Up until a few weeks ago, Paris had always been my favorite city in the world – no question. But ever since arriving in Madrid, I began to feel like I was having a secret love affair and cheating on Parie. I fell in love with the architecture, the people and not to mention the food. The whole city has an incredible vibe that I have never experienced anywhere else.
Jake and I stayed in the heart of Madrid in an area called Sol, which is where I reccomend everyone should stay when visiting the Spanish capital. The main area of Madrid is much smaller than I imagined, so we found ourselves walking everywhere, and almost never needing to take a metro or cab. Sol is a large plaza that divides up the center of the city. From here you can walk almost anywhere including a few of my favorite spots that are a must if exploring Madrid.
- Mercado San Miguel
I would visit here on one of your first days, because the likelihood is you will want to go back again, and again like we did. Mercado San Miguel is a large glass marketplace serving the finest foods in Spain from paella, tapas, meats, cheeses and churros. It is similar to La Bouqeria for those who have visited Barcelona, but more high end and not as chaotic. We dined on seafood paella and magnificent caviar. I dream of one day going back to Mercado San Miguel.
- Buen Retiro Park
One of the highlights of my visit to Madrid was picnicking in Buen Retiro Park. The beautifully manicured lawns and broccoli shaped trees had me feeling like I was strolling through heaven. Grab a light lunch or some treats from Mercado San Miguel and head over for here for a delightful afternoon picnic in the park.
- Casa Hernanz
Fellow shoe lovers rejoice! If you love to kick it in your espadrilles over the summer, Casa Hernzanz is your place! Some say that Casa Hernanz is the original espadrille cobbler. After all, they did originate in Spain. Here they have a huge selection of authentic, handmade espadrilles that they make fresh every day! There is always a super long line so I would advise getting there an hour before they open at 8am. I bought 3 pairs and the quality is amazing for such a good price. Highly recommended for fashionistas traveling to Madrid.
- Chocolateria San Gines
One of the best parts about Spain is their signature desert. CHURROS! I discovered the absolute best place to eat them while going for a stroll near Plaza Mayor. This gem has been serving the most incredible Churros con Chocolate since 1894 and is open 24 hours a day! Chocolateria San Gines serves two types of Churros and I highly suggest you try both. There is usually a line to get in but totally worth the wait!
My advice for those traveling to Madrid, is just to wander and get lost. Locals and tourists alike are strolling around the city until the early hours of the morning and the ambience is incredible. And don’t forget to check out my favorite spots!