Our intern Geordie went back home, but before leaving he gave us some tips on what to visit when you first come to Madrid.
1. Temple of Debod
On a nice summer´s evening, take a picnic and maybe some pre-made sangria to the Temple of Debod where you can enjoy views of the amazing sunset over Casa de Campo and the Royal Palace. Soak up the last of the sun, enjoy live music from buskers, and experience the fun care-free atmosphere in the park surrounding the Temple. The temple itself dates back to the 2nd Century BC and was transported stone by stone from Egypt after they donated it to Spain in 1968. The inside of the Temple is also worth a visit, and particularly the ancient hieroglyphs carved into the walls of the chapel. This is my favourite place in Madrid to relax with a book and watch the sun go down!
2. Flamenco show
A trip to Corral de la Moreria, home to one of the most famous and celebrated flamenco shows in Madrid, will live long in my memory. As you enjoy some of the best flamenco dancers, singers and guitarists on the planet you can´t help but feel that you really are in the depths of traditional Spain. Although there are many different flamenco shows to choose from, I would particularly recommend Corral de la Moreria for its intimacy, great food and drinks, and of course their world renowned flamenco.
3. Santiago Bernabéu
If you, like myself, are a football fan then a trip to the home of Real Madrid really cannot be missed. The Santiago Bernabéu holds a staggering 81,000 people, and when Real Madrid are winning the atmosphere is electric. Tickets can sometimes be as cheap as €40 and I would recommend checking the Real Madrid website on the Monday before a home game in order to find the best value seats! If you can´t get to a game, then another great option is to do the stadium tour which includes exclusive access to the club museum, the (very extensive!) trophy room, the changing rooms and even the tunnel. ¡Hala Madrid!
4. Piscinas Municipales
In May, when the summer starts picking up in heat, Madrid opens the doors of its public swimming pools to the public. Immaculately maintained, these pools offer a much-needed refreshing break from Madrid´s powerful sun. My favourite is “El Lago” in Casa de Campo which offers 3 different pools, lots of green spaces perfect for topping up your tan, and an outside terrace bar. The best part? It costs just €3 for a full day entry!
5. Lavapiés and La Tabacalera
You will have been told a thousand times to visit the Prado or the Reina Sofia which are, obviously, incredible. However, I would recommend you to visit the more edgy museum ´La Tabacalera´ located in the equally cool and diverse district of Lavapiés. For many years a tobacco factory, this grand building is now a cultural space open to all who want to display and exhibit their art, be it graffiti, photography, film, dance, music or anything in between! Exhibitions change very frequently, so check out the website and decide in advance what you want to see so that you don´t miss anything!
And remember, go with an open mind as everything is ´un poco loco´!