Earlier this week me and my boyfriend Ali flew to Madrid for 48 hours of sun, sightseeing and sangria.
We had wanted to go on a short break together for a while now and this last minute break was perfect! For under £145 per person we had really good British Airways flights (we flew in on the Tuesday morning and arrived back in London on Thursday night) and a 4-star Tripadvisor review hotel with breakfast included.
We wanted to be close to the city centre, and with it being a budget break we booked the Holiday Inn Piramides, which was just a 10 minute walk away from Atletico Madrid’s stadium and it was also very conveniently located right next to the Piramides metro station. Despite arriving at the hotel two hours early before our check in time, the receptionist gave us a room and we were more than impressed. We got a lovely double room with a spacious bathroom, a mini bar and a mirror wardrobe. Even the service was exceptional – Ali forgot his toothbrush (men, ey?) and they gave us not one but three as well as some toothpaste. I would definitely recommend this hotel, despite it being a franchise, it was away from the ‘tourist trap areas’ of Madrid and you could easily walk to the main attractions.
With a high similarity to Buckingham Palace, the Royal Palace was a beautiful sight. Located near Opera metro station, the Royal Palace has a small maze in the Palace gardens, as well as small fountains and statues. Whilst we were there, there was a special event going on. Me and Ali thought it was a ‘changing of the guards’ ceremony with many guards riding to the Palace entrance on horses. There were trumpets and drums playing and it felt amazing to be part of it.
Next door to the Royal Palace is the Almudena Cathedral. Completed and consecrated in 1993, the Cathedral boasts amazing architecture and is another must-see attraction.
Another attraction for the eyes is the Temple of Debod, near Plaza de Espana metro. Built in 200 BC in southern Egypt, the ancient Egyptian temple was donated to Spain in 1968 after UNESCO made an international call to save it. It is one of the few works of ancient Egyptian architecture which can be seen outside of Egypt, and the only one of its kind in Spain. I personally loved this site as I’m a huge history buff.
None of the restaurants and cafes we ate at in Madrid were really worth shouting about – apart from this one. Situated near Callao and Santo Domingo metros, Tommy Mel’s is a must-visit for any American-loving foodie. Set as an American 50s diner, Tommy Mel’s not only looks amazing but the food is delicious too. Even the waiters spoke in American-English accents! (as well as their native Spanish) Me and Ali had Tommy Mel’s nachos to share for our starter, (the chilli con carne topping was delish) which laid the foundation for our main courses – classic burgers! Ali had the onion rocks burger (a burger with crispy fried onions, red pepper jam, lettuce and a creamy sauce) and I ordered the Jack and mushroom burger (fresh spinach, melted Monterrey Jack cheese, pickles, sauteed mushrooms and onion gravy). With sides of fries and coleslaw, we were both amazed by how nice these dishes were. Mine was so filling, and to say I was a bit apprehensive about the cheese and onion gravy combo, I was pleasantly surprised. Another crowd pleaser was the 2-4-1 cocktails – all day, every day (apart from Fridays until 8pm). We would definitely head back there again.
What better way to take in the spectacular views of Madrid than to go on the Teleferico (cable car) in Casa de Campo? Ali decided that we should only go one way, assuming that the other side of the park wasn’t that far away from the city centre. Boy, was he wrong! We arrived at the other side to find that we would have to do a 2-3 hour walk back across the dry park in 32°c heat! Despite walking through what seemed to be a desert, it was a nice way of seeing a different side of Madrid. We even came across a deserted playground and had a go on the swings! When we finally came across civilisation, we realised that the ‘desert land’ was actually a cyclist/BMX trail. Now we know why most people get a return trip…
Aside from the ‘desert land’, Casa de Campo is actually a really beautiful park. You could go kayaking along the river, and there were many cafes where you could stop by and people watch. The views of the city centre itself are worth the visit.
As I was travelling with my boyfriend, we just had to visit Real Madrid’s stadium. For €19, we both did a stadium tour. On the outside, the stadium didn’t really look that great, (last year we both visited Barcelona’s Nou Camp and we were both very impressed), however we were more than surprised with the inside tour. The stadium is huge! As well as a walk around, we visited the changing rooms, viewed their trophy collection and went to the ‘sensations room’ – where you could listen to the sounds of Real Madrid, as well as use the touch screens to read about the club’s history and watch videos. There was also a massive mosaic picture where you can take a photo and ‘be part of Real Madrid’.
To say we were only in Madrid for 48 hours, it was an amazing break! We both really enjoyed visiting the many attractions and agreed that we got our money’s worth! Have you been to Madrid before?
Keep up to date on the following channels: