Madrid is a city that brings together lots of things to have a weekend or a very good holiday: excellent food, lots of culture, amount of heritage, good nightlife and a wonderful receptive atmosphere. I think the things that struck me the most on my first visit to Madrid, was the number of places to eat and how good they were, and above all at more than correct prices.

Travelling by plane to Madrid will surely not be complicated from any European capital, being the capital, and having the main airport of Spain, it will be very easy to find flights and at good prices.

How to go from the airport to downtown Madrid?

When you arrive at Madrid airport and everything facilitates it, there is a one-time price policy for taxis, which many times and depending on the time, will be much more convenient than taking an Uber. The one-time fee is 30 euros for any place within the M30.

Madrid M30

The M30 is a ring road that surrounds Madrid, so any direction that remains within that circle or imaginary oval that traces this route, is paid at that unique rate.

This is already a great advantage over other European capitals that require paying very expensive journeys between the arrival airport and the chosen accommodation.

There’s also the train, and of course Uber has very good fares. But I recommend checking the price according to the time they arrive because probably the taxi will be more convenient. They will probably have to queue to take the taxi, but it goes very well, and it is quite well organized.

How to move inside Madrid?

Madrid has an excellent urban transport network. I was pleasantly surprised with its buses, clean, spotless, and with few delays.

The metro is also very good, and very clean. To take both buses and the subway, you must buy a card that is then recharged with the different routes. This empty card has an initial cost of 2.50 euros. You can find recent information in this tourist link in Madrid.

Where to sleep in Madrid?

A big advantage of Madrid is the prices, especially if you compare it to even smaller cities like Barcelona. You can find all kinds of accommodation at a very good price, including 5-star hotels that will not have an exhorbitant price.

We tested 3 types of accommodation in Madrid: 5-star hotel, apart-hotel and airbnb. We were satisfied with all three, but the truth, at least the hotel we tested did not seem exceptional, nor as 5 stars as advertised.

The hotel we try is called Hotel Puerta América Madrid, it is close to Avenida América and from there comes its name. It has a somewhat special architecture, each level has a specific decoration, and the rooms are somewhat special. We found it a hotel that must have been very avant-garde at a certain time, but at the moment we found it unfunctional and not so comfortable. Very poorly isonorized, you can practically hear everything that happens in the hallways. The prices of the services are somewhat high, and there are a lack of essential elements to be considered a true 5-star service.

In Madrid we also stayed at Aparthotel Avenida America Tijcal, not far from this hotel, and really with a great location. In a quiet area and close to many shops and restaurants within easy walking distance.

The aparthotel is very clean, rather familiar type, well equipped, you can cook in the apartment without any problem. It wasn’t our intention to cook, but it helped us not to have to have to eat breakfast out every day. Nearby is a very good artisan bakery, called PanadariO.

Where to eat in Madrid?

I think this is the hardest question to answer with regard to Madrid. Not because he doesn’t eat well, in fact it’s quite the opposite. There are so many good places, of all sizes and for all pockets that it would be difficult to make a single selection.

In Madrid you can find a myriad of gastronomic restaurants, tapas bars, bars to drink, enfin, in this rubrica, nothing will be missing. My recommendations are the same as always and so you will definitely find a good place. Do not eat in obviously overly touristy places.

To go tapas, nothing like Ponzano Street. In this street there are bars, restaurants, excellent all, side by side. We did something really fun, we walked down the street, spinning at almost every place, starting mid-afternoon and until after midnight. We were eating and having a drink at every place. If you go for a weekend to Madrid and want to taste different things in one day, I recommend going tapas to this street.

My Ponzano highlights:

  • Touch of Salt: a bistro from the old ones, with a timeless decoration reminiscent of the old elegant restaurants without extreme luxuries. Excellent wines can be tasted and the attention is unparalleled.
  • Arima: a Basque tapas bar, decorated in rustic wood, more casual than Toque de Sal, is more to sit at the bar or taste some very good tapas standing.
  • Candeli Restaurant: a place with more restaurant with market food than a tapas bar, but everything is allowed in Madrid. Attention because they close in the middle of the afternoon. They eat excellent Caléots if they go in the good season.
  • The Chamberi machine: a fairly large restaurant, the whole front is rather tapas bar. Very good, but you have to go early because it fills up.

In the List Area, between Guindalera and Salamanca, there are many high quality restaurants. I have several favorites, among them, one is Haches with a very nice decoration, a good atmosphere and good food.
But without a doubt, my selection is Cilindro, an Astuarian Peruvian fusion restaurant, which knows how to handle the ingredients in an extraordinary way.

In any case, in Madrid you will have no trouble finding a good place to eat, nice too, and not too expensive. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to ensure exquisite food, and with good presentation.

What to see in Madrid in few days?

To enjoy Madrid you have to just go for a walk in the downtown of the city, go seeing the different bars and squares, but do not forget that Madrid is also a city that offers a lot of cultural variety.

In a short time we must prioritize:

  • The Prado Museum: knowing that every day at the end of the afternoon, from 6, the entrance is free, and although you will find a fairly long queue, you will soon realize that it is progressing very quickly and that in a few minutes you will be inside enjoying Las Meninas, among other famous works.
  • The Retreat Park: uncorkable, even if you do not enter the park you will not be able to avoid passing through various parts of the park along any tour of the city. In fact, going towards the gate of Alcala, by the street of the same name, will pass in front of the park for a good part of the journey.
  • The gate of Alcala: I compare it to the arc of triumph of Paris, it has that same air. It has a lot of high-end restaurants around. A very chic place to eat on the terrace on a spring or summer night.
    We have gone there to a very nice place, we stayed at the bar, but we can still eat: Aarde.
  • La Gran Via: the species of Champs Elisées of Madrid, an effervescent avenue, full of people, shops and theaters that invite you to see musicals and works of all kinds. If you have the time you could enjoy the musical of the moment.
  • Plaza Real: in the center, interesting to see. But I don't consider it one of the most beautiful places in Madrid.

The important thing about when planning a weekend or a short trip is to take it easy, you can’t pretend to cover a lot of things. It is best to focus on some areas, and try to eat, walk and do activities around those points to enjoy without stress and have fun with Madrid life, simply!

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