5 Best Ways to Experience Madrid

Spain’s capital Madrid is packed with treasures. Trippy user Claire knew she was in for a treat and didn’t want to miss out on the fun. To cut through the madness of planning, she decided to seek advice from other Trippy users. She asked:
What are the three best ways to experience Madrid culture?

My mom and I are going to Spain in July to celebrate my graduation (finally!), and the first stop on our trip is Madrid. We are already planning on visiting the Puerta del Sol, Plaza de España, the Parliament, Cibeles Fountain, Calle Alcala, Paseo de Castellana, and of course the Prado Museum. Are there any other places you would recommend such as unique cafes or flea markets where we would be able to immerse ourselves in the local culture?

Here are five ways to experience Madrid according to Trippy users:

1. Art museums

Oscar from Madrid suggested these museums besides the Prado Museum that Claire already had in her list:
There are other museums worth visiting such as Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza (all very close to Museo del Prado). Additionally, there is a district called Chueca full of cafes, fashion shops, and artists. Nice place to walk around. I hope you enjoy your visit to Madrid.

Liz, a Trippy user has a hot tip on how to avoid the long lines at the Prado Museum. She wrote:
No need to wait in lines for the MUSEO NACIONAL DEL PRADO - just purchase your tickets online and enter at the Geronimo entrance.

- Just make sure you aren't waiting in a line that isn't for you. One night it's free for locals after 5 pm - skip the line to make sure it isn't necessary.

The big three museums in Madrid are the Prado Museum, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, and Reina Sofia Museum.

The Prado Museum is one of the finest art museums in Europe, housing an extensive collection of works by Goya, Velazquez, El Greco and some of the greatest European works of art from the 12th to the 19th centuries.

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, located just a few minutes walk from the Prado Museum has seven centuries of European art (13th to the late 20th centuries). You’ll see notable pieces by Gauguin, Van Gogh and Durer too.

Reina Sofia Museum’s most famous piece is Picasso’s Guernica. There’s also works by Dali and Miro. It’s the museum for Spanish contemporary art from the late 19th century to the present.

You may want to check out the lesser-known museums like the National Museum of Decorative Arts, Cerralbo Museum and Museum of Public Art.

2. Food

Spanish food is undeniably enticing. There’s a long list of traditional national dishes to try when in Madrid. Isabele from Ibiza recommended the following traditional dishes and places to eat:
If you come to Madrid, you need to eat "tortilla de patata" and "huevos rotos." You can find both in La Latina (you can't be lost) all the places you said is ok. Puerta del Sol just is like a square. From there you can walk to Calle Mayor and Plaza Mayor (but don't eat there it's so expensive). From Plaza Mayor, you can ask for La Latina. It's a nice place to visit because it is where madrileños goes.

Another nice place is Malasaña, with different kind of coffee and shops, if you visit the page madriddiferente.com you can find leisure and gastronomy tips. Also, there's Calle de Serrano, the most famous and luxury street from Madrid; it's close to Castellana. Best places like a madrileño: La Latina, Malasaña and Calle de Las Huertas (in Lope de Vega and Cervantes street you can visit their home, and there are so many places to eat Spanish food). I hope you enjoy it!

Trippy user Miguel highly recommended two types of food in Madrid - Cocido Madrileno and bocadillo de calamares.

Maria from Madrid chipped in:
You should also go to Mercado de San Miguel, an old food and drinks market where you can buy an ice cream or some Spanish food, the prices are a little bit higher than in, but you should visit it.

If you want to experience the local culture you should go to La Latina quarter; there are small theaters and local and charming restaurants.

Tara from Madrid suggested the following:
El Corte Inglés gourmet experience is practically on Gran Vía and super close to Puerta del Sol. It has a ton of different food and great views. StreetXO is the star restaurant there. You can cut through Sol to get to Plaza Mayor and then the Royal Palace of Madrid, maybe.

El Mercado de San Miguel is not so great to eat in anymore. I'd rather eat in Emma Cocina that's close. The neighborhood La Latina is close and full of great restaurants. My personal favorite is Juana la Loca Pintxos-Bar for tapas.

If you want something close by Retiro Laredo is excellent.

If you're looking for something cheap to eat Lateral has good tapas at a good price. There is one in Santa Ana.

Trippy user Alina recommended grabbing churros at Chocolateria San Gines. Taylor suggested coffee at Cafe de Oriente, and Jacqui said the best place to sample Madrid’s food is at Mercado de San Miguel.

For a taste of Madrileno food, top on my list is Botin. Claire from Fort Worth felt the same. She said:
Be sure to have a meal at Botín. Founded in 1725 it is the oldest restaurant (still running) in the world. The menu features Castilian style roast suckling pig, lamb, goat, and chicken. There are various vegetable sides, which vary with the season. Food is excellent; strolling musicians; beautiful old rambling building, near Plaza Mayor.

3. Tapas

Trippy user Joaquin said:
Another typical thing is taking tapas as you move from one place to another. Apart from the places suggested, go to Principe - Pza. Sta. Ana and surroundings to find many places with good tapas... if one is not so good, the next one will be. The main idea is that you don't stay in just one place but move through several.

No trip to Madrid is complete without a night out for tapas. Sharing tapas and having drinks with friends is an age-old tradition in Madrid. Locals hang out into the early hours of the morning eating patatas braves, fried squid, Iberico ham, mushrooms, marinated anchovies and all sorts of small dishes. La Latina, Malasana, Lavapies and the Literary Quarter are some of the neighborhoods for a tapas pub crawl.

4. Markets

Rocio from Costa Rica wrote:
I love local markets; let me recommend Mercado de San Miguel and Mercado San Antón exceptional places to taste Spanish gastronomy at sunset.

Mercado de San Miguel is located next to the historic Plaza Mayor. Built in 1915 and opened a year later, this cast-iron building is one of the finest Beaux-Arts 20th-century buildings in Madrid. It was a food market selling perishables but was renovated in 1999 and transformed into a “gastronomic sanctuary” of Madrid. You’ll find all types of food and drinks - from olives and Iberico ham (acorn-fed cured ham) to wine and fresh fruits.

Mercado de San Anton is located in Chueca district - a place for drinks and food (on the third floor). The first floor still houses a traditional market. You can also check out Mercado de San Fernando in Lavapies district. There are fresh food stalls, clothing, knick-knacks, and book shops.

5. Soccer (football)

Rabih from Lebanon wrote:
Don't forget to visit the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu of Real Madrid. Even if you don't like football, you will enjoy it and enjoy the history of this club.

You can enjoy football year-round in Madrid, but the Spanish league starts in early September and ends in June. Most matches are on Saturdays and Sundays. If going for a game is not an option, you can arrange for a Santiago Bernabeu Stadium tour. Tours include access to the trophy room, the player’s tunnel, dressing rooms, President’s box, press room and to the edge of the football field.

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