Anyone travelling around Spain should certainly check out Madrid. Not only does the capital boast a warm climate, no end of historical architecture and a vibrant atmosphere, but there is also a variety of things to see and do. From traditional Spanish dancing to one of the best football teams on the planet, here are five of the best things to do when visiting the Spanish capital. So if you’re thinking of heading to Spain this year, make Madrid your first stop.
1. The Rastro Flea Market
Open from 9am until 3pm every day and selling a wide range of goods from furniture and souvenirs to clothing and candles, the Rastro Flea Market or ‘El Rastro’ is the largest open air market in Madrid. It’s filled with as many locals as it is tourists and is a great place to find a bargain whilst soaking up the vibrant atmosphere of the city. Just don’t be afraid to haggle! With around 3,500 different stalls, the market covers several streets in one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city.
2. Flamenco Dancing
For night time entertainment in the city, it doesn’t get much better than flamenco dancing. This traditional dance has become synonymous with the country and many of the bars and taverns in Madrid offer some form of flamenco night. With quality dancers and tasty food, the Corral de la Moreria is a flamenco restaurant widely considered to be the oldest and the best in the city. Located next door to the Royal Palace, the restaurant has a Castilian style with its 18th and 19th century furniture and décor, and can be found right in the heart of the city.
3. Visit the Royal Palace
As the largest royal palace in Western Europe, the Royal Palace of Madrid is the official home of the Spanish Royal Family. The palace is partially open to the public throughout the year, as the Royal Family doesn’t actually live there; instead choosing to reside at the Palacio de la Zarzuela on the outskirts of the city. With a series of huge Tuscan pillars and various statues of saints and kings, the palace is pretty spectacular to look at. The gardens, known as the Campo del Moro, are worth a visit and inside; visitors will find a range of works of art, tapestries and paintings.
4. Watch Real Madrid
Home to one of the biggest football clubs in the world, the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium is an imposing sight on the Madrid skyline. Real Madrid has some of the world’s greatest players at the club including Cristiano Ronaldo, paying a staggering £80 million for his services. Any football fans visiting the city should try and get tickets to watch the team play at their magnificent 85,000 all-seater stadium. Guided tours are also available giving the general public behind-the-scenes access to the trophy room, dressing rooms and players’ tunnel.
5. Visit a Museum
With famous paintings by Picasso among others, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid is one of the best places in Europe for contemporary and modern art. The museum was once the city’s 18th century hospital and was converted in 1992. The two glass lifts on the outside of the building are particularly striking. Once inside the museum, visitors can browse the four floors (two of which are devoted to temporary exhibits), while the other two feature a range of art movements.
These are just five of the top things to do in Madrid, but the city boasts so much more.