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The best of Madrid

s
saren Dec 11, 2007 03:08 AM

The best of Madrid

Here is my list of the best of Madrid. I have never been there, so I know some of my suggestions may be off. So, I thought we could help each other make a best of Madrid list. Please contribute if you know Madrid well, live there, or have spent a considerable amount of time traveling to Madrid. Thank you in advance.

-the best authentic/most unforgettable local travel experiences.
-non-typical, interesting/special experiences (full of original character), and unique only to the local area.
-memorable/dramatic scenery & landscape photography. Where do I find the best (viewpoints, city views, panoramas, skylines, sunsets, etc..)?
-the unique outdoors, hikes/hilltops/lookouts, and amazing views...
-lovely/charming streets,
-specialty/unique local cuisine, and gastronomy (under 15Eur/meal), the best freebies and/or anything else off-the beaten path.

Thanks again...(my list is located below)

MADRID

sights:
Placa Mayor, Espania, Sol, Oriente, Placa Ciebeles (Palacio de las Telecomunicaciones),
Retiro Park, Puerta de Alcala
Palacio Real, Catedral de la Almudena
Templo de Debod, Parque del Oeste (at sunset)
Plaza de la Paja
Atocha station (turtle waiting room)
Reina Sofia (free Saturday/Sunday after 2:30), just for Eu citizens or everyone?
Prado (between 6-8pm), same question regarding nationality?
Sundays -Rastro Flea Market, located in La Latina
View, 26th floor bar in Edificio de Espana building
Moorish quarter

exursions (inside):
Sierra de Guadarrama, Penalara peak
Aranjeuz,
Chinchon
Escorial/Valle de los Caidos, catch bus from Moncloa station in Madrid

excursions (outside):
Toledo, take bus from Madrid, (Mendez Alvaro) to foot of hill, walk up to Toledo, St. Martin's bridge, Mezquita de Cristo de la Luz
Avila,
Segovia, c8 train, alcazar, asoguevo square, sunset at aquduct, sucking lamb, Cochinillo Asado

food:
El Cocido Madrileño (the madrid soup)
bocadillo de calamares (where can I find a good quality calamari sandwhich)?
patatas bravas
Calle Arenal (comida para llevar), but what kind of takeout food is it?, Calle de Preciados (basement delis), sounds interesting but is it tasty?
Sopa de Ajo
Sepia con alioli
Boquerones en vinagre
huevos estrellados
torrijas
El Corte Ingles, chocholate covered figs

  1. e
    eulaliax Dec 12, 2007 01:39 PM

    wow. you've done a lot of research.

    -the best authentic/most unforgettable local travel experiences.

    wandering through the "barrios bajos" (malasaña, lavapies, la latina) and enjoying the everyday bustle of the street and markets. the museums (prado, reina sofia, thyssen).

    -memorable/dramatic scenery & landscape photography. Where do I find the best (viewpoints, city views, panoramas, skylines, sunsets, etc..)?

    i'm especially fond of the broad intersection of gran via and c/alcalá, by the circulo de bellas artes. view of cibeles, gran via, etc. the rosaleda park between el templo de debod and moncloa. the view around las vistillas/puente de segovia/cornisa de san francisco el grande: excellent sunsets.

    -the unique outdoors, hikes/hilltops/lookouts, and amazing views...

    easy to get to: get the regional train to cercedilla and then to cotos, the hike called "siete picos" should take a few hours, mid-level difficulty, great views.

    -lovely/charming streets,

    the lower part of las austrias

    -specialty/unique local cuisine, and gastronomy (under 15Eur/meal), the best freebies and/or anything else off-the beaten path.

    lots of good cheap food! casa mingo, o barquiño, tapas joints all over the place... also very cheap fllms at the filmoteca (anton martin) and good free cultural programming at la casa encendida (lavapies)

    as for your list, it all looks good (you'll be busy if you do all that!), but i add a few notes:

    Reina Sofia (free Saturday/Sunday after 2:30), just for Eu citizens or everyone? for everyone, also at el prado.

    Escorial/Valle de los Caidos, catch bus from Moncloa station in Madrid (el valle de los caidos is a horrible, scary monument to fascism which i would avoid...)

    El Cocido Madrileño (the madrid soup) - don't expect a soup... its a hefty 3 course meal - the best in town is at Malagatín in c/ruda, near La Latina.

    bocadillo de calamares (where can I find a good quality calamari sandwhich) - the classic bocadillo de calamares is in the little holes-in-the-wall around the plaza mayor. try one called 'el ideal'. always packed, cheap, cheerful.

    1 Reply
    1. re: eulaliax
      c
      cleveland park Dec 17, 2007 11:18 PM

      For cocido there is another classic madrid place called La Bola in c/ la bola
      Huevos estrellados, I havent had better than at casa lucio Cava Baja

    2. jcoz23 Dec 19, 2007 07:00 AM

      One thing missing from your list is churros! They are so fantastic! The best I had were at Chocolatería San Gines, which is open from 6pm-7am...So it works well as a dessert stop after a tapas crawl! You have a great list of things to do. There are lots of good tapas places in the streets surrounding Plaza Mayor, so if you want to to do a "crawl" that would be a good place. I did the Toledo day trip, but took the train. Not sure which is faster/cheaper as far as the train or the bus, but the train was an easy trip for us since we had a rail pass. Retiro Park was my favorite place. A great thing to do would just be to grab a bocodillo and just sit and eat in the park and enjoy the scenery!

      1 Reply
      1. re: jcoz23
        afteryouwho Jan 7, 2008 03:07 AM

        Hey, i sure agree about the churros. but you gotta have em with Spanish-style hot chocolate (your spoon stands up straight in it!). The best I ever had anywhere were at the Valor Chocolate Cafe in a little street that is parallel to the big shopping street going down from the Plaza de Callao (can't remember the name) but you can't miss it. And you shouldn't.

      2. e
        ekomega Dec 24, 2007 08:00 PM

        Asador Tierra Aranda has insanely good roast suckling lamb. Best in town. It's not a Madrid speciality, but worth heading to if you have the time.

        1. The Chowhound Team Jan 3, 2008 08:05 AM

          Folks, just a reminder that Chowhound has a very narrow focus on where to find the most delicious food -- scenery, excursions and general travel information are all off topic for our site. Replies which don't focus on the chow aspects will be removed.

          1. afteryouwho Jan 7, 2008 03:12 AM

            OK. I live in a little village outside Madrid and when I get into the big city there are two places I make a bee-line for. One is the wonderful little restaurant called La Repanocha in the Calle Cardenal Cisneros. (Better make a reservation: 6 tables!) and then for coffee and a nice chat with the owner, Kathy, I always make a point to pass by the Cafe Panini in the Calle Campomanes, 11. And sometimes have a good lunch there, too.
            Oh yeah, I am American and have been living in Spain since 1964.

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