Enjoy your next weekend like a true Madrileño! Perhaps you only have time for a quick getaway, or maybe you’re new to town and don’t have a clue as to what the locals like to do on the weekend. Here are our suggestions for an unforgettable 48 hours in Madrid. Plan your weekend ahead, book a hotel in Madrid, and enjoy la ciudad! (too lazy to read? then enjoy our video)
While breakfast may not be the most important meal of the day here, a good cup of coffee is essential. We suggest you take in your coffee at one of the many cafes near La Puerta del Sol (Metro: Sol).Many Spaniards start their day with a tostada (toasted bread with tomato) or a delicious pastry.
La Puerta del Sol (Metro: Sol) is a great starting point for your 48 hour journey. This Madrid hot spot is also known to be the center of the entire country. While you are there, take the opportunity to capture a photo with one of the most famous symbols of Madrid, the statue of the El Oso y el Madroño (the bear and the strawberry tree).
While you’ve got your camera handy, walk over to La Plaza Oriente/Royal Palace. (Metro: Opera) Take in the majestic view of the palace and the grounds which were at one time the residence of the Spanish Royals. Once you’ve enough of the royal sights, head over to where commoners and royals alike spent their time, La Plaza Mayor. (Metro: Sol or Opera) This important landmark was built in the 17th century and since then has been used for a variety of purposes, including everything from bullfighting to public executions.
By now you’re probably hungry. There are great cafes near La Plaza Mayor, but you’ve got places to go and many things to see. We suggest you grab a quick bocadillo (sandwich) and keep trekking. One of our favorites is un bocadillo de calamares (squid sandwich) which features fried calamari.
Spain has fantastic museums. Three of its most well known museums happen to be located near each other and form the golden triangle of art. First, start of El Prado museum. (Metro: Banco de España)Here, you will be greeted by the statues of two Spanish legends, Diego Velazquez and Francisco Goya. Inside, you’ll see art from various centuries and countries.
Right across from El Prado you will find the Thyssen Bornemisza museum. This collection was started by Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza in the 1920’s and soon housed one of the most wide-ranging private collections of art. Finally, finish your grand tour of the golden triangle of art by visiting La Reina Sofia Museum. Inside you will find many great works of art from the 20th and 21st centuries, but its crown jewel is Picasso’s Guernica. This impressive, mural-sized painting depicts the bombing of the Spanish town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil war.
Thanks to a late lunch, you’ve managed to make it past your usual dinner time. Stroll into any tapas bar or restaurant in Madrid and you’ll find that most kitchens don’t open until at least 9pm. Start off a leisurely dinner with a nice glass of Spanish wine to accompany your tapas.
Still wide awake? Great, the night is still young in Madrid! A good place to start your night is right back where you started the day, at La Puerta del Sol. The neighborhood of Huertas is famous for flamenco shows and tapas bars.
Walk towards La Gran Via to access the neighborhoods of Malasaña and Chueca. Though Chueca (Metro: Chueca) is the most well known gay neighborhood of Spain, it also boasts a lot of cool places to hang out. If rock is more your scene, make your way towards the neighborhood of Malasaña. (Metro: Tribunal) Here, you’ll find hard rock, punk rock and even glam rock to take you into the wee hours of the morning.
Before you know it, the sun is coming up and you are ready to wind down. What better way to wrap out the evening than by a delicious cup of hot chocolate and churros. Chocolatería San Ginés (Metro: Sol) has been serving delicious chocolaty goodness and churros since 1894.
Wake up, you still have more to see! You may be a little groggy after your Saturday evening activities, but that’s nothing a cup of coffee can’t cure. Get your fix of coffee, then get going to the neighborhood of Lavapiés, where you will find El Rastro. El Rastro is said to be the largest flea market in the world. Let yourself meander through the endless stalls as you make your way through the market and into the neighborhood of La Latina.
What’s the best way to follow up an exciting Saturday night? Vermouth of course! It’s the drink of choice here for lazy Sunday afternoons and La Latina has plenty of bars to choose from.
Aren’t you hungry yet? You’ve had a busy weekend, enjoy what is arguably the most important meal of the day in Spain-lunch! Many restaurants will offer the traditional cocido Madrileño as a choice for the main entrée. (Metro: La Latina)
So you’ve devoured your 3 course lunch and all you want to do is take a nap. El Retiro Park (Metro: Retiro or Ibiza) is the perfect place for you my friend. You can walk around, or simply find a nice place in the grass and lay your head down for a spell.
You’ve still got a bit more time left in your weekend. Hop on the metro and go to the Santiago Bernabéu stadium (Metro: Santiago Bernabéu) to take in a game featuring the Real Madrid soccer team. Tickets are hard to come by during the big games, but you can always catch the game with the locals at a nearby bar.