Land of siesta, Spanish perspective is to move slowly, enjoy, eat well and relax. Madrid is the largest city in Spain with an interesting blend of the old and new architecture. Madrid is a family-friendly destination with good accommodation as visiting as a family does require proper planning. Children are usually welcome everywhere in Spain. You can expect great food, interesting historical landmarks and amazing nightlife.
We took the Air India direct flight from New Delhi to Madrid and landed at Barajas Airport at night. Spain has an extensive and extremely modern network with the high-speed AVE trains connecting the cities in Spain.[renfe.com].It is always better to get the train tickets booked while planning the itinerary to avoid season rush. Metro and buses within the city are very comfortable. TIP– When travelling with kids be careful as to some metro stations do not have elevators. Buses are comfortable within the cities. Accommodation in Madrid is available in all types. I was travelling with a two year and a 7-year-old..so for my younger one I need to feed her properly at least one hearty meal so we decided for AIR BnB stay this time and it turned out to be a good decision.
We decided to explore OLD MADRID on our first day. Our place was on Gran Via in Madrid very close to Palacio and Centro. Madrid has plenty of free sights and a walk around the city’s plazas and streets will show off some of its highlights. The districts of SOL and CENTRO form Madrid’s old quarters. Most of it is covered by foot. Start with PLAZA MAYOR which is the most beautiful and oldest square in Madrid with the outdoor tables of Terrazas, to the crowd walking on cobblestones. Try some calamari sandwiches with beer or coffee.
PLAZA DE ORIENTE where there are the Royal Palace and Madrid’s opera house.
The Royal Palace has a stunning exterior and architecture andis located in the middle of everything, The Cathedral, the Templo de Debod, are within walking distance from the palace. PLAZA DE SOL is the centre point of Madrid, always hustling with people going somewhere…lined by shops and eateries. Try the cold GAZPACHO soup on a sunny day with the laid back Spanish lunch. With kids it is advisable to take a break in between, my younger one was 2 years old, so we came back to our place and rested. Madrid’s parks make a great escape from the city streets and some welcome shade on a hot summer’s day. In the evening we went to the park EL RETIRO by bus.Retiro Park stretches across 330 acres with a boating lake, fountains, sculptures and monuments, including the glass Palacio de Cristal which hosts free exhibitions.
Laze around in the park or walk around the lake, see the beautiful roses, kids enjoy running around, skating, cycling and enjoying their favourite ice creams. End the day with dinner at a tapas bar.
Next day we decided to take a day trip to Toledo, but before that, we went to The Mercado de San Miguel, near Peurto del Sol which is the perfect place to stave off your hunger. The market is well-known for its structure made of iron and glass, try fishy pinxtos over the mini toasts,jamon , paella and a runny tortilla de patatas (Spanish potato omelette).
We went to TOLEDO by ALSA buses which takes about 50 minutes. A UNESCO world heritage site, known for its 3 cultures, a medieval walled city that doesn’t seem to have changed much. TRAVEL TIP-When with kids better to take the escalator to climb uphill if not by foot also taxis from bus stop too drop to the centre.
Those fascinating streets and passages with cathedral, mosques and synagogues was a great walk and eating JAMON sandwiches along. Toledo is also famous for MARZIPAN which is an almond-based confectionery.
TRAVEL TIP–If staying at Toledo then a day trip to CONSEGURA is also a great option.
Rested in the evening after coming back and decided to go for late-night dinner. If travelling as a couple, one can also go for bar hopping. Madrid’s nightlife is crazy, the music and people spill into the streets and the party doesn’t stop until u hear birds singing.
Next day started a little late and decided to explore more of Madrid and to have a good laid back breakfast. The best thing we ate that day was the churros from CHOCOLATERIA SAN GINES the most famous and the best place to have churros in Madrid. This place is incredibly old and also serves the best hot chocolate.
Madrid is a good place to shop.
Walk around the JARDINES DE SABATINI, fountains of CAMPADEL MORO, laze around the lush green gardens, do some shopping, eat at SANTA ANA and imbibe their culture.
Another option for kids is to visit Madrid zoo. Football lovers can also visit the Real Madrid home ground Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. My son is a Messi fan so we decided to keep that for Barcelona
With delicious food, affordable living, and deluxe shopping, the capital of Spain has its own fame with plenty of rooftop bars, nonstop nightclubs, fantastic museum exhibitions, and luscious green parks it is traveller delight. Enjoy Madrid with family…Gracias