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MADRID IN ONE WEEK
If Madrid surprises all its visitors on foot, imagine getting to know it from the air, so don't miss the opportunity to visit the Madrid Cable Car before starting your route through the streets of the city.
What better idea than to get your strength back with breakfast to start a day of sightseeing? Café de Oriente is a particularly good option to enjoy what they say is the most important meal of the day. Sitting on its terraces and balconies, you will be able to see the Royal Palace and its gardens, a place we recommend you visit closely when you have finished getting some energy. Also, take the opportunity to visit the Almudena Cathedral, with its crypt and climb up to see its dome. If it is Wednesday (autumn, spring and winter), you can also see the Royal Guard being relieved at the Puerta del Príncipe (Calle Bailén) at 11am.
Walk to the Plaza Mayor to immerse yourself in the Madrid of the Austrias. There you can fill your stomach with a squid sandwich or a pincho de tortilla and a glass of beer. Once you have tasted this typical delicacy of Madrid's gastronomy, continue to the Puerta del Sol and don't forget to take a photo next to the Bear and the Strawberry Tree!
The route to Plaza de Neptuno is impressive: Paseo del Arte, Congreso de los Diputados and Iglesia de los Jerónimos are some of the monuments you'll find on the way. Once there, take a look around: the Thyssen Museum, the Stock Exchange, the Ritz Hotel, the Westin Palace Madrid and the Prado: Madrid is a real treat for the senses. A brunch at the Ritz or the Palace is one of the best options.
Choose the museum that catches your attention and immerse yourself in it to contemplate incredible works, such as El Guernica.
After your cultural visit, walk to the Plaza de Cibeles, symbol of the city and, after contemplating it, visit a few shops along Calle Velázquez, Serrano, Almirante or Prim.
For dinner what better place than Plaza Santa Ana... varied tapas and good wine is what you will find there and, if you still have strength left visit some of the bars and nightclubs that make up the varied nightlife offer of the capital.
Visit the Prado Museum and discover great Spanish painters such as Goya, Velázquez, Murillo, Zurbarán, Ribera, El Greco.... There you will also find one of the first art galleries in the world, more than 200 years old and thousands of paintings by master painters. Don't miss the museum extension designed by the architect Rafael Moneo in the cloister of the Church of Los Jerónimos.
Afterwards, relax in the Retiro Park: the green lung of the city of Madrid, and if you feel like it, you can even rent a boat on its pond! And after a refreshing stroll, head to Calle Alcalá to visit the Plaza de Toros de las Ventas bullring and enjoy another of the city's specialities at Los Galayos or Casa Pedro: stewed oxtail.
After lunchtime, wander into the Salamanca neighbourhood for a spot of shopping and, if you're too tired, have a coffee to recover your energy in one of the cute cafés near Plaza de Colón and take the opportunity to take some photos in the Discovery Gardens with the National Library in the background.
Time for dinner! This time in Alonso Martínez where you'll discover some of the trendiest restaurants and if you're still in the mood for more, what better than a mojito on a terrace or in a bar in the area? Just like that, until the early hours of the morning.
Time to get out of the city! The Madrid Region offers countless alternatives. We have selected some that you can't miss if you visit Madrid and the region. At the foot of the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range is San Lorenzo de El Escorial, a town that combines nature and history. Don't miss its majestic monastery and basilica.
You can eat in any of the restaurants in the town and try the meats of the Sierra de Guadarrama. Another option is to visit Alcalá de Henares, a city full of history and tradition and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Its university and the house where one of the most illustrious Spanish writers of our literature, Miguel de Cervantes, was born are a must.
You can also head to Aranjuez to visit its exceptional Royal Palace and gardens, or to Chinchón, a town with a picturesque and unique Plaza Mayor square. Did you know that in Buitrago de Lozoya there is an interesting collection of works by Picasso? It also has a walled enclosure dating from the 11th century. All these towns are less than an hour from Madrid. They are well connected to the capital by road, train or bus, and you can enjoy nature, a varied gastronomic offer and an interesting day out of the capital.
Art morning! Visit another of the museums located on the Art Walk: the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. A journey from the 13th to the 20th century, from the Renaissance, the Baroque to Pop Art.
After soaking up the culture, we head for the Plaza de Colón and the Jardines del Descubrimiento. Nearby is the neighbourhood of Chueca, one of the areas where the gay community has settled and which each year receives millions of visitors from all over the world during the Gay Pride Festival. Chueca has numerous bars, cafés, shops and establishments. It is therefore a wonderful place to eat.
Around the Plaza de Chueca or Pedro Zerolo, we have the most commercial streets with the most gastronomic offer: from the most traditional restaurants to the coolest of the moment. That's Chueca! Get your hands on the most avant-garde proposals as far as fashion is concerned and try a seat in a New York-style establishment. Madrid is an open and tolerant city and here you'll see for yourself.
After lunch, have a coffee or mojito on the terrace of the Room Mate Óscar Hotel, a perfect place to photograph the Telefónica building from above and relax on one of its mattresses.
Now it's time to visit Fuencarral: a pedestrian street full of fashion and design shops. Walk along it until you reach Malasaña, one of the nerve centres of nightlife.
Once in Malasaña, you will see that the offer is endless. There are bars, taverns and taverns on every street where you can have a bite to eat or a beer and tapas. And, of course, you can also dine in one of its many modern restaurants. You can go out around the Plaza del Dos de Mayo or go to the Plaza de las Comendadoras. You are in the area where the Movida Madrileña was born, one of the strongest cultural movements of the early eighties, which can still be felt today in many of its venues.
For the fifth day of this trip around Madrid, we suggest nature and fun. Head for the Casa de Campo. The most ecological way to get there is by cable car, which is located on Paseo Pintor Rosales. From the top of the cable car you'll have the chance to see Madrid's emblematic sites, from the Parque del Oeste to the Telefónica building on Gran Vía, via the Rosaleda and the chapel of San Antonio de la Florida.
Stroll around the Casa de Campo, rent a boat and paddle on the lake or enjoy an aperitif on a terrace and let yourself be distracted by the local flora and fauna. Meanwhile, at El Pabellón de Ondarreta, Parrilla del Embarcadero, Príncipe Akua, La Fogata, La Pesquera, La Bicicleta, La Masía or Las Marismas, you can savour some dishes from the renowned Spanish and Madrid cuisine.
If you are travelling with your children, what better idea than the Zoo Aquarium! Species from all continents and giant pandas with their own names will welcome them. And for an adrenaline rush you can go on one of the rides in the Park adjacent to the Zoo.
There is no doubt about our suggestion for the sunset, it is the Temple of Debod. In this Egyptian temple, located in the Parque del Oeste, you can admire one of the most suggestive sunsets in the capital, with views of the Royal Palace.
Nearby is the Plaza de España, presided over by Cervantes and the faithful Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Go up Calle Princesa and you will see a flight of stairs. Once up the stairs, continue to the Conde Duque area, where you will find a wide variety of terraces, bars and restaurants for you to choose from for tapas and to spend the night.
The sixth day is dedicated to a visit to the Santiago Bernabéu stadium. Through a guided tour you will see the dressing rooms of the Real Madrid players, the football pitch, the stands, the VIP area... a real luxury for a football fan. Or visit the new Wanda Metropolitano, a more modern five-star stadium.
Continuing to the most modern area of Madrid, you can contemplate the new Cuatro Torres. A business park with 250-metre skyscrapers designed by renowned architects such as Norman Foster and César Pell, among others. On the way you can have lunch at the Volvoreta restaurant of the Eurostars Madrid Tower hotel or stay at the luxurious Eurostars Madrid Tower hotel, with spectacular panoramic views.
In the afternoon stroll around the Salamanca area and its prestigious boutiques. Staying in this neighbourhood you have several dining options; the best interpretations of local gastronomy are waiting for you to try.
Live music or dancing until the early hours? In the area there are all kinds of clubs, bars and discotheques to end the night or greet a new day... So, you won't have to choose!
Seventh day and you're already a Madrileño, so it's time for El Rastro and beers in La Latina, as happens every Sunday and public holiday of the year in Madrid. This open-air flea market of everyday objects, antiques, clothes and accessories, leather goods or simply rarities, with more than 400 years of history, is an institution in the capital. It forms part of Madrid's cultural heritage and you must pass by its stalls to breathe Madrid.
And of course, you have to eat a tosta (toast) at El Capricho to make your trip taste like Madrid. You can continue the afternoon from cane to cane, taking the opportunity to walk and stroll around the popular neighbourhood of La Latina, where part of the oldest and most historic Madrid is located.
To complete the trip properly, you should get lost in the centre, the Gran Vía and its shops. Looking up, you'll notice the historic buildings that populate this street, which coexist alongside cinemas, theatres, bars, restaurants, hotels and shops.
Just choose the theatrical genre you want to end the day with, and you have a plan for the evening. After an informal dinner and a stroll through the renovated Triball neighbourhood, it is time to say goodbye to Madrid, for the moment...