Only two hours and a half away from Brussels, Madrid is the perfect place to spend a couple of days in March or April.
Do you need a bit of sun after a cloudy winter in Brussels? If you are looking for an affordable European city, not that far away, you definitely should choose the Spanish capital! Low-cost flights from Zaventem and Charleroi allow you to reach Madrid in about two hours and a half.
When it comes to tourism in Spain, you might first think about Barcelona, but Madrid is also a great place for a weekend. Spring is probably the best time to visit the city, as it is actually not that warm (in case you were not aware, Madrid in August is a sauna!), although it is sunny and enjoyable already.
If you are looking for a friendly accommodation in the city centre, you should have a look at the Cat’s hostel, five minutes away from La Puerta del Sol. I was hosted there for some days; the rooms are fine, the team really is cool and you can grab a free dinner as well as cheap beers and sangria at the bar downstairs. They also organise tapas tours, free walking tours and pub crawls across the city. If you fancy meeting other travellers, this is a very good place.
Madrid will completely fit with your expectations if you like visiting cities on your own, without being in a rush to do as many things as possible. Both the city centre and La Latina are full of pedestrian malls, where you can find lots of restaurants and bars and enjoy the hundreds of terraces. You definitely should have a look at the most famous squares, such as La Plaza Mayor, el Palacio Real, La Puerta del Sol and La Plaza de España. Although it is the “mainstream” part of Madrid, it is definitely of interest to have an insight into the Spanish history and Madrid architecture.
Do you fancy a piece of culture? The Museum del Prado must be in your “to do list”. It takes part of the most famous museums in the World, and thousands of paintings are presented there, from Goya, Velazquez or Rubens. If you are really interested in painting, it is better to stay at least three hours in the museum.
You also would be up to enjoy sun, which is sometimes (often!) missing in Brussels. Good news, there are several big parks where you can have a good time with your friends. I would highly recommend to pop down in the Parque del Oeste, a couple of dozens of minutes away from the city centre. You can have a nice view over the city, and observing the sunset there is really enjoyable. And of course you can go to Parque del Buen Retiro, which is the Madrid’s lung, next to La Puerta de Alcalá.
Eating and going out are other issues when you travel. Regarding food, the city centre is full of bar a tapas and affordable restaurants. But if you want to discover a Madrilène institution, you definitely should go to La Casa de Julio. Here you can taste delicious croquetas and all sorts of tapas in a very friendly atmosphere. The place is quite crowded, but you will find a table after a couple of minutes and it is absolutely worth going there.
Finding enjoyable bars will probably not be a big deal, as they are thousands in the city centre. But if I could recommend some bars, I would probably tell you to explore the rooftop bars, which are very good to enjoy sun and have nice view over Madrid. You then should go to El Gymage and to the Gourmet experience (at the top of the Corte Inglés), both in the city centre, to taste el vino de la Rioja. At the Gourmet Experience, you even can find different restaurants and have a dinner above La Gran Via.
Are you still not convinced about Madrid yet? Or are you already booking your flight tickets to go there next month?