Somehow, I had forgotten just how beautiful Madrid is. You see, I’ve been to Madrid twice before: once in 2003 and a second time in 2006. I remember that I had liked Madrid’s vibe and adored the language, but completely missed how gorgeous the city is. Tree-lined boulevards, stately buildings, wide open plazas with heaps of flora and fountains- Madrid has got it going on. Keep reading for my snaps of the city and a few of my tips for traveling to Madrid, Spain:
Take the metro or the express bus to/from the airport
Don’t take a taxi if you can help it. Save your money for tapas: Madrid’s Barajas airport is only about a 30-minute bus drive from the centre in a moderate amount of traffic. I took the express bus ($7 USD) from the airport and got dropped off at Atocha bus/train/metro station, but the bus also has stops along the Gran Via, one of Madrid’s main throughfares. From there it’s a 10 minute walk from one of Madrid’s most popular squares, the Puerta del Sol.
Find centrally located accommodation so you can explore by foot
I love walking and Madrid’s wide boulevards are particularly enticing. Benefit from the beauty of Madrid’s centre by finding centrally located accommodation- it’ll allow you to use your own two feet to get you where you need to go! HostelBookers graciously provided me with a room at the Petit Palace Embassy Serrano, a lovely 4-star hotel in one of the nicest areas of Madrid. I was able to window-shop at all the poshest stores as I made the 10-minute walk from the hotel to the Plaza de Alcala. Twenty-five minutes at a leisurely gait brought me from the hotel to the Puerta del Sol.
Expect to spend $25 USD and up for a hostel and $50 USD and up for a decent hotel room (single occupancy)
I was surprised to see that accommodation in Madrid is still pretty cheap by Western European standards. When I found myself stranded in Madrid overnight because trains to Pamplona were booked solid, I paid $27 USD for a bed in an 8-person dorm at HostelOne. Mid-range single-person accommodation in the centre will run you approximately $50 USD a night. The 4-star Petit Palace Embassy Serrano is only $89 USD for a single room. *Note: you can find hostels for $20 USD but they aren’t very nice! It’s worth it to pay just a little extra for better accommodation, in my opinion!
Pack a picnic lunch and eat in the park
Hanging out in Madrid’s Parque del Retiro is a great way to spend an afternoon. Plus, it’s free! Grab a few provisions from the market and have sandwiches in any one of the plethora of grassy areas throughout this huge park. Fun, cheap, visually stimulating… I like!
Do you have any tips for traveling to Madrid, Spain? Whether you have or haven’t been, what do you think of the city?