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Got any recommendations for Madrid?


Mar 12th, 2012, 11:30 PM
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Got any recommendations for Madrid?


My wife and I are thinking about going to Madrid for Easter and I would love to get some recommendations from the members of this forum. What should we see and do, which area is the best to stay in, recommended restaurants, Spanish dishes that we just have to try etc. How is Easter celebrated in Spain and Madrid? Will shops be closed on e.g. Good Friday? Thanks in advance for any advice.

http://gardkarlsen.com - trip reports and pictures
gard is offline  
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Mar 13th, 2012, 12:29 AM
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Gard,If you like art El Prado Museum is a must as well as the Thyssen Museum.Classic and modern art both amazing collections .Then the old quarter of Madrid for wandering around and discovering tapas bars etc.I cant remember names but there are loads. A couple:
Highly recommend Mercado de San Miguel. aplace for having a tapa and a walk around.But be aware of pickpockets.It is not epedemic but like in a lot of tourist capitals they exist!Shops on good friday in madrid. I am not sure..possibly the bigger ones are open but in general closed.Tourist ones maybe open.Easter in the south of Spain,processions and very religious but in Madrid less so although there are almost certianly some type of celebration.Ask at the tourist office for best ones.I stayed in the old quarter, abit nosiy at night but very central for museums etc Sorry cant remember the name!
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Mar 13th, 2012, 05:34 AM
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Definitely El Prado Museum.
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Mar 13th, 2012, 05:50 AM
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Gardet me tell you that I am a great fan of your reports.Related to Madrid, if you click on my name you can access the report about our last visit(2011).
Some visits not to miss,IMO,:
Royal Palace,El Prado museum, Thyssen Bornemisza museum,Retiro Park;Mercado San Miguel(very expensive food, but very good also);day trips to Segovia(mandatory I think); Toledo,may be Aranjuez or Alcalá de Henares or Ávila.
If you can add a couple of days consider a visit to Valencia, a beautiful city you can reach in a little more than 1.5 hours in the AVE.
Enjoy planning and your trip!!!
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Mar 13th, 2012, 06:20 AM
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The Prado is a great art museum and its line-ups can be pretty formidable too. Here is the official museum site for advance tickets https://www.entradasprado.com/ingles...dual/index.php
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Mar 13th, 2012, 07:56 AM
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As for places that cant be missed, you cant go wrong with following the tips in your favorite guide book. The main tourist areas in Madrid are in close proximity and getting a lot of them in an a short period is completely reasonable. We ended up using a tourist map and making an attempt to see every highlighted attraction, but a few I feel are ones you cant skip are as follows:

El Prado - Classical Art
Rena Sofia - Modern Art
Palacio De Comunicationes - Classic architecture re-done very modern
The Royal Palace
Plaza Mayor (and surrounding streets)

As for recommended restaurants, you cant go to wrong in Madrid as most of the food is absolutely amazing. Like cehegin said above Mercado de San Miguel is a fun market that sells tapas and pinchos as well as beer and wine, and you can wander around and sample all types of Spanish fare. Plaza Santa Anna also has some pretty nice restaurants and provides a traffic free place to sit outside and watch the world go by as you have lunch. General Rule of thumb that we found is that if the restaurant has a large plastic overhead menu (a la McDonald's) then do not waste your time. Wander around a bit and you will find something to suit you, Madrid is the restaurant capital of Spain after all.

Foods that I think you cat leave Spain without trying are the classics:
Pata Negra - thinly sliced ham (think prosciutto but 10,000x better)
Tortilla - not what it sounds like, layered potato and egg dish served in cubes or pie slices
Patatas Bravas - cubed potatoes in a spicy cream sauce
Croquettas - deep fried dough often containing ham, mushrooms, cheese, or egg.

The great news about restaurants in Spain is they quite often have an extensive tapas on the menu, and it is very common for people in Spain to not eat large (single person) meals like in America. A typical dinner order would include multiple tapas to share, and some times a large dish to share (like a paella). The best thing to do is find a restaurant that is packed with people, weasel your way in and start ordering tapas until you can eat no more!

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Mar 13th, 2012, 09:49 AM
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Semana Santa/Holy Week is a major event in all of Spain, and even though Madrid is far from the intensity of the Andalucian celebrations, it will colour the city for the entire week: http://madridisuserfriendly.blogspot...in-madrid.html

Fabulous tapas bars and restaurants shoulder to shoulder in and around Calle Cava Baja, just off central Plaza Mayor: http://tapastalk.wordpress.com/tapas-bars/

Probably the two best jazz clubs in town, Café Central (Plaza del angel) and Populart (C/ Huertas), are just off vibrant Plaza Santa Ana.

In the same area you can experience real deal flamenco at both prestigious Casa Patas, legendary and newly revitalized Villa Rosa and up and coming and youthful Cardamomo.
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Mar 13th, 2012, 11:28 AM
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Hi Gard! I always enjoy your reports and photos and will look forward to one about the fantastic city of Madrid.

I would like to politely correct a number of errors in the food comments above:

Pata negra does not mean thinly sliced ham. It refers to the black-footed pig that yields jamon Iberico. Croquetas are not deep-fried dough. Patatas bravas are not potatoes in a cream sauce; the typical brava sauce uses no dairy.

There are some restaurant ideas in my report from last winter:

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