Flying to Madrid Barajas Airport is the perfect way to start your Spanish getaway. Only a short 20 minute drive from the centre of Madrid, you will be immersed in the museums, cafés and restaurants in no time. If city breaks aren’t your thing, don’t worry because the coast is under two hour’s drive away. You can head straight to the beaches of Valencia in your hire car and soak up the sun on the beach instead.
Things to See and Do in Madrid
With a vast array of museums on offer throughout the city you can discover the vast collections of the Museo del Prado and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. History lovers won’t be disappointed either, there’s heaps of stunning architecture to see around Madrid and lots of interesting stories to go with it. For example, the 18th Century Royal Palace is a must-see along with the buzzing central Plaza Puerta del Sol. Alternatively, you can grab yourself some hot chocolate and Churros and explore Madrid’s most famous market, El Rastro, to get yourself a bargain.
If you are after a more relaxed city break, Madrid is definitely the place for you. Most central attractions are reachable on foot and when you need a break you can just slip down a side street and immerse yourself in the relaxed tapas culture. After your stroll around the city you can prop yourself up against a tree in the Botanical Gardens and get to grips with that book you’ve been meaning to finish.
After all this, what could be better than heading out to a modern night market to sample a variety of culinary delights? San Miguel Market and San Antón Market are both well-worth a look. These undercover markets offer such a variety of food and drink that there should be something for everyone.
Day Trips From Madrid
If you find you need a break from city life then there is plenty on offer in the area surrounding Madrid. One of the top locations within an hour’s drive of the city is the Castle of Manzanares el Real. This historic castle has been used for many film sets, and it’s easy to see why. The 16th Century architecture of the castle is definitely not disappointing and there are breathtaking views of the lake and La Pedriza hills. After your visit to the castle you could finish the day off by grabbing a light lunch in the relaxed town centre and wandering round the gorgeous lake in the afternoon, taking in the scenery.
For some, the proximity to one of the greatest wine regions in the world may be too tempting to resist. The Ribera del Duero is just a short drive from Madrid and offers some of the best red and rosé wines that you can find. Hunting them out is all part of the fun and there are various wineries that you can visit for tours and tastings. It’s not only wines that are on offer in Ribera del Duero though, the region has some jaw-dropping scenery and delicious local food.
If you are travelling during the winter months then you could visit the Navacerrada or Valdesqui ski resorts, both within 60km of Madrid.