"Endless tapas, lively fiestas, and historic architecture"
In Spain’s capital city, you’ll never run out of things to do. Madrid is home to the Spanish royal family as well as the Spanish government. Its city is filled with historic monuments, endless tapas, lively fiestas and friendly people. Activities abound, and with opportunities to shop, experience art, or even watch some bull fighting, visitors are sure to enjoy Madrid.
Madrid was our first city abroad when we started traveling, and we loved it so much that we returned for a two week stay eight months into our trip. Leaving Madrid, Spain both times were bittersweet moments because of the connection we feel to this place.
You’d think that being in a country where no one speaks the same language as you would be a massive culture shock, but we adjusted fairly easily and even improved our espanol to a functional level. The people in Madrid are warm and welcoming, so it’s a great place to interact with locals.
In Madrid, foreigner’s like us have it easy. Straight forward subway systems, pubs at every corner and a metro every kilometer (.3 miles) make everything in the city accessible. Every morning smells waft through the streets as sweet breads and pastries from the endless rows of bakeries are pulled out of the oven. Early risers are far and few between in Madrid, so waking up to wander the quiet streets is a special experience.
The Spanish architecture in Madrid has an older, terraced structure, though each neighborhood or barrio has its own look and feel. The exception to this is the city center, which has more modernized buildings and castle structures like Plaza Mayor and Palacio Real de Madrid.
Something we really enjoy is the pace of life in Madrid. It is rare to see anyone on the streets before 10am, and there are many leisure activities around Madrid like rowing boats in the park, playing music anywhere and everywhere, and lots of familia spending time together. We saw far more families out together here than we’ve seen anywhere else aside from Austria.
Spaniards love to eat (so do we) and it’s always easy to find some good tapas or a small bakery with chocolate caliente. Also, the prices in Spain are much lower than the USA and the rest of western Europe. Three to five pastries and two cups of coffee will seldom cost more than $4, and groceries for a week ran us between $30 and $50 for two people. If you’re looking for an affordable country in Europe, Spain is a great option.
Things To Do
Palace and Garden
22 Day Cost Breakdown
Note: The figures above represent the costs for two people