24 hours in Madrid: A perfect day in Spain's cool capital
Short breaks in Europe
Nicola Brady maps out a perfect day in the Spanish capital.
10am: Book Market and Botanicals
Along the south side of the Botanic Gardens, the stalls of Cuesta de Moyano are piled high with books, from antique tomes to fresh new children’s titles. Amble along the Calle Claudio Moyano, browsing as you go, then head into the 19th-century El Retiro Park, a beautiful space with grandiose statues and rose gardens. The Botanical Garden (€4) is a beaut, too.
How: See esmadrid.com for info on the city.
2pm: Get Cultural
The Museo Reina Sofía is just a short stroll away, with a stellar collection of contemporary art within a striking building (there are great views from the glass elevators at the front, too). You’ll find Picasso’s Guernica on site, as well as major works from Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí. Afterwards, take a stroll along the broad boulevards to Platea Madrid, a former theatre-turned-super-luxe food hall. Amble around and pick between tapas stalls and Peruvian bites as you go.
How: Entrance is €10; museoreinasofia.es, plateamadrid.com
5pm: Go Vintage
Calle Velarde is an absolute treasure trove for vintage fans. This tiny street is home to numerous vintage stores that stock everything from ’90s Levi’s to ’50s prom dresses. The best part is the prices — it’s a throwback to the years when vintage didn’t cost a bomb. Try Williamsburg for dresses, Magpie for American sports gear (hello, cheerleader uniforms) and La Mona Checa for denim.
How: @williamsburgvintageclothes, magpie.es, la-mona-checa.negocio.site
8pm: Pintxos for Dinner
A Spanish evening isn’t complete without a tapas crawl. Kick things off with Padrón peppers and deep fried anchovies in Cervecería Restaurante Quevedo (Calle Quevedo, 7). Then move along to Casa Alberto (Calle de las Huertas, 18), one of the oldest bars in Madrid, for the darkly sticky oxtail stew. Finish up in Chocolatería San Ginés (Pasadizo de San Gines, 5) for churros or their thicker cousins, porras — it’s open 24 hours.
Fly to Madrid with Aer Lingus from €45 one-way (aerlingus.com). Stay at Hotel NH Madrid Nacional from €156; nh-hotels.com.
NB: Prices subject to change/availability.