This past weekend I was able to go back to one of my favorite countries in the entire world – Spain! And this time to a new city, Madrid! I’ve always loved Spain since the first time I visited in 2016, I could happily live off of tapas and sangria for a long time. It was also special because it was Kevin’s first time in Spain so it was fun to explore around with him. We booked the trip pretty last minute so we didn’t have any concrete plans. One of those relaxed vacations without an itinerary that he always begs me to do. πŸ˜‚Even though we wandered Madrid without a plan, it ended up being an amazing trip and we discovered lots of gems that I’ll share below!

madrid skyline

Where to stay

We stayed at Dear Hotel pretty central in Madrid. It was easy for us to walk to and from all the restaurants and shops. Although Retiro Park is a bit harder to reach, still totally manageable. If you go in the spring or summer, you won’t want to leave the hotel. With the amazing rooftop pool and bar – there are views for miles.

Another option I found when I was deciding was Only You hotel, and we even happened to walk by while we were in Madrid. It is definitely the better option location-wise but its not too big of a difference.

There are a lot of super cute boutique hotels in Madrid and all the food options are close to each other and walking distance! You definitely don’t need a rental car in this city, in fact I highly recommend against it. Parking in the small streets looks stressful AF. Use the app Cabify for rates cheaper than uber! πŸ™‚

dear hotel madrid

Where to eat!

Now to the most important part (to Kevin lol) – where to eat in Madrid. The first area you MUST visit is Calle Ponzano. It is a street with a bunch of cocktail and tapas bars. Our favorites were:

Casa Toni – This was our favorite tapas place in the Calle Ponzano area. Don’t be deterred by the dirty floor covered with tissue and olive pits, it’s good. We saw quite a few locals wander in to eat so you know its bomb. What to get: pig ears, tripe, gambas (shrimp).

Taberna la Descubierta Madrid – This was our first stop when we landed at 11PM and the area was still super busy and crowded with people! We ordered the paella, calamari and croquettes.

Other restaurants to visit are:

Takos al Pastor – 1 Euro tacos??? This place doesn’t open till 1330 (130PM) and Kevin read that there is ALWAYS a wait. So he had us waiting at the door at 1230. And guess what? The line got soooo long!! Get all the tacos you can eat and be sure to get a horchata to wash it all down!

Mercado de San Miguel – A market with a lot of food vendors where you can get olives, seafood, empanadas and more! I got a few small foods such as olives and a burrata tapa – but other than that we preferred to eat at the small tapas bars over this market.

Be sure to also check out the Chocolateria San Gines for some fresh churros and Baton Rouge Madrid for after dinner drinks!

What to do

Like I already mentioned – Kevin and I didn’t do much planning prior to the trip. But we really enjoyed what we ended up doing.

  • Take a walk through Retiro Park, the grounds are huge! Within the park theres is the Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace) – it is BEAUTIFUL! And did I mention it’s free to enter? LOVE IT! Go early within the first hour that they open to avoid crowds.
  • Catch a flamenco show! We purchased our tickets through Cardamomo. If you book more than 2 days in advance you get 15% off. It’s not the cheapest activity but definitely a fun experience. The energy of the dancers was awesome and you really appreciate the art of flamenco after.

And that’s a wrap on an amazing weekend in Madrid! I love Spain and will definitely be exploring more cities. If you’re looking for a beach getaway – check out my blog post on Mallorca. The blue waters are beautiful and amazing to swim in.

The only thing I have to mention before I sign off – Kevin caught a lady with her hand pretty much in my purse. She was trying to pickpocket me. Luckily we caught her in time, and also I left my wallet in Amsterdam and never carry cash. πŸ˜…πŸ˜…I’m literally the worst target because all you’ll get is some lip gloss and receipts. That being said – always be aware when you travel. They were in a group of 4 and I’m sure they would have done something to distract us. Would this experience deter me from visiting again? Absolutely not! I will just be sure to be more aware of my surroundings in the future.

Wishing you all safe and happy travels!! <3