Madrid is the capital of Spain, and it is a city filled with lively street life, delicious food, and much more. Madrid is rich with its culture and even though it doesn’t have beaches like Barcelona, it is still worth a visit. I’ve lived in Madrid for almost a year and it is a must visit, you will find a lot of different things to do, and you will get to enjoy the life of the Madrileños.
1. How to Get Your Visa for Spain
5. Best Time to Visit Madrid
2. 10 Hidden Gems in Madrid
6. Accommodations in Madrid
3. How to Get to Madrid
7. Best Cafes & Restaurants in Madrid
4. How to Move Around Madrid
How to Get Your Visa for Spain
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10 Hidden Gems in Madrid
1. Templo de Debod (Temple of Debod)
As an Egyptian myself, I feel like I had to add this to the things to do in Madrid. The Temple of Debod is an Egyptian temple which was dismantled as part of the International Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia and was then rebuilt in the centre of Madrid, specifically in in Parque de la Montaña.
It is open from 10:00 until 19:30 from Tuesday to Sunday, and it is closed on Monday. It is free to enter so you don’t need a ticket to see it.
2. El Retiro Park
If you want to escape the city life while still being in Madrid, then you can visit El Retiro Park and enjoy the nature and quiet. El Retiro Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site, where you can find some amazing open-view in the shade of some enormous oaks, horse chestnut, and cypress trees. You will also find that the oldest tree planted there was in 1633, also another fact is that El Retiro Park used to belong to the Spanish Royal Family until it became public in the 19th century.
El Retiro Park is open from 06:00 until 00:00 from April to September, and from 06:00 to 22:00 from October to March. It is easy to reach by metro since you have to go to the station called Retiro and simply walk from there.
3. Palacio de Cristal (The Glass Palace)
Palacio de Cristal is literally the glass palace, and it is located in El Retiro Park. It reaches a hight of 22 meters and it is in the shape of a Greek cross. During the summer, the stunning colours of the trees surrounding it are simply beautiful. This palace used to be greenhouse but now it is own by Reina Sofia Museum as they use it as a unique space to hold art exhibitions during the year.
It is open from 10:00 until 21:00 from April to September, and from 10:00 until 18:00 from October to March. It is closed on major Spanish holidays, and it is free to enter so you don’t need tickets to visit.
4. Cerro del Tio Pio
If you want a great sunset view, then this is the place for you. This is a beautiful hilltop park that is located at the edge of the city. Fun fact, is that it used to be a waste disposal site and because of that, its uneven ground has created a lot of small hills for you to actually sit there and enjoy the view.
5. Museo Sorolla (Sorolla Museum)
The Sorolla Museum features work by the artist Joaquín Sorolla, hence the name, as well as by members of his family such as his daughter Elena. This was originally his house, but after his death; it was converted into a museum. If you love art, then you would love this museum.
It is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 09:30 until 20:00, and on Sundays it is open from 10:00 until 15:00, and it is closed on Mondays.
6. Museo del Romanticismo (National Museum of Romanticism)
The National Museum of Romanticism was inaugurated in 1924 and it was built in 1776, and it is a state-owned museum. The museum houses a huge collection of 19th-century paintings, furniture, and much more. If you love museums, then you would enjoy this one.
It is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 08:00 until 20:30, and on Sundays from 10:00 until 15:00, and it is closed on Mondays.
7. Museo Cerralbo (Cerralbo Museum)
The Cerralbo Museum was home to the 17th Marquis of Cerralbo, and when you visit this museum; you will be transported back in time. The museum houses the art as well as the historical object collections of Enrique de Aguilera y Gamboa, Marquis of Cerralbo, who died in 1922.
It is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 09:30 until 15:00, and on Sundays from 10:00 until 15:00, and it is closed on Mondays. You can also visit on Thursdays from 17:00 until 20:00.
8. Jardín El Capricho de la Alameda de Osuna (The Caprice Park)
You will notice that I added a few parks here on the list, and it is because Madrileños love going to parks, they like to escape the noise and crowded city and enjoy some quiet time in nature. Jardín El Capricho de la Alameda de Osuna is a great park that you can enjoy spending some time there. The park was created by María Josefa Pimentel, who was the Duchess of Osuna on her estate at Alameda de Osuna, which was then outside the city of Madrid, and it is landscaped in eighteenth-century style with formal & naturalistic features.
It is open only on the weekends a.k.a. Saturdays & Sundays; from 09:00 until 21:00.
9. Parque Casa de Campo (Countryside House Park)
Parque Casa de Campo is actually the largest public park located in Madrid, and it is situated on the west of central of the city. It is named ‘Country House' because it was once a royal hunting estate, that is located just west of the Royal Palace of Madrid.
It is open 24 hours, so you can visit whenever you want or have free time.
10. Parque de la Quinta de los Molinos (Quinta de los Molinos Park)
The Parque de la Quinta de los Molinos is another estate turned park like most parks in Madrid, and this one if famous for its blooming almond trees during the springtime.
It is open everyday from 06:30 until 22:00.
How to Get to Madrid
The best & easiest way to reach Madrid is by plane since it has an international airport, Adolfo-Suárez Madrid Barajas Airport, since it is a large international airport, you will be able to find a lot of flights depending on where you are. Also, if you are in Europe, you can easily find train and buses through Omio, FlixBus, and Kiwi.com.
I like to use Omio to find either buses or trains in Europe, and if I am looking for a flight I would use WayAway to find cheap flights. You can also use this promo code - TP-385219 - for WayAway Plus or you can directly visit this link! (You will get 10% off WayAway Plus subscription!)
How to Move Around Madrid
To move from the airport to the city or to your accommodation, it is pretty easy and straightforward since the metro is connected to the airport, after claiming your baggage, simple follow the metro sign at the airport and from there you will find ticket machines to get your ticket.
Madrid is actually a pedestrian friendly city, and it is not an extremely large city, so you can definitely explore most place on foot, but you can use public transport, and it is actually easy and good. I lived in Madrid for a year and it has one of the best public transport in Europe, it is convenient and easy to use, so you won’t get lost and you will be able to move from one place to another easily using the metro or even the bus.
Best Time to Visit Madrid
Madrid weather is actually pretty contrast since the winters are really cold and the summers are really hot and dry. People who live in Madrid tend to go to the coast during the summer, so try to avoid that time because the heat is unbearable, and because of this, the city becomes quiet and also most places might be closed such as restaurants. The best time to visit Madrid would be during spring or in September and October. If you’re okay with the cold, Christmas will be a great time for you to visit, as you will get to see the Madrid lights and the Christmas Markets during that time.
Accommodations in Madrid
There are a lot of amazing neighbourhoods in Madrid, my favourite is Lavapies since it is multicultural and lively. You will find a lot of different options which will suit your budget no matter what it is. Most people tend to stay in Salamanca since it is the central area but it is a little expensive. You can easily find a hotel through Booking.com, or if you prefer you can stay in a hostel and find one through HostelWorld. Other options to find accommodation are through Agoda, Trivago, Oyo, and Hotellook.
Best Cafes & Restaurants in Madrid
Agrado Café (Coffee & Cakes)
El Perro De Pavlov (Coffee & Cakes)
Honest Greens (Vegetarian & vegan options)
Samara (Egyptian cuisine)
FOUR (Great lunch option)
Grosso Napoletano (Pizza)
Nina Pasta Bar