Madrid Tips for Stags and Hens
About Madrid – fantastic for your stag or hen do!
Check out our handy bullet list of Madrid tips for Stags and Hens
- Spain’s capital has a total population of some 6 million (Greater Madrid), making it the 3rd or 4th biggest city in Europe. Madrid lies dead centre of Spain, (300 km+ from the nearest beach! ).
- It is bigger and chunkier than Barcelona for example!
- It has a mountain/meseta climate: very dry, with cold winters and sweltering summers. There are lots of sunny days and crystal clear blue skies all year – even in winter. Don’t expect outdoor swimming pools to be open except in high summer (June, July August).
- The city is a mix of higgledy piggledy old barrios with their own charm, and large wide elegant boulevards (Paseo de la Castellana, Paseo del Prado). The lively Gran Via (Main central street) is a mix of Oxford St, Broadway, Sauchiehall St and the Khaosan Rd.
- Madrid has a reputation for knowing how to party, and staying up all night!
- This means everything starts late in Madrid. Lunch can be as early as 1400 but usually starts at 1500. For dinner, aim for 2200 (few restaurants are open before 2100)
- No one goes for a drink before 2100/2200 !
- In general, despite its status as capital it is usually regarded as the most laid-back, likeable and welcoming of Spain’s largest cities.
- The airport is about 20 – 25 minutes east of the city, on the road to Barcelona
- Although land-locked the city has impressive natural areas: large parks (Retiro, Casa de Campo, Parque del Oeste)
- Madrid’s metro system is excellent and fast, making average journey time half or less than in other cities (much better than Barcelona for example).
- Taxis are also cheap and plentiful
The Local Flavour – what to try, what to see, what to taste, what is unique ????
Eating drinking and visiting is a must, here are our culinary and cultural Madrid Tips for Stags and Hens:
- See: Start at Puerta del Sol, the old town’s epicentre. See Palacio Real (the royal palace – and gardens), Plaza Mayor, Puerta de Alacala, El Retiro (park), Gran Via, Plaza de España, the Ventas Bull Ring. If you have time for an art visit three of the best galleries in Europe: The Prado, Thyssen and Reina Sofia.
- You MUST see Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid – for most fans, a football experience quite unlike any other.
- The Santiago Bernabeu (Real Madrid) football Museum is one of Europe’s biggest museum attractions by attendance figures.
- Visit one of the Serrano Ham “museums” – a tapas “must do”: see the legs of ham hanging ready to be munched with a glass of wine !
- In general Madrid is probably the best city in Spain for range of restaurants, food and above all tapas
- A mark of the “generosity” people feel when in Madrid is the “free tapas” you will receive in many bars when ordering a beer or wine…
- Beers: Mahou, San Miguel and Cruzcampo
- Madrid is the land of red wines: Rioja and Ribera de Duero being the best.
- Madrid is football mad: must-see Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid, but don’t forget Leganés, Rayo Vallecano, or Getafe! Real and Atletico are currently the top 2 teams in Europe in many people’s estimation.
- The character of the old streets of the central barrios of La Latina, Chueca, Plaza Santa Ana and Austrias.
- Check out the streets near Plaza Mayor (Calle Cuchilleros, Cava Baja) to fnd some of the best and most authentic tapas and restaurants in the world!
- Peckish? Grab a bocadillo de calamares (squid sandwich) with just a slice of lemon – delicious! Also try the patatas bravas (spicy potatoes for snacking) and the fried whitebait (boquerones).
- Madrileños, paradoxically for a landlocked city, are nicknamed “cats” – because they love fish (and stay out on the tiles all night….) MEOOOWWW!!!
- Sit out in a square, drink and gab like the locals. This appears to be done at all hours: try Plaza de la Paja, La Latina, Malasaña, Plaza Santa Ana….just about anywhere really.
- If you fancy something stronger with a late morning coffee (as Madrid people often do), order a “sol y sombra” (a rather tasty cocktail of brandy and anisette – copiously served in half-pint large brandy glasses…) If that doesn’t set the Madrid cats among the pigeons then nothing will. More Madrid Tips for Stags and Hens
Shopping: Madrid tips for stags and hens
Madrid has it all from the ultra-posh boutiques near Calle Serrano to the Spanish chains on Gran Via and the boutiques of Calle Fuencarral. Remember there is not much you can’t get at the vast Spanish department store El Corte Inglés (you’ll find one right in the centre of the town at Puerta del Sol).
Grab a steak! – as well as brilliant local offerings you’ll find some of the best Argentinean restaurants outside South America. Try a bife or solomillo La Vaca Argentina (at Plaza Opera) or La Cabana on C/Ventura la Vega
The same goes for the many Peruvian restaurants dotted around the city – ceviche and seco de cordero an absolute must!
Top Activities – Madrid tips for Stags and Hens
Football mad? Yes Madrid is! Loco por el futbol. Get Real Madrid tickets or watch Atletico play at their packed, historic home grounds. Matches kick off on Saturdays or Sundays anytime from 1200 – 2100.
Book a hilarious Madrid Baby Bull Run with lunch – in a “Real Spain” traditional livestock farm just outside Madrid.
Book a flamenco class or see a show.
Night Clubbing in Madrid after your (very lively) bar crawl will no doubt last all night !
Tour the tapas bars bars of Central Madrid with our guide.
Bike and segway tours of Madrid are ideal ways to see the city.
Where to go out in Madrid
Madrid has several lively neighbourhoods full of bars and the action spills out into the streets: check the streets near Plaza Santa Ana or Plaza de Chueca, the Malasaña area, Calle del Pez, La Latina…or Avenida de Brasil near the Real Madrid stadium.
Great clubbing at Shoko, Sala Sol, Joy and Kapital (all central near Sol).
Calle Huertas is the pub crawl street.
For tapas hit the streets near Plaza de la Paja and Plaza Mayor.
Tips for Getting Around Madrid
- USE THE METRO – IT’S CHEAP AND QUICK.
- CABS ARE ALSO CHEAP – BUT DONT EXÈCT WONDERFUL ENGLISH FROM CAB DRIVERS
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