Welcome to Madrid, where the days start late, the nights end later, and the locals look like Javier Bardem.
Sound good? Well, there’s more. Much more. Madrid is home to some of the biggest and baddest sights in the world, from museums filled with iconic art to discotheques packed with Spain’s most beautiful. From Goya’s The Nude Maja by day to the (almost) naked madrileños at night, Madrid insists that you stay on the move—in only the most laid-back style, of course. When it’s time to recuperate, slow down, savor some of the best in Spanish cuisine, and lounge in one of the city’s immaculate parks or gardens under the warm Spanish sun.
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The Madrid Top 5
The Reina Sofia
The Golden Triangle of Art’s southernmost leg offers visitors a
refreshing break from Madrid’s neoclassical artistic tradition.
Templo de Debod
There’s literally a 2000-year-old Egyptian temple in the heart of Madrid.
If you spent your childhood dreaming of princesses, knights, and dragons, the
Palacio Real, Madrid’s own royal palace, will be your dream come true.
Parque del Buen Retiro
Pack a picnic lunch and walk underneath the vine-covered Rosadela in the
park’s main garden or go boating on the majestic lake in front of Alfonso XII’s
A symbol of national pride and a relic of the nation’s rich artistic history
On leaving for Toledo.
I’m sitting in the Atocha station waiting to catch my train to Toledo. I’m unshowered, sweaty, a little dehydrated. But I don’t want to get up to grab some water because I’m afraid someone will take my seat, which is a rarity in this crowded station.
That nagging, dusty, nostalgic feeling about leaving a place is stuck in the back of my throat. It’s been two weeks since I first stepped off the Tribunal metro stop into the heart of Madrid, lost, obviously foreign, and completely alone. I’ll be honest—the first few days were extremely difficult. I was […]
I’ve been waiting for eight days now. Finally, I saw a protest in Puerta del Sol.
It wasn’t that large of a protest, maybe fifteen people, all older than 40. They were holding signs reading “real transición sin rey,” or, “real transition without a king.” The protestors were in opposition to the declaration of a new king, the now-Prince Felipe (to be King Felipe VI), whose father Juan Carlos I abdicated on June 2. It seems that a lot of Spaniards don’t think their 30-year-old democracy is true.
I don’t know anything about Spanish politics, but I have […]
On Madrid’s many vendors.
Since I’ve been staying in one area of Madrid for about a week now, I keep running into the same people. Most of them are vendors of some sort, capitalizing on the high traffic of tourist areas like major plazas and squares. These people go to great lengths to amuse tourists (and hopefully earn a euro or two). Two of them, middle aged Spanish women, throw on unicorn/goat costumes like blankets over their clothes and crouch down in the middle of La Plaza Mayor. The costumes are made of strips of shimmering confetti, which, as I have […]
Finally, I found Spanish children playing pickup fútbol on the streets of Madrid. There were six of them, boys around ten years old, kicking a ratty gray ball across the plaza in front of the Reina Sofía, Madrid’s contemporary art museum. They used the cement walls adjacent to the museum as goals and marked no boundaries for their game, running wildly around the square between crowds of tourists and vendors and screaming nonsensical commands to their teammates. It wasn’t much of a game at all, actually. The boys were just one-upping each other, showing off […]
Stark black against the reddish-gold Puerta del Sol stands Madrid’s most treasured monument. No, it isn’t a lavish architectural behemoth, like the nearby royal palace. Nor is it a reverential sculpture honoring a Spanish monarch, like that of King Philip III sitting on his horse in the Plaza Mayor. Instead, the monument is a small, unassuming statue tucked away into the corner of the square. The statue, what Madrileños call El Oso y el Madroño, is of a bear standing on its hind legs and lifting its mouth into a berry tree.