Earlier last week, my family and I had the pleasure of driving down to Madrid to explore for a few days. I’d never been to Spain before (which is kinda sad because the border is less than an hour away from where we live in Portugal), and was really excited to experience a whole new culture!
Spain’s geography was drastically different from that of Portugal (a lot flatter with big huge farms, almost like prairies) and we were actually really surprised at how quickly the scenery and land changed as we crossed the boarder. While Portugal is all mountains and hills, this part of Spain was impossibly flat and full of fields! Madrid was also totally different from any city I’ve seen in Portugal! It had countless tree lined boulevards (but seriously, there are so many trees in this city) and a bunch of little parks and water features. We visited a few different parts of the city, went to the Royal Botanical Gardens and walked through the stunning Plaza’s scattered throughout!
Personally, I think my favourite part of the city was Malasaña, which I would describe as Madrid’s hipster neighbourhood. I could’ve spent days just wandering the little streets and peeking in to adorable cafes and out of the box stores!
We walked a LOT during the few days we were there, and let me tell you, Madrid is HOT. Like really, really, really hot! If you ever visit in the summer months, light clothing, hats and cold water (or sangria) will be your very best friends! There’s so much to see (because it’s a huge city), so we only really scratched the surface!
As I did with my Porto post, I’ll share some photos of my favourite spots and places because, as they say, a picture says a thousand words!
The Plaza Mayor (above) was one of our first stops in Madrid! It was so beautiful, and had a bunch of little shops and bakeries lining the square! A great place to grab a bite, the Mercado de San Miguel (which I’ll talk about later), was just outside the Plaza as well!
The Crystal Palace in Madrid’s Buen Retiro Park was absolutely gorgeous! It was quite the hike to get there from our hotel (and it was pretty darn hot) but the park offers a lot of shade and great photo ops so it was ok! The pond behind the palace also features a bunch of adorable turtles who swim around and wait for you to give them food, which was adorable! As soon as I walked in, I couldn’t help but think about what a great venue this would be for a wedding (in the fall or spring)! It would be a total fairytale!
We also checked out the Royal Botanical Gardens (which were beautiful), saw the Bonsai collection and went inside the big green house! I loved the three different environments in the green house, and it totally felt like I was hiking through the jungle!
My favourite blogger, Geneva of A Pair & A Spare, recently went to Madrid, and in her travel guide for the city she mentioned a little espadrille store called Antigua Casa Crespo, so of course I had to check it out! As it happened, the hotel we stayed in was only a few blocks from the store itself (fate?) and I took the opportunity to do some browsing! I ended up getting two pairs of classic espadrilles (white and pink) because they were only 9 euros, such a great deal and I love, love, LOVE them! The store itself was also adorable and had so much charm!
We stopped at the Mercado de San Miguel for some snacks, and let me tell you, this place is popping! It’s right outside of Madrid’s beautiful Plaza Mayor, and there are tons of food stalls which sell every type of tapa you can think of. The atmosphere is so lovely and electric! It was easily one of my favourite stops during the trip!
The above photo is of the gorgeous Royal Palace of Madrid. We didn’t actually get to go inside (it was closed by the time we got there) but I can only imagine how beautiful it is (I think it’s been said to rival Versailles)!
We only stayed a few days in the city, and while we did see a lot, we didn’t see everything! I really hope I can come back to visit one day to explore a little more thoroughly!
Have you been to Madrid? If so what was your favourite part?
Hope you guys are having a lovely day! I can’t believe it’s already mid August! Summer is flying by way too fast!