Madrid: Favorite Things To Do

Sep 3rd, 2014, 09:21 PM
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Madrid: Favorite Things To Do

I developed the list below of some things that look interesting. but having never been to Madrid before, I would appreicate some feedback on them and also some other recommendations.

Tapas Crawl
Jardin Botanico
Spanish Food
City Views
Gran Via
Paseo de Recoletos
Paseo del Prado
Royal Palace
Almudena Cathedral (near Royal Palace)
Iglesia de San Antonio de Los Alemanes (near gran via)
Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales
Museo Lazaro Galdiano
Museo Sorolla
Las Ventas Tour
Essential Madrid Walking Tour
El Corte Ingles Department Store
Mercado de San Miguel
El Rastro Flea Market
Madrid Food Tour
Madrid by Bike Tour
sembach is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2014, 11:41 PM
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And how long is your stay?
ribeirasacra is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 12:28 AM
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Major flamenco performances in Madrid are updated here:

Have previously posted these suggestions for Madrid:

Have breakfast or lunch at Café del Círculo de Bellas Artes in down town Calle Alcalá, 42. One of the city's most emblematic cafés. Grab a window table and watch Madrid life on bustling Calle Alcalá. Take the lift up to the roof topp terrace (the azotea) for great views of the city.

Have lunch or some tapas at Casa Granada, on the 6th floor of an apartment building just off Plaza Tirso de Molina. Hard to find and an excellent terrace.

Watch the sunset over the Guadarrama mountains from the terrace at El Ventorrillo in the Vistillas park Close to the Almudena cathedral and the Royal Palace:

Café Central, just off bustling Plaza Santa Ana, is a the best jazz venue in town with live performances from top artists every night at 10. Artists shift every week. Entrance 15€. Good food also.

Experience world class flamenco at one of the best tablaos. Madrid is arguably the flamenco capital of the world. Although the art form comes from the South (Andalucía), everybody has to conquer Madrid to get to the top. On their way there, or as an opportunity to try out new things and get an up close audience, many of them work the top tablaos. I recommend Casa Patas and Cardamomo, both close to Plaza Santa Ana.

A stroll in the beautiful Retiro Park.

Asturian Casa Mingo for the best grilled chicken and cider:
Watch the video, and you're sold:

Txirimiri in Calle del Humilladero, 6 gives you an idea of why the Basque kitchen is considered among the best in the world. In the midst of one of the best tapas/restaurant districts in town, in and around Calle Cava Baja in La Latina.

I never leave Madrid without having had the squid in its own ink and the famous cod at Casa Revuelta, also in the same district.

The Reina Sofia contemporary art museum. The second floor with Picasso, Dalí, lots of other painitings, posters, films, photos etc., dealing with a couple of the greatest civilizational breakdowns of the 20th century, the Spanish Civil War and WWII, completely blew my mind off a couple of years ago.
(And of course Prado and the Thyssen-Bornemisza museums)
kimhe is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 02:14 AM
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Suggestions for September 2014
Revulgo is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 02:18 AM
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Thanks for the ideas, sembach! This will help in my planning for my May trip.
progol is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 02:34 AM
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Walk and coffee in Retiro park watching the rowboats with friends and lovers float around the large pond. Photo ops at the Greenhouse Glass House.
lincasanova is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 02:37 AM
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Have lunch on the patio at the Ritz. Was there this past Sunday afternoon and it was sublime.
Weekender is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 04:30 AM
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Monasterio de las descalzas has very limited- size groups for entrance so get there before they open.. They aso have some tours in English.
lincasanova is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 04:50 AM
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DebitNM is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 04:52 AM
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Great info, everyone!
progol is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 05:06 AM
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<< Monasterio de las descalzas has very limited- size groups for entrance so get there before they open..>>

I was there before they opened. It took me 4 tries before I successfully got on a tour! But, well worth the wait!

Go to sunset at Temple de Debod. Gorgeous!
joannyc is online now  
Sep 4th, 2014, 06:23 AM
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Prado — Beyond extraordinary! With paintings by Velazquez, Goya, Ribera, Murillo, El Greco, Titian, and Raphael, how could it be anything but? Inexhaustible. Compelling touring exhibitions. Excellent cafeteria and gift shop. I don't know if I'll be lucky enough to see Madrid again, but if I went, the Prado would again be my #1 destination.

Botanical Garden — A lovely, welcome, outdoor respite from the intense Prado, which is just yards away.

Thyssen-Bornemisza — Like the Prado, an immense treasury of great art. You wouldn’t want to go here on the same day you might visit the Prado. Far, far too much to take in. A rather dull building that houses gems.

Reina Sofia — If you appreciate art, how can you not make the pilgrimage to Picasso's "Guernica"? Peaceful garden within, which includes a major Alexander Calder work at the very center.

Sorolla House/Museum — I love his paintings and the home and tranquil garden are alone well worth the visit. The Sorolla is located on a very busy boulevard, but once you’re inside you’d never know that. It’s one of those ideal small museums that’s perfect for a single visit though, like any repository of great art, it deserves revisits.

Mercado de San Miguel — Right outside the Plaza Mayor. A cornucopia of food and wine and small eateries. Lively, colorful, delicious.
wanderful is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 08:29 AM
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kimhe, If you could eat at just one of your restaurant recs, which would you choose?
crosscheck is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 09:14 AM
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Here's what I did in 3 days in Madrid earlier this year, pasted from my notes...

MADRID March 2014

I stayed at the Hotel Principe Pio just off the Plaza d’Espana. This was a great location with good bus links, and the metro close by at Plaza d’Espana and Opera. I arrived around 9pm and took a bus up the Gran Via – I was dining at La Barraca on Calle de la Reina. The Arroz Negro was fabulous! Taxi back to the hotel was 6 euros.

Next day I walked up through the Old Town (sort of following the Rick Steves tour in reverse) to the Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol.

I waited a short while for an English tour of the Monasterios de las Descalzas – well worth a visit – and then wandered across town, stopping for a delicious snack lunch for 6 euros at Musee de Jamon.

I’d prebooked a ticket for the Prado but was early so I sat in the sun with a glass of wine at El Botanico on Ruiz de Alarcon overlooking the Botanical Gardens.

As someone who is overwhelmed by big museums and has a low-ish boredom threshold, I booked my ticket for the Prado, but did my research first because I knew I really wanted to see and spend time with the Velasquez and el Greco paintings. I noted which rooms had paintings by certain artists whose work I admire, and just went to those rooms. Obviously I saw a lot more, but by planning my visit I could be specific about what I saw. I was at the Prado for a little more than 2 hours which was fine for me. I took buses back to Plaza d’Espana, and walked up to the Temple of Debod which was close by and open until 6.45pm.

For dinner I took the metro to Latina and found my way to Calle de la Cava Baja and explored the numerous tapas bars along there and on Calle de la Cava Alta.

Next morning I walked through the Sabatini Gardens to the Palacio Real, getting in line about 15 minutes before it opened. I really enjoyed my time spent here.

I love small museums, private collections, and there are 3 wonderful ones in Madrid. The Sorolla, the Lazaro Galdiano and the Cerralbo.

I visited the Sorolla on this morning, finding it absolutely charming and delightful, then walked the short distance to the Lazaro Galdiano, stopping for lunch along the way. I found a stunning el Greco in the Lazaro Galdiano which I spent a long time admiring, and I had him all to myself as this museum was virtually empty.

That evening I took a Tapas Walking tour with Andres Jarabo of Walks of Spain. Not cheap but he comes very highly recommended and is a very charming and nice man with a great knowledge of Madrid, food and wine. I met some interesting people on the tour and it was great fun.

On my last day I walked to the Museo Cerralbo for when it opened at 9.30am and had the place to myself for most of the hour or so I was there. Not just a lovely building with the most amazing staircase and pretty garden, but a glimpse into the lifestyle of a wealthy family a hundred years ago, it is packed with fascinating antiques and artefacts.

I walked over to the Cathedral, then up to the Mercado de San Miguel for lots of snacks and then had lunch across the way at Segun Emma. I did some shopping in the food hall at el Corte Ingles, had a final glass of wine in a café on Plaza Oriente and it was time to collect my bags and make my way back to the airport.
julia_t is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 09:40 AM
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These I picked more for the atmosphere than the food itself, although excellent quality in especially Revuelta and Txirimiri. Madrid has got tons of great restaurants in all categories, but when it comes to traditional Madrid restaurants, I've got a very soft spot for Casa Alberto from 1827. Very popular with both madrileños and tourists alike.

Get the overview and great recs from Maribelsguides:
kimhe is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 12:59 PM
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I love the area north of Retiro ...Salamanca:
Upscale shops, leafy streets, beautiful buildings, art galleries, elegant women, few tourists
very different than Sol , Santa Ana and Mayor.
danon is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 01:49 PM
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and if you DO get to the Salamanca area ( I usually stay in that area or on the edge ) do not miss the Fundación March for exhibits and concerts.
lincasanova is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 02:34 PM
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My favorite store is Casa Hernanz. Even though they are known for their espadrilles, they make all sorts of things from hemp. No not that. One time a guy in front of me bought a length of rope the width of which they use to tie up ocean liners.
IMDonehere is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 03:13 PM
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thanks for the link, Lin

I saw an interesting exhibition there several years ago.
Nice building and coffee shop.
danon is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 03:22 PM
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I also like
CaixaForum Madrid....unique building, free exhibitions, lectures etc.

danon is offline  

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