Walk in the Park. Madrid has a lot of parks that hold numerous opportunities for sightseeing and enjoyable activities for everyone. El Parque de Retiro has a boating lake and historical monuments such as the Crystal Palace. It is also just a stroll away from the Prado Museum, one of the city’s important museums. There’s also the Jardin Botanico, Parque del Oeste and Parque del Capricho among the many green areas where you can enjoy a leisurely afternoon or a weekend.
Do a day at the museums. Whether it’s learning about the history of Spain, or appreciating the works of art done by the masters, the museums in Madrid are an experience by themselves. There’s the Golden Triangle of Art – The Prado, The Reina Sofia and The Thyssen-Bornemisza – as well as a whole treasure trove of other museums that can be found all over the city. Science, history, art, culture and even food collections are all proudly displayed in some gallery worth visiting.
Discover the passion in Flamenco. See what the Andalusian gypsies have contributed to the Spanish culture by way of the Flamenco dance and music. There are many bars and tabernas in the city that feature flamenco performances – the Corral de la Moreria is said to be one of the best “tablao flamenco” restaurants in Madrid. Or you can go to a flamenco shop like El Flamenco Vive and get yourself a flamenco CD or book.
Take a tapas crawl. Tapas is a culinary tradition in Madrid, and most Madrilenos forego dinner for this enjoyable evening fare. You can take a Tapas Walking Tour organized by tour agencies, or if you are adventurous then explore the tapas bar scene on your own – best tip is to go where you see a lot of the locals go! You can also go to Mercado San Miguel where there will be stall upon stall of scrumptious tapas and drinks to choose from.
See a bullfight. If you’re visiting Madrid in the summer, this is the best time to watch a bullfight. There’s the San Isidro bullfight festival happening during the months of May and June – the fights are lined up daily during these period and the best fighters from all over Spain come to participate in the festival. You can also watch bullfights in two arenas – Vista Alegre and Las Ventas.
Cheer for the Real Madrid. Real Madrid is easily the most popular and most successful football club in Spain. And watching the team play in their home stadium, the Santiago Bernabeu is an experience not to be missed for a football fan. Be sure to check for the game schedules well in advance because tickets for the team’s games are very difficult to get, especially if it’s late in the season.
Do some retail therapy. It may not be Milan or Paris, but Madrid is still a shopper’s haven, where you can find everything from luxury designer labels to bargain treasures. Flea market lovers will have a grand time scouring through El Rastro, while those who can afford to splurge can shop or browse to their heart’s content at Salamanca or Fuencarral.
Eat like the Madrilenos do. Madrid is a paradise for gourmets and gourmands alike. Sample traditional specialties such as Cocido Madrileno, enjoy a snack of churros with thick, hot chocolate, eat at Botin, the world’s oldest eatery take your pick from any of the fine restaurants for a complete culinary experience. Wherever you go in the city you are bound to eat well.
Take a wine tour. The city can be an exciting place for oenophiles with its large selection of wines from all over Spain. Take a tour of the vineyards near Madrid, or visit a cellar or a bodega (wine shop) for some wine-tasting sessions and get to know the many varieties of wine that Spain has come to be known for.