Fortunately enough, because of the Global Gateway Program at my school, I had the amazing opportunity to spend my first Spring Break of college in Spain with an awesome group of people.
While in Madrid, we stayed in a pretty central hotel called “Hotel Tirol”. With the metro right across the street, we were no more than 10 minutes away from the infamous city square, “Puerta del Sol” and “Plaza Mayor” that are consumed with thousands of restaurants and stores.
During our stay, we were busy each and every day traveling to new parts of Madrid and learning different things about each place. There was not a day where we didn’t have something planned to do or somewhere to go. Now, I know what you’re thinking… How much could you possibly do in six days and isn’t that tiring?! Well, read on to find out the top five things you must see/do if you do ever travel to Spain!
If you ever travel to Spain, visiting Segovia is hands down a necessity! Not only is the scenery and landscape extremely attractive to the eye, but the history the town holds is just as rich. Upon entering Segovia, you will be welcomed by the city’s symbol; one of the world’s best preserved Roman Aqueduct that is said to be built without cement. In Segovia, you will also find many traditional little shops and a beautiful castle (the Alcazar of Segovia) that will make you feel as though you’re living in the medieval times.
2. Museo Del Prado
If you’re an art junkie, then you did Madrid wrong if you didn’t take a visit to Museo Del Prado (Spain’s national museum). I’m not a big museum goer myself, but this gallery was incredibly astonishing. Some of the pieces in the museum dated all the way back to the 1200’s and were breathtaking. You can even request an “audio tour” which is like a personal tour of most of the museum. Here’s how it works: the service desk will loan you out a remote in which you type the corresponding number of the piece and you hold the remote up to your ear and your personal tour guide will give you the rundown on the artwork, what it means, when it was created, and the importance of it. Keep in mind, admission is free on Sundays after 5:00 p.m. and Monday–Saturday after 6:00 p.m.
3. Puerta del Sol
As mentioned earlier, Puerta del Sol is ideal for a day out in the city. On a nice day being a busy square, you will definitely be surrounded by energy. Literally translating to “Sun Gate”, you’ll catch some sun as well. At night, the scenery can be just as enjoyable as there are many different small/casual Tapas Restaurants and bars to sit and grab a drink with friends. Also, the metro is conveniently located right in the center so when you get off, you’re right in the center of everything. Just down the road from Puerta del Sol is Plaza Mayor that is historically famous for being built during King Philip III’s reign. Around here you will find the next great attraction I’ll talk about.
4. Mercado de San Miguel
This all glass market originally built in 1916, renovated, and reopened in 2009, is a great little tourist attraction where you can find foods from all parts of Spain and neighboring areas. For as little as 2 Euros you can buy a glass of wine in the market and walk around the market tasting all types of food from sweet desserts like baklava to traditional Spanish cheeses and fish.
5. Madrid Nightlife
Saving the best for last, the Spanish nightlife is indescribable! Madrid is consumed of so many cute bars and cafes. Some of them have themes like one I went to being themed like a tiki bar called”Bora Bora”. Another called “Ojala” that is beach themed and sitting atop the sand they place all over the floor, the atmosphere is definitely designed to make you feel just as if you’re on the beach.
However, if you’re in a more clubbing mood, then Kapital is a must. Inside the seven floor club, you will find each floor designed to something different. For example, the fifth floor being Spanish and Reggaeton music, and the seventh having your “after the night” necessities such as table seating, food, and even hookah. On the first floor, you will find live performances of house and EDM music where the crowd is all alive. On stage, there was an amazing DJ and later a group of guys in costume giving us an African drum performance. (Another perk, clubs stay open as late as 6:00 a.m.)
Whatever your preference, the beautiful city of Madrid has something for you and although we were only in Madrid for a week, I wouldn’t have changed a thing! With a city as historic yet vibrant as Madrid, there was no doubt that we would have the time of our lives.