortilla de patatas y pimientos (omelette with potato and peppers), fried eggs with potato and truffles, and gambas al ajillo (garlic prawns). Contemporary tapas creations include braised veal cheek showered with fresh vegetables, and calamari sandwiches filled with baby squid. With potent mojitos and a well-curated Spanish wine list, La Gabinoteca draws a fun and eclectic crowd of all ages. We recommend arriving early if you want to secure a table – reservations are taken only at lunchtime. €
C/ Fernández de la Hoz, 53, 28003 Madrid
lagabinoteca.es | +34 913 991 500
9. Best Nightclubs...
Join Madrid’s late night party scene at one of the city’s nightclubs.
Housed within a 19th-century theatre and famous for partying 365 nights a year, Joy Eslava is an icon of the Madrid nightlife scene where every night offers a new experience, from house, R&B and hip hop to live bands and cabaret shows. At Kapital, seven floors of revelry guarantees a social scene for every taste. Dance to the techno beats and mesmerising light shows of the first floor, or keep exploring to discover a karaoke lounge, R&B room, Greatest Hits area and 7th-floor outdoor terrace. With a more exclusive crowd, New Garamond offers the chance to celebrity spot on its vast dance floor or glamorous balconies, while at BlackHaus, the VIP vibe makes it a favourite with Spain’s elite. From the heated terrace and glamorous restaurant to the basement nightclub with its graffiti-clad walls, BlackHaus is the place for Madrid’s wildest party scene.
10. Best Rooftop Terrace...
THE PENTHOUSE (ME ROOFTOP)
A glamorous rooftop terrace with spectacular city views.
Perched high above the city on the rooftop of the stylish ME Madrid Hotel, The Roof pairs panoramic views and low-lit glamour with decadent cocktails. Guests are whisked up from the ground floor in a private elevator to the sleek decked terrace, where views over Madrid’s famous Plaza Santa Ana are enjoyed from plush velvet beds and Madrid’s elite can be found at the exclusive VIP lounge. Dress to impress and dance the night away to cutting-edge beats with Spanish celebrities, football players and fashionable locals.
Plaza de Santa Ana, 14, Madrid Spain
melia.com/the-roof | +34 917 016 000
Average Price of a Drink: € = Less than €10; €€ = Around €20; €€€ = More than €30
SEE + DO
| MADRID |
Don't miss these incredible Madrid museums, cultural landmarks and local experiences.
Museums & Galleries...
Boasting one of the world’s most impressive art collections, Museo del Prado is home to a collection of over 7,800 art works, including priceless 16th- and 17th-century treasures from masters such as Raphael, Botticelli, Rubens, Velazquez and Goya. Another must-visit museum in Madrid is the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, which showcases a superb collection including European masterpieces by Rembrandt, Renoir, Degas and Raphael. One of Madrid’s finest contemporary art museums is the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, which enjoys a unique setting within a former hospital and displays a cutting-edge collection of 20th- and 21st-century works by Spanish artists – don’t miss Picasso’s world-famous Guernica, the jewel of this superb collection. One of the largest royal palaces in Europe, the Palacio Real is the official residence of the King of Spain which is home to a priceless collection of treasures. Founded in 1559 by Joan of Austria, the Convent of Las Descalzas Reales is both a working convent and an award-winning museum, with its own priceless collection of artworks, ceiling frescoes, tapestries and sculptures, including works by Rubens and Titian.
The Best Parks...
The Parque del Retiro is one of the most famous parks in Madrid, where you’ll find a local crowd walking, jogging and socialising during the week. Formerly a royal garden, the park was opened to the public in the 1860s and is one of the city’s most prized verdant sanctuaries. The Real Jardin Botanico is a beautiful garden in Madrid’s city centre, lined with statues and located close to the Prado Museum. Don’t miss the picturesque views of the Casa de Campo which can be seen from the park on a clear day.
The heart of central Madrid and the home of some of the city’s most impressive landmarks, the Centro district is a must-visit area for any visitor to Madrid. Key sights include the imposing Plaza Mayor, the vibrant El Rastro flea markets, and the city’s central meeting point, the Plaza Puerta del Sol. Another popular area is Salamanca, one of Madrid’s most fashionable areas with designer boutiques, upscale restaurants, and trendy nightlife spots. Chueca is Madrid’s trendy quarter, where funky stores mingle with hip bars and atmospheric casual restaurants. Recoletos is Madrid’s cultural district, where you’ll find iconic art museums such as the Museo del Prado, the Museum of Decorative Arts, and the verdant Parque del Retiro. Lavapies is the home of some of Madrid’s best art galleries, museums and live performance theatres, while CaixaForum Madrid is a seven-storey cultural complex of art, drama and live music.
Madrid has been hosting major corridas (fights) in the historic Plaza de Toros stadium since 1931. While the debate continues as to whether bullfighting is an art form, a passionate sport, or simply an inhumane spectacle, watching a bullfight in Madrid is nonetheless a unique local activity. Alternatively, the Madrileños maintain a fiery, passionate love affair with football and its local Real Madrid players. Whether you're a football fan or not, it’s a highly memorable experience watching a live game at the state-of-the-art Santiago Bernabéu stadium. A flamenco performance in Madrid is topped only by a flamenco lesson with an experienced local instructor. Casa Patas is a historic flamenco performance space and flamenco school where many of the world’s best flamenco dancers and musicians have graced the stage.
The Best Shopping...
Having opened over 100 years ago, El Rastro is a popular Spanish flea market in Madrid’s Centro area which sells a wide range of second-hand treasures. One of the trendiest shopping areas in Madrid is in the Salamanca district, where streets such as Callejón de Jorge Juan are filled with designer boutiques and fashion stores. For an all-in-one department store experience, visit El Corte Inglés which is home to several floors of fashion, beauty, electronics and a gourmet delicatessen, which is the ideal place to pick up some Spanish wine, cured meats and other local products. Madrid’s main commercial shopping area is centred around Calle de Serrano in the Centro district, where you’ll find major international brands such as Zara, along with independent local boutiques. One of the best food markets in Madrid is the Mercado de San Miguel, filled with many fresh food stalls and tapas bars which are packed with locals enjoying a casual bite and a glass of Spanish wine. The Mercado de San Antón is another popular local market, where you’ll find everything from fresh flowers to Spanish wine, cheese, meats, seafood, desserts, and much more.
The Best Spas...
The O2 Centro Wellness is a one-stop pampering spa with a wide range of beauty treatments, pilates, aqua aerobics, a sauna and more, with four locations in Madrid. The Lab Room is another popular local spa with state-of-the-art hydrotherapy pools, aromatherapy showers, massages, fitness equipment and beauty treatments. For Zen-inspired relaxation, Chi Spa offers the best of Eastern and Western face and body treatments in a soothing, peaceful environment. Soak in a hot or cold bath then enjoy a massage at Diacqua Spa in Madrid’s Retiro district, the perfect way to relieve tension and stress.
O U R O T H E R C I T Y G U I D E S . . .