Barcelona may be one of the most-visited cities in Spain, but it’s sister city, Madrid, can be just as wonderful if not better.
The city was officially established in the 9th century, and for a while, before it was ruled by the Castile family, Madrid was inhabited by Muslims until 1085 until they were conquered by Alfonso VI of León and Castile. In the mid-1500s, Madrid was declared the country’s capital, and in the 16th and 17th century, Madrid flourished in all aspects of life. Even after a few governmental turmoils, Madrid grew into a magnificent history with so many different places to explore. For those heading to Spain’s capital, here are some hidden gems you may not want to miss out on.
Antigua Pastelería del Pozo
(Image source: Antigua Pastelería del Pozo)
This small bakery has been around for more than two hundred years, since 1810. It’s a cozy and welcoming bakery that sells some of the best pastries such as Roscón de Reyes and Palmera with Chocolate, as well as meat empanadas (their specialty). The interior is decorated in a very traditional style, and once you step inside, you will take you back to the times. There’s even a beautiful cash register from the 19th century on display. The bakery is open 9-2pm and 5-8pm Tuesday through Saturday, 9am-2pm on Sunday and closed on Monday.
(Image source: Lagranvida Madrid Diferente)
A historic building that has been turned into a multi-purpose unit is a favorite amongst locals. Known as El Paracaidista, this place was once a Royal Wax Factory turned into a bar, clothing and accessory store and a restaurant on a terrace called Parq. One note, you have to register to become a member (just your name and email) before you can access El Paracaidista. The views are spectacular, so if you want to drop by and grab a drink while overlooking the city skyline.
Hammam Al Andalus
(Image source: Hammam Al Andalus)
Did you know that Madrid has Arab baths? Hammam Al Andalus is a beautiful place to go to relax and unwind either in the evening or during a siesta. The inside is absolutely breathtaking, with Arabic decor throughout that will put you into a tranquil state of mind. There are three thermal pools with different temperatures that you can bathe in, or schedule a massage to get all the kinks out of your back. If you’re not interested in the spa experience, you can book a 90-minute tour of Hammam Al Andalus. Whatever you decide to do, these baths are remarkable.
Parque del Cerro del Tio Pio
(Image source: Shutterstock)
If you’re looking for a beautiful view of the city, head to Cerro del Tio Pio, a park located in a hilly area of the city. Aside from gorgeous views—you must go here to see the sunset—there are paths to walk or bike on as well as nearby cafes to grab a small bite or espresso. Many locals come here daily, so bring your special someone or a group of friends and have a picnic during the day or watch the colors change in the horizon as the sun settles.
1862 Dry Bar
(Image source: Tix)
A speakeasy can be so much fun, which is why 1862 Dry Bar is one of our favorites to grab a few drinks at towards the evening. Although it’s not a traditional speakeasy, it’s very similar to one. Stepping inside will take you back to the prohibition days with its classy interior decor. 1862 Dry Bar is small, but it offers deliciously curating drinks from lesser-known yet high-quality liquors, so ask the bartender to whip up something unique. If it’s not too crowded, head downstairs and spend some time there with your travel mates or significant other. It’s the perfect place to end the night if you’re looking for something low-key, or it can be a starting point if you’re looking to stay out late and check out Madrid’s nightlife.
From hilltop views and museums, exploring and lots of eating, Madrid is one of those cities that is full of unique sites to discover. If it’s on your list of places to visit, we hope this guide can help you get the best out of what Madrid has to offer.
If this or any other destination speaks to you, we’d love to help you get there in comfort in business class and save you up to 70% off. Submit a flight request or contact your agent and we’ll find the best dates to travel there!