Madrid, Madrid, Madrid! I had literally squeezed this Capital of Spain in my schedule of 2017 summer trip. I wanted to visit the place but had no idea how many days I want to commit to the place. But, I was glad that I visited the place even if it meant just for a day.
Find a place We were staying at Mad Hostel. I will recommend this place if you want to stay in the city. They have wonderful breakfast (start your morning with a wonderful breakfast) and in general, the hostel was adequate for our needs. The crowd was younger than us and hostel culture was prevalent, which means parties every day, different theme parties etc. Though they had a sister hostel where all the fun happened. Frankly, the hostel reminds you of the concept of ‘Wada’. This hostel had a similar layout, an enclosed courtyard surrounded by floors of rooms next to each other. The rooms are AC and controlled by the front desk (don’t know why?).
Exploring the city
- Plaza Mayor is a wonderful place to see at the very beginning of the tour. This centrally located plaza is associated with a lot of history behind it. History of revolutions, executions, divisions between the rich and the poor and also how those walls were broken to reach out. Today, It is a popular tourist attraction and more importantly a meeting place for many tour operators. We also reached this place as it was a meeting point for Sandeman’s Walking tour. This plaza accommodates cafes, shops, artists and many tourists at the same time.
2) Streets of Madrid: Roam around. While roaming the streets of Madrid, Spanish history quickly seeps into your eyes. Buildings are exquisite yet familiar because of the typical European grandeur. Everything has a reason. The road names and a painting next to it will define the street or place you are standing on. For example, one road is called Calle del codo which literally means ‘Elbow street’.
There are three main locations situated quite close to each other which are all very famous tourist attractions.
3) Palace – Royal Palace of Madrid and Plaza de Oriente.: Just like every other palace, a huge gate and loads of tourists. Palace is extremely huge and would take days to explore. It has 3418 rooms. It has been built after fires and wars. Huge gardens are a part of the palace premises.
4) Cathedral – Cathedral de la Almudena The cathedral, museum and Palace share a huge courtyard. A place for people to gather and click loads of pictures and musicians to display their art. After seeing and hearing a lot of Spanish history during our tour, we were inquisitive in at least visiting one of the places. Hence, we saw the Cathedral as it was closest to us and free. This Cathedral took many many years to complete with different sections showing different architectural styles.
5) Parque de El Retiro: I loved this huge park. I think I covered walking only a part of it. One could easily get lost. It had greenery, trees, fountains, caves, beautiful crystal building – Palacio de Cristal, neoclassical building- Palacio de Velazquez which harbours exhibitions. It was exactly my kind of place. There was so much to Madrid. I will talk about them in another blog posts.
6) Puerta de Alcala This monument has two different looks on each side. One side has babies/angels and the other side shows warriors. Quite interesting. This monument is just outside the Park. Actually, The road from this place till SOL is quite interesting.
7) Puerta de SOL is a very famous plaza and must visit when in Madrid. I did the touristy things like taking a picture with ‘Km Zero’. It is considered the centre from where Spanish roads are radially situated.
Planning a trip is essential and crucial when you are doing such one-day trips. If one is visiting the city for less than 24 hours, then one wants to get a gist or the feel of the city and maybe not dig deeper. Of course, you want to remember few things from the trip 🙂
During such tight time schedules, always manage at least walking tours. Free ones are friendly and give a perfect idea if opting for a paid one or proceed to explore the place without any help or self-research. Madrid was one place where we explored everything by foot. It was a lot of walking, no travel tickets, no passes. We purchased tickets enough for only our commute from Airports to Hostel and hostel to Train Station. Hope you enjoyed reading and watching pictures of Madrid. Write to me your experiences and thoughts.
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