Madrid is one of those cities that either you love or you hate. If you incidentally happen to be born there, you'll hate it for sure (at least in hot summer days) and try to run away as often as possible. But it's only part of that love-hate relationship game big cities play with your head. They charm you in with the immense sea of possibilities, intoxicate you with the aroma of excitement and bright lights, and once you're in, you're in. Some people seem to be immune to their charms but still can't resist the appeal, and when they come, they are hooked.
The spanish capital is no exception. However a few tremendous competitors surround her, to which sadly most of the time loses, because Madrid has no sea! If it did...there would be no rival for this lively multicultural haven. The best brands want to have locations here, the best restaurants want to open a local here, even the street food movement hast planted roots in the epicenter center of Spain.
Madrid, (one of) the city(es) that never sleeps. Fifth busiest airport in Europe, third most populated city in Europe (just after London and Berlin), home to world-wide famous museums and galleries, birth place of Cervantes (Alcalá de Henares), Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, Quevedo, or Agata Ruis de la Prada! Inspiration to many, love for others, life for most, and this guy...
Hidden alleyways bring you to places you could have never imagined, and secret rooftops raise you up to the top of the world (our world). The Madrid Metro holds the record for most escalators in metro stations, with 1,656 in total. And the Guinness World Record for the most people blowing a chewing gum bubble simultaneously was broken last year (2014) in Madrid with a daunting 737 bubbles! Need to say more? Madrid has character, quirky perhaps, but that's the charm.
Hooked yet? Well then let's get down to business. Time for a few useful facts and figures for your next trip down to Madrid:
The easiest way to get to Madrid is by plane to Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport (that busy airport that I mentioned above) with pretty much any airline, but if you are on a budget, Easyjet and Ryanair are your safest bet for a memorable time in Madird.
Once you arrive, you have the choice of either taking the Metro (Line 8/pink) to Nuevos Ministerios and from there connecting to your final destination. You can also take the public bus #200 right outside the arrivals in all T1, T2 and T4 to Av. de América for 1.50€, or alternatively, the Express Line bus to Atocha takes about 40 minutes (runs every 20 mins during the day, 35 minutes at night) for 5€.
The best way to move around Madrid is by using the state of the art public transport (bus, metro, and metro ligero). It is safe, reliable (for the most part), and takes you anywhere you want to go within the city.
Regular buses run from around 5:30 AM to 11:30 PM, and the Metro from 6 AM to 1 AM daily (there are night buses known as the "Owls" during the hours regular buses and Metro don't run).
From all the possible transport cards, the best option of you plan on getting around quite a lot are the Tourist Cards Zone A, which can be bought for 1 to 7 days and includes Metro, Metro Ligero ML1, suburban trains within zone A and Madrid EMT buses (with the exception of the express airport buses).
When people ask me where would I stay if I had to pick a (budget) hotel in Madrid, I don't have to think it twice, my answer is always: I'd stay at The Hat. It doesn't only have a quirky name (for a hotel) but the design and the location are top notch, and has a rooftop terrace. Hard to beat!
For something a bit more luxurious, but without being pretentious, the ladies at The Slow Pace have a great suggestion: Hotel de las Letras!
So, now that I've given you some of the basics, you can finally get yourself to book that dreamy holiday or weekend getaway in Madrid! And don't forget to check back the coming weeks for our 10+ things to do in Madrid for 5€ or less! Because travelling doesn't always have to mean breaking the bank!! Let me know if there's anything else you'd like me to cover about Madrid in the part II of this month's City Features!
Labels: Madrid, spain, travel