Visiting a city like Madrid and managing to experience everything you want to during your stay is no easy task. When we visit a big city we like to do an assortment of things, check out some popular attractions, do things that are lesser-known tourist draws and have a local experience which usually includes food. This helps us narrow down the list of things to see and do in the places we visit. We have four days to explore Madrid before heading to southern Spain. It will definitely be a challenge to experience everything we want in the incredible Spanish capital, but we’re up for it! Here’s how we plan to do all (hopefully) of the kinds of things we love and fit it all into four days in Madrid.
Eat Often and Everywhere
There is no activity more Spanish than tapas hopping! Any bar or barrio will do, you just need a good concentration of tapas purveyors. Can you do tapas hopping with kids? Yes, you can! Choose a table instead of sitting at the bar, visit three bars instead of five and everyone in your crew will be comfortable enjoying tapas.
Even more culturally common than tapas is the menu del Dia (pre-set menu specials) primarily weekday lunches. Inexpensive three-course meals accompanied with soda, beer or wine sound good to us! It should tide us over until tapas hopping time anyway. As the weather warms up in Madrid people take to the streets, eating and drinking on Terrazas. We plan to drink and dine outdoors every chance we get! Locals in Madrid eat lunch and dinner later, no lunch before 2 pm and no dinner before 9 pm with lots of snacking and drinking in between.
Experience Popular and Lesser Known Activities
We will take a walking tour to get the lay of the land. We can return to places that piqued our curiosity on the tour, later on, our own. They are the best way to see and learn about a destination in a short period.
We also plan to hunt for an elusive cookie! There are secret cookies baked by cloistered Nuns in Madrid. What makes these cookies so special? Legend has it that the sought after treats made from ancient recipes, date back to Roman times. We got a lead on where to find some of these precious cookies for ourselves.
Stay and do as Locals Do
There are so many hotels in Madrid! We like to stay in local neighborhoods with Airbnb or find a self-catering hotel for the kitchen. We love to cook with local ingredients the places we visit which goes hand in hand with the other thing we love, markets! We plan to visit a few (local and touristy), Mercado de San Miguel, Mercado de la Paz and Dia de Mercado. Parks are fun too so we are going to check out Retiro, Madrid’s sprawling central park and a popular hangout for locals and tourists alike.
How do you like to experience a destination? Do you have any tips to uncover the best in a city in a short period?
Featured image by Joao Santana via Trover