48 hours in Madrid: How to spend the weekend in Spain's capital city 8 years ago

48 hours in Madrid: How to spend the weekend in Spain's capital city

There's never a bad time to visit Spain, in particular if you're headed to the nation's capital

Getting people to travel to Madrid isn't that difficult a journey to sell, we imagine, what with the culture, food
and weather there to help you make your decision, but in case you need any more convincing, JOE has our guide to everything that you'd be missing out on if you decided to go anywhere else.

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From our recommendations as to where to eat as well as how to get there and where to stay, we've got you covered on all that you could want, including links to Google Maps and relevant websites, to make sure that your stay in one of our favourite cities on the planet goes as smoothly as possible.

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How to get there

Aer Lingus operate several daily flights to Madrid from Dublin airport. Other airlines also operate out of Dublin to Madrid on a daily basis, but when it comes to comfort and service, it's difficult enough to beat our national airline.

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Where to stay

There are plenty of options here. For those travelling on a business budget, the InterContinental has everything you could want (including an adapter in the mini-bar that you can borrow from the hotel if you forget yours, like JOE did) and rates start from €165 per night. The staff are friendly and accommodating, and the service is superb.

Hotel InterContinental, Paseo de la Castellana, 49, 28046, Madrid, Metro: Gregorio Marañón, +34 917 00 73 00

For the more budget conscious, there are plenty of options in Madrid. Getting your own apartment is probably the best way to go, in particular if you want to be able to make your own food Apartamentos Las Letras offers your own apartment with a little kitchenette that combine some modern designs on the walls inside a beautiful old Madrid building. Located right around the corner from Plaza Santa Ana, you won't be stuck for somewhere to grab a quick drink or some tapas either. Rates start from €56 per night.

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Apartamentoos Las Letras, Plaza de Matute, 11, 28012 Madrid, Metro: Antón Martín +34 913 69 41 44

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Where to eat and drink

When it comes to wining and dining, tapas is the best way to get your fill in Madrid. It can be cheap and delicious if you know the right places, so follow JOE and you won't go wrong.

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Baco y Beto

A part-Spanish part-Cuban chef makes some absolutely incredible tapas that really are hard to beat. From guacamole and plantain to more traditional Spanish dishes, the menu caters to a range of tastes, all superbly crafted. JOE had planned on doing a bit of a wander and getting some other tapas around the area, but we couldn't tear ourselves away from this place, everything was too delicious.

baco y beto

Pic via SOMA Magazine

The service was also fantastic (we're not sure how much English they speak, we never asked) but they were more than happy to recommend some great dishes and wines to go with them. Everything on the menu sounded fantastic, and the only complaint we had is that we couldn't fit any more in our bellies.
Baco y Beto, C/ Pelayo, 24, 28004 Madrid, Metro: Chueca, +34 915 22 84 41

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La Latina
This is more of a general recommendation for tapas in this area as a few superb tapas bars populate the rambling streets of this barrio, in particular calle Cava Baja and calle Cava Alta.

casa lucas
Pic via Cher-ry.blogspot.ie

Casa Lucas is a great spot to visit as they are doing some interesting and innovative tapas, and while it's a bit more expensive, it's worth it for the amazing food. However, you can stop pretty much anywhere along the streets mentioned above or in this general area and you're not going to be disappointed.

Calle Cava Baja/Alta, 28005, Madrid, Metro: La Latina, +34 913 65 08 04

Circulo de las Bellas Artes

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There are better places to get a good drink in town (Bar Guau or J&J Books) but the view at the Circulo de las Bellas Artes can't be beat. It costs a few euro to get up there and you can definitely get cheaper beer, but it's a beautiful spot to enjoy a beverage as you look out over all that Madrid has to offer. Bring your wallet though, as she ain't cheap.

Círculo de las Bellas Artes, Calle de Alcalá, 42, 28014, Madrid, Metro: Banco de España, +34 913 60 54 00

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What to do

Museums

Whether you're a football fan or a fan of fine art, there is no shortage of things to do in Madrid. You can head to the Santiago Bernabeu where you can take a tour of their amazing trophy room (they're running out of space in there) and see all that makes Real Madrid the greatest club in the world, or go to the Prado museum to see some truly great works of art from Goya or Hieronymus Bosch.

If you only have time to visit one, then the Reina Sofia is a must see, which is home to Picasso's most famous work, Guernica. It's not only much larger in real life than you might think, but if you know the historical background to the painting (all is explained on leaflets there, not to worry), it's a genuinely emotional experience to stand in front of it and soak it all in.

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Calle de Santa Isabel, 52, 28012 Madrid, Metro: Atocha, +34 917 74 10 00

Shopping

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Madrid has some of Spain's hippest hipsters, so there are no shortage of fancy places to get your clothes, music and books in the city. Head to Gran Via for all the brand names you're familiar with, and the streets branching off it, like Fuencarral and Hortaleza, are home to smaller shops that are equally great. For the fashionable gent, you can't beat El Ganso, while El Corte Inglés near Puerta del Sol holds almost anything you could want in its several buildings, and Fnac at Callao will have every game, DVD and collectible you could imagine.

Calle Gran Vía, Madrid, Metro: Gran Via

Parque de Atracciones

For a bit of craic, head out to the Parque de Atracciones (basically a big amusement park) where you can hop on a roller coaster, go on a log flume or the flying chairs, or pretty much just get your adrenaline pumping. Probably not a good idea to eat lunch too close to hopping on the 'Tornado' though... Just a recommendation.

Parque de Atracciones,Casa de Campo, 28011 Madrid, Metro: Casa de Campo/Batán, +34 902 34 50 01

You wouldn't get this at home

The vibrant football of La Liga truly is a spectacle worth seeing first-hand, and in Madrid you have any choice of clubs to visit. Obviously, Real Madrid are a huge, worldwide name, but this season they're chasing city rivals Atléti to the title, and Simeone's side are leading the way, at least as it stands at the moment.

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Further down the table are Getafe and Rayo Vallecano, both of whom it might be easier to get a ticket for. Rayo's stadium is located in the heart of the city and is a fantastic old-style ground with only three sides and some passionate fans, but when it comes to putting on a show and doing things on a grand scale, Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabéu is your only option. You can even grab dinner in one of the stadium's many restaurants as you look out on to the hallowed turf with a steak and some wine.

Santiago Bernabéu Stadium,Avenida de Concha Espina, 28036 Madrid, Metro: Santiago Bernabéu, +34 913 98 43 00