Our vacation to Spain was just amazing. We started and ended in Madrid with a trip in between to Mallorca (more on that to come later in the week!). I had heard mixed reviews on Madrid, really mixed. I think those reviews were coming from those who preferred Barcelona but since we didn’t have a chance to go there, we didn’t have anything to compare it to. Much to my surprise, I LOVED it! I thought it was the perfect size, everyone was so friendly and I absolutely loved the architecture. In typical European fashion, there were little cafes and restaurants everywhere with tons of outdoor seating. Even though it’s a big city, it didn’t feel like everyone was rushing around all the time – at any given time, tons of people were sitting and enjoying their coffee or vino!
We stayed one night at the Westin Palace and two nights at the AC Hotel Atocha. We really loved both but they were totally different. The Westin Palace was a little more traditional while the AC Hotel Atocha had a more modern feel. The Westin was a little more centrally located but the Atocha was close to a lot of fun sights as well and was located in a really cute little neighborhood.
Three nights was the perfect amount of time in Madrid. I felt like we saw a ton but our days weren’t too packed that we couldn’t relax and enjoy.
Some highlights of our trip included:
Real Jardin Botanical Gardens – This was our first stop and it was a really relaxing time after our 48 hours of travel (we got delayed…a lot). Plus it only costs about 3 euro to get in. I suggest grabbing a cafe con leche (coffee with steamed milk – THE BEST) and taking a morning stroll through here.
Parque de El Retiro – This was a recommendation from pretty much everyone I talked to before we left and I now know why! It’s a huge, beautiful park with tons of green space for picnicking, a lake and plenty of walking/running trails.
Plaza Mayor and CHURROS – Plaza Mayor was a little touristy for me. However, the best part was that it was right around the corner from the best churros I’ve ever had. Chocolateria San Gines is what dreams are made of. Warm churros that you dip in hot chocolate…heaven.
Esatdio Santiago Bernabeu – I’m not even a big soccer/futbol fan but I really loved the Real Madrid stadium tour. They use so much cool technology throughout the tour which makes it super interactive and exciting. Plus the view from the field isn’t half bad either : )
Mercado de San Miguel – This was definitely one of my favorite things we did in Madrid. Mercado de San Miguel is an awesome market with little restaurants, cheese stands, wine bars, etc. We grabbed a little of everything and had quite the feast.
ME Reina Victoria Rooftop Restaurant – Not only was this my favorite restaurant we went to in Spain, it was one of my favorite restaurants EVER. First of all, it’s on the rooftop of a hotel so the view is a 360 degree view of the city (see photo below). The food was insanely delicious – I had a burrata cheese appetizer, risotto, a salad and all of the wine. Plus, as a table we tried every dessert on the menu. It was all AMAZING. And, this place is definitely a hidden gem as it wasn’t crowded at all. If you find yourself in Madrid, this is an absolute must!
And, glasses of wine are cheaper than glasses of tap water at most restaurants sooooo Madrid, I love you.