Madrid Travel Guide

Five Alternative Museums in Madrid 0

Posted on July 14, 2013 by admin

Any art lover visiting Madrid has surely heard of their world-class museums, such as the Reina Sofia, the Prado, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza. While these museums are all fantastic and filled with important works of art, the Madrid art scene has exploded in recent years, giving locals and visitors alike a wide variety of options. If you’re looking for something a little different, these five alternative museums are a great place for art enthusiasts to begin their exploration of all Madrid has to offer.


CaixaForum, opened in 2007, offers a variety of different kinds of art for your consideration, spanning from works of historical value to more recent avant-garde pieces. CaixaForum sees itself as a “cultural space open to all”, and it truly is, with free admission encouraging people to visit again and again. Besides art, CaixaForum also plays host to seminars, conferences, classes, performances, and other special events designed to promote education, discussion, and cultural exchange.

Metro: Atocha

Museo del Ferrocarril

You may be thinking that a museum about railways and trains might be boring, but you couldn’t be more wrong. The Museo del Ferrocarril is located in Delicias Station, which features ironwork by the designer of the Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel. The station stopped train services in 1968, but its elegant 19th century architecture and interesting displays make it a great place to visit. Inside the museum, you’ll find locomotives that you can tour, railway equipment, a theatre showing video footage of the trains of yesteryear, an old railcar that offers food and drink, and a room full of clocks, including one that kept time when Spain’s first train travelled from Barcelona to Mataró.
Metro: Atocha/Delicias

Matadero Madrid

Located inside of several buildings that were formerly used as a slaughterhouse, Matadero Madrid is now the city’s largest complex focused on contemporary art. Inside, you’ll find artistic creations that aim to broaden your horizons and challenge your own way of thinking. Matadero Madrid also focuses on theatre, music, design, visual arts, urbanism, and architecture, to name a few. The complex is constantly changing and no matter how often you return, you’re sure to see something innovative and bold.
Metro: Legazpi

La Casa Encendida

La Casa Encendida is home to one of the best views of Madrid from its rooftop, and that alone would be enough to visit. Fortunately, this cultural centre has so much more to offer. It boasts contemporary artwork encompassing a variety of different styles, from paintings and photography to sculptures and installations. Additionally, the centre also offers performance art and music from up-and-coming artists, as well as a venue to host debates, seminars, and film screenings. La Casa Encendida has a library on the premises, as well as a place to take classes in a number of interesting subjects, such as foreign languages and art.
Metro: Atocha or Lavapiés

Museo del Traje

The Museo del Traje or “Clothing Museum” in English is, as the name suggests, a museum dedicated solely to clothing. The museum has over 160,000 pieces in their collection, with about 600 pieces on display at any given time. The Museo del Traje rotates these 600 pieces, so it doesn’t matter if you’ve visited one time or a hundred times – chances are, there will be multiple pieces on display that you have never seen. The clothing spans more than six centuries, and has displays featuring Spanish haute couture. The Museo del Traje also features temporary exhibits from around the world.

Metro: Moncloa

This is just a small selection of alternative museums the Spanish capital has to offer and there are plenty of additional temporary and permanent exhibits that are held throughout the year. So once you’ve booked your flights and accommodation, make sure you take a look at the local events happening during your time in Madrid.

Six Top Cocktail Bars in Madrid 0

Posted on April 15, 2013 by admin

Those looking for an all-night party in Madrid won’t be disappointed. There are some tight regulations in the city that result in select bars and clubs closing between the hours of 2 am and 3:30 am but there are many others that don’t even start hopping until after 3 am. Madrid has been described as a city that never sleeps.

Some areas worth exploring for a fun nightlife experience include the University areas of Arguelles and Moncloa. Many bars and pubs can be found in these districts frequented by students and a predominantly young crowd. The Castellana district is an upscale area around the Paseo de Castellana, Paseo de Recoletos and the Paseo del Prado known for popular night spots and during the summer months a variety of terrazas, which are outdoor clubs. La Latina and Plaza Santa Ana are also notable nightlife areas in Madrid. Chueca is an area that caters to the gay community.

Below is a list of the best cocktail bars in Madrid that cater to a variety of budgets. Salud! (Cheers!)

1. Le Cabrera

This chic hangout spot boasts scrumptious cocktails crafted by one of Spain’s top mixologists. This cocktail bar has dining available on the second level with one of the country’s top chefs behind the selections. Reservations are recommended for those who want to have dinner with drinks.

2. Museo Chicote

A long-standing tradition in Madrid is this hip lounge known for its outstanding mojitos. It’s a former haunt of renowned writer Hemingway. D.J.’s provide a lively backdrop against which to sip finely tuned cocktails. This is a late night and early morning not-to-be-missed stop.

3. Glass Bar

Hotel Urban is the home of this upscale bar surrounded by glass (hence the name) that boasts a huge selection of super creative cocktails, oysters, champagne, and funk music from the 1980’s. This lounge is open seven days a week but only until 3 a.m.

4. Del Diego

Standing room only is often the scene at this bright and breezy bar but the bartenders are known for their amazing cocktails. Prices can be expensive and service can be a bit slow because the place gets so packed. However, many have called this the best cocktail bar in Madrid with a very New York vibe so it’s definitely worth the wait.

5. Areia

The laid-back ambiance of this cocktail bar offers a seductive Eastern décor, lounge cushions, and sofas for an intimate environment to enjoy smooth cocktails. Late night entertainment is provided by D.J.’s spinning club, house, and summery Balearic music.

6. Bistol Bar

This bar is renowned for its gin selection but there is also a delectable variety of cocktails to choose from. Part of the charm of the Bistol is the colourful characters that frequent the location. The Maria Guerrero theatre nearby attracts actors winding down from their work.

There are always plenty of great travel deals around that can save you plenty on your trip, leaving more money for you to spend on your holiday.

Majorca Holidays, tips and advice 0

Posted on January 19, 2013 by admin

Its one of the most popular tourist spots for europeans this year, and Majorca is fast becoming the ideal destination for UK visitors as flying times from most of the UK airports is pretty quick.  The island is generally divided into three main areas – the Serra de Tramuntana rocks, the Serra de Llevant and the central plain (Es pla).

The island has buildings, architecture and landmarks, as well as miles of coastline. Palma is the capital of Majorca with a long Moorish history. For beach lovers, Alcudia is a family favourite, famed for its beaches which include a 15km golden sand beach. Cala d’Or is quieter and is set in small rocky coves, with sandy beaches shadowed by pine trees.

Es Trenc has a superb beach with a peaceful location, three kilometres of white sand and azure sea.

Lletas also offers an excellent family holiday with fine, sandy beaches and a handful of bars and restaurants. Cala Fornells is a quiet beach resort, Puerto d’Antratx is located on the harbour side and the sandy beaches at Camp de Mar and Peguera are close to this location. Sa Coma is modern and quiet and has a fabulous white sandy beach. Former fishing village, Cala San Vicente on the north coast has sandy beaches leading down to beaches set between cliffs. There are over 90 beaches available, but Majorca also offers other attractions including a growing number of golfing opportunities.

On Majorca Holidays you can also visit Marineland’s for their dolphin and sea lion shows. Children’s beach is ideal for families and for those who want to travel around, an antique train travels the 17 miles between Palma and Soller. Beach Poble Espanyol, in Palma is a typical Spanish village showing different styles of architecture, with reproduction houses from Cordoba, Toledo and Madrid together with typical houses from the Spanish regions. For those who want to see some of the history of the region, Palau de l’Almudaina in Palma is a royal palace from the times of the Arab conquest.

Accommodation is mainly for the package-tourist, with a whole host of cheap and luxury hotels near to every beach and there is also a wide choice of fully equipped apartments, and aparthotels to suit any budget.

Typical Tapas in Madrid – Dining out the traditional way 0

Posted on March 07, 2012 by admin

There are two main types of dining out in Madrid: having tapas (small portions generally between €1,50-4 a dish) or heading to a more traditional restaurant for a meal. Now, you can visit any city in the world and go for a meal, but only in Spain can you get the best selection of tapas there is available. This doesn’t mean you can’t order a plate of food in many tapas bars: you will see crowds of diners sharing a ración (plate) or media ración (half-plate) of the same dishes. As you will see, these two types of dining out in Madrid tend to blend together and you will find most restaurants offer a tapas option.

Although the sheer number of combinations available means it is impossible to list all of them here are some of the most popular types you can find in Madrid:

  • Revuelto – (literally translates to Stirred)
    This is one of the more elaborate tapas which consists of fried eggs, bacon and potatoes all mixed together. Ham and onion are also common ingredients people add to this dish to make it tastier.
  • Jamon – (Ham)
    Thin slices of Spanish dry cured ham cut directly from the pig’s leg that you will find hanging in the bar. It can be served in a variety of forms; by itself, with bread, in bread/rolls, with olive oil, with tomatoes and many more.
  • Gambas – (Shrimps)
    These get cooked before hand and are then served cold. Don’t be surprised if you find the floors of these bars scattered with the discarded heads.
  • Salchicha – (Sausage)
    Salchicha means sausagein spainish however sausages in Spain come in many different types. There is the famous dried dark red spicy chorizo, the white salchichon, the blood sausage morcilla or small cocktail sausages that are served wrapped in bacon. Typically a thin slice of baguette will have thick or thin slices of the sausage on top of it secured with a toothpick.
  • Tortilla de patata – (Potatoe Omlettes)
    A straightforward bite made with nothing more than eggs and potatoes this is sure to eradicate any hunger pangs you may have as it is a very filling dish. Served in a whole host of ways; Slices, squares, on bread, in bread, with or without ham / cheese / asparagus / onion the varity is so vast this list could go on for a while.

How to eat for free in Madrid 0

Posted on February 28, 2011 by admin

In most of the traditional restaurants in and around the city centre of Madrid, you can order drinks at the bar and expect to receive a small tapas dish. This is a great way to sample some excellent food on offer without having to pay the price of a sit down dinner or lunch. There has been a noticeable change in the offering of tapas over the last 10 years or so in Madrid. You will now find more vegetarian and international dishes appearing on menus.

You’ve probably heard that Spain is an impossible place to eat out if you are a vegetarian and that’s simply not true. If you get to know the right places and dishes you’ll see there is plenty to eat no matter what your dietary requirements. That’s not to say vegetarian dishes are everywhere, but they’re much easier to find now.

If you get it right, you can find that a little of everything can be more fulfilling than a single meal and you will only have to pay for drinks all evening. Here is a quick guide to free tapas in Madrid. After all, if there is one part of Spanish culture that you must sample, it has to be tapas and why not sample it for free.

Tapas are the small snacks given to customers when ordering a drink in a bar. Sometimes restaurants will also offer a free Tapas dish but don’t expect this everywhere you go. This tends to be the exception rather than the rule!

Due to its huge size and the migration to it of Spaniards form other parts of Spain, Some of the best taps can be found in Madrid. This refers to the quality as well as the variety on offer. But don’t forget you will be paying Madrid prices.

At any bar the ordering of a round of drinks, with the exception of coffees, you should look forward to being presented with a small tapas dish. Depending on the bar and time of day this can be anything from olives (aceitunas) to a mini, yet elaborate sandwiches. It can be either hot or cold and, as always, some bars provide more than others.

If you stay in one bar and it is of reasonable quality you should find the tapas change and get better the longer you stay there.

A Guide to Madrids Gay Bars 0

Posted on February 23, 2011 by admin

For the international traveller, the Spanish city of Madrid often falls in the shadow of the fancier and more fashionable Barcelona. Of course, Barcelona is home to some unique amazing architecture that other cities cannot compete with. And while the atmosphere in Barcelona has been likened to Paris and Milano, aka a little bit snobbish, Madrid is Spain at its best and the people have more fun smiling and flirting. Not surprisingly Madrid has developed a vibrant gay scene of recent years and has an ever-growing number of Gay Bars.

There are plenty of them around, some more risqué than others but all known for the liveliness and the welcoming attitude of everyone involved. Madrid is no exception. The main gay area is called Chueca (Pronounced Choo-aye-ka). Here you will find a wide range of Gay Bars. Some have music while others have live entertainment, dancing, karaoke and there are also a few quiet spots for drinks and conversation.

A popular place is The Black and White. A bar that’s open from Thursday – Sunday; it includes two dance floors and the atmosphere is comparable to that of a cruise ship. The place has live entertainment and that includes DJ’s for dance music. Weekends bring in the crowds of both locals and holiday-makers to the city.

There is also a great place called Corason Loco, this place is incredibly popular with the local gay community and that is always a good sign. They often have camp cabaret acts alongside and other live entertainment can be found on weekends and certain nights of the week.

The Eagle Madrid is another fashionable gay bar that is always draws in the crowd. It has a mysterious flavour to its atmosphere and one that you should not experience alone. This place a full cocktail list and it’s far more fun when going accompanied by friends or a partner.

These are just a sample of the bars that can be found in and around the Chueca. If you are looking for a night out with a bit of difference, make sure you take a trip to the Madrid gay scene. These Madrid bars offer a full line of cocktails and many of the local favourites even offer a great range of light meals too.

Things to do in Madrid on a budget 0

Posted on February 16, 2011 by admin

There are a whole host of things to do in Madrid so if you are not planning on staying in the city for a while, it can be hard trying to narrow down the best things to do, this is even harder if you happen to be on a budget. Here are a few recommendations of ways to make the most out of your time in Madrid without breaking the bank.

Getting there

Getting to Madrid is a lot easier than you think, whether its by Plane, Train or Driving. Flights to Madrid generally fly into Madrid Barajas Airport where there are 4 terminals. Terminal 1 is used by carriers such as Easyjet, Ryanair and other low cost operators. There are daily trains operating into Madrid from major cities such as Paris and Marseilles. The slightly slower option is by car, but you are able to really take in the sights and unique Spanish countryside on your way in to the city.


The best way to see beautiful views Madrid has to offer is to purchase a hop-on, hop-off tourist bus ticket. You can get a 2-day pass for around €22  and you get to geton and off the bus at whatever attractions take your fancy There are two routes to chose from; Historical or Modern. If you are a big fan of football and want to see the stadium, opt for the Modern Route, For everyone else,the historical route offers the best of the sights.


For all first time visitors to Madrid, a trip to the Prado museum is a must. It has some of the most significant works of European art, including works by renowned Spanish painters such as Goya and Velázquez. Don’t let the idea of wondering round a museum put you off,  it is said that a trip to the Prado is a more pleasant experience than visiting the Louvre in Paris! As with most European museums, there is often a chance to get free entry. You can expect to pay €6 admittance, however you can get in for free for two hours every night between the times of 6pm-8pm. It’s the perfect way to spend an hour or two before you head out for dinner.

A Picnic in the Park

What better way to enjoy Madrid’s atmosphere and beauty than to take a walk in a park. The perfect place to settle down and have a budget lunch of the picnic variety. Madrid’s Parque Retiro is a charming place to do this. Located a short walk from the Prado museum, the park is home to gardens, lakes, cafes and monuments, it provides a bit of tranquillity after the hustle and bustle of the main streets.

Eating Out

If you do want to eat out but don’t want to blow your budget, have your meal out of the day at lunch time rather than at night. Ost restaurants offer the smae meals for a cheaper price on their lunch time menu.A must try is Museo del Jamón. You will spot these little cafe-restaurants are all over the city and ham is definitely their speciality! You can get a bocadilla here for around €5 euros. It’s always a good idea to sit at the bar amongst the locals rather than at one of the tables, otherwise you get charged ‘tourist prices’ an increase of around 10%.

Where to stay

There are plenty of budget accommodation options available in Madrid and it can be hard to pick the right place to stay, It’s advisable to stay central so you don’t have to worry about a long trek home after you’re day out. You may have to share if you really want to look after the budget. Atocha is a perfect place for both the museum and shopping districts and there are a few nice and cheap places to eat nearby!

Five interesting facts about Madrid 0

Posted on January 27, 2011 by admin

Spain’s capitals is one of the most interesting cities in Europe: it lacks the beach of Barcelona and the romantic cache of Paris but makes up for it in spades with the best nightlife in Europe and an unbeatable atmosphere. Here are five facts about this fascinating city that you may not already know:

  1. Madrid’s official symbol, a bear eating from a madrone tree, was adopted as a representation of the wood that was so important for the construction and continued growth of Madrid. A statue of this symbol can be found in the Puerta del Sol square.
  2. Madrid may not have a beach, but it does have an open air pool for cooling off during the hot summer months. The Aquasur is a large water park containing five huge water slides, a Jacuzzi and wave pools. A free bus to the park can be found from Arunjuez.
  3. Surprisingly, Madrid is a great place for animal lovers: the city has a well stocked zoo which has four rare giant pandas from China and that Australian favourite, Koala bears. It also has a safari park that offers daily lion taming displays as well as the usual monkeys, giraffes and zebras.
  4. Theme park enthusiasts will not be disappointed with a visit to Madrid: Parque Warner Madrid provides all the thrills and adrenaline rushes you will need for a great day out. There a numerous great roller coasters in the park, one of the best being Superman: The Attraction of Steel which was the first ‘floorless’ roller coaster in Europe and another being ‘Batman: the Escape’ which is an inverted roller coaster. There is also a Hollywood Boulevard section which offers shows and entertainment inspired by Old Hollywood.
  5. The population of Madrid has shown considerable growth: from 950,000 in 1900 to over 3million at the last count. It is now the largest city in Spain.

In addition to these facts, Madrid enjoys more cloud free days than any other city in Europe. Combined with consistently high temperatures, this means Madrid is a  perfect place to escape for a city break as well as a great destination for a family holiday.

Iberian Wine Tours Announces 2011 Season 0

Posted on November 12, 2010 by Madrid Travel

Top gourmet tour company Iberian Wine Tours offer holidays with a difference in Spain and Portugal. Explore Iberian wine country and taste the delicious wine the region offers!

The 2011 season features a range of 3 and 4 night wine tours across the best and most beautiful Spanish wine regions. Take the chance to meet winemakers in their own vineyards and find out the secrets of winemaking in the sun with a glass of a tasty wine in your hand: Read the rest of this entry →

MTV hits Madrid! 0

Posted on November 12, 2010 by Madrid Travel

This week saw the MTV EMA Music awards hit the city of Madrid. As benefits such a star studded night, the evening was filled with gossip. Women artists were in the spotlight with the ubiquitous Lady Gaga winning three awards and host Eva Longoria changing outfits a staggering thirteen times. Other female artists to be awarded include Katy Perry and Kesha.  Rock legends Bon Jovi were awarded the Global Icon award whilst performances came courtesy of Rihanna, Shakira, Bon Jovi and Miley Cyrus.

As with any awards ceremony though, what we really care about is the fashion. Here are the hits and misses of the night: Read the rest of this entry →

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