Something very exciting is happening this year, my best friend is getting married! Which of course meant we had to see her out in style. So after months of organising, 12 of us headed over to Madrid, my hand luggage filled with hen do accessories and my head filled with exciting plans.
Everyone had told me that Madrid would be hot. And it didn’t disappoint. It was about 33 degrees whilst we were out there and probably best described as sweaty. But that didn’t stop us enjoying the beautiful city, which is now my favourite place in Spain, sorry about that Barcelona. You should go book a flight immediately (it’s only 2 hours from Gatwick) and do these 5 things whilst you’re there:
1. Enjoy the scorching temperatures
Despite being in the mainland and boiling hot, I was pleasantly surprised that Madrid did have a nice gentle breeze. Which was good because when it wasn’t breezy it was incredibly sweaty, so it probably would’ve been a little too hot without it. I’d recommend finding a hotel with a rooftop pool, we stayed at Hotel Emperador and it was lovely.
2. Visit the amazing Parque del Retiro
You can’t miss this place on a map, take the subway (it has air con) and get off at Retiro. Walk round, explore, visit the gallery (it has air con and toilets), hire a little rowing boat for $6 and basically live the dream.
3. Explore the Plazas
Take a little walking tour from plaza to plaza, stopping to explore local shops and stalls. Probably best to make sure there’s room in your luggage when packing because there’s lots of hidden gems waiting to be found.
4. Revel in the cafe culture
Even my guide book told me to ‘do as the locals’ and take regular breaks when visiting the city. What better way to do this then pulling up a chair outside a cafe with some tapas, paella, beer and sangria. Yes we had all of those things. You’ll find amazing eateries all over Madrid, the best ones we found were just outside of the main plazas.
5. Aquapolis waterpark
This place is awesome. It’s on the outskirts of the city, about half an hour drive, but totally worth the trip. I was surprised to find a lack of tourists, perhaps because visiting a waterpark isn’t top of every city break list, but if you have the time you should check it out.
Madrid has totally renewed my love for European cities and I’m working on my list of places to visit next. Let me know if you have any recommendations!
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