I first visited Madrid three years ago for a summer city break and I knew immediately that Madrid would be one of those cities that I would return to time and time again. After three years I felt it was time to return for another Madrid city break. This summer I returned to the beautiful Spanish capital city to enjoy some amazing food and drink, the sizzling Spanish sun and a few days of well deserved relaxation.
Madrid City Break
Flight Time From London: The published flight time from London to Madrid is 2h 30m, but the actual flight time was just under two hours.
Airline & Airport of Operation: You can reach Madrid from all London airports, and also many regional airports across the U.K. I flew with British Airways from Heathrow on their 7.20am service which is operated by a 777 long haul aircraft. You can read all about my flight here.
Transfer Time to City: Madrid’s Barajas airport is located 11 miles from the centre of Madrid, which takes 20-30 minutes in a taxi (depending on traffic) and costs a flat rate fee of €30.
Where to Stay: For this trip I stayed at the 4* Posada del León de Oro which was located along Calle Cava Baja, just a short two minute walk from Plaza Mayor. I used two free reward nights from hotels.com for this booking, but you can book rooms at this hotel from just £77 per night.
Posada del León de Oro is set in a traditional Spanish style stone building. You walk through the main entrance into a quaint tapas bar, where I enjoyed tapas and drinks on a few occasions during my stay. If you head further into the building from the tapas bar you will find a small reception desk, lift and stairs before the room opens up again into the restaurant. I didn’t eat dinner in the restaurant, but I did enjoy breakfast on my last morning. The restaurant has a very cool glass floor, where you can see below to the remains of an old building which was there before the hotel was built, and the hotel have used this space under the glass floor as a huge wine cellar.
The hotel has 17 rooms arranged over the three floors and all the rooms are accessed from a galleried landing which overlooks the restaurant and reception area below. There are a range of different room sizes and I chose a superior room, which was extremely spacious, with a small balcony over looking the street below and a modern bathroom area which included a shower and a bath. The bedrooms and the public areas of the hotel are modern, but at the same time retain many original features such as exposed beams on the ceilings and stone archways.
Top Attractions on a Madrid City Break
During this most recent Madrid city break I spent most of my time just relaxing and absorbing the laid back Spanish culture. However I did re-visit some of the places and attractions which I visited during my first trip to Madrid in 2014. This time however, I spent more time exploring the places that I wanted to see again such as the Mercado de San Miguel, El Parque del Buen Retiro and the Gran Via.
Restaurant Recommendation on a Madrid City Break
There are so many places to eat in Madrid and during my trip I found a couple of extremely good tapas bars in the lively Huertas district of the city. As well as visiting these tapas bars I also did something that I wished I had done on my first trip to Madrid, sampled some of the food in the Mercado de San Miguel. I also re-visited Botin for dinner on my second evening.
Mercado de San Miguel
Upon my first visit to Madrid I stumbled upon the Mercado de San Miguel and had a brief look around, but unfortunately I didn’t stay long enough to fully appreciate it. So for this trip I decided to have a good look round and sample some of the food and drink on offer there. Mercado de San Miguel is one of Madrid’s more lively spots, with a constant hum of people spending time with family and friends and enjoying some of the delicious cuisine on offer. With everything you could possibly imagine, from sweets and cakes to delicious fresh produce, seafood, cold meats and even an oyster bar. You won’t need to look far in the Mercado de San Miguel to find a refreshing drink to accompany your meal or snack.
I found Vinoteca Barbechera on my first evening. It’s located in the Huertas district of the city. I was drawn in by the tables which were made from wine barrels with glass tops, and was mesmerised by some of the amazing food on people’s tables when I glanced through the window. The food was absolutely stunning and with so many authentic Spanish tapas dishes to choose from, the problem was deciding which ones to order.
Ana la Santa
Ana la Santa is a small tapas kiosk on one side of the ME Madrid Reina Victoria hotel, on Plaza del Angel. They have some tables set up in the centre of the square where you can sample some tapas with a more modern twist. I enjoyed some delicious squid tubes with asparagus, tuna and avocado tacos and salmon rolled in avocado.
Local Delicacy: With Madrid being located in central Spain, fish dishes are not as popular here as meat dishes, and one meat dish in particular is a huge favourite in Madrid, Jamón Ibérico.
Top Tip: If you want to visit Botin for a meal I strongly suggest you book a table well in advance, perhaps even online prior to your stay to avoid disappointment.
Currency: Spain’s currency is the Euro, and at the time of writing this the exchange rate was approximately 1.1 Euros to the Pound.
Weather: I visited Madrid in the height of the summer and for the first two days it was sunny and the temperature was in the late 30s. However, the day I left the temperature had dropped significantly and it was raining.
Best Time To Go: Madrid is a city that you could visit year round and not be disappointed. There is a lot going on in Madrid during the summer months, but the temperature can reach the 40s and being a very built up city the heat can feel even more intense. The winter months in Madrid are equally as extreme and the temperatures can plummet to below 0 and snow can occasionally fall in and around Madrid. There are various skiing resorts nearby if this is of interest to you. For the best all-round weather for a Madrid city break, I would suggest a visit during late spring or early autumn.
Recommended Duration: I’ve visited Madrid twice now, and both times I have stayed for two nights, and this was a nice amount of time to sample to Madrid. However, I feel that to fully appreciate a Madrid city break you should aim to stay for at least 3 nights.
Conclusion: Even after visiting Madrid twice now, I would return in a heartbeat. There are so many things I still want to see in Madrid, and also many places I wouldn’t hesitate to revisit. I don’t think I could get bored of spending time in Mercado de San Miguel sampling delicious treats, or enjoying tapas in one of Madrid’s sun drenched squares. Madrid, until next time…