The city of "the Bear and the Strawberry Tree."; Madrid.
Madrid is the capital of Spain and is genuinely a treasure.
Whether you are looking for leisure, arts, or a thrill, you can find it all in Madrid. I was lucky enough to visit Madrid in 2016, and I look forward to giving you an idea of the city and what to expect when you visit.
When people think of Madrid, one word comes to their mind: beautiful. Spain's economic, cultural, sporting, and political capital has been the epicenter of Spanish culture since 1083.
The population is around 3.5 million, so you can imagine how big the region of Madrid is, to house that many people. While traveling, I had an experience where I walked from Atocha Cercanias to Avenida de la Albufera, which is 8km. I did not realize before the walk how steep parts of Madrid were. There are so many hills and steep roads. How tired I was at the end made me appreciate how giant Madrid is.
Madrid is a football city, home to the most incredible football team, Real Madrid, and several other great teams (Athletico Madrid, Rayo Vallecano, etc.). Anyone who visits Madrid needs to experience a football match in Madrid, as it may be the most electrifying experience of their life.
Madrid can offer anything, to anyone, in any way. Read below to find details about various aspects of life in Madrid.
What to expect from the weather in Madrid? Madrid has a tropical Mediterranean climate.
A Mediterranean climate means that a place has an environment influenced by water circulation in the Mediterranean Sea. This influence from the sea can make the weather in Madrid quite unpredictable.
Many people say Madrid has only two seasons, as Summer and Winter often influence Spring and Autumn. I went to Madrid in the middle of Spring; however, it already felt like summer. I only wore singlets and shorts because everything else made me sweat too much. It did not rain on any of the seven days I was in Madrid, which I loved as I enjoyed the sun.
In all honesty, the climate in Madrid was lovely, and it should not be a headache when it comes to packing for a visit to Madrid.
Madrid, though beautiful, is vast in size, and this size makes it essential to know what travel options are available when trying to get around the city.
The biggest tip I can offer is knowing how far away you are from your accommodation. I can say big cities are not daunting; however, this is only true if you're prepared, and it is always better to be safe than sorry. It is easy to let the spark of travel blind your senses.
During my experience in Madrid, I found it so aesthetically beautiful that I wanted to walk around many parts of the city to soak in the atmosphere. Naturally, this will not be a viable way to always get around in Madrid. What I did was find the suburbs I wanted to explore, caught a train to this suburb, and then caught the train back once I finished.
There are also the typical things such as Ubers and all the variations. Taxis, buses, there are so many viable ways to get around Madrid that it should not be an obstacle regardless of whether you have a vehicle or not.
If this is not your style, Madrid has so many ways to help you get around.
Madrid has an efficient bus system that people can use to navigate around the city.
Uber, Didi, Ola, and other carpooling services have taken over local transportation industries worldwide. They are reliable, have a great tracking system, and do not overcharge.
I touched on this earlier, but the metro is the most efficient way to get around Madrid. It is not hard to understand, and the frequency of the trains makes things very stress-free.
Being the capital of Spain and exceedingly popular, Madrid is usually very accessible to the world (When Covid is not involved). Naturally, until there's a cure for the Corona Virus, worldwide accessibility is not possible. Regardless! One day soon, we will all be able to travel to this beautiful city, and when it does become accessible, these are the best ways to get to Madrid.
Before I found myself in Madrid, I traveled to Barcelona. From there, I found out about the joys of the Spanish train system. I ended up taking the train from Barcelona to Madrid, which was fantastic.
Why did I choose to use the train? It is a viable option for someone looking for comfort, ease of experience, and time efficiency. I ended up paying 30 euros for a first-class train ride from Barcelona to Madrid. What a steal.
Driving into the city or taking a bus is also an option. If you are too far away that other services are needed, then flights within Europe are cheap. Flights outside of Europe can be expensive, depending on where you're flying from and when, so it's best to be flexible and do your research.
As you walk through Madrid and sit down to enjoy your meals, you'll notice the city's beauty is reflected in its cuisine.
Madrid has a rich range of flavors available. The national dishes of Spain are Tapas and Paellas, which are for sharing as Spanish culture is all about involvement.
There is one rule for traditional Madrid cuisine; a spoon must accompany the meal. Many traditional dishes have many elements that are enjoyed the most all at once! I loved the seafood available, and the seafood paellas are superb.
A simple walk around the city will expose an array of great restaurants and cafes hidden in Madrid's beauty. If you have a sweet tooth, a national treasure is Churros, which are guaranteed to be hot and fresh in Madrid no matter where you find them.
As I have mentioned previously, Madrid is massive. The size means that looking for accommodation can be easy, and it can also be challenging, as variables could make finding accommodation difficult or easy.
During the slower seasons - Autumn, Winter - going to Madrid will lead to cheaper, vacant accommodation. The opposite naturally applies, as Madrid is vastly busier during Summer and Spring, so the supply becomes more expensive as demand increases.
Everyone prefers specific accommodations. I have found that all options are viable; it depends on what is feasible for your position. I have found that luxury hotels are constantly available, but they are costly.
I stayed in a 3-star hotel when I visited Madrid and honestly could not complain. There are some outstanding deals online or through agencies.
If you are looking for accommodation based on budget, Madrid will have you covered. I always consider how far away I am from the city center and my hotel's suburb. Being away from the center has its challenges; however, one of the good things about being away is finding cheaper accommodation.
Your budget truly depends on what you want to do in Madrid.
It would be best if you considered a few things: accommodation, food, leisure. It's important to remember that you don't want to worry about going to $0. An emergency fund will prove helpful, as traveling always leads to spending more than you thought you would.
I like to think of an amount I would be comfortable with, then double it.
Flamenco is an art style that originated in Spain. Some of the most famous Flamenco items are the Flamenco guitar and Flamenco clothing.
I bought a unique, traditional wineskin in Madrid and still have it with me to this day. You will find countless unique pieces of art available around Madrid and many things worth your money.
Visitors will find bullfighting throughout all of Madrid, as it is a big part of Spanish culture. Posters, figurines, art, numerous ways to express your interest in bullfighting.
There is so much to do in Madrid, with excitement around every corner. I had days exploring authentic suburbs where no one spoke English, walking around, and seeing world-class football from 10-year-olds. Madrid is magical, and there are specific things that can make your experience that much sweeter.
Parque Del Buen Retiro is a beautiful park in the heart of Madrid. You can get lost walking around this beautiful area of Madrid for hours and not feel like you wasted a second.
Flamenco-style dancing. A dancing style that originated in Spain and a style you can enjoy watching in Madrid today. Flamenco dancing plays a part in Spanish culture, so make sure you check out Villa Rosa in particular.
If you want to find yourself in a vibrant area of Madrid, look no further than Puerta Del Sol. It is a transport hub where you can enjoy a coffee and observe all the people going about their business.
I was fortunate enough to experience a game played in Madrid. Watching Real Madrid was a dream come true and is as magical as any football enthusiast has dreamt.