Back in the day, capitals were often chosen – or founded – because they were located in the middle of a country, and Spain sure hit that nail right on the head: you’ll find Madrid in the very heart of the Iberian peninsula that is shared with neighboring Portugal.
This southern European city is a buffét of splendid architecture, a rich history and a fascinating culture seasoned with a shining sun (most of the time, anyway) and delightful people who aren’t afraid to strike up a conversation or two if they’re in the mood. And that’s far from everything that makes Madrid such an awesome place to visit; in fact, we’ve listed some of the other reasons below!
Pro Tip: Siesta is a thing. This midday break means that everything is pushed back a bit: dinner is at 9 pm and onwards, and you can even stay up past midnight on a school night!
What the hell, why not put one of the most awesome and vital parts of any stay first for a change? The good thing with food in Madrid – except for the taste, duh – is that you don’t really have to choose what dish to order: just go for tapas! That way you can try a bit of everything and then ask your taste buds what they preferred. And what else, you can also visit Sobrino de Potín, the oldest restaurant in the world. For real. It was established in 1725, and still uses the original recipes as well as, believe it or not, the original fire.
With a belly full of food and wine, is there anything better than a segway tour of the beautiful city? That would perhaps be a tuk-tuk tour, giving you an opportunity for some sightseeing, some fresh air and a comfy seat, all in one. Quite a bit cooler, though, is the Spanish Inquisition tour. You meet at dusk and guided by a narrator with a lantern you’ll walk past locations where jails or gallows once stood, while listening to horrific stories from darker times – some just legends and some very real. Who’s to say which are which?
Let’s step away from all the ghosts and gruesomeness of the past and do something a bit more uplifting (literally) – theme parks! Casa de Campo and Warner Theme Park both have something for everyone: high and fast rollercoasters for the daredevil and calm, relaxing rides for anyone who might get a bit nauseous (seems like the guys in charge used to play Rollercoaster Tycoon!), and they also have loads of different themes going on. Aquópolis Villaneuva de la Cañada, on the other hand, only has one theme: water! In Europe’s biggest water park, you can get both thrills and chills – who needs a siesta when this park exists?!
Speaking of thrills, there is a whole bunch of activities that will give you that sweet rush of adrenaline that you’re craving: how about some exhilarating bungee jumping, or is paragliding more your style? Perhaps a ride in a hot air balloon, or some incredibly fun rock climbing? Should you need to lower the temperature but not the action, there are many watery experiences too, such as kayaking, rafting and flyboarding. Water, sweat and tears of joy will all come together of your smiling face after this, there’s no doubt about it.
This very passionate and intense traditional dance might be the most recognizable trademark of the city of Madrid, which is not only the capital of Spain but also of the amazing flamenco. Be prepared for feelings and emotions brought up by the anguished voices of the dancers and happy rhythms of the music when visiting one of the many, many places that put on flamenco shows, every day. Have some delicious tapas or just let yourself get carried away with the enchanting performance – it’s completely up to you!
It doesn’t take long to go from Madrid to many a place in its surroundings, and a little day trip is an excellent way to get to know other locations too. Visit the spiritual heart of Spain, Toledo, or spend some time in Segovia, one of the most beautiful places around and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Check out the royal monastery in San Lorenzo de El Escorial or the typically Castilian village of Chinchón, before going back to where you keep your hat in Madrid. You can easily reach these places using public transport, so don’t worry about car rentals!
We’re not sure what else to call this section; it’s just a bunch of really awesome sights and places! Like the Fountain of the Fallen Angel (and his whimsical brother), or the earliest known map including America, or the Rocker Grandma statue, or the WWII bunker turned sushi restaurant, or the chapel where a rubber duck is worshipped, or the underground ghost station with ads from 1919, or Madrid’s Walk of Fame, or the perfectly preserved Civil War trenches.. The list goes on, just like your Insta notifications will after taking awesome photos all over Madrid!
Spain is pretty awesome, and Madrid is either even more or equally awesome, it’s hard to tell, really. Either way, make sure to add this amazing city to your bucket list – do it right now! We’re sure you’ll have a swell time, and would love to hear all about it!