Madrid is a modern, exciting city with amazing architecture and incredible sights to see. If you’re planning to visit, there are a few things you should know to ensure you get the most out of your trip.
Here are some top tips for visiting Madrid:
Wear the right shoes
Madrid is a lovely place to wander. The metro is excellent, but you’ll miss out on so many things if you’re only traveling underground. Not to mention, walking allows you to soak up the city and see sights you wouldn’t otherwise see.
However, you’ll definitely need to make sure you’re wearing the right shoes. This is an old city, and you’ll be navigating cobblestones. Ditch the stilettos and find some nice, comfortable shoes you could wear for hours.
Hire a car
If you’re not in Madrid for long, renting a car in Madrid is a good option. Not only is it cost-effective, but it’ll allow you to easily get around and see the main sights in a short amount of time.
Not only will you be able to see more in Madrid, but you can easily take a road trip and get out of the city to see some of the other towns and cities close to Madrid.
Many small shops and restaurants will still close between 2pm and 5pm. That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure you have lunch well before then and do any errands in the morning. It’s easy to see why siestas are so popular, so join the locals and use the hottest part of the day to either nap or enjoy an air-conditioned museum.
Plan for a late dinner
If you’re visiting Madrid, you’ll need to remember that dinner is often eaten around 10pm. If this sounds horrifying, try to have a snack in the afternoon and dinner around 8.30. The result is that many people start work later, and will sleep in a little longer than we would.
Practice your Spanish
Most locals are happy to help you with anything you need, however you’d do well to practice your Spanish before you arrive. Learn the basics on Duo Lingo, and understand how the alphabet works and how letters are pronounced so you can at least use Google translate when you need to. There are also a number of YouTube videos which will teach you the basics, so you can feel a little more confident when you arrive. If you’re serious about learning, you’ll also be able to find a local to give you lessons via video chat online. There are now a number of these types of services, and they’re much cheaper than paying for lessons at home.
Plan for longer than you’d think
While Madrid can be a great weekend trip, there’s enough to do and see that it’s well worth staying for a few extra days. This will give you time to rent a car so you can take a road trip or at least see a few other places in the area while you’re in Spain.
Create a rough itinerary
While it can be tempting to try to pack everything into your trip at once, this is a bad idea. You’ll simply end up exhausted and won’t actually enjoy yourself. While you don’t need to create a strict schedule, you’ll probably find that a rough itinerary will help you plan in advance. You can prioritize attractions and sights based on the things that are important to you. You can also ensure that you’ll have plenty of down time so you don’t feel exhausted and burnt out.