This guide will cover things to see, places to eat and where to stay if you only have 24 hours in Madrid, Spain.
Today we’re chatting all about SPAIN, but not just Spain—Madrid! I figured I should write this post sooner rather than later while everything is fresh in my brain. **All photos were taken with my iPhone, so no judging! I meant to purchase a wide angle lens for my phone but COMPLETELY forgot--still living in regret. But! That's ok.
I received quite a few messages asking me if I was planning on doing a Barcelona recap, and truth be told, I debated it for a bit, but here’s the thing: when I’m on vacation, I am NOT in work mode. I know a lot of people—bloggers specifically—go on vacation and do work—write posts, snap pics for the blog—but for me, this trip was an unplugged kinda trip. I hadn’t been on a vacation since fall of 2016, so I really just wanted to relax and not think about work, ya know?
So, that’s my first reason why I’m not doing a Barcelona recap. My second and probably more important reason is that if I’m being really honest, most of the restaurants Miguel and I went to came from Ali from Gimme Some Oven’s Barcelona Travel Guide, which was—is—AMAZING. I highly, highly recommend following her guide if you’re planning a trip to Barcelona as we loved every place she recommended.
As for Madrid, we kind of just went off instinct and had the BEST time. Granted, we only spent 24 hours there, so for that, I wanted to share what we did and ate—and what all can be accomplished—if you have just 24 hours in Madrid.
WHERE WE STAYED
We ended up staying at the Barcelo Torre de Madrid, which was CHIC. Right when I walked in, the lobby decor blew me away, and the design continued throughout the entire hotel, from the rooms to the restaurant and lobby bar, everything was beautiful and modern.
WHAT WE DID
We took the high speed train from Barcelona to Madrid, which despite what you always hear, is not cheap. But, we figured we were in Spain and who the heck knows if we’ll ever go back, so we wanted to see another part of the country while we were there. One tip: I think buying your train tickets in advance would probably help to make them slightly cheaper than what we paid—we bought them the day before—ha!
We arrived in Madrid around 1:00 pm, and right away we checked into our hotel and then grabbed a bite to eat, which I’ll discuss below. After eating, we walked around Parque del Oeste, a beautiful park with an Egyptian Temple—Templo de Debod—in it (yes really!) and snapped some photos and took in the cloudy day. We were blessed with beautiful weather the entire time in Spain, but the day we went to Madrid it was very cloudy. However, we both kind of loved a break from the sun (which sounds insane and maybe even dumb, I know). After the park, we ventured to the Royal Palace of Madrid, which was on Miguel’s bucket list of sites to see. The architecture in Madrid blew us away and was a little more elegant than in Barcelona—everything was so, so stunning.
We then made our way to two different (huge!) markets, but Mercado San Miguel was first. This market is big, but still not too overwhelming. Here, they sell fresh food like fish and meat, and also let you sample food and there’s plenty of wine tastings too. We didn’t get anything to eat, but it was still cool to see (and a good place to take a bathroom break….). Next, we made our way to the second market called Mercado San Anton, which is suuuuper modern feeling. It’s comprised of 3 floors: the first floor is a traditional grocery store, the second floor provides take out options and has a restaurant, and the third floor is a rooftop bar/terrace, which we completely fell in love with. We’re suckers for rooftop bars—there’s just something about sipping a glass of wine with a view that’s just so relaxing.
Following the markets, we made our way to another park called El Retiro Park, which people tend to compare to Central Park. Again, the weather was gorgeous, so we just walked around for a bit and took in the scenery. Our goal was to try to enjoy things in Madrid that we wouldn’t otherwise see in Barcelona, and I think we accomplished just that in such a short amount of time. In the end, we ended up comparing Barcelona to California and Madrid to D.C. Barcelona is very relaxed while Madrid is a little more business-centered. …if that makes any sense. That’s just the vibes we got!
WHERE WE ATE
Saved the best for last! Some of these places will be repeats of what I already mentioned, but I’ve got some newbie places as well.
Txirimiri: this restaurant came highly recommended by the hotel staff, and it was crazy good! Though it was a tapas restaurant, the portions were WAY bigger than in Barcelona, and we ended up ordering too much food. We ordered the Hake Tacos which actually weren’t tacos at all, but fried Hake (fish), the mushroom croquettes and plate filled with fries, prosciutto and fried eggs, which was a tad too salty for my liking, but Miguel loved it.
Mercado San Anton: we didn’t eat here, but we did get drinks on the rooftop terrace which we both loved. The whole third floor has a great vibe too it and modern decor, which we both loved. I don’t remember my drink order, but it was probably a margarita.
Pabellón de Florida Retiro: again, we only got drinks here, but this is a restaurant that’s actually inside the El Retiro park. Cool right?! We actually debated eating here because the staff was so friendly and we loved the vibe, but we weren’t quite hungry yet, so we both just grabbed a drink instead. I had a tequila sunrise and it was HUGE and refreshing as well.
80 Grados: this was the place we went to dinner, and it was BUMPIN’ (I know no one says “bumpin’”, but it’s the appropriate word to describe this restaurant). It was pretty busy the night we went—probably because we went around prime dinner time aka 9:30 pm—but we only had to wait about 15 minutes before getting a table. It was a tapas restaurant, and the food was VERY tasty. We got the chicken meatballs with risotto (so good), shrimp empanadillas and the fried chicken. I’m not normally a fried chicken fan, but the portion was huge and we were starving, and it ended up being just what I (ok, we) needed.
Somos Garra: hotel restaurant that served a HUGE complimentary breakfast! Meats, eggs, cereals, breads, quiche, pastries—you name it, they had it.
And that was our trip to Madrid. It was short and sweet and we both wish we could have spent an extra day there, but still felt very accomplished with all that we saw in such a short time period. Questions? Comments? Leave 'em below! Thanks for reading!