After the sleepy mountain villages and seaside retreats of the Basque country entering Madrid was both chaotic and full of divine energy. Spain’s capital is a mix of historic romance and functional modern beauty. Three days there was barely long enough to run the tourist gauntlet and explore the center and the morning of my departure was melancholic to the point where I felt I was leaving behind an age-old friend.
Any big city has famous highlights to tick off on the list of famous must-dos and we managed to tick those boxes:
The Prado: Famous art gallery that is home to many medieval and renaissance masterpieces.
Palacio Real: The Royal Palace, still used for formal ceremonies by the current King is beautiful enough to contend with Versailles and has some gorgeous Asian influences that were in Vogue at the time of construction.
Puerta Del Sol: Where all things meet. This central square is the bustling center of Madrid and will be the place to find shopping, people, restaurants, and street performers.
Playa Mayor: The heart of old Madrid, it is almost as busy as Sol, but is a cobble stoned pedestrian only area that transports you back in time along with many of the bars lining the square that have been running for over 100 years.
Parque Buen Retiro: An enormous park full of palaces with exhibits ponds, and giant monuments where you can dance, go boating, eat, exercise, or smell roses and explore Spain botanical treasures.
However there are always unique things waiting around every corner and this capital city each cobble stoned street held a myriad of treasures to uncover.
Mercado de San Miguel: A glass-sided covered market full of people eating ready to feast upon Spanish delicacies for reasonable prices and a festival like atmosphere of pure congeniality.
Chocolate and churros: I think this delicacy speaks for itself (but I will have more details on this soon!)
Bull fight: Controversial, and hard to watch at times, but an interesting novelty and something timeless that will take you back to when you watched Saturday morning cartoons.
Metro: Modern and sleek overall the highly digitized metro is always fun to explore and the people watching is prime.
Hilarious dogs: The Spanish have the some love for squish-faced dogs that I do, but of course you can find all breeds prancing around. However the bar denizens are the most hilarious. They stroll around their turf and hassle visitors for scraps. I even caught one steal 3 full slices of bread!
Even though I hit all the main spots and some more unique aspects, there is so much more to come back for! And I will definitely be returning later in the year.