Many Norwegians go to Barcelona if they go for a long weekend in Spain. Maybe magical Madrid should be your next destination instead?
HOW TO GET THERE:
Most big European cities have direct flights to Madrid. From the airport I took a train to the center.
WHEN TO GO:
Spring was beautiful in Madrid. The cherry trees were blossoming and it was not too cold or too hot. Summer gets very hot in Madrid, so I recommend spring or autumn. It is not uncommon with temperatures above 40 °C (104 °F) in summer.
WHERE TO STAY:
I stayed with a friend in la Latina which was very central and perfect for walking around. Every sunday there is a marked called Rastro in the streets here.
WHERE YOU SHOULD GO:
- Almudena Cathedral and the Royal Palace next to it
- Sunday market in La Latina. Madrid's weekly flea market allows you to buy almost anything under the sun
- Retiro Park
- Plaza Mayor. Marvellous enclosed square, perfect to sit outside and people watch
- Templo de Debod. An authentic 2nd Century BC Egyptian temple in the middle of Madrid
- Gran Vía. Madrid's most famous and most central street
- Puerta del Sol. Madrid's most central and best known square
- Eat tapas until you drop!
- The Reina Sofia. Picasso's 'Woman in Blue' and Guernica paintings are just 2 of the highlights
- The Prado. One of Europe's premier art museums, the Prado is a must when visiting Madrid
Templo de Debod
The egyptian Templo de Debod originally stood in Debod in the Nile Valley, but the need for a new dam meant that it had to be moved elsewhere or it would have remained underwater forever. It was dismantled stone by stone in 1969 and shipped to the Spanish port city of Valencia, from where it was then taken by train to Madrid. That's where it was reconstructed and open to the public in 1972.
The Prado Museum
This is one of many paintings you can find in the Prado Museum. The museum is Madrid's top cultural sight, and one of the world's greatest art galleries. It is located in the eponymous street, and has a dazzling display of works by the great European masters such as Velázquez, Goya, Raphael, Rubens, and Bosch.
The Retiro Park
Madrid's main park, El Parque de Retiro, is not far from the city's main tourist attractions such as the Prado Museum. It is a popular and magnificent place for a stroll. Home to several sculptures, monuments, and a boating lake, it also presents an annual book fair, and there are free concerts throughout the summer.
Here you'll find the 19th century Crystal Palace, "el Palacio de Cristal", from 1887. It was built to hold the Philipines Exhibition and once home to exotic plants, but now used for temporary exhibitions.
The Sunday market in La Latina
Madrid's largest open air flea market, "El Rastro" is held from 9am to 3pm in the historic centre of Madrid every Sunday. Go tapas bar hopping and enjoy the atmosphere!
Stroll around the streets and discover new areas
Madrid is a city where you should take some time just to walk around and explore all the different neighboorhoods. Eat tapas at different restaurants and do some people watching. There are many restaurants and bars to discover. So put on your walking shoes and go for an adventure!
Indulge in chocolate churros!
The Spanish do not joke around when it comes to chocolate. Spanish hot chocolate is made with dark chocolate and is thick, rich and delicious. Chocolate and churros is a pair that you must eat together. One without the other leaves you feeling less than satisfied. Sure, you can buy this dish at many of the bars or cafes, but really, if you want the best, you have to go to a chocolatería.
Mmmmadrid! What a great city. I think you too should take a big bite of it :)