JUN 02,2010 - JUN 10,2010 (9 DAYS)
The following trip was written as a reccomendation to a friend on 2010. It includes my few tips on madrid. I gathered all the stuff I remember from the time I lived there. I also found something over the internet that is more of a walking tour and may be useful.
(3) Reina Sofia Museum - not far from the Thiesen, near Atocha (the central train station) - MUST see the Gernica, Picasso's most famous painting that he painted as a goodbye present to Spain when he left to France after the civil war. One of the most famous paintings in the world. Other than that - not mch to see.
(4) Prado Museum - very big museum (just like the louvre in Paris), so you can easily get lost. If you love art, worth seeing the famous paintings of Velasquez and Goya.
(5) Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum - very close to Plaza Neptuno. One of the biggest private collection in the world and it's just a great museum to see.
(6) Plaza de Cibeles - with the bank of spain and new city hall the old Palacio de las comunicaciones
(9) Retiro park - Large park which I liked very much.
Also near the lake there's the crystal palace and the monument to king Alfonso XII.
Bars - Near Puerta del Sol, there are 3 streets that form a triangle. When the bear in Puerta del Sol is at your back, you turn left at Calle Carera de San Jeronimo. It is paralel to Calle Alcala and go up 7 mins until you hit Plaza Canalejas. 2 streets on your right: Principe and Calle de la Cruz. Take Principe until you hit Plaza Santa Anna, and just circle it and go down and the other side to form that triangle. You'll see.
Sesamo (Bar)- Calle Principe 7, there is a red sign on top and you go down the stairs to a basement with a piano player and quotes of famous peoplein the walls. This is a MUST.
Except for that just go from one bar to the other, people outside will invite you for a chupito which is a chaser with your drink. Good Times!
Another place is the Hawaiian bar - on Plaza Santa Anna.
Al Munia - (http://almounia.es/) Calle Recoletos 5, near Puerta del Alcala. Fantastic Moroccan food with Authentic decor. Beautiful place and great food if you like. Not cheap.
Nostra Pizza Nostra Pasta - great Italian place you can have there lunch or even dinner. They have several locations, I like the one on Calle Zorrilla 9.
La Finca de Susana - Calle Arlaban 4, close to Puerta del Sol. I'm not sure how they do reservations but great food and pretty cheap. Definitely worth it.
Sushi Itto - Calle Recoletos 10. Great sushi, not a beautiful restaurant but if you're craving some japanese food, this can be one.
Lombok - Augusto Figueroa 32. Great Cafe-restaurant with modern food. Used to be my favorite in Madrid. It is in Chueca which is one of the biggest Gay and Lesbian districts in Europe. Fun to walk around and is completely safe.
Madrid is a party town, just like NY, Tel Aviv. There are many great clubs but 3 are more of a must. Madrid is very famous for its discount flyers that are spread across the city. If you can find some (easily can be found on the streets), you will get a discount at the enterance.
Palacio Gaviria (club) - Calle Arenal 9, very close to Puerta del Sol. It used to be a palace that was transformed to a club. Thursdays and Fridays are great. On Thursdays they have student parties which are fun. Don't come too late since there are lines across the block (around 11pm I think should be ok).
Joy (Club) - Calle Arenal 11 (right next to Palacio) - used to be a theater and now is a club with the decor is still as it used to be. Fridays are popular.
Kapital (Club) - Calle Atocha 125. On Saturday. Has 7 floors with 3 different dance floors. Huge place but vey fun.
Best streets are around Calle de Serrano. Of that street is the Calle Goya, Don Ramon de la Cruz, and very close is Velasquez. You can find some boutiques as well as the top brands. There is the Spanish Bloomingdales which is calles El Corte Inglais. It has a green sign and you will see it everywhere.
Don't know how much of a football fan are you, but one of the best teams in the world plays in Madrid, and the second best player currently lives - CR7. They have a great stadium called Santiago Bernabeo not far from the center. You can easily buy tickets at the gates from people who sell them.
Corral de la Moreria - Calle Moreria 17. One of the best places in the world to see Flamenco. Definitely the most well-known in Spain. Ideally book in advance (a day or two is more than enough) and can ask for dinner + show or just the show + drink. It's great if you like the music. Highly recommend it!
Palace - the king's palace is very close to Puerta del Sol, the big church near and the garden with all the past kings statues.
Plaza Mayor and Plaza del la Villa - you can walk from the palace and these are nice Plazas, especially Plaza mayor (be careful there from pocket lifters).
Retiro Park - beautiful park to go and chill. There is a beautiful lake in the middle and very fun to hang in.
Plaza Cibeles - with the big Mail office. This is where Real Madrid celebrates the championships.
See the below map - it's marked with arrows the tour i would do if i where you, and with dotted lines optional detours.
(1) Skip this number and start at (2), Puerta del Sol the old center.
From there to Plaza Mayor (3) entering through this lateral gate, from there go to (4) my favorite gates to Plaza Mayor are facing this side. Around this plaza are places for having lunch or dinner, a bit touristic but you may try one of them.
At (5) there are more touristic places known as caves 'cuevas' despite only one or two places here are called that way (cuchilleros street).
Go to (6), Plaza De La Villa with the old city-hall and Lujanes tower, one of the oldest buildings of Madrid. Madrid was a small village when it was designated as capital of spain. There are few remains before the 16th century. Some remains of Arab walls, that may sound good but are just a few stones that could be anything, in the back area of the Almuden cathedral.)
(7), viaduct in Bailen street over Segovia street - nice views from there. The high fences are to avoid suicides.
(8) - Almudena Cathedral, finished about 20 years ago, started at 19 century but the construction was stopped for many years. As it's a recent cathedral is somewhat empty comparing with other old cathedrals. Despite it's modern it fits very well with the royal palace in front.
The Royal palace is just in front 9 you may consider paying to get in, I liked it a lot inside.
info about tickets at
(10), Plaza de Oriente, nice square, with the building of the opera, from here you could return if you don't want to go on anymore, following the dotted arrow.
(11) Sabatini gardens, part of the royal palace and separated from the big gardens of Campo del Moro at (12).
I prefer Retiro park to these gardens. If you feel you won't have time for everything then leave these parks.
(13) Plaza de España - With two tall buildings from the 50's when Spain was still starving from the war,... two of the highest buildings in Madrid. In the center the monument to Cervantes.
From here you could go to the commercial center Principe Pio following the dotted arrow to the south trough Cuesta de San Vicente. (14)
(16) From Plaza de España i recommend to go to the Temple of Debod at Oeste park, great views from there also it's the most ancient building of Madrid (and Spain ) as it's a Egyptian temple gifted by Egypt when Spain helped them to move the abu simbel temples. It's small but very nice, I strongly recommend you to visit it from outside at least, it won't take you too much time.
Avoid (15). Use the pass at level street - there is pass underground but its used by homeless, mainly illegal immigrants. The police is trying to move them out of the area.
Go up by Gran Via street (16). This big avenue have typical buildings from the 1900 style. At (17) you could return by Preciados Street.
Some detail on Puerta del Sol area:
(2). Puerta del Sol, center of old Madrid, center of Spain,
the place at Madrid where people gathers to receive the new year,
the building with the clock tower is the regional government The neon commercials on the buildings are there for being consider 'historic', no new commercials are added to historic buildings for many years and some non historic were removed.
There is an small plate on the floor in front of the clock building, marking the 0 km for the radial network of roads in Spain.
In the other side of the square there's the statue of the symbol of Madrid - the bear and the tree - is the typical meeting point for many madrileños.
In the center - the statue of CarlosIII on a horse, considered the best major of Madrid. He took the dirtiest capital of Europe and renewed it greatly, finished royal palace, built most of gates and fountains you'll see, etc...
(3). The congress
(4). Metro station Sevilla
Dotted area known as huertas, one of the streets is called Huertas. Mostly pedestrian area. Quite animated area.