Do a self-guided or guided walking tour of Madrid. Some guided options are free, but be sure to book it in advance! The free 3 hour tour – you should be able to book it a couple days in advance. Available in English or Spanish.
Here are a couple nice options for your own self-guided walking tour:
Some spots to not miss:
- Royal Palace (best spot to see the sunset)
- Puerta del Sol
- Plaza Mayor
- Gran Via Ave (also great for shopping!)
- Buen Retiro Park + Palacio de Cristal
- Mercado de San Miguel (also great for tapas, a bit touristy)
- Calle Cava Baja (best tapas + bar street) – end the day here, go here for the nightlife!
Great spots for food (keep in mind Spanish lunchtime is 2-4pm and dinner is 8-11pm, when managing your appetite)
- Mercado de San Miguel – Tapas, wine and a variety of food stalls. Great for an appetizer, standing only, before heading out for dinner elsewhere
- Mercado de San Ildefonso (Sarah and Gustavo’s first date spot! 😉 3-level market with food stalls and bar, Calle de Fuencarral, 57, 28004
- Yakitoro by Chicote – Japanese-Spanish fusion (best one is near Gran Via, reservations recommended, Calle de la Reina, 41, 28004 Madrid) http://www.yakitoro.com/en/
- Bosco de Lobos – an upscale Spanish restaurant next to the architectural college (COAM), unique architectural interior design. Reserve in advance. (one of Sarah and Gustavo’s fave spots!) Calle de Hortaleza, 63, 28004
- Ojala – brunch/lunch spot, huge menu, casual. Calle de San Andrés, 1, 28004
- Kuoco 360 – upscale fusion restaurant, reserve. Calle de San Bartolomé, 14, 28004
- Chocolateria San Gines – 100 year old 24/7 chocolate stop (MUST GO! Worth the wait!!) Pasadizo de San Ginés, 5, 28013
- La Bicicleta cafe – bar, nightlife
Great rooftop views:
- Circulo de Bellas Artes, rooftop bar on the 7th floor, Calle del Marqués de Casa Riera, 2, 28014
- Roommate Oscar Hotel – rooftop bar, Plaza de Pedro Zerolo, 12, 28004
Great areas for shopping:
- Gran Via Ave
- Calle de Fuencarral
See the Roman aqueduct and the medieval castle (Alcazar) at the end of town with an incredible view!
What else to see:
- The Cathedral
- The Jewish Quarter
- Palacio de la Granja (link here)
Enjoy a nice “Cochinillo” (a small roasted pig) in Segovia Downtown.
Some good restaurant recommendations:
Enjoy a nice walk around the city center and visit one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Spain! (Link here)
What else to see:
- Las Huelgas Reales Monastery
- Arco de Santa María
- La Cartuja de Miraflores, founded in 1441
- San Gil Abad Church
- San Cosme y San Damián Church (XVI century)
- La Merced Church, built between the XV and XVI centuries
- Arco de Fernán González
Cities and towns to visit:
- San Sebastian
- San Juan de Gaztelugatxe (link to map here)
A good traveller blog for references:
If you’re considering heading this far north, contact Sarah or Gustavo! We will travel here September 14-18.
What else to do near this region:
- Eat traditional “pintxos“, the basque version of tapas
- Enjoy the nature around, there’s plenty of national parks in the area
- Go visit the “Cave of Altamira“, a Paleolithic art cave in the region of Cantabria, a bit further West. Altamira Cave was declared a World Heritage Site in 1985.
The denomination of origin Rioja spreads along 54.000 hectares around three different Communities (La Rioja, Basque Country and Navarre). The wines of Rioja are the most famous of Spain and its long tradition supports their fame. Wine goes well with the region’s ochre earth and vast blue skies, which seem far more Mediterranean than the Basque greens further north. In fact, it’s hard not to feel as if you’re in a different country altogether. The bulk of the vineyards line Río Ebro around the town of Haro, but some also extend into neighbouring Navarra and the Basque province of Álava.
The “Bodegas” (wineries) we recommend for wine tasting:
- Ysios – Architecturally one of the most stunning winery buildings, desiged by Santiago Calatrava
- Marques de Riscal – Also famous for its architecture, and its amazing wine
- Website: http://www.marquesderiscal.com/seccion_menueng.php?a=44
- Address: Calle Torrea Kalea, 1, 01340 Elciego (link here)
- Phone: (34) 945 180880
What else to see:
- Laguardia – cute town in la “Rioja Alavesa” (Basque Coutry)
- Santo Domingo de la Calzada – Another cute town
- Balcon de la Rioja – observation deck overlooking Rioja region with incredible views
Not a huge city, but you can walk through it in half a day to catch the highlights, if you’re passing through.
- Basílica de nuestra señira del Pilar
- El Tubo district – tapas bars
- Aljafería Palace