Short city breaks are gaining popularity and Madrid is the perfect city to visit. Just a short plane ride from the UK you can be here in 2 hours, leaving you plenty of time to see the sites, soak up the ambience and enjoy the food!
Arriving in Madrid Aiport is easy as pie, the new terminal buildings make it one of the most futuristic airports I’ve ever visited, with beautiful wooden ceilings and baggage carousels that look as though they’re from another planet!
Once out of the airport the taxi queue is hard to miss, and a flat rate of €30 takes you to the city centre. Madrid has a plethora of fabulous hotels to suit every budget, from hostels to the Ritz, it’s easy to find somewhere to base your stay from. One great way to get cheap, luxury hotels and short city breaks is by using the website, Secret Escapes, a site my family and I have used many times to get great hotel deals at some of the top hotels.
At the top of my list was the Museo de Prado, the largest Spanish art museum right at the heart of Madrid. The queues got big here quickly so either bring some water for the wait, buy your tickets online, or get there before it opens at 10 AM. The entrance fee is €15 but here’s a money saving tip, If you don’t mind visiting in the evening you can gain FREE ENTRY to the museum between these times:
From Monday to Saturday- 6 pm – 8 pm
Sundays and holidays – 5 pm – 7 pm
Although you may be saving a few euros, you may find that the queues can be even longer, however, they do move relatively quickly and the large trees provide a little shade. I took one photo just inside the museum before being told that photography was not allowed, so if you’d like to see the beautiful artwork then do make a visit.
Right next to the Museum is the beautiful Catholic church, San Jeronimo El Real. You can’t miss it. Talk a walk up the stone steps and see the beautiful interior of this 16th-century building, the vaulted ceilings and ornate sculptures.
Just around the corner again is the tranquil Royal Botanical Gardens, I’ve written a full blog post about this hidden gem here. Whether you’re green fingered or not this is a beautiful garden to enjoy and escape the burning midday heat, make sure to go inside the greenhouses and walk amongst the beautiful tropical foliage. With an entrance fee of only €4, it’s definitely worthwhile.
A short walk from our hotel was the Royal Palace of Madrid, the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, although they do not actually live here. This vast baroque and classical palace is magnificent and a real wonder to behold.
An entrance fee of €11 will gain you access inside where you will have the option to purchase a guided tour or else guide yourself around the banqueting halls, throne room and residential areas of the palace.
But you don’t have to pay the entrance fee to enjoy its splendour, take a seat in the Plaza de Oriente Gardens, enjoy the sound of the fountain and a morning coffee and just bask in the beauty of this building.
If you walk a few hundred yards next door you will find the magnificent Catedral de la Almudena. Entrance is free though of course any donations are much appreciated and you can light a candle for €0.20. This is the perfect place to stop, take a seat and have a rest from the sun whilst admiring the artwork in the beautiful chapels. Make sure to look up, and see the wonderful painted ceilings, gilded with gold.
If you’re interested in the history of the Cathedral, be sure to go into the Cathedral Museum, around the front towards the palace.
Our next stop for day two was to the Temple of Debod, an ancient Egyptian Temple that was moved to the heart of Madrid. Nestled in the Parque Del Oeste, this is a peaceful site, away from the busy crowds at the Palace. There are a few steps to get to the temple sits upon a hill, but there are great views across Madrid if you make the effort. Entrance to the temple site is free, and at night the ruins come alive with lights.
Depending on your timescale, and your interests, you may also want to visit The National Archaeological Museum of Spain, which just so happens to be in Madrid. We visited here on the morning of our final day but it could also be added on after days 1 or 2. Unlike the other sites that we visited this one was very quiet, with no queue to enter! With an entrance fee of just €3 per person and free admission on Saturdays from 2 PM, this beautiful, modern museum contains Prehistoric, Egyptian, Celtic, Iberian, Greek and Roman antiquities, some of which are brought to life with virtual reality headsets!
If you do decide to make a visit then a very short walk down the road is the magnificent Puerta De Alcala, a neo-classical arch based upon the triumphal arches of Rome. The manicured flower beds and colossal arch provide a beautiful view should you wish to enjoy lunch at one of the many restaurants that surround it, or take a new profile picture.
There really are so many things to do and see in Madrid that I will have to return again for another weekend away. If you’re planning a trip, or have been inspired to do so, then I hope you can take some inspiration from my time away! Have you been to Madrid?
Have you been to Madrid? I’d love to know of any attractions that I should add to my list for next time!
Good-bye for now!