City Guide: 24 Hours in Madrid

After I excitedly shared visuals of my visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Madrid, I've been wondering how best to tell you all about my one (and a half) day visit to this city. Madrid was the last stop of a less than two-week trip for my friend and I, and truth be told we were a little tired, very sweaty, and in need of a massage or five. Nonetheless, we were still just as excited to see another new city. After having an amazing albeit brief time in Barcelona, we looked forward to experiencing more of Spain at our final stop - more friendly people, fresh seafood, and the European summer heat.

SEE

PALACIO DE CRISTAL // Paseo Republica de Cuba, 4
Take time to wander around the park until you reach the Crystal Palace in the centre. The park is so large that you're unlikely to bump into hordes of tourists, just the way we like it. 

MUSEO NACIONAL CENTRO DE ARTE REINA SOFIA // Calle de Santa Isabel, 52
This is one of three major museums in Madrid, the others being the Museo Nacional del Prado and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. All three museums offer free entry at certain times during the day so make sure you do your research before you go! A word of advice - turn up early before the free sessions because everyone else would have also done their research, otherwise you'll find yourself in a massive queue. We learnt this the hard way when we turned up to the Prado Museum only to be faced with a line that snaked around the whole length of the street.

EAT

CHOCOLATERIA SAN GINES // Pasadizo de San Gines, 5
You can't go to Spain and not have churros. Dipped in thick gooey hot chocolate. Serving churros (and really good gelato too, I can attest to that) since 1894, this is the place to go to have THE Spanish churros experience. The servings are generous (we shared one serving between the two of us and left with our bellies full) and cheap. To top it off, they're opened 24/7 if you're craving that midnight snack. 

EL CALDERO // Calle de las Huertas, 15
Contrary to popular belief, paella is actually a regional dish so it's not served at every restaurant in Madrid (unless you fall for the tourist trap restaurants). As we really wanted to try some authentic Spanish paella, my friend found El Caldero online. We managed to nab the last free table (we recommend that you call up to make a reservation before you go) and filled our bellies with one big wok of seafood paella, octopus croquettes and fresh bread.

DO

ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDEN // Plaza de Murillo, 2
You already know my love for this botanical garden (click on the link to see more images). It's literally located right next to the Crystal Palace so you can see both attractions in one morning or afternoon. 

SOL AND OPERA 
These are subway stations near where you can access massive shopping strips, including one of the biggest Primarks I've ever seen. You're welcome.

STAY

LA LATINA // Our AirBnb here
Madrid is a relatively small city and easily accessible via the subway system. We stayed in a suburb called La Latina, but I would probably choose to stay at a more central location next time given the short amount of time that we were there. Nonetheless, our Aibnb offered us a priceless view of Madrid at sunrise and sunset and the amenities suited us just fine.