Europe · Solo Travel · Spain · Travel

3 Days in Madrid

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. 

madrid

Day One – Making Friends and Drinking Like A Local

I stayed at Sungate One Hostel, which is part of the Hostel One company that I’ve raved about in Barcelona and Prague. It’s located just off of Puerta del Sol, a major plaza in the city centre.

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 CristalAs 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 Lakeis a beautiful spot in the park. Stop with some gelato and sit by the water or rent a rowing boat!

El Tigreis 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 Shopis 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?

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35 thoughts on “3 Days in Madrid

    1. Yes I’ll need to give it another shop without the bias of Barcelona and without suffering exhaustion! Lol I only took a train between Barcelona and Madrid, the rest of my trip was flights and buses so it wasn’t necessary to get the euro rail pass

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    1. Still a nice city! But I think I’d be more inclined to go to Seville or Valencia next. One of the girls who worked at my hostel told me that you can fall in love with Barcelona instantly, but Madrid takes a bit more time to appreciate.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Yet to visit Barcelona, but when I visited Madrid I loved it – the park is a definite highlight, I remember renting one of those boats with my family and my sister almost crashed it…!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Barcelona sets a high bar for any city to beat. Madrid is very nice by itself, but compared to Park Guell (and Sagrida) and Ramblas, any city will pale.

    That said, if you have time and money, you should visit Gibraltar (bizarre) and take the ferry to Fez and slip through to Ceuta (even more bizarre).

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  3. Agree with above comment(s): Barcelona>>> Madrid. I was in Madrid for two nights and frankly didn’t find it as interesting as Barcelona. Aside from the amazing chocolate con churros at San Ginés, nothing else really interested me about Madrid. Glad that you made the most of it, though!

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  4. Hi!! Im from Mexico and I agree Barcelona is the most beautiful city I’ve been, it reminds me my home town Mexico city.
    Btw I’m attending Grenoble Ecole de Management in september, actually looking for advices in my exchange experience I found your blog, and I will follow your recomendations.

    Greettings from my dorm in Monterrey Tech, Monterrey Mexico.

    Mauricio

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hola,

    Loved this post! I’ll have to check out the Party Animals Club next time I go to Madrid. Love Barcelona too but Madrid is my favorite! That saying, I’m a bit biased because my dad is from there.

    If you ever go back to Spain you should definitely travel/visit the smaller towns outside of Madrid like Toledo, Salamanca, Burgos, or Segovia. They are full of history, great architecture and food. Great for a 1/2 day trip :)

    Looks like you had a great time though!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Barcelona > Madrid, but the real Spain is in the small towns! The small towns dotting the coastline between Valencia and Alicante will always hold a special piece of my heart. Saludos deed Chile and thanks for stopping by The Highway is Green!

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  7. I’ve been trying to do a trip along the Mediterranean coast starting from Southern Italy and just working eastwards until Lisbon. Always seems to be something coming up in the summer to block my way… however given that I am in Bhutan for 6 weeks at a time during summer I guess its an okay trade off.

    Looks like I wouldn’t miss too much by just sticking to the coast and not going into Madrid.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I lived in Madrid for two years and worked at this hostel for 4 months! Madrid is a city you have to peel away at the really love. It took me some months, but then I was totally hooked. Sungate One is a fab hostel and I had the time of my life working there! I’m glad to see other bloggers enjoyed it too!

    :)

    Liked by 1 person

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