Madrid is calling…
Madrid, the colourful capital city of Spain. This vibrant, fast-paced cosmopolitan city is brimming with fascinating history and Spanish tradition. Cleverly positioned at the forefront of leading gastronomy, colourful and lively nightlife, captivating infrastructures and fascinating culture – this is the perfect spot for an unforgettable city break. For the eager travellers amongst us who can’t wait to immerse themselves in another culture, Madrid is an absolute must-visit.
Ready to experience what it’s like to be a true Madrileño? We have pulled together our top recommendations for gastronomy, nightlife and historical attractions to help you curate the perfect Madrid itinerary.
This is the Panoptic Events guide to Madrid! We hope that it will provide you with inspiration for your next trip!
One thing Madrid is certainly not short of is fantastic gastronomic institutions. The culinary scene in Madrid features epic brunch spots, sensational dining experiences, several Michelin star awarded institutions and authentic eateries, which truly showcase and celebrate the city’s culture. So whether you are looking to immerse yourself in authentic Spanish cuisine, away from the cliches so often flung at Spanish gastronomy, or experience the unique and innovative dining experiences this city has to offer, you won’t be short for choices on where to dine as Madrid’s eateries cater to all palates.
Looking to experience the true taste of Madrid? Why not dine at one of the city’s traditional institutions, like the La Posada de la Villa. This restaurant offers diners carefully prepared dishes brimming with Spanish culture – like their specialities – roast lamb in a wood-fired oven, Madrid stew, Iberian ham and mature manchego cheese.
From epic brunch spots like the Terraza ME Madrid Reina Victoria which, alongside a mouthwatering menu, offers spectacular panoramic views of the city in a dazzling atmosphere, to Michelin star awarded institutions like Cebo – where chef Aurelio Morales celebrates high-quality ingredients, sharp flavours and refined cuisine; or Ramón Freixa – which features an innovative, ever-changing menu focused on seasonality (you can select the perfect accompaniment to your meal with over 450 fine wines to choose from).
Looking to really impress? Why not reserve dinner right in the heart of Madrid’s Royal Botanic Garden for a truly unique dining experience.
Whether it’s a casual beer, a traditional ‘taberna’ bodega, innovative cocktails or simply a late-night tipple to round of your night, Madrid has more than enough bars to deliver for every occasion.
From stellar wine lists, expertly poured beers, refreshing jugs of handmade fruity sangria, and of course, mouthwatering tapas to pair with your refreshment, the bar scene in this capital city celebrates culture and innovation like no other. One thing to keep in mind – Madrileño’s like to go out late. So, if you’re looking for some wine and tapas, the best time is between 21:00 and midnight.
For both classic and unique concoctions created by expert mixologists – the award-winning cocktail bar Salmón Gurú serves up innovative drinks alongside high-quality small plates in a casual yet stylish ambience complete with 1960’s style cocktail bar decor.
Fascinated in wine culture? La Fisna is the perfect stop in Madrid for those looking to sample an impressive menu of fine wines – which can also be ordered by the half glass – and a selection of homemade tapas. With expert staff on hand to guide you through the vastness of names and varieties of the menu – this is the ideal spot to explore and enjoy Spanish wine.
For the vermouth fans among us – Arima is a must-visit. With over 30 varieties of vermouth selected from Tarragona to Coruña and Amurrio to Castellón to choose from – Arima makes sure to celebrate this Spanish tradition. While the modern concept of vermouth arose from Italy, vermouth appeared in Spain for the first time in 1884 and its popularity since then has only grown – ‘vermouth time’ has become one of the finest moments of relaxation and leisure for friends and families. Additionally, the origin of the tradition of “la hora del vermouth” in Spain varies from other European cities – it has become customary in Spain to have vermouth before lunch. So, do as the Spaniards do, and grab yourself a vermouth at noon in Arima.
Finally, remember the epic brunch spot in the ME Madrid Terraza we mentioned earlier? Well, this isn’t just an epic spot for brunch. The Terraza also features an exclusive bar offering unbeatable rooftop views of this vibrant city, live music and a delectable menu of cocktails- the perfect location for a glamorous celebration or to simply sip on a perfect serve and enjoy the vista.
Madrid’s complex and long history make it a unique and fascinating place to visit for those looking to immerse themselves in Spanish history. From the Templo de Debod to the city’s medieval Moorish walls to the civil war bunkers dating back to the Spanish Civil War – Madrid is not short of captivating historical sights.
One of the most chilling historical attractions is the Valle de los Caídos – the Valley of the Fallen. The sheer scale of this monument that towers over the basilica (commissioned by Spanish dictator Francisco Franco) to remember those killed during the Spanish Civil War can only truly be appreciated in person. The mammoth cross is actually visible by plane as you come into land in Madrid!
The Templo de Debod is also one not to be missed. The Debod Temple was sent in 1968 as a gift from Egypt to thank Spain for their help in preserving some of its most important archaeological sights during the floods caused by the Aswan Dam’s construction. I mean, it is pretty rare to sight an Egyptian temple anyway other than Egypt, so make sure to pay this magnificent sight a visit.
Finally, an interesting fact that not many people are aware of is that Madrid is home to the world’s oldest restaurant. Hidden away on a cobbled street near Madrid’s Plaza Mayor lies El Sobrino de Botin – which first opened its doors in 1725 and has seen the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Francisco de Goya walk through its very doors. Hemingway loved this traditional eatery so much that he actually set the final scene of his novel, The Sun Also Rises, right in this very restaurant.
Madrid is known as a city that never sleeps – and with its soulful nightlife and vibrant, buzzing streets – we can see why. The city even operates a dedicated bus service called búhos when the metro and city bus service shuts at 1.30am! So whether you are in search of some salsa dancing, live music, or to groove the night away at one of Spain’s superclubs – Madrid isn’t short of options.
One of the most famous locations to experience a true taste of Madrid’s nightlife is the Teatro Kapital. This nightclub features seven (yes, seven) different floors – each with a different vibe and music, meaning there is something in there for everyone.
If you are looking try your hand at salsa, make sure to give Sala El Sol a visit. This club even offers some beginners’ sessions before the real party starts at midnight. Located in the heart of the city, this is the perfect spot to party like the Madrileño’s do.
Finally, Fabrik is home to some of Spain’s largest and best techno nights. Located on the outskirts of Madrid, this nightclub can house just over 4000 people and features a funky outdoor terrace, an unbeatable sound system and an electric atmosphere – making it worth the journey.
Can’t wait to visit Madrid?
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