Madrid has topped the list of cities to visit for a long time. There is lots to see and do, so much history and eating in Madrid is a pleasure.
The coffee is fantastic in Madrid and Federal Café is a great stop if you are looking for some beautiful coffee and a light breakfast. In a city where brunch is hard to find, Federal Café offers a full menu of light breakfast and brunch fare and is packed by both locals and tourists.
Stop for a midday snack at Chocolateria San Gines for some freshly made churros with chocolate for dipping. Later in evening, take a stroll down Calle de Cava Baja, a cozy street lined with restaurants and bars. Casa Lucio is a must for some tapas, chorizo and, of course, Jamon Iberico de Bellota. Jamon Iberico de Bellota is a cured ham that comes from the noble black Iberico pigs that feed on acorns while roaming the Spanish countryside. After curing, the result is a fatty, salty, sweet cured ham that melts when it hits your mouth.
One of the highlights of our trip to Madrid was the Tapas and Taverns Tour, for numerous reasons. It’s a four hour tour of tasting Madrid’s best tapas, drinking wine, vermouth and beer. The mushrooms at Meson del Champinon, with garlic, lemon and chorizo are to die for and you will need a big hunk of bread to sweep up all the garlic from the Gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp) at La Casa del Abuelo. As you wander from tavern to tavern, you visit monuments, plazas, and historic buildings for some history of Madrid and to hear about some of the scandals from the royal palace. It was a great back drop to touring the royal palace and viewing the portraits of the royal family. There was that whole inbreeding snafu that resulted in some seriously ugly royals!
Outside of ancient Madrid, stroll around the Parque del Buen Retiro, one of the largest parks in Madrid, filled with magnificent sculptures, monuments and lakes before heading to the Prado museum. The Prado has one of the world’s largest collections of European art and is the largest collection of Spanish art in the world. Aside from the permanent displays, there are special exhibits that run anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
Madrid is an energetic city, known for its history, vibrant culture, and of course, the food!