The Hazel Eyed Traveler

A scenic travel and lifestyle blog by Katie Alice

Top 10 Things to Do in Madrid

Madrid, city, architecture, Spain
I recently was lucky enough to spend sometime in Madrid.   I had never before visited Spain so I was not completely sure what to expect.   It is said that the big apple is the city that never sleeps but I feel that this could definitely sum up Madrid.  A city filled with sights and sounds and passionate peoples it is defiantly a thriving city to visit while in Spain.

Probably the best advice I can give before visiting Madrid is be prepared.  The majority of the locals do not speak English.  Spanish is the language of the country and the one that is spoken.   I began to realize this even before I reached Madrid.  Sitting in a French airport the passenger check in officer called out first in French to board.  Looking around I observed no one standing up to walk toward the gates.  She next called out in English and thoroughly expecting passengers to start walking toward the gate I stood up to move forward only to realize I was the only one.  Questioning that I may have misheard her I paused as she called out for boarding in Spanish.  Immediately as if the bell for the end of the day of school had rung everyone sitting around me stood up and moved in a mass horde to get in line.

So yes,  English is not spoken and rarely understood.  Before traveling it is important to learn at least a few phrases in the countrie's language out of respect for that country.  It is easy to assume everyone can speak English but as in Madrid that is not always the case nor is it polite and at times can be quite disrespectful.   But make sure you brush up on your Spanish before stepping foot in this beautiful city.

While in Madrid there are a number of sites you do not want to miss and I have included of them that you must visit while in Spain's capital.

Madrid, plaza mayor, city, architecture
1. Plaza Mayor
A central plaza in the city of Madrid it is also a few blocks from another place Puerto del Sol.   This place is steeped in history and is surrounded by restaurants and shops.  Everything in Madrid is also very walkable which makes it a fantastic easy city to get around.

Madrid, glass palace, Retiro Park, city, park
2. Glass Palace
This is located in the Retiro park and is open to visitors.  It was originally built in 1887, to display tropical plants from the Philippines.  While in Retiro Park you can rent a rowboat to paddle around the lake within the park. The park also has trails and outdoor cafes that you can enjoy.

Madrid, city, palace, royal palace of madrid, tourist attractions, spain
3. Royal Palace of Madrid
The official residence of the Spanish royal family this palace boasts the largest of the royal palaces throughout Europe.  Walking around the grounds are quite a site to see let alone the inside of the palace.  Rooms are open to the public to enjoy including a room made entirely of porcelain.  

Madrid, city, palace, royal palace of madrid, tourist attractions, spain, gardens, palace gardens
Check out my Vlog of the Royal Palace!

cathedral, spain, city, madrid

4.  Almudena Cathedral
Right next door to the palace is the Almudena Cathedral.  A beautiful cathedral I was lucky enough to attend Mass here while visiting.  

5. Tapas
You cannot visit Madrid without enjoying some authentic Spanish Tapas.  One of the places I visited while there was El Tigre.  An extremely affordable restaurant but no less delicious.  If you order a large alcoholic beverage you get an unlimited amount of tapas.  

6.  Flamenco
Spanish dance known for its energy and beauty can be seen in Madrid.   One of the places to see flamenco, Corral de la Moreria, held it's first flamenco dance in 1956.  A colorful form of dance that you must see when visiting Madrid.

 7.  Nightlife
When visiting Madrid you cannot go home without partaking in it's nightlife.  Locals and visitors alike will not start until as late as or as early as 3am in the morning and they do not come straggling home until the early morning hours.  Although you will find more partygoers on the weekends the week days cannot be brushed off as you will find many enjoying the bars and shows throughout the night and into the morning.

8.  Real Madrid
Madrid's extremely successful soccer (football) team was founded in 1902.  Whether a soccer (football) fan or not, attending a game is both an exciting and cultural experience.  A wonderful place to mingle and cheer with the locals as they root on their beloved home team.

9. Puerta del Sol
An exciting busy square.  Where people gather and meet up at it's underground train station, the largest in the world.

10.  Shopping
There are so many places to shop in Madrid from the Calle Praciados, a pedestrian only strip.  To Calle Serrano, where you can find upscale designer boutiques.

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