I was in Madrid for work and managed to fit in one spare day for sightseeing, my AVE going back to Barcelona in the evening that same day. I didn't do any sightseeing while I was at the IFEMA convention centre so I will only be talking about that final day in Madrid!
Warning, this itinerary is not for the faint. I woke up at 6am and, because I only had one day for sightseeing, I was on a mission to make the most of it. Those with more time will likely want to take it easier.
Getting to Madrid
I took the AVE to Madrid from Barcelona (I’m from Catalonia). It took around 3h, a quick trip during which I watched a movie on the screen above the isle. On the return trip I had the same movie again. I took a taxi to IFEMA upon arrival and didn’t move around much while I was working, but I did take the metro for my day of tourism.
What to eat
I attempted to go to SHI-SHANG vegan buffet to eat but it remained closed even though the website said it was supposed to be open, so I ended up eating at La Biotika. There are plenty vegan restaurants though, there was La Huerta de Almería and Rayén Vegano just around the corner, plus Tiyoweh just a few streets down. I also had some corn on a stick that was sold at a stall near the Banco de España (other side of the road).
Where to sleep
I had to go to the convention centre for work (IFEMA) so I was staying in the hotel next to it, Hotel Osuna. It was a good place to stay for IFEMA visitors, but perhaps a little far away from the centre for those in Madrid exclusively for tourism.
WHAT TO DO
I woke up early so I could make the most of my only day in the capital, walking a little around the residential streets of my hotel area and then taking the metro to Noviciado. I stayed around
I was at the door at opening time so I was the first in, not that there were any other visitors beyond an older man and a couple during my visit. The Museo Cerralbo isn’t very well-known but it was on my must-see list because of some photos I’d seen; it's an eclectic art museum in a 19th century mansion: very intricate paintings in one room, everything golden in another, carpets hung on the walls and countless statues. It’s exactly the sort of thing I enjoy!
After my visit the walking began. I first headed downhill to the Sabatini Gardens and Palacio Real. I did not go inside the palace, just peered into the courtyard from outside the gate. There were long lines to go in so anyone interested would want to buy tickets online! I did enjoy walking around the little park in front though, looking at the statues. But I did go inside the neighbouring building, the Catedral de la Almudena, Madrid’s most famous cathedral. I had been seeing a lot of it on the news and wanted to see it in person. There were some nice finestrals and light reflections, but I have seen more impressive structures in other parts of Spain.
I headed down the Viaducto de Segovia, through some streets of La Latina to Calle de los Latoneros, then up, under the Arco de Cuchilleros, until Plaza Mayor, Madrid's main square, and next onto Plaza del Sol where I stopped to see Kilometer Zero. I saw a wonderful street performer in front of the Corte Inglés. I continued past the National Bank, past the roundabout with the Fuente de Cibeles and finally arrived to the Tyssen Museum. As you can see, it was quite the walk, stopping at many little things along the way.
Visiting one of the 3 big art museums was a requirement, my parents recommended Tyssen out of the three because they thought it fit my tastes. Indeed, this is where I spent the rest of the morning and afternoon, walking down every hall and stopping in every room. I enjoyed it greatly.
I did manage to eat something at a restaurant in the late afternoon, walked a little down Calle Cervantes and saw his and Lope de Vega's house. I was too late to go inside either but at least I saw the street they lived on. Another time maybe. And so I headed to the Parque del retiro, a big green park (similar to London’s Hyde Park) to see the Palacio de cristal. It was absolutely packed full of people, I got my photos but it wsan’t the most relaxing atmosphere!
And finally, I made it back to the Estación de Atocha for my AVE, not without a little visit to the indoor garden area and giant baby head statues before leaving.
#madrid #royalpalaceofmadrid #freewalkingtour #citywalk #spain