When in Madrid


Are you a keen history student? Maybe you are taking Spanish at school and want a chance to immerse yourself in the culture? Maybe you love art? Why not have a crack at it, just take a quick 3-hour flight to Madrid, that’s all it takes to turn these queries into experiences that will last a lifetime.


Where is the meeting point?

Stop off at the main station called Sol, or Sun in English. Follow el Calle de Correo and take the first right, follow the long road until you reach la Plaza Mayor. It’s a massive square bordered with apartments that used to belong to the rich nobility who would watch parades and all kinds of ceremonies from their balconies. It’s also home to tourist information, several restaurants that serve Spanish street food and lastly, it is right next to the San Miguel Market. If you are interested in a tour, Sandemans offer a free tour every day from this square at 2 pm, but book online to reserve your spot, they are really popular!


What should you do?

Pop into your the tourist information, signposted by a massive yellow sign with a white ‘i’. There you will be updated on the latest events such as famous Broadway musicals in Spanish or cabaret, there are even a couple shows in English. Madrid often hosts music concerts so keep an eye open for information, there is rarely a silent night.

The Prado museum is likely the largest museum of painting and sculpture you will ever see! El Greco, Titian, Velázquez, Rubens and Goya.

Alternatively, visit ‘El Escorial’ the summer residence of the Spanish monarchy, which is open to the public to explore. Imagine having a castle that big as your summer home! Additionally, talk a short walk through the gardens under the sun and catch some rays.


Don’t miss out!

Don’t be afraid to take a look outside of Madrid, only 50 minutes by bus is the religious capital of Spain, Toledo, which is home to a rich history of Moore and Catholic religious tolerance, exhibitions of medieval torture and witchery and of course the famous cathedral which is a ‘must see’.

Shopping is definitely a highlight in Madrid, with deals that are impossible to miss, except when you leave! You will want to visit Gran Vía for big chains such as Pull and Bear, H&M, Nyx, Douglas and Pimkie. For the shops that the locals visit, walk towards the tube stop Tribunal from Gran Vía, keep your eyes peeled for side streets that’s where the coolest shops are.

Another museum to visit is the Thyssen museum, home to the largest private collection in the world, this art museum has more German and Dutch influences so why not take a look and compare them to the Spanish art from the Prado?

Take a walk around Retiro park, with rowboats and buskers playing classical music, you definitely do not want to miss out on the most relaxing spot in Madrid.


Recommendations from a Pro:

You might want to spend every day in Madrid, but try to get accommodation outside of the city, 5-10 minutes, you will thank yourself when you get a good night’s sleep away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Pick up the latest edition of Time Out!, for young students, it gives guides to the hottest clubs and coolest meet and greets.

With the Spanish tradition being late dinner, most restaurants don’t serve dinner until 8 pm, especially in older parts of Madrid, so either adjust your body clock or eat a late lunch.

Visit in Fall break 1, not only is the main tourist time over, the weather is a perfect temperature of 25-30OC you don’t have to worry about the dry 40’s that Madrid is famous for in the summer.

Watch your bag! Of course, this applies to everywhere, but Madrid is full of very crowded places, so keep your valuables close and your precious shopping closer!

Try some tapas, when people think of Spanish food, tapas are way up there! Take a bite!