Following, our (rather lazy) first evening in Madrid, we decided that we would do our very best to make up for it it the next day by cramming in as many sights as we could in the city.
Thankfully, as it turns out, Madrid is quite a walkable city which is always great for tourists like ourselves. It always feels so much nicer to be able to control the pace at which you explore a city… plus all that walking gives me the perfect excuse to indulge a lot come lunch or dinner time!
We started off the day properly in Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid’s famous food markets (it always comes back to food with me…) where there’s a plethora of Spanish deliciousness just begging to be eaten!
Fuelled by a few tasty treats, we made our way over to Plaza Mayor – Madrid’s main square!
Seeing as this is the main square, it’s probably wise to expect that restaurants and bars around this area would be slightly pricier than usual but don’t let that put you off, this is one of the best spots in the city to stop for a coffee and some serious people watching. 🙂
Even with the menacing clouds in the distance, it’s still easy to see why this is one of the best spots to hang out in Madrid!
The rest of the morning was spent interweaving through everything from dramatic and stunning Spanish buildings…
…and quaint side streets with hidden (and not so hidden) historic details.
One of the main sights worth seeing here is Almudena Cathedral (which is short for “Santa María la Real de La Almudena”)…
This stunning cathedral is located right opposite the Royal Palace of Madrid, which is still the official residence of the Spanish Royal family, which of course means that you can kill two birds with one stone and visit both around the same time.
The best view of the Palace, by the way, is from the top of the steps of the Cathedral. You’d think it was an obvious choice but most people don’t bother venturing past the front of the Palace.
To get into the cathedral though, you’ve gotta head round the side to find the main entrance in…
…which leads you to one of the most stunning cathedrals we’ve come across in Spain!
Hallway after hallway of neo-gothic architecture with glorious technicolour details!
You’d be surprised at how much time you could spend here trying to soak in every detail of it.
Carrying on from the cathedral, we decided to see more of the palace…
…though mostly from the outside as it was closed for lunch time and we promised to be back to check out how the Royal Family live in more details after lunch.
Behind the palace though are the Campo del Moro Gardens…
…which is a fun little detour on your way over to the Temple of Debod.
The temple is over 2,200 years old and was given to Spain as a gift from Egypt for the aid lent by the country when UNESCO called on Spain to help preserve the monuments in Egypt. The temple is free to visit so it’s worth popping in when you’re in the area.
Our trip to Madrid was a bit of a last minute holiday before we headed out to the Maldives and Sri Lanka and in retrospect, there’s so much more to see and do here than to leave just a couple of days to explore the city. Needless to say, we’ve found even more reasons to return to Madrid soon! (Especially one of Madrid’s best kept secrets which I can’t wait to tell you about!).