Let's Explore the Capital of Spain, Madrid
Updated: Sep 3, 2020
We explore Madrid in two days. Here are the places I visited each day.
The first day it was a Saturday and we arrived in the morning, my flight was not delayed but the custom line at the airport took some additional time from our agenda. Still, I planned for the first day to have some room in the agenda in-case the flight was a delay or something. It's always a good thing to plan ahead of time so you can utilize your time accordingly in each city and do and see as much as you can.
After completing the check-in at the JC Hotel Jardines, considering the time and weather on that day we started the day by walking towards The Buen Retiro Park since we were well located a block away from La Gran Via. This street will take directly to the entrance of the park. See below the list of places we visit during day 1.
The Alcala Gate - Puerta de Alcalá
This incredible architecture was one time the main entrance to the city. Now a day it's considered as a National Monument. It's a neo-classical monument in the Plaza de la Independencia. Next to El Retiro Park and along the Calle de Alcala, which is the city's longest road. Each side has a different design.
Fountain of Cibeles - Fuente de Los Cibeles
Since 1782, and the city's most famous landmark. Located at the center of Plaza Cibeles, which marks the start of Madrid avenue of art.
Prado National Museum
It's one of the most visited sites in the world and considered one of the greatest art museums in the world. Opened to the public on November 19, 1819, as a Royal Museum of Art and Sculpture.
It can take about 2 hours to go around the museum, but it's a must, you have to visit this cultural sight.
The Buen Retiro Park
Also known as El Retiro Park or El Retiro it's one of the largest parks in the city of Madrid. The park belonged to the Spanish Monarchy until the late 19th century when it became a public park.
The Glass Palace
Retiro Park is one of the finest examples of iron architecture in Madrid. The metal and glass structure was built in 1887 for the Philippines Exhibition of that year.
It’s a conservatory located in Buen Retiro Park in Madrid Centro.
In the Shape of a Greek cross.
It started raining when we got to the park, so we were not able to explore all the areas. We were amazed by the little we saw.
Others things you can visit at the park are:
Paseo de la Argentina - known as the Statue Walk
La Rosaleda - Rose Garden
Cecilio Rodriguez Garden
La Gran Via
Since most of the sites in Madrid are outdoors, and it started raining we decided to then get some time around La Gran Via, visit some stores and do a quick shopping. I found beautiful pieces of clothes in Spain, I love the style, the fabric, and the price I thought it was affordable. I would love to go more often and do my shopping here in Europe.
La Gran Via is Madrid's most famous street full of shops, restaurants, and iconic buildings. It houses Primark's second largest shop in the world.
For dinner, we order gambas (better known as shrimp) to share, but let me tell you about the gambas story. My friend and I live in NYC and we have visited some Spanish cuisine restaurants here and have order gambas before. What we didn't know is that in most places in Spain they serve you the whole gambas, which will be served with the legs, head, antennas, etc... and they had a strong funny smell, this is not what we were expecting. We were expecting the "normal" shrimp in an olive oil and garlic sauce. We didn't like it, we couldn't eat it and ask to be removed from the table since the smell was so strong. Check below what we were served.
We did learn the lesson - from this point on we asked how things will be served every time we order something.
After the restaurant and as an ending for our first day/night in Madrid we went to watch a Flamenco show. How can I go to Spain and not experience one of the amazing Flamenco show which is part of their culture!
Flamenco In Madrid
You must book your tickets in advance, most places are sold out if you expect to get a ticket the same day.
We were able to go to Cafe Las Chinitas. It's a family dinner & dance theater offering a range of traditional Spanish dishes & live Flamenco.
The artist sing and dance with so much passion and energy, it's incredible how the ladies manage the dresses with the long tail. The dresses are beautiful. They really put a great show.
Where we stayed?
We stayed at the JC Hoteles Jardines and did the booking via Booking.com.
It's a cute small hotel, clean, and well located. It's located on a street between La Gran Via and Puerta del Sol. From the hotel, you can walk to most of the top tourist and cultural sights in Madrid, and there are two Metro stations nearby.