Best ways to enjoy Madrid, Spain

Jan 15, 2018

Madrid is a city that radiates energy like no other. Walk the streets any day of the week and it’s impossible not to be excited by its vibrancy – the capital is jam-packed with places to see and things to do, with a tapas restaurant on every corner for re-fuelling in between. Or you could just find a perch in Plaza Mayor and watch the world go by. What’s not to love?

Nestor Rosas, a guide at Pancho Tours that offers free walking tours of the city, shares his tips on how to make every minute in Madrid count.

Enjoy the many plazas

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Whether you want to grab a coffee, do some people-watching or just rest your feet, spending time in one of the city’s plazas is a must. Plaza Mayor (main photo) – a grand, arcaded square surrounded by cafes and bars – is one of the city’s finest. Look out for the beautiful Arco de Cuchilleros (Cutlers Arch; above), one of the most special places in Madrid, located on the south-west corner. Its official name is Calle de la Escalerilla de Piedra, but locals refer to it as Arco de Cuchilleros due to the fact that several centuries ago, there were many cutlers’ workshops here to supply knives to the butchers in Plaza Mayor. Look out for the grand, four-storey Casa de la Carnicería building in the centre of the plaza – this was the former meat market. It now houses city offices.

SEE ALSO: A local’s guide to Barcelona, Spain

Eat tapas like the locals

We love eating tapas – it’s tasty, social and often good-value – hence you’ll find streets and streets of tapas restaurants in Madrid. One of the best things to do is browse the menus and get a feel for the atmosphere of each place. Can’t decide? Head for Rosi la Loca (above) located near the famous Puerta del Sol square. It is a typical tavern that mixes tradition with the avant-garde, in both its decor and menu. It’s renowned for its croquetas de jamon (ham croquette) and ceviche de sandia (watermelon ceviche). We locals love this creative place and its bizarre decorations. After the tapas, make sure you ask for a good cocktail.