Madrid Travel Guide

2:04:00 PM

Buenos dias! I'm happy to announce that the travel guide series is officially a series now that a second city, Madrid, has been added.  I'm excited to share Madrid because it was our first stop on the big two-monther. As I look back through my travel journal, it becomes clear that our main objectives in Madrid were eating and looking at art. And that our time there was way too short! 


Toma Cafe
Toma is the very first place we stopped when we arrived, exhausted, in Madrid. And we went back twice during our short stay there, partially because it was so good and partially because it was down the street from our airbnb. These guys serve up some seriously delicious, creamy coffee. The cafe is decorated with white subway tile, bikes, and lots of plants, so... bonus points! Their pan con tomate makes for the perfect quickie breakfast before heading out for a day of museum hopping.
+34 917.025.620 | Calle La Palma 49


There is so much art in Madrid it's kind of unbelievable. Much of it can be found in what is known as  "The Golden Triangle of Art." The Golden Triangle is composed of the Reina Sofia, the Prado, and the Thyssen Bornemisza museums, all of which are in the same area. If you plan to visit all three, buy the paseo del arte and for €26.50 you'll be able to get into the permanent collections at all three museums. 

Once the second largest private collection in the world, the collection at the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum spans many centuries of European and American art. This is one of my favorite collections in the world because of its huge variety. You'll find a mix of 14th-15th century Italian and Flemish paintings as well as Baroque, Rococo, French impressionism, post impressionism, surrealism, and much more. I particularly love the paintings by Egon Schiele, Joan Miró, and Lucian Freud.
{hot tip: You can view the permanent collection for free on Mondays from 12:00-4:00pm.}
+34 902.760.511 | Paseo del Prado 8

Reina Sofia
This museum is primarily dedicated to Spanish art, featuring large collections of Picasso and Dalí as well as works by Gris, Miró, Ernst, Schnabel, Braque and more. Picasso's Guernica is on display here and is a must-see. 
+34 917.741.000 | Calle de Santa Isabel 52
Closed Tuesdays. 

Museo del Prado
The Prado Museum is the main museum in Madrid. It boasts an enormous collection of Spanish and International paintings and sculptures from the 12th to 19th centuries. Most of the art here comes from the Spanish Royal Collection which includes includes works from Goya, El Greco, Dürer, Tintoretto, and Titian. Two of my favorites pieces here are Velázquez's Las Meninas and The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch. 
+34 913.302.800 | Paseo del Prado


This little cafeteria was just a few paces from our airbnb, making it an easy choice for our first Spanish dinner together. We enjoyed their simple Spanish classics, including huevos revueltas con patatas (scrambled eggs with potato) and lightly dressed arugula salad. 
+34 914.451.895 | Calle Valarde 13, close to Plaza 2 de Mayo

I am pretty sure the theme of our time in Spain, particularly in Madrid, was jamón. Seriously the jamón is just so freaking delicious that I won't even attempt to put it more eloquently than that, because the message is already clear. Museo del Jamón has a few locations, but this location is adjacent to the almighty museum trifecta, making it the perfect lunch stop before, during, or after an afternoon of viewing fine art. The vibe here is totally local, with Madrileños standing around the counter drinking small glasses of beer and eating huge (and well priced) plates of jamón & queso.
+34 915.210.346 | Carrera de San Jerónimo 6

This little place in La Latina is where we officially discovered pintxos, which are (usually) little toasts with different meats, cheeses or vegetables on top. They have a huge assortment here where you just walk up to the bar and grab what looks good. If you're into gravy, like Ian, make sure to try the bomba. 
+34 913.661.224 | Calle Cava Baja 42

Taberna del Chato
This modern cafe serves up beautiful and delicious tapas and pintxos. Many of their offerings are "chatos" which are tiny portions served in little glass vessels. Try the salmorejo (like thick gazpacho), croquetas, and shrimp nests. 
+34 915.231.629 | Calle de la Cruz 35

Le Patron
This intimate dinner spot makes for a great date without breaking the bank. The restaurant has dubbed its cuisine as "bistro tapas," combining French cooking technique with tapas format. Surprise, surprise, I loved their tartar and selection of Spanish reds.
+34 917.046.811 | Calle de Barco 27

Harina is a bakery and cafe, priding itself on use of natural produce and artisan breads. Located on the Plaza de la Independencia adjacent to Retiro park, their sidewalk seating area is a great place to spend the afternoon, munching on salad, sipping on delicious sangria and watching stylish Madrileños pass by. 
+34 915.228.785 | Plaza de la Independencia 10

This little neighborhood bar features lots of local craft beers. Their gin & tonic is also good, as are the little snacks they offer. This is a great little place to escape from the madness of more touristy watering holes around town. 
+34 915.223.843 | Calle Palma 33  


Come to this idyllic park for a leisurely stroll or even a baguette and jamón picnic (always appropriate). Or, if you're really good, you could come here for your morning run and get your sweat on. 

Jarden Real Botanico 
If you're in Spain at the right time of year, do not miss the opportunity to catch this lovely garden in bloom. There is also a structure towards the side of the garden with rotating art exhibitions. When we visited the feature was a cool photo series about Mediterranean Shepherds. 

Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor is the historic center of Madrid. This large plaza is lined with cafes which provide a good place to sit and people watch over a glass of wine or a coffee. Beware of aggressive street vendors.

Flamenco Cardamomo
This is a great spot to spend the evening enjoying Spain's raw emotional dance and music style. The space is intimate, so there is not a bad seat in the house. Ticket options include dinner and/or sangria. Reserve ahead of time. 
+34 918.051.038 | Calle Echegaray 15 |


Mercado San Miguel
This newly redone market is a foodie heaven in a stunning building. There are so many booths to explore, including an oyster bar, paella stands, olive merchants and a fresh yogurt shop. You'll also find beer, wine and cider merchants the better to acquaint yourself with the traditions of Spanish brewing and wine making.
Plaza de San Miguel

Mercado San Anton
Situated in the Chueca neighborhood, this tri-level marketplace is a must-stop for an afternoon of snacking and/or picking up high quality groceries. Level 1 features groceries and traditional farmer's market fare. It is here that you should pick up sliced-to-order jamón iberico and fresh baked bread for your future picnicking needs. Level 2 is the tapas section. We were wowed by the butteriness and delicate flavor of the toro sushi we found here. And Level 3 is where you'll find a rooftop bar and restaurant.
Calle Augusto Figueroa 24

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