Soon as the sun hits, the Brits rush towards the beach, whether it’s a short flight over to Spain or a quick train down to Brighton, we do love our sun. While Barcelona might be the most visited destination in Spain by tourists each year, Madrid has plenty of reasons for why it deserves to hold that number one spot. Read on to find out my favourite reasons for why Madrid should be your target destination for a summer break this year.
1) The Food Is Divine
There are plenty of great places to eat in Spain, but Madrid is the culinary capital of the country, with over 6,000 restaurants! It’s tradition to eat as much tapas and paella on any visit to Spain, however it is hard to beat in this beautiful city.
2) The Football Is The Best
This is hard to write as a Liverpool fan, but credit where it’s due. Real Madrid have won the Champions League/European Cup 13 times, almost double the next team, while they won 3 years in a row from 2016 to 2018. The stadium is huge, an amazing sight even if you’re not a football fan, holding 81,044 people.
3) The Royal Palace Is Stunning
This is the largest royal palace in Western Europe, used largely now for state ceremonies, the building was built during the 18th / 19th century. However, with such a large area outside, it is also a great place to stop and admire while eating a picnic. Forget the guided tour, purchase the cheaper normal ticket and you can walk around at your own pace.
4) A Young And Vibrant Culture
Madrid has a very young average age, compared to some other parts of the country, due to the extremely high percentage of students living in the city. Madrid hosts some of the most prestigious learning facilities in Europe, as well as a number of business schools.
5) They Love Their Art
Most tourists will flock to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, or the Museo Nacional del Prado or even the Lazaro Galdiano museum, however there is art on almost every street corner. You will find a number of bars and café’s which stock local artists paintings on the walls, while there are also some great roof top terraces demonstrating these artistic masterpieces.
6) The centre Is Green
Not something you might expect when visiting Madrid, but the El Retiro Park covers over 125 hectares. This is a great place to stop for a picnic or to go for a bike ride, while you might also like walking through the rose garden, especially if they are just in bloom. The Casita del Pescador is also a very romantic scene, perfect for an evening stroll. I can’t go without also highlighting the Casa de Campo, which is large beyond belief.
7) You Can See A Spooky Closed Down Station
I’ve no doubt this has probably been used as a scene for numerous movies, as it isn’t often you get to see a closed down train station. Incredibly eerie, yet equally fascinating, the Chamberi station was the metro station on line 1 before being closed down. It has now become popular for ghost tours, however it is slowly being rehabilitated to turn it into a museum.
8) Meetups & Debates
Perhaps enhanced by the strong student culture, something I love about Madrid is that there are so many meetups, events and debates in open spaces, arranged by locals. If you’re knew to the city and would like to find some going on, you can use the Couch Surfing website to find others who might be planning a meetup. Obviously, the language barrier can be an issue, but it is very entertaining to watch and to meet new people while on holiday.
9) Brilliant Markets
Anyone who knows me will know I love a market! Any time I go on holiday, I straight away look around to see which markets are available to add to our itinerary. Well Madrid certainly won’t disappoint, with plenty to choose from, including El Rastro, Mercado de la Paz and Mercado de san Miguel. Pick yourself up a bargain and get some souvenirs for yours friends and family back home.
10) Try Your Best At An Escape Rooms
Turn back 10 years ago and a holiday for most would consist of sun, sea, sand and a copious amount of food. But the best change that has happened over the past decade is the introduction of unique and fun activities, from bubble football to adventure courses. Well the number of escape rooms opening up in Madrid is quite simply impressive. You’ve got Exit Madrid, Madrid Room Escape and Fox In A Box just to name a few. I’ll be honest, I’ve had 5 attempts at escape rooms and only got out once, but I’m always up for a challenge!
11) They Have Waterparks!
Growing up in England, we only had theme parks, as you’d freeze to death in a waterpark. Then 8 years ago I went to the USA and tried one in Texas, which changed my life around. They are so much fun, I felt like a kid again, which is my excuse for pushing all the kids out of the way so I could get to the top *cough*. Madrid is home to some great waterparks, including Aquopolis Villanueva de la Canada, Aquopolis and Diversion en la Granja.
If you’re looking to book your holiday to Spain then don’t hesitate to get in contact and ask any questions you may have. There are a number of great travel agencies for a Spain trip which I can highly recommend, not to mention accommodation and activities.