For today’s Soñando Sunday, we are turning over the spotlight to the girls of Sippin’ Sangria! We’re so pleased to collaborate with Lexa and Caroline who are experts on traveling abroad, both in Spain and otherwise. To check out more of their writing be sure to visit them on their blog and follow their adventures over on Instagram and YouTube, too. Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at what the girls have to say about…
Transport Options to arrive: Train, Plane, Bus, or Car
Since Madrid is in the middle of Spain with a large airport and great train system, it’s an easy location to get to from pretty much anywhere in the country (or world). We’ve traveled from Madrid to Sevilla and Granada by train, Barcelona by bus and Portugal by plane. Personally, we enjoy the high speed trains because you get to see so much of Spain’s beautiful landscape and how much it varies from region to region.
Recommended time of year to visit and length of visit:
If you’re looking to do an extended stay in Madrid, we would recommend spending at least three days to enjoy all the city has to offer. Fall is the best time to visit because you’ve missed peak tourist season, but you can still enjoy all the hustle and bustle of city life while enjoying the incredible weather-the perfect time to row on the Estanque Grande in Retiro park and take in the fall colors.
Can you find Kilometre Zero? What may seem like an insignificant stone actually marks the very center of Spain. It’s located in la Plaza del Sol and has been around since 1950 (only replaced twice since then). So next time you’re in Sol, look down for a change and try finding this traditional marker.
Top three must-sees:
1. Palacio de Cibeles: One of the most underrated spots to see a panoramic view of the city. For only 2 Euro, you can see the city from every angle. As Madrid’s City Hall, tourists overlook the building-making it one of the city’s best kept secrets. It’s impossible to miss this gorgeous landmark in La Plaza de Cibeles, which is an oval that houses an imposing fountain and has become a symbol of the city. Observation deck hours can be found here.
2. El Rastro Flea Market: If you’re looking for unique and locally made souvenirs, El Rastro is an unforgettable flea market extravaganza. On Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., vendors, locals and tourists pack together from la Plaza de Cascorro to la Calle Ribera de Curtidores. Be prepared to elbow your way through tightly packed crowds and get comfortable with your neighbor because it’s always a zoo there.
Pro-Tip: Locals warned us that this is where pickpockets are likely to lurk, so keep your bag extra protected.
3. San Miguel Food Market: For all the foodies out there (and anyone looking to snack on some free samples), this market is a standout. Compared to other food markets we’ve seen, its style is very posh and modern looking. It’s a popular attraction because of the gourmet tapas, food features from all over the country and location right off of Plaza Mayor.
One thing to eat or drink:
El Tigre is a bar located in the heart of the city. For about 6 euro, you can enjoy a nice, strong calimocho or tinto de verano and endless (and unlimited) tapas. It’s a great way to visit with friends while getting a taste for Spain’s amazing food. Just be warned that seating is limited, so you may have to use some elbows to get a table. It’s decor is pretty eclectic (i.e. mounted animal heads and dirty napkins on the floor), but it’s a great place to really embrace the local culture.