What to do in Madrid
Madrid is the Capital of Spain, perfectly centered in the middle. The Emblem of Madrid is a Bear eating from a Strawberry tree. Madrid is a Vibrant City full of history and colour. It is home to wonderful Churches, delicious Food and most importantly Real Madrid Football Team. You can feel the Spanish Passion vibrating throughout the city.
The best way to explore Madrid is by walking around the city to experiencing the variety of history and architecture that is on offer.
Puerta del Sol
Puerta del Sol is the heart of the city. This is where in Spain all distances are measured from Kilometre Zero. There is where you will find the Emblem of Madrid of a Bear eating a Strawberry Tree. Puerta del Sol hosts New Year's Eve celebrations every year, where they count down from the Clock Tower in the Centre where you eat the Twelve Grapes as the Bell hits midnight.
Plaza Mayor is a hidden icon of Madrid, with access from multiple passageways. This plaza shows what it was like in the height of fashion in the 1600's, theatre performances, bull fighting and gossiping local with street performers still in the Square. If you are a Coin & Stamp Collector there are stalls of passionate collectors every Sunday. Enjoy the grandeur and colour of this Plaza in the heart of Madrid's Old City.
Mercado de San Miguel
What delicious food is at Mercado de San Miguel. There is a vibrant, fun market with such variety of food stalls and drinking spot. It is perfect for all times of the day, it becomes even better at night. Mercado de San Miguel is a wonderful architectural feat example of 20th Century Iron Work. So enjoy the walk around tasting every bit of food in this beautiful building. .
Muralla Arabe was built in Early-Medieval Times, but it is now ruins but shows the diversity of Madrid. it is amazing to see how far the Moors got up into Spain. (For a true Moorish experience head down to Granada)
Catedral de la Almudena
This is unlike any Cathedral you'll see in Europe. Seeming Madrid is so old you would imagine the Cathedral outside the Main Palace for the Royal Family, would be steeped in history from the 1500s at least. It is a mixture of modern and a little taste of history. It is the perfect juxtaposition architectural building, being built in 1993. I was impressed by the free Wifi. The most wonderful experience of the visit is looking up at the Ceiling. It is an incredible kaleidoscope of design, with the Stained Glass Windows feeling as a tribute to Pisacco. It is worth the visit to experience this unique Cathedral.
A wonderful quote I read about the Palacio Real was " Spain's lavish Palace is a jewel box of a Palace". It is the official palace for Royal Ceremonies for the Spanish Royal Family. Every room in the Palace is a wonderful bejewelled feast of Rococo Architecture. The highlights of the visit are The Royal Library with Isabella I Book of Hours, The Royal Pharmacy, The Banqueting Hall, Royal Chapel and The Throne Room. The only minus visiting the Palacio is that you are unable to take photos, but there is a great book and multiple postcards in the Gift Shop at the end of your tour. Tickets are €11 for adults and it is open from 10am daily. Free admission: Monday to Friday in the Royal Palace from 4pm to 6pm
Jardines de Sabatini
Once part of the Palace ground, these days there is a strong 18th Century feel. It is an Oasis in Madrid's City. With a perfect view of the Palace, it will take you back into a time gone by.
While in the area of Jardines de Sabatini head on over Plaza de Espana, it is a huge open square with perfectly lined architecture. Along with Don Quixote resting on his horse.
Temple de Debod
Originally build in Egypt but in 1960 when the construction of Aswan High Dam threaten many archaeological sites, a call for help was made. With all the help that Spain gave towards the Abu Simbel Temples, Egypt donated the Temple of Debod.
It is a wonderful example of Ancient Egyptian Architecture that has been restored to its former glory. Not a popular Tourist sight, it is full of locals enjoying a walk in the garden and is the perfect place to relax from all your sight seeing. At Sunset the Temple becomes lively as musicians and acrobats practice their art as they watch from this perfect location to look over all of Madrid and see all the colours change in the sky.
El Rastro - Flea Market
On Sundays the streets in La Latina get closed down and covered in thousands of stalls. There is such a variety of market stalls, from Jewellery, to Fashion, Tourists, Second-hand treasures the list is endless. If you are addicted to finding beautiful trinkets like me, make sure you stock up on alot of cash for your wallet. It is one of the best Flea Markets I have been to, you will shop till you drop. The markets are open from 9am - 3pm, with the closest Metros being La Latina & Puerta de Toledo.
Parque del Buen Retrio
The Parque del Buen Retrio once was a Royal Retreat and it still feels like that. It is a perfect place for a picnic, a promenade, a row in the lake and even having your fortune told. Not only is it a magnificent park dotted with sculptures and monuments, it is home to galleries and concerts, making it a beating heart from Madrid. If I told you all that happened there, the list would be endless. Head on over to enjoy everything that is on offer in this beautiful Park. It is the perfect escape from the reality of city life.
Palacio de Cristal
What originally caught my eye on visiting Parque del Buen Retrio was the amount of beautiful photos online of the Palacio de Cristal. It was inspired by the Crystal Palace in London, being build to show off the Tropical Flora & Fauna from the Philippines. It is build from beatufiul Iron Work and Glass with Ceramics edging the corners. The Palacio de Cristal is part of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, offering exhibits.
Plaza de Toros Monumental de Las Ventas
Well that is a mouth full, how about I say it is the Bull Fighting Ring in Madrid. Designed inspired by its Moorish Neighbours in the South. Build in the 1930s Plaza de Toros, to this day still host Bull Fighting Events, as well as Theatre Performances. The cost of seats depends on whether you are in the Sun or Shade.
Plaza de Toros is open for a self guided tour through the Ring, including a Museum and Chapel. Open daily: 10.00am-6.00pm, Tickets are 12,90€.
Watch a Real Madrid Game
Follow all the locals and join them in a passionate game of Football (Soccer). It is meant to be a great experience, listening to the roars by the passionate fans.
I hope this inspires you to see all the History and Colour that Madrid has to offer.