Madrid is the capital of Spain. I found it to be less crowded and peaceful compared to Barcelona . The food was definitely better ( maybe the restaurants we visited turned out to be better ?) . There are less sights to see compared to Barcelona . However, the shopping was incredible in terms of value and choices ! In my travels – Madrid had the best shopping out of all the places I have been to in Europe ( Pairs / Iceland / Greece/ Barcelona ) .
Royal Palace of Madrid
This is the official residence of the Royal Family of Spain . It is a beautiful building and worth strolling around . There is the Royal Palace and a Church just across from the Palace. Good place to spend a few hours in.
Buen Retiro Park
This is a beautiful Park in Madrid. It has a pretty lake where you can take out a boat on and charming cafes by the side of the lake. There are also many fountains and gardens. My favorite was the beautiful glass building in the park .
Plaza Toros Las Ventas
This is the largest bullring in Spain and the third largest bullring in the world. It is a breathtakingly beautiful building. I am not fan of bullfights – but the bullfight was beautiful !
Plaza Mayor Madrid
This is a charming square with restaurants and stores. There were some stores near to this square that had good deals on leather belts etc. We stayed very near to this square and walked through it many times. Great place to sit and people watch !
Puerta del Sol
This is another square – busy street intersection that was near our hotel. We walked by here many times as well . This square has the famous bear and tree statue . It was always so crowded that I didn’t have a chance to take a photo of it ! Multiple streets branch off from this square . There are also many stores and souvenir stores near this square. Great place to do some shopping in and around !
Temple of Debod
This is an ancient Egyptian Temple that was donated to Madrid from the government of Egypt . It was moved from Egypt to Madrid. It is a great place to see the sunset at.
Puerta de Alcalá
This is a Triumphal arch in Madrid, similar to the Arc De Triomphe in Paris. It is near the Buen Retiro Park. Worth a visit if you are visiting the park.
Oldest Restaurant in the World – Botin
I had the pleasure of dining in the oldest restaurant in the world ! At least according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Botin is located in Madrid and the food is amazing ! The building also has a lot of character . I guess it kind of has to when it is over 300 years old ! Definitely my favorite experience in Madrid and highly recommend it ! We had a chicken and fish dish – neither one of us eat pork ! Those dishes were super tasty ! We also had a pitcher of Sangria and Catalan Creme Brulee . I recommend both .
I bought many things in Madrid . Seventeen tops , Jacket, handbag, jewelry, shoes, leather belt, souvenirs, sunglasses , clothing and scarfs ! I found the shopping to be affordable with lots of choice ! I shopped around Gran Via and shops near Puerta del Sol . I recommend wandering and exploring the many stores.
One night we went to a Flamenco show . We went to the Cardamomo Flamenco show. It was a beautiful dance show. Definitely worth trying if you are in the city. I would recommend skip the dinner and just do the show. There are many amazing restaurants in Madrid for dinner.
Overall I really enjoyed my time in Madrid. I felt that it offered a more authentic experience compared to Barcelona ! Definitely worth a stop over !