Visiting Madrid? Start Here…
I have the luck and pleasure of living in Madrid since almost two years.
Since I am originally from Istanbul, I tremendously miss the sea and yes it’s really green with plenty of trees and gardens, but since it is almost flat and without a lake or beautiful river (the poor Manzanares lacks of romanticism!) I cannot say that it’s a city of natural beauty.
Still, I got intensely attached to it because of its artistically architected buildings, beautiful streets and avenues, its art museums that are a real treasure to art lovers, the richness and broad choice of cultural activities, theaters, and exhibitions, well-groomed gardens and parks spread in all neighborhoods where instantly you can merge into nature, the variety and number of restaurants and tapas bars (some of them 100+ years old) and crowded nightlife which can last until dawn.
I prepared a small guide of the neighborhoods and museums that I like, the cafes and restaurants I go to, the places my kids enjoy for those of you who’d like to visit Madrid. Have fun!
Recommendations and Useful Links…
- Since Madrid is about 500m above the sea level, it has a typical continental climate, which means that you can have almost 10 degrees of difference between the mornings and the afternoons. Therefore don’t get fooled by looking at 22-23 degrees temperatures on the April weather forecast, because the mornings get to be around 10 degrees and the temperature rises gradually. So prepare your luggage accordingly.
- Don’t get fooled by the fact that it rarely snows in Starting from mid-November the winters are quite cold. If you tend to have cold easily, plan your trip for springtime.And if you plan to come on the July-August period get prepared for hot weather at the 40ies.
- Madrid’s tap water is drinkable and tastes really good. Don’t waste your money on bottled water.!!!
- Spanish people like to eat late; therefore most of the restaurants would open around 13:30 for lunch and 20:30 for dinner. If you want to eat something earlier you’ll have to switch to cafes or tapas bars
- Madrilenos (people living in Madrid) like to eat out. And it doesn’t matter if it’s during the week or on the weekends. There is always an occasion to eat out. Therefore although there are thousands of restaurants in the city, you can have a hard time finding a place during Spanish lunch and dinner rush hours (14:00-16:00 and 21:00-23:00). If you don’t have a reservation you have a better chance to find a place if you get there a bit earlier (around 13:30 or 20:30) otherwise make a reservation especially if you’re more than two.
- Most of the restaurants have a Daily Menu for lunch where you can enjoy a starter, a main course and a dessert for about 10 to 15 euros.
Some useful links
Annual Calendar of Events where you can find all exhibitions,concerts, theatres and sport events taking place in the city
Live Music Guide of Madrid where you can click a date and see a list of all live music happenings in the city with the location&timing&price