May 11, 2022
4 min read
A City Guide to Madrid
The pace of the Spanish capital is exactly what you’d hope for in a vibrant European city break. Do as the locals do and take an afternoon siesta before a late dinner (9pm is considered early). During twilight hours, tapas are shared across tables, while Spanish wine flows between tiny glasses. Madrid is all about after-dark hustle. From Picasso to street art, there’s culture around every corner in Madrid. People are always out, music is always playing, and it seems the Spaniards are only too happy to talk forever. There’s only one way to really get to know the way of life here: let yourself get swept up in Madrid.
Where to stay in Madrid
This luxe hotel is quickly making a name for itself as one of Madrid’s best. The property was designed with the intention of pairing calm spaces for relaxation and lively spaces to socialize. It does just that with sleek, modern rooms paired with two world-class restaurants, three bars, and the city’s largest rooftop pool.
This stunning hotel is known more as a foodie hangout than a place to stay. Why? Martín Berasategui, Spain’s most celebrated chef, is at the helm. You’ll find some of Madrid’s coolest crowds in the lobby, or by the gorgeous rooftop pool.
Near to the trendy neighborhoods of Malasaña and Chueca, this hotel is a 20th-century dream, with stained glass windows, a mahogany lift, and original tiles. Bikes are available to hire and the spa’s Diamond Rose massage (where diamond dust is mixed with a rose fragrance) is sublime. The Media Ración by Cuenllas restaurant is always full (with good reason) and ingredients are sourced from the city’s Barceló market.
A few minutes from Opera station, you can’t get more central than this. This grand hotel was once the home of Spanish Dukes and the royal welcoming remains, with Velázquez art reproductions dotted throughout. If there’s one reason to pick this hotel, it’s the rooftop pool and hot-tub, with panoramic views that reach the mountains. Curated with Catalan and Madrilenian influences, the Dos Cielos restaurant serves a surprisingly good pasta and room service is available 24 hours a day.
An epitome of urban chic in the upmarket corner of the city, every one of the 64 rooms is beautiful. Products are organic and all the spa treatments are vegan. A good option for any animal lovers passing through.
Where to drink in Madrid
This converted cinema has become Madrid’s hippest new hangout. Red lights, vintage posters and swings all add to the allure. Sip a cocktail and grab a movie if you have time.
Want a classic rooftop view? Head to Círculo de Bellas Artes, but get ready to queue if you want to catch the sunset. It’ll be worth it.
New cocktails appear every month at this old-fashioned speakeasy. Go for drinks with friends before hitting the nearby party quarter. Our favorites are the classics: Moscow Mule, Manhattan and Old Fashioned.
Where to eat in Madrid
For street food, you won’t find better than this food court in the LGBTQ-friendly district of Chueca. If you choose one thing, it should be the calamari.
This restaurant hasn’t changed its award-winning tortilla recipe since 1970, and we understand why – it’s delicious. The best part? It’s around $3.
A cosy spot in the Gran Meliá Hotel, Hortensio is a favorite for an intimate dinner with good wine. The chefs here are Michelin-standard, and it shows in the food, which is pretty special.
And, for a fun night out, you can’t go wrong with a night at the eclecticAmazonica
, where dinner will quickly turn into dancing.
Where to get coffee in Madrid
Since 1888, Café Gijón has been hosting writers, thinkers and artists as they muse on ideas over coffee. It’s opposite the National Library of Spain, so useful for any bookworms, too.
Your visit may start with a coffee with a wander around an art exhibition. Before you know it, you’ll be finishing with a DJ set and cocktails. You have been warned.Cafelito
Near the Mercado de San Fernando, Cafelito specialises in homemade iced coffee, using cubes of frozen coffee – inspired! Go for the lemon-rind variety.
Where to workout in Madrid
Everything you could need in one building. Gymage has a fitness club, theatre, restaurant and rooftop terrace. Day passes are available for the pool, too.
A new gym in Madrid that combines three things into one sweaty 45-minute class: 15 minutes of biking, 15 minutes of boxing and 15 minutes of ballet. It’s female-only though, sorry guys.
offers spring, summer and fall classes in the Parque del Buen Retiro, or tryZentro
for its sleek studio in the Salamanca district.
Where to shop in Madrid
A boutique in La Latina that supports Spanish artisans by naming the person who made the product. Expect heirloom ceramics, esparto baskets and wool blankets galore.
This high-end womenswear boutique is your go-to for crisp whites, flowing dresses and minimalist jewelry.
Since 1800, Casa de Diego has been specializing in traditional Spanish accessories – think umbrellas, canes, combs, shawls, and fans. The team only use the finest silk and everything is embroidered by hand.
What to do in Mardrid
The old “Tabacalera” now serves as a subterranean maze of street art that hosts curated events, including modern art, photography, film nights, concerts, poetry readings and workshops. Just turn up and enjoy getting lost.
The home of Picasso’s ‘La Guernica’, you need to dedicate a good chunk of your day to Reina Sofia – it’s huge. Yes, there’s lots of Picasso, but keep an eye out for Miro and Dali too.
The ultimate sun spot, it wouldn’t be a trip to Spain without a siesta in the city’s most popular park. After your reset, hire a paddle boat and enjoy bobbing along the water.
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