Belen’s guidebook

Belen
Belen’s guidebook

Lugares emblemáticos

The Royal Palace of Madrid or Palacio Real de Madrid is probably one of those places that are in almost everyone's itinerary. It’s a majestic building and one of the largest of its kind in Europe. And if you think the outside is impressive just wait until you see the inside. The palace boasts the royal crown jewels, paintings from Caravaggio, Francisco de Goya, and Diego Velázquez and the only complete Stradivarius string quintet left in the world. Another must visit part of the palace is the Royal Chapel or La Capilla Real de Madrid with frescoes by Giaquinto. The complex where the Royal Palace of Madrid is, consists of several other buildings, parks and historical plazas like The Plaza de Oriente, The Plaza de la Armería and The Almudena Cathedral. They are some of the most important symbolic and historical sites in Spain and one of the most popular in Europe. The Royal Palace, the adjacent building and surrounding plazas and parks are the perfect area to spend most of the morning of your 1st day exploring the grounds and learning about the particularities of the Spanish history and culture. You’ll also enjoy some of the amazing greenery that Madrid has to offer if you decide to visit some of the gardens in the grounds. Campo del Moro Gardens and Sabatini Gardens won’t disappoint!. The Palace offers different guided tours and ticket options like the Royal Kitchen, The Royal Armory and The Changing Guard. It opens from October to March. Monday through Saturday: from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. And on Sundays: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. From April through September, the palaces hours are from 10:00 am - 7:00 pm. While on Sundays they maintain the same schedule. For more up-to-date information about holiday hours and free visits head to their official site or visit their guided tour options to skip the lines!
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Royal Palace of Madrid
s/n Calle de Bailén
391 íbúar mæla með
The Royal Palace of Madrid or Palacio Real de Madrid is probably one of those places that are in almost everyone's itinerary. It’s a majestic building and one of the largest of its kind in Europe. And if you think the outside is impressive just wait until you see the inside. The palace boasts the royal crown jewels, paintings from Caravaggio, Francisco de Goya, and Diego Velázquez and the only complete Stradivarius string quintet left in the world. Another must visit part of the palace is the Royal Chapel or La Capilla Real de Madrid with frescoes by Giaquinto. The complex where the Royal Palace of Madrid is, consists of several other buildings, parks and historical plazas like The Plaza de Oriente, The Plaza de la Armería and The Almudena Cathedral. They are some of the most important symbolic and historical sites in Spain and one of the most popular in Europe. The Royal Palace, the adjacent building and surrounding plazas and parks are the perfect area to spend most of the morning of your 1st day exploring the grounds and learning about the particularities of the Spanish history and culture. You’ll also enjoy some of the amazing greenery that Madrid has to offer if you decide to visit some of the gardens in the grounds. Campo del Moro Gardens and Sabatini Gardens won’t disappoint!. The Palace offers different guided tours and ticket options like the Royal Kitchen, The Royal Armory and The Changing Guard. It opens from October to March. Monday through Saturday: from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. And on Sundays: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. From April through September, the palaces hours are from 10:00 am - 7:00 pm. While on Sundays they maintain the same schedule. For more up-to-date information about holiday hours and free visits head to their official site or visit their guided tour options to skip the lines!
This is one of my favorite places in Madrid and it happen to be right by my place! A very busy and fun establishment Mercado San Miguel is one of the oldest markets in the city and it has serve from inspiration to create another similar places in cities like New York (check out Mercado Little Spain) There you can not only buy food to cook at home but also order some tapas and wine to enjoy sitting down and relaxing or while prancing and shopping. The mercado is just under 10 minutes walk from the Royal Palace and also super close to the next stops in our Madrid Itinerary : La plaza Mayor and La Puerta del Sol. The many different vendors at Mercado San Miguel not only serve delicious tapa dishes, but also traditional quick bites like pizzas and big dishes like paellas. The atmosphere is busy, but in the kind of way that also makes it relaxing. The kind of place that is perfect for people watching, tasting a big variety of mouth watering spanish food, and to start embracing the new spanish persona that you’ll become while exploring Madrid in 4 days!
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Mercado De San Miguel
s/n Plaza de San Miguel
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This is one of my favorite places in Madrid and it happen to be right by my place! A very busy and fun establishment Mercado San Miguel is one of the oldest markets in the city and it has serve from inspiration to create another similar places in cities like New York (check out Mercado Little Spain) There you can not only buy food to cook at home but also order some tapas and wine to enjoy sitting down and relaxing or while prancing and shopping. The mercado is just under 10 minutes walk from the Royal Palace and also super close to the next stops in our Madrid Itinerary : La plaza Mayor and La Puerta del Sol. The many different vendors at Mercado San Miguel not only serve delicious tapa dishes, but also traditional quick bites like pizzas and big dishes like paellas. The atmosphere is busy, but in the kind of way that also makes it relaxing. The kind of place that is perfect for people watching, tasting a big variety of mouth watering spanish food, and to start embracing the new spanish persona that you’ll become while exploring Madrid in 4 days!
After eating all the tapas you can eat or maybe some more, it’s time to explore another of Madrid's more liveliest squares: La Plaza Mayor. The area and its surrounding streets have everything you can think of and more, my favorite: the cafes with outside seating where you can enjoy a refreshing drink while taking in the panoramic views of the small shops, art galleries, the tourists and locals coming and going and the old but fancy square facades. Tip: If you are visiting Madrid during the holiday season I recommend to spend a few hours exploring the Christmas market that is set up in the middle of the square and then stop by Chocolateria San Gines ( a 100 year old establishment) to enjoy a hot chocolate with churros .
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Plaza Mayor
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After eating all the tapas you can eat or maybe some more, it’s time to explore another of Madrid's more liveliest squares: La Plaza Mayor. The area and its surrounding streets have everything you can think of and more, my favorite: the cafes with outside seating where you can enjoy a refreshing drink while taking in the panoramic views of the small shops, art galleries, the tourists and locals coming and going and the old but fancy square facades. Tip: If you are visiting Madrid during the holiday season I recommend to spend a few hours exploring the Christmas market that is set up in the middle of the square and then stop by Chocolateria San Gines ( a 100 year old establishment) to enjoy a hot chocolate with churros .
To finish the day time activities of our first day in this “4 days in Madrid Itinerary” we’ll head to another of the greaters squares of Madrid: La Puerta del Sol. The space is one of the most bustling parts of the city, where several main roads meet each other, surrounded by big international stores and household names alike! It’s also known for being one of the original gates of the city's wall, for its New Year 12 grapes celebrations and for having the Kilometre 0, the starting point to measure distances in the Spanish Capital. Everything within our neighborhood!
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Puerta del Sol
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To finish the day time activities of our first day in this “4 days in Madrid Itinerary” we’ll head to another of the greaters squares of Madrid: La Puerta del Sol. The space is one of the most bustling parts of the city, where several main roads meet each other, surrounded by big international stores and household names alike! It’s also known for being one of the original gates of the city's wall, for its New Year 12 grapes celebrations and for having the Kilometre 0, the starting point to measure distances in the Spanish Capital. Everything within our neighborhood!
If there’s something that draws me to choosing Madrid as one of my favorite cities in the world time and time again is the richness of its nightlife. Madrilenos are just so friendly and so fun that make every event one you’ll never forget. Regardless, of my reason. I’ll assure you, you’ll get to feel the same! There are plenty of shows and live entertainment to choose from in Madrid and there’s no better way to spend your first night in the city. Specific recommendations will change seasonally as most shows run for only weeks or months at a time but below I’m sharing some ideas that might help make up your mind to choose what's best for you! Tapas for dinner and the best flamenco live show at Tablao Flamenco Carboneras, near home. Watch an operetta or zarzuela at Teatro de la Zarzuela See a contemporary show at Teatro Espanol Enjoy some cocktails in one of the oldest bars in the city: Viva Madrid Dance the night away at Joy Eslava (busiest times start after 1am)
Nightlife Madrid
27 Calle de Ayala
If there’s something that draws me to choosing Madrid as one of my favorite cities in the world time and time again is the richness of its nightlife. Madrilenos are just so friendly and so fun that make every event one you’ll never forget. Regardless, of my reason. I’ll assure you, you’ll get to feel the same! There are plenty of shows and live entertainment to choose from in Madrid and there’s no better way to spend your first night in the city. Specific recommendations will change seasonally as most shows run for only weeks or months at a time but below I’m sharing some ideas that might help make up your mind to choose what's best for you! Tapas for dinner and the best flamenco live show at Tablao Flamenco Carboneras, near home. Watch an operetta or zarzuela at Teatro de la Zarzuela See a contemporary show at Teatro Espanol Enjoy some cocktails in one of the oldest bars in the city: Viva Madrid Dance the night away at Joy Eslava (busiest times start after 1am)
When visiting a city for 4 days, I also love to go on a day trip on the 3rd day! It's always fun to get a taste of the rest of the country outside of the main city, and this is the perfect itme to do it. There are many nearby cities and towns to go to for a day trip: Toledo, Salamanca (my family’s home town), Alcalá, Segovia etc. Most of them are easily accessible by train, bus or car. When choosing which destination to explore on a Madrid day trip, you should decide on what kind of architecture, culture, and history you will enjoy the most. If you are hoping to learn about Moorish Architecture and would be fascinated to see paintings by El Greco, I recommend Toledo. The city was the old capital of Spain (before it was changed to Madrid in 1561) and is known for having influences from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish cultures.
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Toledo
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When visiting a city for 4 days, I also love to go on a day trip on the 3rd day! It's always fun to get a taste of the rest of the country outside of the main city, and this is the perfect itme to do it. There are many nearby cities and towns to go to for a day trip: Toledo, Salamanca (my family’s home town), Alcalá, Segovia etc. Most of them are easily accessible by train, bus or car. When choosing which destination to explore on a Madrid day trip, you should decide on what kind of architecture, culture, and history you will enjoy the most. If you are hoping to learn about Moorish Architecture and would be fascinated to see paintings by El Greco, I recommend Toledo. The city was the old capital of Spain (before it was changed to Madrid in 1561) and is known for having influences from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish cultures.
Salamanca has a predominantly Christian style, and its Plaza Mayor is a very well known square with beautiful examples of Spanish architecture. Some people say is the most beautiful Plaza Mayor in the world! I agree ☺️ There are tons of restaurants, shops and entertainment in the area as well, so you'll have plenty to do. It’s an university town, full of life!
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Salamanca
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Salamanca has a predominantly Christian style, and its Plaza Mayor is a very well known square with beautiful examples of Spanish architecture. Some people say is the most beautiful Plaza Mayor in the world! I agree ☺️ There are tons of restaurants, shops and entertainment in the area as well, so you'll have plenty to do. It’s an university town, full of life!
Alcalá city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And its university is worldwide famous and a very important Spanish landmark.
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Alcala de Henares
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Alcalá city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And its university is worldwide famous and a very important Spanish landmark.
If you're visiting Madrid in the summer and want some beach time, don't worry! Despite what you might think, It's very possible to head to the beach for a day from Madrid. Valencia is the place to go if you want to make the most out of your beach day. Travel Tip: From Madrid, take the high speed train (AVE) to Valencia. It will get you there in approximately an hour and 40 minutes, although it can get a bit pricey. Valencia is the 3rd largest city in Spain and there are plenty of things to do all year around. From the Palacio del Marqués de Dos Aguas to La Malvarrosa beach you’ll never regret adding a Valencia day trip to your 4 days in Madrid itinerary.
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Valencia
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If you're visiting Madrid in the summer and want some beach time, don't worry! Despite what you might think, It's very possible to head to the beach for a day from Madrid. Valencia is the place to go if you want to make the most out of your beach day. Travel Tip: From Madrid, take the high speed train (AVE) to Valencia. It will get you there in approximately an hour and 40 minutes, although it can get a bit pricey. Valencia is the 3rd largest city in Spain and there are plenty of things to do all year around. From the Palacio del Marqués de Dos Aguas to La Malvarrosa beach you’ll never regret adding a Valencia day trip to your 4 days in Madrid itinerary.
For your 4th and last day in Madrid, start by heading to the Museo Nacional Del Prado (or Prado Museum) to spend the morning immersing yourself in the masterpieces of El Greco, Velázquez, Murillo, Ribera, Zurbarán, Miró, Goya, and Picasso. The Prado Museum is located just next to the Botanical Garden, and 3 blocks away from El Parque del Retiro. The museum features not only the most complete collection of Spanish artwork in the world but also pieces from painters like Bosch and Titian. The museum is open from Monday to Saturday, 10 AM to 8 PM, and Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM. For free access to the museum, go Monday through Saturday from 6 PM to 8 PM and Sunday from 3 PM to 5 PM!
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Museo Nacional del Prado
s/n Paseo del Prado
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For your 4th and last day in Madrid, start by heading to the Museo Nacional Del Prado (or Prado Museum) to spend the morning immersing yourself in the masterpieces of El Greco, Velázquez, Murillo, Ribera, Zurbarán, Miró, Goya, and Picasso. The Prado Museum is located just next to the Botanical Garden, and 3 blocks away from El Parque del Retiro. The museum features not only the most complete collection of Spanish artwork in the world but also pieces from painters like Bosch and Titian. The museum is open from Monday to Saturday, 10 AM to 8 PM, and Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM. For free access to the museum, go Monday through Saturday from 6 PM to 8 PM and Sunday from 3 PM to 5 PM!
The Puerta de Alcalá is an amazing example of Neo-classical architecture located in the Plaza de la Independencia. The gate dates back to the 1700’s, and it stands just steps away from El Museo del Prado. Make sure to grab some insta-worthy pictures before heading to...
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Puerta de Alcalá
1 Plaza de la Independencia
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The Puerta de Alcalá is an amazing example of Neo-classical architecture located in the Plaza de la Independencia. The gate dates back to the 1700’s, and it stands just steps away from El Museo del Prado. Make sure to grab some insta-worthy pictures before heading to...
El Parque del Retiro is the perfect Madrid destination all year round. It reminds me of Central Park, and it's just such a beautiful space. My favorite seasons to visit any park are definitely Spring, Summer, and when the leaves start changing in the fall. I love having a nice picnic, walking around, and stopping by to listen to the musicians that share their music in the park. There’s no better way to end your time in Madrid than by renting some rowboats in El Parque del Retiro and watching the sunset! Tip: Make sure to check out the Monumento a Alfonso XII and the Palacio de Cristal while in the park!
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El Retiro Park
7 Plaza de la Independencia
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El Parque del Retiro is the perfect Madrid destination all year round. It reminds me of Central Park, and it's just such a beautiful space. My favorite seasons to visit any park are definitely Spring, Summer, and when the leaves start changing in the fall. I love having a nice picnic, walking around, and stopping by to listen to the musicians that share their music in the park. There’s no better way to end your time in Madrid than by renting some rowboats in El Parque del Retiro and watching the sunset! Tip: Make sure to check out the Monumento a Alfonso XII and the Palacio de Cristal while in the park!

Barrios

When exploring a new city, I always say it's a good idea to take the 1st day and visit some of the most popular tourist attractions so that on day two you can see the actual soul of the city. Day two is a great time to look for those local spots that just a few might know about. Start your 2nd morning in Madrid by heading to Malasaña, one of the most original and hottest neighborhoods in the city. It's full of thrift and vintage shops, local boutiques, coffee shops, and stylish bars. Grab a coffee in Toma Cafe, or sit down and enjoy a great latte, smoothie, or coffee cocktail at Urbano Specialty Cafe before continuing on to another amazing Madrid neighborhood.
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Malasaña
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When exploring a new city, I always say it's a good idea to take the 1st day and visit some of the most popular tourist attractions so that on day two you can see the actual soul of the city. Day two is a great time to look for those local spots that just a few might know about. Start your 2nd morning in Madrid by heading to Malasaña, one of the most original and hottest neighborhoods in the city. It's full of thrift and vintage shops, local boutiques, coffee shops, and stylish bars. Grab a coffee in Toma Cafe, or sit down and enjoy a great latte, smoothie, or coffee cocktail at Urbano Specialty Cafe before continuing on to another amazing Madrid neighborhood.
A 3 minute walk from Urbano Specialty Cafe, you’ll find the next stop in this 4 days in Madrid Itinerary: the Chueca neighborhood. This neighborhood is famous for its gay community and its gay pride celebrations and parties. Chueca is a very unique neighborhood in Madrid, and it's the perfect example of how old and new Madrid cohabitate and perfectly blend together. If you choose to eat here, I recommend Kuoco 360. It’s a fusion restaurant serving a variety of delicious Mediterranean food. The service, the atmosphere, and the food were definitely some of our favorites. Note: The Gran Via and the Circulo de Bellas Artes are located in between Chueca and our next stop. I definitely recommend taking a few minutes to explore this area, one of the most iconic ones in Madrid.
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Chueca
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A 3 minute walk from Urbano Specialty Cafe, you’ll find the next stop in this 4 days in Madrid Itinerary: the Chueca neighborhood. This neighborhood is famous for its gay community and its gay pride celebrations and parties. Chueca is a very unique neighborhood in Madrid, and it's the perfect example of how old and new Madrid cohabitate and perfectly blend together. If you choose to eat here, I recommend Kuoco 360. It’s a fusion restaurant serving a variety of delicious Mediterranean food. The service, the atmosphere, and the food were definitely some of our favorites. Note: The Gran Via and the Circulo de Bellas Artes are located in between Chueca and our next stop. I definitely recommend taking a few minutes to explore this area, one of the most iconic ones in Madrid.
The Barrio de las Letras, or the Literary Quarter, is another one of the liveliest neighborhoods in Madrid. Writers like Cervantes and Lope de Vega lived in the neighborhood back in the day. Some of the best activities to do in the Literary Quarter are: One you've explored the Literary Quarter, it's time to head to our next afternoon stop... Step off the beaten path and onto the almost 2000 year old cobblestone streets Sit down along one of the beautiful terraces in the Plaza de Santa Ana Grab a drink at one of the upbeat beer halls One you've explored the Literary Quarter, it's time to head to our next afternoon stop...
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Barrio de las Letras
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The Barrio de las Letras, or the Literary Quarter, is another one of the liveliest neighborhoods in Madrid. Writers like Cervantes and Lope de Vega lived in the neighborhood back in the day. Some of the best activities to do in the Literary Quarter are: One you've explored the Literary Quarter, it's time to head to our next afternoon stop... Step off the beaten path and onto the almost 2000 year old cobblestone streets Sit down along one of the beautiful terraces in the Plaza de Santa Ana Grab a drink at one of the upbeat beer halls One you've explored the Literary Quarter, it's time to head to our next afternoon stop...
Lavapies is one of the most culturally rich neighborhoods in Madrid, a place where different customs and traditions meet. The historical streets of Lavapies are home to Morrocans, Chinese, Indians, Colombians, and Spanish alike. There, you'll see a Greek restaurant, next to an Indian one, right next to a local Spanish place.The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is close by, so make sure to check it out if you have some time to spare! Travel Tip: Check out Zurita street and find a good angle for some pictures!
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Lavapiés
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Lavapies is one of the most culturally rich neighborhoods in Madrid, a place where different customs and traditions meet. The historical streets of Lavapies are home to Morrocans, Chinese, Indians, Colombians, and Spanish alike. There, you'll see a Greek restaurant, next to an Indian one, right next to a local Spanish place.The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is close by, so make sure to check it out if you have some time to spare! Travel Tip: Check out Zurita street and find a good angle for some pictures!
The last stop on this second day of our Madrid in 4 days itinerary is going on a tapas crawl in La Latina. La Latina is one of the more hipster neighborhoods in Madrid, and it's very well known among the locals for having some of the best tapas bars and restaurants in the whole city! Some of my favorite bars and cantinas here include: Nina pasta bar El Perro de Pavlov Astor La Taberna Sanlúcar La Musa Latina El viajero Lamiak Note: If you are visiting Madrid on a weekend, you might want to consider going on a tapas crawl in La Latina for lunch, either before or after heading to the famous Saturday flea market El Rastro.
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Barrio de La Latina
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The last stop on this second day of our Madrid in 4 days itinerary is going on a tapas crawl in La Latina. La Latina is one of the more hipster neighborhoods in Madrid, and it's very well known among the locals for having some of the best tapas bars and restaurants in the whole city! Some of my favorite bars and cantinas here include: Nina pasta bar El Perro de Pavlov Astor La Taberna Sanlúcar La Musa Latina El viajero Lamiak Note: If you are visiting Madrid on a weekend, you might want to consider going on a tapas crawl in La Latina for lunch, either before or after heading to the famous Saturday flea market El Rastro.

Gastronomía

Once you have enjoyed a full morning of art and sightseeing, it's time to grab brunch/lunch and enjoy the Spanish restaurant atmosphere for the last time before leaving the city. El Perro y La Galleta is the perfect place to do this! The restaurant has mouth-watering food, incredible decor, and the most refreshing drinks! Warning! You can spend hours sitting, enjoying the food and drinks, and just relaxing and enjoying the views. The restaurant has enormous windows, which make the atmosphere very airy and light. Try to sit next to one! Make reservations in advance, as the restaurant is really popular with locals.
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El Perro y La Galleta
1 Calle de Claudio Coello
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Once you have enjoyed a full morning of art and sightseeing, it's time to grab brunch/lunch and enjoy the Spanish restaurant atmosphere for the last time before leaving the city. El Perro y La Galleta is the perfect place to do this! The restaurant has mouth-watering food, incredible decor, and the most refreshing drinks! Warning! You can spend hours sitting, enjoying the food and drinks, and just relaxing and enjoying the views. The restaurant has enormous windows, which make the atmosphere very airy and light. Try to sit next to one! Make reservations in advance, as the restaurant is really popular with locals.
For Spanish food lovers like me, Vi Cool is a restaurant definitely worth visiting. It's a chic Michelin star chef owned restaurant where everything tastes delicious! Travel Tip: We all know about Michelin Starred restaurants, which are delicious but normally super expensive and very high end gourmet (AKA almost no food !). In our opinion, the best way to get a decent sized meal that still satisfies foodie souls is to find places that are owned by Michelin Starred chefs, but are not Michelin Starred restaurants themselves. Think about it: these restaurants will still be held to the same high standards of the successful owners, but you’ll get more delicious food for half the price!
Vi Cool
12 Calle de Las Huertas
For Spanish food lovers like me, Vi Cool is a restaurant definitely worth visiting. It's a chic Michelin star chef owned restaurant where everything tastes delicious! Travel Tip: We all know about Michelin Starred restaurants, which are delicious but normally super expensive and very high end gourmet (AKA almost no food !). In our opinion, the best way to get a decent sized meal that still satisfies foodie souls is to find places that are owned by Michelin Starred chefs, but are not Michelin Starred restaurants themselves. Think about it: these restaurants will still be held to the same high standards of the successful owners, but you’ll get more delicious food for half the price!

Borgartillaga

Samgöngur

Visiting other nearby cities

My personal recommendation would be to go to Toledo if you're just spending the day and returning to Madrid in the night/afternoon. If you have an extra night, you might want to choose Salamanca. Tip: Taking the train from Madrid to Toledo or Salamanca is very easy, fast and reliable. It will take you 30 minutes to and from Madrid to Toledo by train, and an hour if you drive. The trip from Madrid to Salamanca will take you longer, at least two hours.
Siðir og menning

Languages

Spain's official language is Spanish, of course! If you only speak English, you should be able to communicate reasonably well in the city center, although I would always advise learning a few travel phrases. If you are planning to travel outside the city or into a not so touristy neighborhood of Madrid, you might have more trouble finding English speakers.
Samgöngur

Transportation

There are many ways to get to Spain, depending on which part of the world you are traveling from: plane, train, car, and bus. To get from the airport to the city center will take approximately 30 minutes. The train and metro cost around 3 euros one way, or you can take a uber, taxi, or rent a car. Our place is right in the heart of Madrid so you can go around everywhere during your days in Madrid, except when heading out of the city. The metro is also very reliable, as well as the uber and taxi services.
Siðir og menning

Best time to visit Madrid

The high season in almost every part of Europe starts from May/June and runs through the end of September. However, in my opinion, the best time to spend 4 days in Madrid is during the fall or spring. But also at the end and beginning of the year, with all Christmas decorations and the crispy winter air and the smaller crowds! Actually, Madrid could be considered an all year round city.Just come and enjoy!
Samgöngur

Discounts and time savers

The Madrid Card, the Madrid Metro Card, and the Madrid City Pass can help you skip the lines, book in advance, and save money. They have some nice discounts, including the most popular museums and public transportation savings! Well, I hope you enjoy and get to feel some of this welcoming vibe Madrid offers to you...