I have to admit, I didn’t see a great deal of touristy things in Madrid. Since I extended my stay in Barcelona, I lost two nights in the city. I have no regrets with that decision, but having been so in love with Barcelona, it also left me a bit underwhelmed with Madrid. That being said, I stayed at another great hostel and had a blast with my new found friends.
Day One – Making Friends and Drinking Like A Local
As soon as I arrived I was joking around with the staff. They are extremely friendly and instantly make you feel at home. Mosts of the guests were out and about at this time so I just wandered the streets for a bit then came back to clean myself up before dinner.
As mentioned before, at Hostel One dinners are key to making friends. I instantly clicked with a group of girls and a guy at the table, and just like that we had plans to explore the city the next day.
None of us were really feeling up for a big bar crawl so one of the hostel workers offered to take us to a cool street, called Cava Baja, filled with small local bars. We wandered into a random one and ordered some vino blanco; the only Spanish word I know … well that and cerveza. So cultured I know!
Day Two – Wandering Until I Pass Out, Then Off to a Club!
The night before, we convinced one of the hostel workers to take us on a freestyle tour of Madrid the next day. I made sure that he added the Crystal Palace to the list … it was the only thing I knew to go see in the city, since I did no research!
Most of the tour was just wandering and taking in the beauty of the city but here are the highlights that I remembered. Much of the tour ended up being in the beautiful Retiro Park.
Palacio de Cristal: As seen below, it is a picturesque spot! But I’ve got to be honest, it was a bit of a let down. On Google Images, it shows the sunlight creating rainbow streams of light … but maybe that’s only at sunset. Regardless, it’s in a beautiful park so still worth wandering by for a quick visit.
The heat hit us all so we walked to the opposite side of the pond from the Palacio and had a short siesta in the grass.
Retiro Park Lake: is a beautiful spot in the park. Stop with some gelato and sit by the water or rent a rowing boat!
El Tigre: is where we ended the tour. All you have to do is order a drink, could be a cheap 2€ beer or a huge 5€ sangria, and you get free plates of tapas! If you go with a group you’ll get a wider assortment, and trust me, you won’t be able to finish them. Biggest bang for your buck!
At El Tigre, my heat exhaustion (or just general exhaustion from constantly being on the go) hit its’ peak, and with no place to sit I was about to fall over. So I ditched the crew for a nap and a shower and met back up with them at the hostel before dinner.
Sometimes you just got to take a moment for yourself. Traveling and partying for a month straight isn’t easy on the body!
Party Animals Club: was the party destination for the night. It was open bar for the first hour or two that we arrived, which is perfect if you don’t have enough time to pregame! The club played a lot of Spanish music, but when the hits came on we all went crazy, jumping up and down and singing. It was a long night of dancing; I was most definitely gross and sweaty from breaking out all my moves on the dance floor!
Day Three – Food Tour and Farewells
Once again, we convinced a hostel staff member to show us around Madrid. It worked out great for them because they are supposed to organize activities. Today’s plan was all about eating and relaxing; perfect!
The tour started in the Malasana Neighbourhood. It’s very eclectic, vibrant, and makes you feel like a local. Also there is a ton of great shopping! I’d probably say it’s my favourite area … of what I’ve seen.
Greek and Shop: is where we stopped for lunch. I ordered a gyro and a fresh pressed juice with ginger in it. Such a yummy and cheap meal.
Tartan Roof: is the Azotea rooftop bar. It’s a bit pricey (4€ entrance fee and drinks cost around 10€) but if you get one drink you can spend as much time as you want soaking in the sun and the views. We were lucky that we went before the massive lines began (aka before sunset) so plan your visit wisely.
Mercado de san Miguel: is the big food market in Madrid. It’s fairly pricey as well, so I wouldn’t suggest going for a meal. I just bought a fresh juice and planned to find food somewhere cheaper. McDonalds anyone?
We went to a few nice calm bars to have wine after dinner, unfortunately I can’t remember the names but they were nothing out of the ordinary. If you don’t have a hostel taking you around to bars and you’d like a nice chill place to drink wine, check out Cava Baja, mentioned above.
For the few of us who wanted to end the night dancing, we wandered randomly and came across and Irish pub, called La Fontana de Oro, that was playing the perfect songs to get everyone pumped for a final hurrah!
That’s it for Madrid! Not much but probably an easier read than my lengthy post on Barcelona! Have you been to Madrid, what are your thoughts on the city?