Madrid, the thumping heart of Spain, is a dynamic and cultural capital packed with things to do that can provide amazing memories and experiences. Today, we're delivering you 10 things to do in this diverse city. Who knows, maybe you will just fall in love with Madrid like we did.
1. Get outdoors
Regardless of the temps -- and yes, they can get mighty roasty in the depth of the summer -- no visit to Madrid is complete without experiencing the city's parks. Our favorite is Retiro Park. Originally created as a royal park, this spot delivers all sorts of outdoor goodness from simply lounging on the grassy spots with a picnic to renting a little boat or playing sports. Another great sport to explore is the Palacio Royal de Madrid. Sure, it is home to the Royal Palace, but for those who want to say the euros, just explore the grounds for some breathtaking scenery and a little bit of culture.
2. Hit La Latina
The neighborhood of La Latina is a favorite among locals and visitors to the capital city. By day, the area features cafe-lined streets with folk of all ages sipping coffee, snacking and enjoying pre-siesta. Home to one of the oldest areas in the city, hit up the Rastro flea market on a Sunday or simply explore the narrow and winding streets to appreciate the history of the area.
3. Eat all the tapas
Spain and tapas go hand-in-hand. Don't deprive yourself of these tiny plates of delicious goodies. Instead, head to El Tigre. Located in the Chueca neighborhood, this cavernous hot spot serves up cheap wine and beer and delivers heaping plates of tapas with each drink order. Tapas range from tortilla to patatas braves to jamon and more. It's a hot spot, so be prepared for crowds enjoying the value.
4. Experience a true market
Mercado Plaza San Miguel is the spot to grab fresh food, drinks and more in a super social environment. Housed near Sol Metro, the gorgeous building is packed with stands selling fresh fruits, veggies, oysters, tapas and more. Bring friends and make a day of it, enjoying the baked goods paired with wine. Get there early to snag a seat -- they go quick.
5. Explore the Caixa Forum
Vertical garden outside, the Caixa Forum with a bargain price of 4 euros, is a multi-floored art museum with rotating exhibits. A darling of Madrid, thanks to its innovative and standout architecture, features a permanent collection of more than 700 pieces from the 1980s to the present, plus a $36 million cultural center with bookshop, restaurant and an auditorium which hosts concerts and more.
6. Visit The Prado
One of the most renowned museums in the country, The Prado is also one of the must-sees in Madrid. Located on El Paseo del Prado, the museum is home to renowned European artists including Goya, Bocsh and more. Located within an 18-th century Neo-Classical building, plan to spend a good chunk of time within its walls thanks to the massive collection it houses.
7. Take in the Reina Sofia
The elegant and beautiful Reina Sofia is yet another museum worth of visiting in the city. With its gorgeous courtyard filled with sculptures to its many rooms housing works of art from Salvador Dali, Picasso and more the art here spans pop, minimal and abstract pieces.
8. Sample the most amazing chocolate
The best chocolate this side of Belgium exists at Cacao Sampaka, a modern chocolate/coffee shop packed with amazing morsels. Imagine, balsamic chocolate, lavender chocolate, liquor-filled chocolate, thick and goopy hot chocolate ... it all exists here, a quick walk from the Alonso Martinez Metro station.
Forget souvenirs for friends. Shop for yourself! Gran Via is home to some serious shopping adventures. Thanks to it variety of stores, shopping here can fit any budget, from those looking to get some knock-offs to duds from H&M and designer duds from Miss Sixty and more.
10. Get out of town
OK, so technically this isn't something to do in Madrid, but often overlooked destinations (or those worthy of a day trip but not really a lot of time for those on a limited travel schedule), like Toledo and Segovia are perfect day trip destinations. A quick ride from Madrid, these two cities are worth a visit. Toledo, the former capital of the country, is a glorious medieval city a top a hill and filled with historic spots. Segovia features a Cinderella-worth castle and an ancient Roman aqueduct worth checking out.