You know me, I love my city breaks and got my fill of them earlier this year in Cologne and Lille. But one place that tops the list of “great city break” ideas is Madrid. Madrid city breaks are great for lovers of food, art, shopping and history (so pretty much everyone!).
Madrid has evolved into one of Europe’s finest culinary capitals; maintaining its culinary traditions and embracing new cuisines. You can feast on tapas for lunch and then enjoy sushi or Mexican for dinner which wouldn’t have been the case not all that long ago!
Besides food, there’s plenty to see and do in between mealtimes. If you’ve only got 48 hours to spend in this beautiful Spanish city then make sure you use it wisely. Here’s my guide to your 48 hours in Madrid.
Day one in Madrid
Head to Mama Framboise, a beautiful bakery which serves some of the best macarons outside of Paris. Yes, it might seem strange to be recommending you eat French food when you’re in Spain, but you can’t go wrong with a flaky pastry and coffee first thing in the morning and Mama Framboise’s signature framboise almond croissant is to die for.
After breakfast, head over to Palacio de Cibeles for a panoramic view of the city. I always like to climb up somewhere high at the beginning of a city trip to get my bearings and a feel for the size of the city.
From the top of Palacio de Cibeles, you’ll spot Parque del Retiro, your next stop. This is the park all the locals go to to relax and escape city life for a little while. Wander around the park, hire one of the rowing boats or pop into Palacio de Velázquez, the beautiful, old exhibition hall within the park, and discover one of the free art exhibitions.
Work up an appetite with a 30 minute walk over to Mercado de San Miguel. This old building has been transformed into a tapas hall with floor to ceiling windows. Inside you’ll find oysters, Iberico ham, soft croquettes and yummy stuffed olives. Dishes start from 1€ each and are best washed down with some sangria!
Time for a spot of window shopping! For the stylish boutiques you’ll want to stroll down Calle del Piamonte or, for independent stores, head to Calle de Fuencarral or Calle Colon.
Try out Madrid’s varied cuisine by heading up to Punto Mx and indulging in Mexican food. Considered to be one of the best Mexican restaurants in Europe, Punto Mx makes all its tortillas fresh to order and the guacamole is made tableside. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Day two in Madrid
It’s Sunday which means it’s time to treat yourself to a rather indulgent breakfast of churros and chocolate!
Chocolateria de San Gines serves some of the best churros in Madrid and is nestled in between some of the most popular tourist spot: Sol Plaza, the Royal Palace and Plaza Mayor.
Churros eaten, wander around the Plazas snapping photos of the stunning Spanish architecture. Then, head over to El Rastro, an open air flea market. You might not find much you want to buy but the hunt for that gem of an item is half the fun!
Take lunch at El Viajero, a three story venue with a fantastic roof terrace. The roof terrace is always packed on Sundays due to the El Rastro flea market so you might have to wait a while but the food and the view are totally worth it.
Work off all that tasty tapas by renting a bike from one of the many rental shops throughout Madrid. Either cycle through the city or, if you fancy something a little bit different, head off on a trail along the Guadarrama or Alberche rivers.These trails are quiet and show you a different, more relaxed side to Madrid.
Toast a great city break by heading 7 floors up to the roof terrace of the Circulo de Bellas Artes at Calle Alcala. Not only do you get another great view here, but you can also grab a cocktail.
Finish of the weekend with a final round of tapas and some of Madrid’s best. Head to Taberna de Conspiradores. Whatever you order make sure you get some of the paprika dusted patatas bravas and chorizo in wine and honey!