5 years, 5 months ago
This blog post written by Keith Jenkins of velvetescape as part of our #housetripping series.
Madrid, the capital of Spain, is arguably one of Europe’s grandest cities. There’s something for everyone in this city. The explorers among us will enjoy discovering hidden corners of Madrid in its historic neighbourhoods; the art-lovers will gasp in glee at the treasures of world-renowned museums such as the Prado and the Thyssen; and the foodies will experience many mouth-watering moments at one of the city’s many tapas bars and markets. For those looking for a romantic moment (or two) with a touch of luxury, Madrid is the place!
The best part about Madrid is that it’s a relatively inexpensive city. In this sense, you can treat yourself to the city’s luxuries without burning a hole in your pocket. Here are a few tips to help you experience Madrid like a local, with a dash of indulgence and romance!
1. Get in the mood for Madrid
Travel can be a hassle so it’s important to arrive in good spirits, with the knowledge that you’re in good hands. I’ve discovered that staying at a luxurious holiday rental gets me into the right mood very quickly. I like the fact that I’m greeted by a local who isn’t afraid to share their secrets of the city and provide any assistance I require.
HouseTrip has a stunning collection of luxurious apartments in the heart of Madrid, with owners who will go out of their way to make sure you’re comfortable. I especially liked this palatial apartment housed in a historic complex a stone’s throw from the Opera.
Other HouseTrip apartments I enjoyed included this gorgeous pad near the Plaza Mayor and this artsy studio just off the Gran Via. Luxury is all about the small touches and the owners of these apartments excel in providing a distinctive touch to a guest’s stay, thereby getting you into the mood for Madrid in no time!
These HouseTrip holiday rentals offer surprising value-for-money – imagine staying at a luxurious apartment for a fraction of the price of a five-star hotel, with the added bonus of meeting a friendly local upon arrival who will make you feel right at home.
2. Eat, drink and feel like a local
Once you’ve settled in, forget about the city’s main tourist attractions – there’s plenty of time for that later. Instead, head for the Mercado de San Miguel. This market isn’t really a market in the strictest sense of the word. Rather, it’s one big, happy, culinary paradise where locals and visitors mingle and enjoy good wines and fine tapas. Grab a glass of cava to celebrate your arrival in Madrid, then stroll around the market (glass in hand) and indulge yourself in a huge variety of tapas, exquisite hams and desserts. The Mercado is guaranteed to get you and your partner into a fabulous mood and you’ll soon be chatting with the locals and feeling like a true Madrileño!
Another wonderful way to get acquainted with the city’s culinary, historic and cultural scene is to join the Old Madrid Tapas Tour. Your guide, Andrés, knows all about the city’s history and secret culinary gems. He’ll take you and your partner down some of Madrid’s most romantic streets, exploring various tapas bars only locals know about, and he pairs each tapas course with exquisite wines/ports from his private collection.
3. Save time for some R&R
Madrid is best explored on foot as it’s so compact. Most of the main attractions and museums are within walking distance of each other. After a day of exploration, treat yourself and your partner to some R&R at one of the city’s spas. One spa I can recommend is Hammam Al Andalus. You can opt for a full hammam treatment (steam bath, scrub and massage with aromatic oils) or simply sit in one of the heated pools. The beautiful tiled vaults and arches in the underground chambers, lit by Arabian lamps and candles, are simply soothing, and dare I say… romantic!
One last tip. There’s nothing more romantic than a sunset stroll… at least, in my book. Pack a few tapas (or pintxos, the posher north Spain version) with some wine and head for the gardens at the Royal Palace just before sunset. Sit on one of the many benches and enjoy the changing colours of the sky and the light reflecting off the grand palace. It’s a moment you won’t easily forget!
Featured image by dMad-Photo.