After a whirlwind trip to Toledo, Lucas and I headed onward to Madrid. It was chillier than I expected in January, and a bit windy, but we checked into our very central airbnb apartment and headed out on a tapas and culture tour with Native Spanish Tapas. We spent a few hours ducking into and out of tapas bars and exploring the city by night learning history and anecdotes about life in Madrid before sitting down to a delicious meal of paella and sangria.
After the tour, we explored the city for a while before getting the obligatory late night churros and chocolate at Chocolatería San Ginés. Delicious.
On our first morning in Madrid, we got an early start (with pastries and coffee of course) and headed to the Prado for some art and culture. When we felt we’d seen enough paintings (and finished most of the highlights audioguide) it was time for a lunch break. A plate of manchego cheese and some sandwiches, washed down by local beer were just what we needed. Admission to the Reina Sofia was free in the afternoon, so we made a quick stop there to see Guernica, the famous Picasso painting and a few other pieces of modern art.
Feeling as though we’d absorbed plenty of culture, we spent the afternoon on a self- guided craft beer and food tour of Madrid. Madrid isn’t exactly known for it’s craft beer scene, but the following places are worth checking out:
El Pedal – a small brew pub with some good craft beers
Chinaski Lavapies – Near El Pedal, a great craft beer bar with a selection of local and international brews
Irreale – Another great craft beer bar with tasting flights of local and international craft beer
Fabrica Maravillas – A snazzy modern brewpub
Our plan for the final morning had been to visit the palace, but due to a function with the royal family, only the armoury was open. We had a quick lunch of pastries and it was off to the airport and back to less sunny England.
Buying a 2 Day Tourist Pass for public transit worked out really well, we were able to explore outlying areas of the city and the metro is very efficient. It doesn’t cover the entire cost of getting to the airport though-you’ll have to pay a supplement to get out of the barriers when you arrive.
Staying in an Airbnb in one of the tiny streets off Puerta del Sol worked great- we were close to public transit and the craziness of the main square but set back enough that our street was filled with more local restaurants and bars.