Here at Kiwi.com, we love exploring new places, but we also know that sometimes you want to go back to somewhere you’ve already been. Here’s our guide to some of the most popular destinations that Kiwi.com customers fly in and out of.
City – Madrid
Airport – Barajas
If you’ve never been …
… You’ll find a metropolis that’s elegant and stately during the day but knows how to let its hair down in the evening. The Spanish capital is the third-largest city in the European Union and is a world leader in politics, art, technology and sport, among other things. Managing to maintain the character and air of many of its historic neighbourhoods while still having a 21st-century infrastructure in place means that it’s a great spot to live and work at, or to just spend a weekend getting the flavour of it.
Stride through the centre
Located slap-bang in the middle of the city, Gran Vía is indeed a very grand street. From the Church of San Jose at its eastern end, it runs for over a kilometre to the Plaza de España at the other. A wide, elegant boulevard, bustling with people, some of the shops are, oddly, located inside old cinemas that haven’t shown a film for years.
Get the view
But if seeing the city purely at ground level isn’t enough, there are many places to ascend and see the skyline. If you head up the Círculo de Bellas Artes, there’s a huge patio from which you can look over one of the most attractive views in Spain. For even more of a bird’s eye view, you can ride on the Teleférico, a 2.5km cable car ride that will take you over the Casa de Campo and the Parque del Oeste, giving beautiful sightlines to the Royal Palace.
See some sporting heritage
Real Madrid is one of the world’s most famous sporting institutions, and with good reason. At the time of writing, the club has won 63 major trophies and is home to preening, strutting brand-merchant and footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. Tours of their Santiago Bernabéu Stadium take around 90 minutes (but of course) and cost €25. This includes a visit a section entitled “The Best Club in History”, just another example of the humility and self-effacement that’s made them so universally respected and adored. The alternative is Atletico Madrid, or you could do the right thing and go and watch Rayo Vallecano instead.
Like London, for all its traffic and hurry, Madrid is a remarkably green city. The Casa de Campo park is five times bigger than Central Park in New York City and includes within its boundaries the Madrid Zoo, a boating lake and various sports facilities. Outside the central district, you can’t walk very far without encountering some parkland. El Retiro, for example, is a handsome, sculpted park, rich in 19th-century elegance and graceful architecture. No matter where you go, you’ll find something to suit your taste.
Hunt for lost treasures
El Rastro is a sprawling flea market in the Embajadores neighbourhood and is one of the most famous things to do in the city. You’ll have to get up early, mind you, if you don’t want to be sucked along in the tidal wave of locals, tourists, and vendors of all types. If it all gets a bit too much, there are a number of bars and cafes nearby to duck into, and the roads around are full of antique and second-hand shops as well.
If you’ve already been and feel like going back, what about these?
The Hammam Al Ándalus baths feature different temperature pools, steam rooms and massage to help you unwind for a few hours after tramping through the city. Mostly frequented by locals, they’re decorated in an Arabic style and full of the scent of aromatherapy oils. Have a cup of herbal tea and let your worries wash away.
The ghost of a station
The Chamberí Metro station was closed in 1966 and fell somewhat into disrepair, but trains were never rerouted, so passengers got a glimpse of ripped, fluttering posters and a grimy platform as they were whisked to their destination. But in 2006 the station was reopened as a museum to the history of the Metro. It would have looked when it opened in 1919, complete with vintage posters and mosaic tiles. And, of course, every couple of minutes, a train still passes through!
Shopping and trains
More trains, as it happens, and not two things that necessarily go together, but Mercado de los Motores is a market for antiques, furniture, clothes, jewellery and food that’s located, unusually, in Madrid’s railway museum, the Museo del Ferrocarril. Could it be any more hipster?
Improve your language … And your general knowledge!
Every Thursday evening, La Morena Cantina bar hosts a bilingual pub quiz called “Beerlingual”. The bar itself is a good enough reason to go – it has over 40 types of tequila, for a start – but why not put together a team and have a crack at the quiz as well? It’s a great reason to have a drink and meet people while sort-of humiliating yourself. What could be more fun than that?!
Invisible nun cakes
Now those are three words I never thought I’d type together, but at the Monasterio del Corpus Christi, there is a large door marked with the number eight. Ring the buzzer and ask “tienes galletas?” If they have cakes, the door will open and you walk down a corridor to a table with a menu on it. If you ask the wall for your order, a voice from the other side (of the wall, not of the conscious realm) will confirm your order, and the cakes will appear on a turntable in front of you. You won’t ever see the nuns who bake them.