Thinking about your next getaway, Excelente has selected the best places to visit, as well as the best restaurants and hotels. Travel with us!
What to visit?
Puerta del Sol
Throbbing with the life of the Spanish capital, it is often compared to Times Square. For five centuries, both day and night, packed full with restaurants, bars and shops, Puerta del Sol has concentrated events, social life, human vibes and lots of animation.
Calle del Arenal
Rich in architectural terms, Calle del Arenal is one of Madrid's most historic streets. Although many of its mansions have become hotels, hostels and inns, enhancing the subsequent appearance of bookstores, cafes and artistic gatherings, the 17th century beautiful Iglesia de San Ginés remains intact.
Royal Palace of Madrid
From the wonderful gardens of Plaza de Oriente, one can see the grand Royal Palace, the largest palace in Western Europe. Opulent, it has 3418 divisions, though only one part of it is open to the public. Decorated with noble materials, it is the home of several royal collections with great historical relevance and the official abode of the Spanish royal family.
San Miguel Market
With an iron covering that characterises it so much, in the heart of Madrid, the San Miguel market is an authentic monument to Spanish cuisine. Stools with diverse dishes are not lacking in this covered market. This is the ideal place for tasting different specialties, as even Michelin-starred chefs have their spot in San Miguel.
The life and architecture prevalent in the Plaza Mayor will call out to you. Of all the squares in Madrid, this is the most emblematic, so the visit is a must. On one of its many terraces, you can enjoy the historic arcades and the painted murals of the Casa de La Panadería as well as the statue of Philip III, a story you will want to know.
Reina Sofía National Art Centre Museum
Considered one of the best museums in Madrid, the National Art Centre Museum Reina Sofía is a fixed residence of an incredible collection of modern and contemporary art. Picasso's famous “Guernica” painting is the main attraction of the museum, which also has permanent and stunning collections by Dalí and Miró.
Restored by architect Rafael Moneo Since 1992, the Villahermosa Palace, restored by architect Rafael Moneo, houses the complete collection of over 900 works, comprising modern as well as historical paintings of the Thyssen-Bornemisza family. A visit is a unique opportunity to see up close Monet, Cézanne, Van Gogh and Mondrián paintings.
At El Retiro, time passes quickly. Known as the lung of Madrid, it is an authentic green getaway in the city centre. In addition to the beautiful rockeries, the park houses a 400-year-old cypress, the monument to Alfonso XII, the Velázquez Palace, fountains and dozens of statues.
Filled with concert halls and cinemas, this sprawling and glamorous avenue, where Madrid's first skyscrapers emerged, is reminiscent of Broadway. Its buildings reflect the inspirations of Art Nouveau and Art Deco architecture. The Lope de Vega Theatre, the Capitol and Metropolis buildings, the Military Casino and the Callao cinema are protagonists on this avenue.
Plaza de España
Between Gran Vía and Princesa Street is Plaza de España. Framed by the majesty of the buildings, among which Edificio España stands out, and by a wooded area, the square pays homage to Cervantes, a Spanish writer who celebrated the character of Don Quijote around the world.
Templo de Debod
Close to Plaza de España, the Temple of Debod, mainly sought after at the end of the day, given all its romantic surroundings, is worthy of a visit. Transported from Aswan, this ancient Egyptian museum and temple was rebuilt in a green space much appreciated by the Madrilenians.
Barrio de La Latina
In addition to being one of the oldest neighbourhoods in mediaeval Madrid, this is the most authentic neighbourhood in the Spanish capital. From mercantile origins, labyrinthine and with very narrow and tortuous streets, this space has followed the evolution of the city.
The Real Basilica of San Francisco El Grande, in Barrio de La Latina is much visited due to its neoclassical style and artistic heritage. Only surpassed by St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, its dome is of indefinable grandeur. Inside, there are also works of great figures of Spanish painting, such as Goya.
The calles of this neighbourhood, full of vermuterías, are a meeting point for many who want to unwind at the end of a day's work. In restaurants and bodegas, the evening can be extended with tapas tasting.
There will be no shortage of options to end your night with a bang. You can watch a flamenco show at El Corral de la Morería or cabaret at the Berlín Cabaret, one of the most famous European houses dedicated to this art. Alternatively, if you like to dance, try the iconic Contraclub or Shoko Madrid. If you prefer, you can just enjoy one of the many bars on calle de la Cava Baja.
Malasaña is considered the most famous alternative district of Madrid. It is advisable to consult the neighbourhood schedule before visiting the space. Through restaurants with menus dedicated to the vast Spanish cuisine or a visit to one of its bars, among which the Tupperware, Taboo, Madklyn or Picnic stand out , all with very comical names, one discovers the so-called Spanish movida.
Where to eat?
Chef David Muñoz's restaurant, in just five years, got three Michelin stars. The kitchen is elaborate, a reflection of gourmet techniques and the careful combination of flavours and textures. It's not always easy to book a table here, but it's worth a try.
Led by José Antonio Medina, for its careful decoration, A'Barra manages to have a relaxing atmosphere. Interaction with the chef is essential, so almost everything is prepared in front of the client, from traditional to more formal menus, not forgetting drinks.
In the heart of Barrio Chueca, with an industrial aesthetic, including brick walls and purposefully visible metal tubes, at the Michelin star dStage there are two tasting menus available. Gastronomy is described as free and without limits.
The harmonisation of the most traditional flavours of Spanish gastronomy, is guaranteed in Taberna Verdejo. Since the menus are seasonal, with each new season, 12 new dishes appear. The selection of cheeses, cured, cold or pickled, is the cornerstone of all elaborate menus.
Where to sleep?
In the heart of the Lavapiés district, just a 15-minute walk from the Prado Museum, Artrip Hotel offers highly functional, air-conditioned rooms, some of which have a balcony overlooking the street. With a small and comfortable café on the ground floor, the hotel is decorated with a wide variety of artworks.
With open doors since 1928, in central Madrid, 100 metres from Puerta del Sol, this hotel has adapted to the passage of time. Its rooms are modern but elegant. From its terrace, you can see the historic centre of Madrid. Hotel Regina also has a restaurant, where the best of Mediterranean cuisine is served in seasonal dishes.
Hard Rock Hotel
As in a mixtape, at the Hard Rock Hotel, the old mixes with the new. It is normal to find guitars and other instruments as decorative elements. Well located, close to several tourist attractions, in its wonderful terrace it is possible to glimpse almost the entire city.
Riu Plaza España
In the centre of Madrid, very close to the Royal Palace, Gran Vía and the Temple of Debod, the four stars Riu Plaza España has a restaurant and sky bar, outdoor pool, fitness centre and disco. For breakfast, guests can enjoy a buffet or, alternatively, a gluten-free meal.