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How to spend 48 hours in Madrid
Posted on 19/04/2017


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Why not make Madrid the next city break on your list? Here's how to spend 48 hours in the Spanish capital.

Whilst people flock to Spain's Costa del Sol, to the Balearic Islands, to surf in San Sebastian, to the busy and bustling beach city of Barcelona, or to eat tapas and watch bullfighting in Seville, the heart of it all is often overlooked. The country's capital city is brimming with culture, fascinating history, stunning architecture and some of Europe's most beautiful parks.

Madrid is the perfect city to take a quick break over Easter, here is our guide to how to make the most of your stay when you only have 48 hours at your disposal.



After a fairly bright and early start, grab a some "pan con tomate", a typical Spanish breakfast of sliced baguette rubbed with juicy tomatos and drizzled with salt and olive oil, on the way over to the beautiful Parque del Buen Retiro. It is truly one of the most breathtaking urban parks Europe has to offer, where one could easily spend an entire morning getting lost along its glorious tree-lined paths. Try and stumble across the Palacio de Cristal for some interesting architecture, then make your way to the lake in the centre, overlooked by the Monument to Alfonso XII, where you can rent a rowing boat and relax on the water taking in the surrounding beauty.

After an hour or two in the glorious park, make your way out of the main gates where you will pass the Puerta de Alcala, an impressive three-arched Neo-classical construction dating back to the 14th century. This will take you into the Salamanca district, where you can enjoy a spot of shopping on Spain's most renowned streets including Calle de Serrano and Calle de Velazquez.

For the first piece of proper culture, check out the Circulo de Bellas Artes just off Puerta del Sol. It is one of the finest cultural centres in Europe, where there are always new and exciting exhibitions and activities. You can explore the emblematic building whose rooftop has some of the best views in Madrid.

Your stomach may be starting to rumble and it is time to get a taste of some fantastic, authentic, Madrid tapas. Stop for lunch, for as long as you wish, at Plaza Santa Ana, where you can try some classic dishes such as "pinchos", sliced bread with anything from meat to cheese to Spanish ham on top. A must on the list of tapas to try is of course "tortilla española" (Spanish omlette).

Take a stroll into the Centro district where you will find yourself in the main square of the city, Plaza Mayor. This is one of the most famous historical spots in the city and is a large square built in the 16th century. Here you can sit and have a post-tapas coffee and soak up the bustling atmosphere of the city centre.

a culture trip

a culture trip

Just behind Plaza Mayor make sure to take a peek inside Mercado de San Miguel, a vast covered food market where you can enjoy the sight, smell and taste of some of Madrid's freshest and most delicious delicacies. A must-buy in the market is some typical "Jamon Iberico", which is like no other ham you will eat and can make a perfect present to take home (or simply to save for yourself!).

The final sight to catch of the day, as the sun starts to cool down, is the grand Palacio Real. It is the official residence of the Spanish royal family, the largest building in Madrid and arguably the most beautiful from the outside. And for an extra 11EUR you can view it from inside.

After a long day of exploring it's time to hit one of Madrid many wonderful rooftop bars and restaurants, each boasting impressive views and serving even more delicious Spanish specialties and exquisite cocktails. Our recommendation for the first evening in Madrid is to head to the Gymage Lounge, an eloquently designed roof terrace looking down onto the city below which offers delightful dishes to suit everyone at the table, followed by a selection of unique cocktails to sip on as the night gets darker.


© Violin/123RF

The morning has come of another day of cultural adventures, and this time we are starting with the best. Head over to Museo del Prado, which is one of the greatest art museums in the world, holding over 7000 paintings which make up the best collection of European fine art. Take your time to explore the vast and remarkable museum viewing the works of Goya, Bosch, El Greco, Velazquez, Titan and Rubens, to name a few.

When you are all "arted" out and feeling a bit peckish, find your way to Plaza de San Ildefonso, in the Malasaña district, where you can sit back under the shade of the trees for even more tapas! After lunch, stretch your legs with a leisurely stroll through the quirky district of Chueca. Chueca is the modern area, the gay district, the spot for bars and nightlife, and is generally just good fun. Check out Mistura, a delicious hand-crafted ice cream parlour, Mama Framboise, some of the best patisserie cakes in town, or for something a little stronger head to any of the many bars that the area has to offer.

an atmospheric capital

an atmospheric capital
© kasto/123RF

Just before the sun goes down make sure you have gotten over to El Templo de Debod just beyond the Palacio Real. It is an Egyptian temple dating back to the 2nd century BC which was transported in the 1960's to Madrid's Cuartel de la Montaña Park. It is the only temple of its kind in all of Spain and boasts stunning views towards the royal palace. Experiencing the temple at sunset is all the more beautiful as the sun goes down directly behind the temple walls.

For the final evening in Madrid, try and get a table at the well-known restaurant, Casa Lucio, a place that has been run by the same family for over 80 years. The food is traditional and of the highest quality from starter to dessert and all the wine you need on the side. After dinner stick around the same road, Calle Cava Baja, and grab a cocktail or two in any of the hip and happening bars to finish off a delightful weekend in Spain's capital.

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