At the end of February, Mark’s brother, Mike flew to Spain to visit us for a week! Thursday night we took an overnight bus from Sevilla to Madrid and met him there on Friday morning. Although we only had one day / night in Madrid before we flew to Morocco on Saturday, we definitely made the most of it.
After finally meeting up, we had a quick lunch together before heading to our hostel so Mike could leave his bags! We stayed in Hostal Machin which I recommend if you are visiting Madrid for the night / weekend. Don’t expect a great social / party atmosphere here, but the location is great for sight-seeing. The Hostel is off of Gran Via (a main road in Madrid) and close to Puerto del Sol.
After we all took a short cat-nap, we were ready to explore the city!! I had already been to Madrid twice before, so I knew the sites we wanted to see! Our first stop was Plaza Mayor, one of my favorite places when I first visited Spain in high school!
After visiting Plaza Mayor, we went to San Gines, a very famous and old Chocolateria in Madrid. It is across the street from Plaza Mayor (near Cien Monteditos) down a tiny back-road! It’s worth scouting this place out. Rainy weather is perfect for some churros and chocolate!
Next stop, we visited Mercado de San Miguel to check out all the different food! If you have the time, this is a great place to get lunch or a glass of wine! We especially liked it because they had heat-lamps!
You always come across very interesting things in Spanish Markets!
After warming up in the crowded market, we headed out to see the Royal Palace. The King and Queen of Spain do not actually live in the Palace, it is used for State ceremonies only. You can go inside the Palace for 10 euros and although we did not have the time, I have been inside before and it is very beautiful.
In better weather, I would recommend you take the time to stroll through the gardens, but we decided to just check out the area briefly before sheltering inside the Cathedral!
Directly across from the Palace, you can find Almudena Cathedral. Considering many other churches in Spain, this Cathedral is relatively new (construction began in 1879) but it is beautiful nonetheless. You can visit the Cathedral for free.
After checking out the Palace and Cathedral, we took the metro to Retiro Park. Before entering the park, you can see Puerta de Alcalá, a monument built in the late 18th century to make the city more beautiful!
Although Parque Buen Retiro is magnificent (and probably the best hang-out spot in Madrid during the nice weather) it was starting to get colder as the sun set, so we did not stay long! However, I would put Retiro Park as a top priority to visit on a sunny day in Madrid!
After a very long day of running around the city in the rain, we decided to finally head to El Tigre for an early dinner, a place that I had only visited twice before but really enjoyed! When you go into El Tigre, you order some beers and they ask if you want tapas with the beers. If you say yes, they select an assortment of whatever tapas they have made that day (everything is homemade) and hand you a big plate! I definitely recommend visiting El Tigre, it’s a fun environment with great Spanish food!
By the time we finished our grande beers and food, we were exhausted. We headed back to the hostel and called it an early night. The following morning we left bright and early for the airport to catch our flight to Morocco. Stay tuned for a post about Marrakech and our excursion to the Sahara desert!
Check out our video blog about our day in Madrid! Enjoy!
Much love, Amanda