Local Favorite: Cocido MadrileñoIf you are looking for comfort food in the Spanish capital, pick up an order of Cocido madrileño. The hearty stew can be made with various ingredients but is commonly created using chickpeas, chorizo, vegetables, broth, and pork. Cocido madrileño must simmer for around four hours to allow the ingredients to blend. Its robust taste is produced by the combination of ingredients and the long cooking time. Madrid's winter can be surprisingly chilly, with the average December and January temperatures being in the low 40s (Fahrenheit). Cocido madrileño is ideal for those cold days, especially when spending time outdoors. It is believed the Cocido madrileño dish was inspired by adafina, which was made by Sephardic Jews living in the Madrid area long ago.
Some of the best things to do in Madrid
Puerta del Sol
Puerta del Sol is called the “Heart of the City”. It is a hub for locals and tourists alike. Travelers can find links to public transportation to get across the capital or explore the many shops, restaurants, and cafes located around the plaza.
One of the most popular photo spots in Puerta del Sol is Kilometer Marker Zero. The stone slab marker is the spot from which all road distances are measured in Spain. Along with Kilometer Marker Zero, visitors will also find top attractions such as Preciados Street, the Church of San Gines, the Clock of Puerta del Sol, and more.
Gran Via, a well known shopping district and the most famous street in Madrid has a rich history. It has been renamed multiple times over the years to commemorate various events. It used to be known as the "Spanish Broadway" because of the number of theaters that were present on the street. However, most of these theaters have been replaced with big-name retail stores, restaurants, and bars, but many people still use the nickname. Today, you'll find stores of global brands like Loewe, Rolex, and H&M on this famous street. It goes without saying that if you're interested in shopping while you're in Madrid, Gran Via is the place to do it.
Also known as the street that never sleeps because you'll still find a crowd here late at night, Gran Via is home to a few of Madrid's famous buildings, including the Metropolis and Carrion buildings.
Parque del Retiro
Parque del Retiro, or Retiro Park in English, is a beautiful green space located in the middle of the densely populated city. It is a 350 acre park of green grass, lush trees, and a large reflecting pool.
The park is a destination for Madrilenos looking for exercise or an escape from the city’s concrete jungle. Retiro’s various buildings regularly host art exhibits and other functions for visitors to explore. Travelers can hire paddling boats or take a ride on large motorized boats around the reflecting pool. It is a perfect location for anyone looking to get outside and enjoy nature.
A tour through the Royal Palace takes visitors through Spain’s incredible history. The palace represents a great look into the lives lived by past members of the royal family. Although the current royal family doesn’t call the palace home, it is officially their residence. The palace contains over 3,000 rooms. Some of the most popular sites are the Main Staircase, the Throne Hall, the Hall of Halberdiers, the Royal Chemist’s room, and the Royal Chapel. In 2017, some areas of the palace were renovated into its present look.
Art and History Museums
It is difficult to recommend just one museum in Madrid for visitors to explore. There are a number of excellent art museums that are a must along with the city’s National Archaeological Museum. The latter was established in 1867 and has artifacts from all over the world dating back to prehistoric times.
The Lazaro Galdiano Museum showcases the private art collection from Spanish financier, journalist, and art collector Lazaro Galdiano. The museum is located in Galdiano’s former residence. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum displays European art from the 13th to 20th century. Over 1,000 pieces of artwork are on display giving visitors the opportunity to explore Europe’s rich art history.
El Capricho Park
Located in the northern part of the city, this hidden gem is well worth a visit. Enjoy a picnic or take a stroll to soak in the park's beautiful gardens. With its own lake, pavilions, and fountains, there are plenty of stunning sights to take your mind away from Madrid's fast-paced city living and transport you to a place of tranquility.
Mercado de Antón Martín
Take in the sights and aroma of Spanish cuisine at this popular food market in Madrid. The Anton Martin market has you covered whether you fancy cooking from home or want to enjoy some of the street food offerings on site. Sample several Spanish delicacies like jamon, chorizo, and Manchego cheese – all within a few meters of each other.
Circuito de Tepesa GT Experience
The Circuito de Tepesa is home to Formula GT. Just 35 minutes away from the center of Madrid, travelers can get behind the wheel of a superfast sports car. Petrolheads can choose from a Porsche, Aston Martin, Ferrari, or Lamborghini driving experience. Formula GT also offers a number of driving packages that give guests the chance to drive multiple cars. Drivers can also choose snow/ice or drift driving experiences as well. As if this isn’t enough, visitors can also drive a Formula 3 car on the track in an experience that mimics driving a Formula 1 car. Petrolheads visiting Madrid shouldn’t miss the opportunity.
Jardines de Sabatini Classic Car Museum
The Jardines de Sabatini Classic Car Museum is a part of the Jardines de Sabatini Apartosuites. The hotel’s owner is a car buff and owns numerous classic cars. His collection has grown so big that he now shows off the vehicles in the hotel's museum.
Hotel guests receive a free guided tour and they get to see some of the coolest cars that used to drive the streets of Madrid in the early 20th century. The museum’s vintage cars are accompanied by contemporary images that help tell the stories of the vehicles on display.