If you’re visiting Madrid then it would almost be a crime to leave without first trying these things. There’s so much culture in Spain’s capital that really can’t be missed. We’ve rounded up some of the most unique places in Madrid to visit. So, whether you like chowing down on the local cuisine, hanging out at the most prestigious buildings, or enjoy nothing more than a day of sport, we’ve found something to keep every kind of traveller amused. Here are the things you really can’t miss out on, whilst you’re on your Madrid vacation.
Try Tapas at Casa Toni
If you mention Spanish cuisine to anyone, it’s almost a guarantee that the first thing they’ll think of is tapas. When the Spanish invented this small plates style of eating, it was a real game changer. Sitting down to try lots and lots of different little tastes is such an enjoyable way to eat. You can try everything on a menu without needing to be rolled back to the hotel afterwards. There are lots of delicious places to try tapas in Madrid, but one of the most authentic is Casa Toni. You’ll find this no-frills eatery just around the corner from Puerta del Sol (where we might be visiting next!) It’s named after the original owner Antonio, but is now run by a group of friends who have ensured the tapas menu is as traditional as it comes. Try to remain open minded when choosing your dishes, as some of them can be a little challenging. Offal features heavily, with grilled sweetbreads served in olive oil and garlic being a particularly delicious dish. You’ll find tripe, lungs and heart, all served in traditional local ways, alongside the tapas dishes that we all know and love; patatas bravas, baked chorizo and croquettas. You can decide how adventurous you want to get.
Stand at the Center of Spain
As we mentioned before, our next stop is Puerta del Sol. This huge square is right in the center of Madrid, but more importantly right in the center of Spain. It’s known as kilometre zero and is where all roads in the country radiate out from. If you’ve properly prepared for your European adventure then you’ll hopefully have a tripod with you, as this spot makes for a great photo opportunity. The square is always alive and bustling, with various shops, restaurants and cafes to visit. Spend a little time soaking up the atmosphere and be sure to visit the statue of the bear and strawberry bush, the symbol of the city.
Visit The Hipódromo de la Zarzuela
Sports fans are spoilt for choice in Madrid. Often people flock straight to the Atletico Madrid stadium, but checking out the horse racing track is a great fun choice too. The Hipódromo de la Zarzuela is right on the outskirts of Madrid, so you’ll have to take a bus ride to get there, it’s worth the trip for the architecture alone though. Built in the 1930s, the grandstand is a spectacular building, formed entirely from concrete. Traditional archways are cleverly combined with a sweeping concrete roof, all glistening white, which not only looks fantastic, it helps to keep the stands cool in the hot Spanish sun. Plan to visit on a raceday and you can spend a full afternoon watching the horses parade around and then race. If you want to place a bet, then it’s possible to do so on course, or you can bet online if you’ve snagged yourself a spot in the grandstand that you don’t want to lose. Those travelling from the UK can make use of bonuses available at the best betting sites thanks to SBO.net who have compiled an exhaustive list of them. They also rate the online bookmakers for safety and security, as well as deposit options, the sports available and the ability to cash out. Not only can you make use of competitive offers, you’re also likely to receive better odds online than on course, so it’s something to consider.
A Taste of Royalty at Royal Palace of Madrid
Madrid has more than its fair share of beautiful architecture, but the Royal Palace might just be the most visually stunning building of all. It’s the official home of Spain’s royal family, but mostly it is only used by them for official ceremonies. This means that its possible for you to head inside and explore generation after generation of oil paintings, priceless furniture, stunning interior design and even suits of armour.