Madrid is on a lot of people’s travel lists simply because it’s one of the most famous capital cities in Europe. But side from the allure of capitals and the idea of visiting Spain many people couldn’t actually tell you what they want to see and do in Madrid! That’s just what we’ll get into here, with the hopes of giving some specific goals to anyone with an eye on the Spanish capital.
Check Out The Nightlife
It might not quite have the same reputation as Barcelona in this regard, but Madrid is still known for vibrant and entertaining nightlife. You can always find a quieter place to grab a few beers if that’s more your speed, but part of experiencing the city means getting a glimpse of some of the more unique clubs and bars. And it may not be what you’re expecting! The best venues in Madrid aren’t necessarily pulsing with house music and bright neon lights. Some of them manage to be pretty unique without feeling over-the-top. For instance, Tupperware is one nightlife spot with a particularly strong reputation, and it’s been described as “outrageously kitsch but with a pop art sensibility.” That’s not exactly your standard big city club, and yet it’s a destination for a lot of people who want a feel for Madrid’s nightlife.
Stroll The Gran Via
Like a lot of big cities in the region, Madrid is marked by a few streets that are always crowded that tourists often flock to. In this case, the Gran Via is the main area, and it’s about what you’d expect in that it’s packed with people, full of interesting shops, restaurants, and attractions. It’s also fun just to walk through. We won’t point out specific stops along the Gran Via for the reason that it’s best experienced a little aimlessly.
Eat Some Tapas
If you’ve ever tried Spanish food, particularly abroad, chances are you were exposed to tapas. In case you’re unfamiliar it’s essentially a style of eating in a series of tiny meals. A “tapa” is basically an appetizer, and tapas are small savory dishes served either in a broad selection or one after another. Many tourists view it as a fun way of eating, to say nothing of the wonderful flavors native to Spain. Needless to say you could find plenty of bars and restaurants known for their tapas, but you can also take a tapas tour and fit in a few different places to get a better feel for the city and its spectacular food.
See A Match At The Bernabéu
Real Madrid is probably the most consistently great soccer club in the world. Even this past season, with truly world-class opponents in Bayern Munich and Barcelona, Madrid seemed to be a league above the rest. Heading into the Champions League round of 16, they were said to be at the top of the pile even by strategic betting guides. And a short time later, sure enough, they hoisted the most prestigious trophy in club soccer—again. The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium gives you the chance to see this one-of-a-kind organization up close, and it’s an experience that shouldn’t be missed even if you’re not a huge soccer fan. The Bernabéu also happens to be considered one of the best venues in European sports.
Catch A Flamenco Show
This is something a lot of people want to do on a trip to Spain, whether or not they’re specifically going to Madrid. In fact, there are actually other parts of the country better known for their flamenco music and dancing. That said, Madrid has plenty of places to go if you want to watch some flamenco in person. It’s not for everybody, but if you’re the sort of traveler who likes to immerse yourself in the culture of your destinations, it should be high on your list.
Try The Churros
We already spent some time on food when we talked about tapas, but we wouldn’t be doing Madrid justice without also devoting some space to churros. These are essentially fried dough snacks/desserts that are often served alongside a sweet dipping sauce or syrup. And let’s just say they do churros the right way in Madrid. You can find them in plenty of different places, but Chocolateria San Gines is the best of the bunch. It’s a well-known establishment, and one that has been compared to Café du Monde in New Orleans (which is a very good thing).
Visit Plaza de Cibeles
We’ll close on a high note. Plaza de Cibeles is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, and with good reason. It’s a plaza set in front of the beautiful Palace of Communications, as well as a large statue of a Roman goddess on a chariot (which is part of a grand fountain). It’s one of those places you just have to see as you wander about the city, even if you only walk by and linger for a few minutes.