Shopping and Markets
Beautiful designer boutiques and open-air markets in the streets, Madrid is a shopper’s dreamland. The Chueca district is a bohemian area known for its lack of big brands and wealth of one-off shops. Oliphant is a favourite, where you can buy a vintage-style wardrobe and then the clothes to fill it. Calle Serrano and Calle Goya are two streets in Salamanca known for designer shops, if you saved on a cheap hotel in Madrid; this is the place you want to spend that saved cash. Shops like Boss, Saint Laurent, Prada and Barbour all call Calle Serrano their home. If you’re after a bargain, then head to El Rastro market on Ribera de Curtidores where you can unearth a gem among the old records and vintage clothing.
Madrilenos love their entertainment with all types of festivals being held throughout the year. DCode Fest has numerous exhibitions of modern visual art, having also played host to The Killers and Sigur Ros. The various workshops and performances at Cultura Inquieta Festivalhave been designed to get people interested in Spanish culture. If you booked your Madrid hotel in the middle of May, you’ll soon see the San Isidro festival, a nine day street celebration for the city’s patron saint.
When walking the streets of Madrid, you’ll see striking buildings throughout the city, ranging from ancient Roman temples to the twentieth-century Belle Epoque movement. The baroque-style St Michaels Basilica from 1745 and the neo-classical Almunda Cathedral are inspiring but our favourite is the Church of San Nicolas, the oldest in Madrid with a bell tower from the twelfth century.
Bars, Pubs and Nightclubs
Madrid is known for starting the party late, with most bars coming to life after 10pm. Hotels in Madrid tend to have their own lounge bars but if you want to head out into the city visit Stork Bar, based in a brick basement with live music and karaoke. Then check out El Rincon de Fogg and grab yourself two litres of sangria from the self-service dispenser. To dance the night away, Palacio Gaviria is a club decorated as a 16th century palace.
Culture – museums and galleries
The tree-lined Paseo del Prado is the cultural centre of Madrid. Home to the so called Golden Triangle, you’ll find the Prado Museum, theThyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofia Museum all in close proximity. Our favourite, Mad is Mad, is a space dedicated to more than a hundred upcoming contemporary artists where you can get an insight into the next generation.
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