¡Hola! I am Estefania (Tefi), I am from Venezuela but been in Europe for sometime now. After doing my masters in Paris for one year, a new challenge opened up to me: an internship in PR at Condé Nast, Madrid.
I arrived in Madrid around 3 months ago, but not only I have fallen in love with the city, I also fell for its food, its people, and the culture. Madrid is a great place to be! It is the capital city so you have all the infrastructure, and the buzz that you need, balanced with a great quality of life! Before I get into how to make most of Madrid a few tips:
- You must know some Spanish to live it up in this city – Like most of Spain, most people in Madrid will only speak Spanish – so learn some before you get there, and you’ll have a great time. The people are very friendly and welcome outsiders
- Please interact with locals, make some friends who aren’t from the same country as you are! As foreigners, we often end up making just a small circle of friends who are from similar regions. I strongly suggest you don’t do this, and mingle with some locals. Not only will this help you make most out of your visit, but it will give you a great cultural perspective
So, if you get the above two right, here’s Tefi’s top 5 round-up for Madrid which will ensure you fall in love with this beautiful city!
Of-course, it has to start with food! It is always about the food, isn’t it
Top 5 places to eat in Madrid
- Ramon Freixas: By one of the greatest established chefs in Madrid. Try the “experience menu” with wine pairing – it is perfect!
- Terraza del Casino: This one is Michelin starred, and with Paco Roncero managing the kitchen, you are sure to experience a delightful meal! Terraza means terrace in Spanish. There are tons of excellent terrace cafes and restaurants in Madrid that come alive in the evening.
- Bar Tomate at Salamanca district: Amazing food and great ambiance! The drinks are great here. The decor is chic and attracts many fashionistas. On weekends, they have the DJ playing after 11 PM, make sure you make reservations!
- Ten con Ten: This one is my personal favorite, you can have a great time and great food. At about 12 PM, the music starts and it attracts a lot of people
- Whitby: Follows this Spanish custom of clubbing dinner and party!
I know I was going to do a top-5 but I’ll add one more name to this list : Ramses: Perfect for Sundays! Brunch is served and party starts at 4pm when the DJ arrives (don’t miss the bathroom of the place)
Top 5 places to party in Madrid
To start off, a party tip: Party in Madrid starts only at 2 AM . So, be prepared for a loonnnggg night! In Madrid it’s never late!
- Malasaña: for the hippies and eclectic, this neighborhood brings in a lot of bars and small places in order to gather and have some “chupitos” (shots in Spanish) at at-least 5 different places the night . Have some tapas and then bar hop across this neighborhood
- Gabanna: is a must, with a great disco – not too big, not too small; and the perfect house music
- Kapital: the biggest night attraction, it has a 7 floor disco that will have you partying till 8 AM in the morning
- Fortuny: for those who like a more serious and not so crazy party
- Palacio Gaviria: Thursday is international and house music night – foreigners come together on Thursday – it is a lot of fun!
Top 5 must see places in Madrid:
The city is full of museums, historical sites, activities, and tours.
- Parque del Buen Retiro – In English meaning Park of the good retreat, perhaps the most important park in Madrid. It is amazing! You should visit the crystal palace once you are inside. The park also hosts some free concerts on Sundays
- The Royal Palace
- Chueca – Gay neighborhood of Madrid. It has a lot of emerging designers and nice small places to eat and have a drink
- Gran Via, in the city center is a very nice place to walk and you’ll find a lot of shops, and theaters – the street is known as the Spanish Broadway
- Ortega y Gasset and Serrano – You have to go to Ortega y Gasset and Serrano when in your shopping mode! Some of the most luxurious shops are located here
Top 5 food items to try in Madrid
Being a Spaniard, I had tried some of these before in Venezuela, but each place has a distinct variety and I highly recommend you try these in Madrid:
- Tapas!! – Madrid and Tapas go hand in hand. “Tapas” are a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, in Spanish cuisine. Madrid has a number of Tapas bars with menus so large, you’d often wonder what to eat and what not!
- Tortilla de patatas (Omlettes!)
- Pinchos de jamon Serrano (Serrano ham skewers) – jamón serrano is basically mountain ham, is a Spanish delicacy and a must try!
- Gazpacho – tomato or vegetable based cold soup