Madrid - the city of bear and strawberry tree, was indeed our first destination in Europe. It is the capital city of Spain and also known for its political, economic and cultural center. Madrid lies on the river Manzanares and we were lucky to book our hotel right across the river. We stayed at Hotel NH Ribera del Manzanares for 3 nights and had a gala time. Weather was nice and we enjoyed every bit while exploring this city. From history to magic, croissants to chocolates, cathedrals to palaces, this city had it all. Great place for shoppers as well.
Day 1 - 23rd August
We arrived at the Madrid Barajas airport at 08:30 PM after a 14 hour long flight, but I was still an enthu cutlet. The feel of being in a distant land cheers me up against all odds. Quickly grabbed our luggage we approached the information desk in order to buy a SIM card but alas majority of the shops were almost shut and we just managed to book a cab via the airport wifi. The drive to the hotel was approx 30 minutes (charged €30) and I liked the silent streets, greenery around, graffiti on the walls, uphill and downhill roads, heavily lit underpasses and a chilly breeze. My dream of euro trip had come true and while I was still dreaming we reached our hotel. After a quick check-in we dozed off to sleep.
Hotel NH Madrid Ribera del Manzanares
Front View from the Hotel - River Manzanares
After a sumptuous breakfast, I was all dolled up to explore the city. We left at around 11 AM and walked directly to the nearest metro station “Piramidies”. We quickly got our tourist pass for 2 days and moved to our first destination - Royal Palace Of Madrid. A regal palace with more than 2000 rooms and armoury, it is the largest palace in Europe by floor area. Awestruck by its majestic views and incredible beauty we spent approx 2 hours learning the Spanish history. Entry charges are 10€ per adult and it may vary if you choose other options like audio guide or a guided tour. Sharing moments captured from this place.
Royal Palace of Madrid
Awestruck by the beauty!
Map - Royal Palace
Detailed Guided Map - Royal Palace
Interior View - Architecture at its best!
Ticket Receipt - Front Side
Ticket Receipt - Back Side
Post this we headed towards the Puerta del Sol on foot and explored little shops that were round the streets. Grabbed our quick lunch from Burger King on the way and also picked up some grapes and apples from the famous San Miguel Market on the way. It is one of the best food markets I have ever been to and every corner filled with rich essence of Spanish cuisine. Walking straight from there we reached Puerta del Sol- one of the busiest public squares of the city. We spotted a huge Vodafone store and we ran to grab a sim. There were lot of package options and we chose a plan that was valid for 10 days with free browsing of google maps. It costed us 25€ with unlimited local calls, Internet 3GB and a call balance of 5€. Post this we were much relieved as the easiest way to navigate is through google maps and we were struggling to understand directions from paper map till now due to lack of internet. 😓😓 After our cell phone was fixed we jumped out to explore the square. The famous statue of the bear and the strawberry tree was beaming bright in the sunlight. It is the centre of the radial network of the Spanish roads. The kilometro cero is a plaque on the ground near the post office and it is the symbolic centre of Spain. We also spotted the famous clock that marks the traditional eating of Twelve grapes and the beginning of the new year. Sharing couple of pictures from this location. Later we proceeded back to our hotel, had dinner and dozed off.
San Miguel Market - The best food market known so far!
Puerta del Sol, Madrid
Iconic - The Bear and The Strawberry Tree !
Guess - Real Beggar or a Statue 😝
Today we started our day with a visit to the famous El Retiro Park. However we stumbled upon the famous Museo del Prado before reaching the park. Neither me nor my husband are huge fan of art and we decided to skip this museum. We walked ahead to the famous park and it was filled with beautiful flowers and trees. Spent some time exploring the park and headed towards the famous crystal palace. It's a glass and metal structure built inside the park. Entry is free of cost and we had a quick walk of the palace. After enjoying the flora around we exited the park and boarded bus to the famous Plaza Mayor. It's a central plaza with many eating joints. Our hungry stomachs were satiated here. We roamed around the Spanish streets, hopped on and off the buses and went back to our hotel for a quick nap. Our evening was quite eventful as we had tickets for the famous football match at the Wanda stadium (La Liga). Had evening tea cakes and coffee, while we waited for our Uber. Reached stadium almost on time and we had our dream come true, one more tick from the bucket list! First live match of my lifetime and trust me the feeling is beyond that words can express. Sharing a link that captured this precious moment.
Couple of clicks from the places we visited -
Couple of clicks from the places we visited -
Museo del Prado
Parque del Buen Retiro, Madrid
Palacio de Cristal del Retiro
Plaza Mayor, Madrid
Love Locked! 💖💞
La Liga - Wanda Stadium, Madrid
Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, Madrid
The last day of our stay in Madrid. We woke up around 9, quickly finished our lunch and left for the airport as we had a connecting flight to Barcelona. I did pen down my experience with the vueling airlines. Loved Madrid to the core and would visit again if given a chance.
Commute/ Transport Options -
There are ample of ways to commute via the bus, train and taxis, however the most convenient way is to buy the tourist pass. It is applicable on all buses, metros and trains. You may also use Uber and My Taxi app for quick commute. We used both the apps twice while we stayed in Madrid and the rest of the journey was We bought the tourist pass for 3 days and helped us a lot in commute.
Travel Tourist Pass
Metro Map- Madrid
- Majority of the shops at the airport shut by 9 PM. Make sure you have the required information prior to reach your hotel.
- Counters to avail tourist pass etc. for commute are shut as well. Either buy passes in advance or push out the buy to the following day.
- Do download google translate app as it would help in conversation while people aren’t very fluent in English.
Happy Reading and Happy Traveling. Do leave in your comments and experiences.