Time to embrace the pace of the Spanish capital. Do as the locals do and take an afternoon siesta before a late dinner (9pm is considered early). During twilight hours, shared tapas are grabbed and pushed across tables whilst Spanish wine splashes between tiny glasses. Madrid is all about afterdark hustle.
From high brow (Picasso) to low brow (street art), Madrid’s culture seeps out of every corner. Hagglers and housewives alike run riot through the city and no one ever seems to stop talking. There’s only one thing for it: let yourself get swept up in the madness.
Where to stay
BLESS Hotel Madrid
Found in Salamanca, this stunning hotel is known more as a foodie hangout than a place to stay. Why? Martin Berasategui, Spain’s most celebrated chef, is at the helm. One thing’s for sure, if you head to the lobby, you’ll be mingling with some of Madrid’s coolest crowds. Oh, and don’t miss the gorgeous rooftop pool.
Near to the trendy neighborhoods Malasaña and Chueca, this hotel is a 20th Century dream with stained glass windows, a mahogany lift, and original tiles. Bikes are available to hire and the spa’s Diamond Rose massage (where diamond dust is mixed with a rose fragrance- yes) is sublime. The Media Ración by Cuenllas restaurant is always full (with good reason) and light bite ingredients are sourced from the city’s Barceló market.
Gran Melia Palacio De Duques
A few minutes from Opera station, you can’t get more central than this. This grand hotel was once the home of Spanish Dukes and the royal welcoming remains with Velázquez art reproductions dotted throughout. If there’s one reason to pick this hotel, it’s the rooftop pool and hottub with panoramic views that reach the mountains. Curated with Catalan and Madrilenian influences, the Dos Cielos restaurant serves a mean pasta and room service is available 24 hours a day.
An epitome of urban chic in the upmarket corner of the city, every one of the 64 rooms is beautiful. Products are organic and all the spa treatments are vegan. A good option for any animal lovers passing through.
Where to drink
This converted sex cinema has become Madrid’s hippest new hangout. Red lights, vintage posters and swings all add to the allure. Sip a cocktail and grab a movie if you have time.
Círculo de Bellas Artes
Want a classic rooftop view? Head to Círculo de Bellas Artes but get ready to queue if you want to catch the sunset. It’ll be worth it.
1862 Dry Bar
New cocktails appear every month at this old fashioned speakeasy. Go for drinks with friends before hitting the nearby party quarter. Our favorites were the classics – the Moscow Mule, Manhattan and Old Fashioned.
Where to eat
Mercado San Anto
For street food style, you won’t find better than this food court in the LGBT-friendly district of Chueca. If you choose one thing, it should be the calamari.
This restaurant hasn’t changed their award-winning tortilla recipe since 1970, known as the best in the city. When it’s this good, we understand why. The best part? It’s around $3.
A cosy spot in the Chamberí neighborhood, Hortensio is a favorite for an intimate dinner with good wine. The chef has worked in many Michelin starred establishments and you can definitely tell.
Where to get coffee
Since 1888, Café Gijón has been hosting writers, thinkers and artists as they simmer ideas over coffee. It’s opposite the National Library of Spain – useful for any bookworms.
Your visit may start with a coffee with a wander around an art exhibition. Before you know it, you’ll be finishing with a DJ set and cocktails. You have been warned.
Near the Mercado de San Fernando, Cafelito specialises in homemade iced coffee using cubes of frozen coffee. Go for the lemon rind variety.
Where to workout
Everything you could need in one building, Gymage has a fitness club, theatre, restaurant and rooftop terrace. Day passes are available for the pool too.
A new gym in Madrid that combines three things into one sweaty 45-minute class: 15 minutes of biking, 15 minutes of boxing and 15 minutes of ballet. It’s female-only though, sorry guys.
Where to shop
A newly opened boutique in La Latina supports Spanish artisans by naming the person who made the product. Expect heirloom ceramics, esparto baskets and wool blankets galore.
This high-end womenswear boutique is your go-to for crisp whites, flowing dresses and minmalist jewellery.
Casa de Diego
Since 1800, Casa de Diego has been specialising in traditional Spanish accessories – think umbrellas, canes, combs, shawls, and fans. The team only use the finest silk and everything is embroidered by hand.
What to do
The old “Tabacalera” now serves as a subterranean maze of street art that hosts curated events, including modern art, photography, film nights, concerts, poetry readings and workshops. Just turn up and enjoy getting lost.
The home of Picasso’s ‘La Guernica,’ you need to dedicate a good chunk of your day at Reina Sofia – it’s huge. Yes, there’s lots of Picasso, but keep an eye out for Miro and Dali too.
El Retiro Park
The ultimate sun spot, it wouldn’t be a trip to Spain without a siesta in the city’s most popular park. After your reset, simply sunbathe or hire a paddle boat and enjoy bobbing along the water.