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Where is Madrid? Madrid is the capital of Spain. Spain is a country that is in the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal are the two major countries in the Iberian Peninsula). Andorra, Gibraltar and a small part of France are also in the Iberian Peninsula. I have traveled to Spain a few times and have traveled extensively within the country). Spain is a very diverse country (particularly politically). Spain is made up of 17 autonomous regions or communities. These autonomous communities have their own executive, judicial and legislative powers.
These autonomous regions have their own provinces. The most well known autonomous region is Catalonia (Catalonia has four provinces). Catalonia’s capital is Barcelona. In 2005, the Catalan parliament voted and decided to call itself a nation. So these 17 provinces that make up Spain are very different from the States or Provinces that make up the United States of America or the States that make up India.
I like Madrid. The capital city represents traditional Spanish culture. Madrid is very close to Toledo (“City of Three Cultures”: Islam, Judaism and Christianity), and is also relatively close my favorite region of Spain known as Andalusia. A visit to Madrid would not be complete without a visit to Toledo and Andalusia.
Madrid hosts most of the notable museums in Spain, and some of the unusual ones are the military, railways, and the theater. It is rich with artistic pieces and royal places that could catch your eye. It could help you learn about the history of Spain through the eye of the artworks collected by the monarch over the centuries. If you are interested in libraries and learning, Madrid could be a better destination for your curious mind. You will find secondhand bookshops in Madrid, and if you are lucky to be there in summer, you might enjoy the book fair, which is a heralded event. Spanish dishes and culture could captivate you when touring Madrid, and you will enjoy calm and friendly neighborhoods.
- Centro: Centro is dotted with medieval streets, which are lined by century old-architectural designs and forms the heart of Madrid. The north of Centro is the Royal Palace, while Gran Via borders Chuena and Malasana. The Centro region has diverse food options from the tapas bars to gourmet food, and the accommodation in the area consists of hotels and five-star buildings. You could walk in Centro and drive through most of the tourist destinations.
- Lavapies: Lavapies is an upcoming neighborhood that is open to immigrants and has a very diverse culture among the other neighborhoods in Madrid. It has diverse eateries that cater to most of the cultures with hip bars and ethnically diverse populations. Although there could be less accommodation in Lavapies, its prices are mid-range and have varied budget ranges.
- Retiro: Retiro hosts Madrid’s finest hotels, art museums, and the grand park, and it is a working day neighborhood with a bustling day life and a quiet night. You might enjoy botanical gardens and Madrid’s walking trails in Retiro.
The last time I visited Madrid, I was able to find an AirBnb facing Plaza Mayor (Madrid’s main square). It was a three bedroom unit that had windows and patios that faced the square. Most buildings in this neighborhood will not have elevators, which was not a problem for me. But you have to keep this in mind before renting an unit in this part of Madrid or Europe in general!!.
Cuisine in Madrid.
Madrid is a haven of possibilities when it comes to food as it has more bars and restaurants per capita than any other part of Spain. You could enjoy a Cocido Madrileno, which is a hot pork stew. The stew is favorable and has chickpeas, vegetables, pork, and sausage. You might also love to try Huevos Rotos, which is a potatoes cuisine; the name of the meal translates to broken eggs. This palate is made of fresh-fried potatoes and topped with easy eggs. Churros con Chocolate could also catch your attention in Madrid, which is a sweet fried treat mostly eaten at a nightlife.
5 Best Places to See in Madrid During The Summer.
- Templo de Debod: Templo de Debod, even though originates from Egypt, could catch your attention while visiting Madrid. The Nubian Treasure in Madrid was constructed using stones that originated from Egypt with the Egyptian design in mind. The temple could have otherwise been submerged in the Aswan dam, and UNESCO gifted it to Spain to preserve it.
- Puerta del Sol: This is the gate of the sun and is in the center of Madrid, where the sunlight shines down in the city. Some of the traders have set up these areas as they point of selling as it is centrally located, which makes it easy to access the people who visit the city. Puerta Del Sol hosts the statues of the Strawberry tree and the bear, which is attractive to most tourists.
- Plaza Mayor: Plaza Mayor hosts the 15th-century market, and it is the center of Madrid’s tourism. It is part of the nine entrances to the square and hosts the statue of Felipe the 3rd, which is among the artworks from the 15th century. The area around Plaza Mayor is full of narrow streets and alley ways. The sunsets are spectacular (I like the reflection of sunlight on the red buildings. A beautiful spot for photographers).
- El Retiro Park: This park in Madrid is attributed to the catholic monarch, and it is one of the greenest parks in the city. Most locals in the city could take leisure walks in the park and enjoy the calming effect of the green park. The trees in this Madrid garden are well-manicured with expansive lawns and are dotted with monuments that remain from previous centuries making it more appealing as a tourist destination.
- Gran Via: Gran Via attracts tourists who are interested in shopping in Madrid. It is home to the first department stores in the city and remains a business hub today. If you want to buy something that you could take back home from Madrid, Gran Via is the place you should visit.
Other places that I visited includes the Royal Palace of Madrid, Calle De Cava Baja (Tapas crawl) and the Museo Nacional del Prado (one of my favorite museums in all of Europe). Near Plaza Major, there are a few Tablao Flamenco’s worth a visit. La Taberna Mister Pinkleton is one of my favorites.
I love to visit Madrid again. I like the culture and the traditions and the fact that the city is relatively inexpensive when compared to other major European cities. There are lots of things to do. And if you are like me, you do not have to do anything. You can just sit in a tapas bar, enjoy a drink and just relax and maybe take a few photographs!
Have you visited Madrid?