Title not to be confused with 36hrs Travel book by NYTimes.
What do you do when you have less than two days to spend in a new city? One, you make it your utmost goal to experience the heart of the city!
Madrid is a warm and friendly city. People are generally pleasant, and love to have a good time. Restaurants stay open till 2am and it’s normal to find people staying out till very late on school nights. Even with the language barrier, we found uber drivers to be extremely kind and patient. That said, here are my recommendations if ever you find yourself in the city of Madrid for a very short time.
First thing to note when you land at Madrid Barajas is that the taxi cabs into the centre of the city are at a fixed price of 30 Euros. You should never have to pay more than that. Alternatively you could decide to live like a native and get the Metro.
Transport: The Madrid Metro is decent, easy to understand and pretty easy to get around on. Whilst we did not hop on the metro on our arrival, we took the metro to the airport for our return journey to London.
Accommodation: We stayed in a short let apartment from six rooms on Calle Fuencarral right in the centre of Madrid and a very short distance from Gran Via metro. Our apartment had a back terrace with an Astroturf that made it feel like it was summer rather than the cooler autumn month of November. We made our booking on booking.com but if you’d like to see the other holiday rentals in the six rooms portfolio, here’s their website www.sixrooms.es
What to eat
Brunch: if you have a sweet tooth and love pastries, Mama Framboise is the place to go. They serve a brunch menu as well so it’s perfect for a hot drink, a nice catch up and people watching.
Lunch/ Dinner: For lunch, we went to a restaurant called Sexto in the Chueca area. The food was good and the service superb. The waiting staff I must say were excellent. The décor was very nicely done and the YOLO lights really was everything – we may or may not have taken turns having pics taking in front of it! LOL. Writing about sexton would not be complete without making mention of the music. The music was soooooo good. I don’t know who created that Sunday afternoon playlist but it was hit after hit after hit from current to early 90s music! I will definitely be going back.
On the go: I went to a café called Faborit for breakfast. It’s an industrial style café with healthy food served at breakfast and lunch. It’s a good spot to stop at for a quick meal whilst exploring the city.
Where to go
Sightseeing: With very little time on our hands, post lunch at Sexto, we decided to embark on an unofficial walking tour of the city. We walked through the different Calles and passed by the Alcala Gate as we went to explore Retiro Park.
Besides enjoying the beauty of nature at Retiro Park, we had fun paddling on the lake by the Monument to Alfonso XII. Afterwards, we spent time in the art gallery in Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace) very close to the lake.
Other places to visit though we were unable to this visit (for time’s sake) include the Prado Museum, the two football stadiums – Real Madrid & Atletico Madrid’s playing grounds, and the Royal Palace of Madrid.
Shopping: If Paris is home to couture, Madrid is definitely home to European fast fashion. Zara, Mango, Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti, Stradivarius, all available on the British high street are Spanish brands. On this trip I discovered two brands that have now become house favourites – Springfield and the price friendly Lefties which used to be called the Zara Outlet apparently. We also found a mango outlet and had a nice time bargain hunting previous seasons mango!
Skincare: Whilst exploring the Fuencarral neighborhood we stayed in, I discovered this cute Korean beauty shop very close to the Tribunal metro. I purchased some sheet masks as I would not have been able to carry anything bigger for travel restrictions. The store is called Miin and you can visit them online here – www.miin-cosmetics.com
There you have it, my recommendations for a short weekend trip to Madrid. Buen Viaje!