It doesn't get much better than summer in Spain and this summer, we're dreaming of Madrid. Here, we've rounded up our top 10 reasons to book a ticket to the capital of Spain.
1. Perfect weather
For sun lovers, the weather in Madrid is a literal dream come true. Madrid’s low humidity means you can be out and about and enjoy the perfectly sunny weather without feeling sticky. The city experiences very little rainfall, so chances are you’ll have blue skies during a summer visit to Madrid.
2. Traditional Spanish breakfasts
Yes, you can have chocolate for breakfast - at least you can in Madrid. Traditional breakfast options include churros, but they’re not the same as the churros you may think you know and love. These little fried delights aren’t covered in sugar, but should definitely be dipped in hot chocolate for maximum enjoyment. Another breakfast favourite, porras, are like churros’ larger cousin and can also be enjoyed dipped in hot chocolate or cafe con leche. If you’re more of a savoury breakfast person, try pan con tomate, tomato bread, or tortilla de patatas, a thick potato-filled omelette.
3. Summer coolers
Thanks to the summer heat and late night culture, Madrileños know how to keep cool with tasty beverages perfectly suited to al fresco dining. If you want to drink like the locals, ditch the sangria and grab a glass of Tinto de Verano, which literally means red wine of summer and is made by mixing equal parts red table wine and carbonated lemonade over ice.
Even if you’re not normally a person who takes naps, Madrid may make a convert out of you. Because many establishments throughout the city still close during the traditional siesta time and dinner starts much later than what most of us are used to, getting into the siesta rhythm isn’t hard when in Madrid. So, go ahead and have a lazy afternoon or two.
5. Tapas all night long
Now that you’re rested and ready, it’s dinner time! The best way to enjoy all that Madrid has to offer in the culinary world is to do your own version of bar hopping, but in this case, we're talking tapas bars. In Madrid, many tapas bars will bring you a different plate each time you order a drink. Of course, you can enjoy tapas at restaurants where you order by the plate, as well. La Castela is one of the best - and rightfully, most crowded - tapas bars in Madrid. Maneuvering the crowd is all part of the fun, so don’t be deterred! The food really is worth the wait. If you’re after a quieter evening with a better chance at snagging a table, Buendi (Calle de Narváez, 58) offers great examples of Spanish tapas, including plenty of fresh seafood.
6. Modern markets
Many of Madrid’s historic markets have been revamped in recent years into a modern version of the marketplace. Mercado de San Miguel is one of the best examples of these new-wave markets. You can easily spend the day eating your way around the market, with plenty of small bites offering the chance to sample a bit of everything, from traditional tapas to fresh seafood, coffee, desserts and more.
7. Magical parks
El Retiro Park is jaw-droppingly stunning during the summer. It would be easy to spend an entire day wandering its intricate gardens. There are plenty of gorgeous hidden corners to explore, but some of the park’s highlights are the Retiro Park Lake where you can sunbathe or rent a rowboat, the El Retiro Park Rose Garden, which is bursting with colourful blooms during the summer months, the Glass Palace, and the park’s resident peacocks.
8. Lively music scene
Thanks to the fact that going out isn’t only reserved for the weekends, live music can be found every night of the week in Madrid. From indie rock and folk to Latin jazz and flamenco, Madrid's venues host a wide array of musical acts. Check out the schedules at Galileo Galilei and Costello Club to see what’s on during your stay.
9. Easy to get around
Madrid is an easy to navigate city, thanks to both its walkability and excellent public transportation system. A five-day tourist card to ride Madrid’s metro costs about $30 USD. Alternatively, if you think you’ll be walking more than riding, a single ride costs about $1.70 USD. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, signage for navigating the routes is simple and clear.
10. World-class retail therapy
Madrid residents are no strangers to style and it shows in the many neighbourhoods perfect for chic shopping. Head to Barrio de Salamanca's Calle Goya for a cluster of boutiques ranging from the avant-garde to designer names. If vintage shops and second-hand books are more your scene, head to the Malasaña nieghbourhood. Or if you're all geared up to work on your haggling skills, a trip to the El Rastro flea market, open Sundays and public holidays, is a must.