With only a day in Madrid I did what any good backpacker does – planned to make a solid itinerary, wake up early and tackle the city from dusk to dawn.
Instead, I did as more realistic backpackers do and woke up late and failed at making any plans but fortunately a walking tour was about to leave from my hostel entrance so my friend and I quickly joined up so as to not feel like complete failures.
The funny thing was that this tour met up with about four different hostels and it turned out a guy that was on my Croatia sail a month earlier had the same idea as us and ended up on our walk! The small world phenomenon never ceases to amaze.
During the few hours of soaking up Madrid’s history we visited the Royal Palace…
Puerta del Sol, a large public square where random figurines tend to wander around a statue of a bear…
And just generally learned a bit about the people, culture, arts and politics of Madrid.
Our guide recommended a few museums so we tackled two, the first being the Reina Sofia.
Famous for housing Picasso’s Guernica, there are quite a few works by the artist in addition to Salvador Dali with the entire museum’s focus on Spanish 20th century art.
A ticket to the general museum areas will cost you 8 euro.
I personally enjoyed the Prado Museum more with its displays of 12- 19th century European art.
There are works by Francisco de Goya and Diego Velazquez but with over 7000 paintings, not to mention scultpures too a visit here within this beautiful building will keep you occupied for hours.
Entry is 14 euro but we managed to get in for free by going later in the day.
I can’t remember what time it starts from or if it’s only certain days of the week however there are times when you can get in without paying so ask your hotel/hostel for more details on this!
Between museum hopping my friend and I checked out Retiro Park.
With a huge pond in the middle and people paddling boats across it, this place has a cool atmosphere and everyone is here to relax.
After having a little wander and seeing some impeccably kept gardens we just picked a spot and had a cheeky nap to recharge!
As the sun sets make your way to the Temple of Debod (a legit ancient Egyptian temple which was moved to Madrid) to get a lovely view and say farewell to the day.
If you’re lucky, some men may also pop out of nowhere for you and offer chilled 1 euro cervezas which is a bonus and much needed in the summer heat!
Overall for one day’s effort and originally no plans, I think we did pretty darn well in the end.
Margaritas and burritos to finish the day
Although Madrid isn’t going to win best Spanish city in my opinion over my favourites of Granada or San Sebastian, there is definitely a lot to experience culturally, culinary and artistically in this busy capital.