Semana Santa in Madrid

If you are in Madrid for Semana Santa, you could not be visiting at a better time. Semana Santa is a week that attracts people from all over the world to take part in the Easter celebrations. Whether you are religious or not, this is a spectacular week. Try going to one of the concerts held in churches around the city or simply join the crowds to watch the processions go by. The week is sure to be great fun with an amazing atmosphere. Don´t forget that seeing the processions is just as important as trying some of the local delicacies that are traditionally eaten at this time of year!

Processions

The week leading up to Easter (from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday) is full of street processions and sacred music in Madrid. Religious icons are taken from different churches and paraded around the city. Those who bear the heavy weight of the statues on their shoulders take enormous pride in doing so – it is a great honour to be a part of the processions. The most famous procession is the Christ of Medina  (Cristo de Medinaceli) on Good Friday (19th April) that starts at Jesús de Medinaceli Church and passes through the main streets of Madrid.

Other famous processions throughout the week include the Yeomen of the Guard (Alabarderos), the procession of silence and Jesus of Nazaret (Jesús Nazareno ´el pobre´).  Be sure to look up which processions you would like to see throughout the week so that you don´t miss any.

There will also be concerts playing sacred music, held in churches like Basilica of Nuestra Señora de Atocha, the Pontifical Basilica of San Miguel and the Parish Church of Santa Cruz.

On Easter Sunday (Domingo de Resurrección, 21th April), you can go to Plaza Mayor and see the famous Tamborrada – a show with hundreds of tambourines and drums. Well worth going to see!

You´ll also be pleased to know that on Easter Sunday in Spain too, chocolate eggs (huevos de chocolate) are commonly given to friends and family as a way of wishing them a happy Easter!

Gastronomy

One of the best ways to really embrace a new culture is to try the traditional food. What better way to learn more about the culture of Madrid than to try the local delicacies that are eaten at Easter.  Some of the most famous and delicious foods include:

  • Torrija (bread soaked in milk with cinnamon which is fried and sprinkled with sugar – very similar to ´French Toast´. It can even be soaked in wine!)

  • Soldaditos de Pavía – crispy fried cod
  • Flores de Semana Santa – sweet treat fried in the shape of a flower
  • Potaje de garbanzos a la madrileña – chickpea stew with potatoes, cod, spinach and hard-boiled eggs

The time and effort that that is put into the religious celebrations throughout this special week is astonishing – there really is an incredible display of colour, food, decorations, lights, costumes and religious icons. Semana Santa in Madrid is a must! You will not be disappointed.

Top 5 in Madrid: Sam

¡Hola! My name is Sam and in August 2018 I moved from The Netherlands to Madrid to complete my internship at Inhispania. The past 5 months I lived in and discovered this beautiful city. From museums to palaces and from parks to stadiums, Madrid offers it all. To be honest a top 5 is actually not enough for me to describe this beautiful city but below you will find my personal top 5 things to visit during your stay in Madrid!

#5 Palacio Real


If you are interested in palaces, you should definitely visit the Royal Palace of Madrid. This Royal Palace has 135,000 square meters of floor space and contains 3,418 rooms.

The palace is owned by the Spanish State and administered by the Patrimonio Nacional. Nowadays the palace is only used for ceremonies. It is nicely centrally located, in the western part of downtown Madrid.

The Palace, in the current state, is only 250 years old and it was built by order of King Felipe V. He gave the order to build the palace from limestone and granite because this ensured that the building was fireproof. Another interesting fact is that the design of the Royal Palace is based on the Palace of Versailles, where King Felipe spent most of his childhood.

Information about the Royal Palace of Madrid:
– Address: Calle Bailén, 28071 Madrid
– Opening hours: April to September from 10:00 – 20:00 and from October to March from 10:00 – 18:00.
– €10 entrance fee (discount for groups and students) and free entrance for people from EU-countries (18:00 – 20:00 from April to September) and (16:00 – 18:00 from October to March).

#4 Paseo del Prado


If you love art you should definitely visit the famous Museo del Prado. This museum, located next to the famous Retiro Park, houses works of art from the 14th to the 19th century. An absolute must go for every museum lover!

The designer of the building of the famous museum is architect Juan de Villanueva, he designed the building in 1785 in order of King Carlos III. From 1819 the museum is accessible to visitors.

The museum has recently been renovated and offers 22.000m2 extra space for new art collections. Originally the Museo del Prado was built to show the world how beautiful and important the Spanish art is. Nowadays the Museo del Prado houses around 1300 works of art and the types of art are baroque classicism, emotionalism and Pietism.

Information about Museo del Prado.
– Address: Calle Ruiz de Alarcón 23, 28014 Madrid
– Opening hours: Mondays to Saturdays from 10:00 – 20:00 and on Sundays from 10:00 – 19:00.
– Entrance fee: €10 (normal ticket), €23 (ticket + official guide) and €7 (ticket with discount).

#3 Plaza Mayor


Are you looking for a beautiful square then I would advice you to visit Plaza Mayor. Plaza Mayor is located in the heart of Madrid and it is worth a visit!

The name of this famous plaza has changed over the years. Originally it was called Plaza del Arrabal. In the middle of Plaza Mayor there is a huge statue of King Philips III, constructed in 1616.

In the past years the Plaza Mayor has been the scene of multitudinous events: Christmas markets, bull fights, soccer games and public executions. The Plaza Mayor is also a very touristic attraction, visited by thousands of people every year.

Tip: Try the Calamari sandwich; it is a culinary specialty in Madrid. This peculiar sandwich is composed of a bread bun opened up from one side, packed with calamari that are battered in flour and egg and then fried. The best Calamari sandwich is at Plaza Mayor.

#2 Retiro


Are you tired after a long day of strolling through the city? Or do you just need some relaxation during your stay in Madrid? Visit the Retiro Park! With over 15.000 trees and 125 hectares, the Retiro Park is a real oasis of green in the heart of Madrid. Inside the park you will find all kinds of monuments and gardens like: Jardín de Vivaces, the Jardines de Cecilio Rodriguez, Jardines del Arquitecto Herrero Palacios and the Parterre Francés, which holds a 400 year old conifer which is believed to be the oldest tree in Madrid.

You will also find a large artificial lake where you can enjoy the view and rent a rowing boat for the ultimate experience. On the east side you will find a big monument of King Alfonso XII and this part of the park is perfect to enjoy the sun.

Information about Retiro Park:
– Plaza de la Independencia, 7
– Opening hours: 06:00 – 00:00 (spring and summer) and 06:00 – 22:00 (autumn and winter)
– Prices for renting a rowing boat: 45 minutes = €5,80 (Mondays to Fridays) and €7,50 (Saturdays and Sundays)

#1 Estadio Santiago Bernabéu


My number 1 on the list is definitely the famous Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, the stadium of the best club in the world, Real Madrid. The experience is absolutely overwhelming. Whether you visit a live game or just go for a stadium tour, the atmosphere will be amazing.

The stadium has over 80,000 seats and was built between 1944 and 1947 and opened its door on December 14th and it received 5 stars from the UEFA (European Football Association). The first match was between Real Madrid and the Portuguese club Belenenses.

If you want to visit this beautiful football temple you pay €25 for a stadium tour and this is more than worth it. A stadium tour includes: panoramic view over the stadium, see all the trophies Real Madrid won in the ‘Trophy Room’, see the changing rooms and go through the player’s tunnel and benches.

Information about the stadium
– Opening hours: 10:00 – 19:00 (Mondays to Saturdays), 10:30 – 18:30 (Sundays and public holidays).
– Stadium tour takes 1,5 to 2 hours
– Ticket price €25,80

 

 

Daytrip to Segovia

¡Segovia is a great getaway destination from Madrid!

It is a small town not in the middle of the mountains of the Sierra de Guadarrama. It is well known for its aqueduct and for its gothic cathedral. In 1985 the city centered was declared world heritage by UNESCO. The aqueduct was built in the 2nd century and is known for its very little amount of concrete as component and how it holds itself independently.

Being at the north of Madrid and near the mountains, Segovia tends to be a little colder, however it also gives you fresher air and it can be a nice retreat from Madrid. You can go there just for a day on a bus. The closest station is Moncloa and you can get there for 10€ both ways and even just for a day! Itwill take between 1h15 and 2hours to get there depending on how many stops the bus has.

In Inhispania, we love to visit the city with our students.

Segovia has a lot of monasteries, convents and churches that you can visit on the top of the cathedral. The oldness of the city is charming and very pleasant for a week-end stroll around the Spanish authenticity. Its old spells attracts a lot of tourists, however it remains not as crowded as Madrid.  The typical food is “el cochinillo”,  the famous roast suckling pig.

Sports in Madrid

Madrid is filled with opportunities to stretch your legs and get exercising! The capital has many outdoor and indoor activities on offer for its people with a variety of intensity levels and possible alternatives.

Additionally, the city has a tight knit community feel, despite being the biggest city in the country. Continue reading “Sports in Madrid”