Madrid: A bustling cultural haven in central Spain
When people mention Spain as a holiday destination, the first thing that comes to mind are sandy stretches of beach sprawling with sun loungers, an abundance of seafood restaurants lining the sea front, and stunning coastal views.
However, sometimes this beautiful country is overlooked as a destination that is perfect for a city break, and when people do consider city breaks here, Barcelona is often top of their list.
In actual fact, the capital, Madrid, has everything other major cities has to offer, and so much more.
What to see and do
So why is Madrid so great?
This beautiful city is filled with glorious parkland, historical landmarks and educational museums, not to mention an abundance of boutique eateries and bars serving scrumptious local cuisine. On arrival, you’ll feel a bustling energy like no other: street performers playing traditional music and restaurateurs eagerly urging visitors into their establishments.
When you book a break to this metropolis, make sure you capitalise on your time by fitting in all there is to offer. For your first day, spend time strolling among the city’s main streets to soak in the atmosphere. Take in the bustle of Gran Via, as well as the stunning architecture of Plaza Mayor, where you can live the life of a true Spaniard and enjoy a strong coffee whilst people-watching. The Paseo del Prado is also lined with quaint tapas restaurants; perfect for a traditional lunch.
On your second day, consider a trip to one of the city’s many museums. The Prado National Museum has fine art dating back to the 12th century, whilst the archaeological museum, Museo Arqueológico Nacional, is a great place to explore the city’s history.
After all this walking and exploring, you’ll no doubt be in need of a relaxing day. Amidst the hubbub of the city, you’ll find Retiro Park – a hidden gem and urban oasis filled with acres of parkland. Formerly owned by the Spanish monarchy, the park is filled with beautiful sculptures, monuments and a peaceful lake.
In between all this exploring, you can keep energy levels high with the delicious cuisine. There are several high-end restaurants, perfect for a sophisticated meal, in the Plaza Mayor, or check out Tinto y Tapas, a charming café where you can experience the best of Spanish cuisine without breaking the bank.
If Madrid sounds like the perfect destination for you, head to http://www.esmadrid.com/en for plenty of ideas of things to do in this stunning city.
Photo credit: Josele Gonzalez