If you are thinking of going to Madrid for Easter, you’ve probably already got a check list of things you want to do there (and if you still don’t, jump on google and check them out). Of course there are the special Easter processions and traditional Spanish French toast on offer; the Prado and/or the Thyssen Museum; the Royal Palace, the Almudena Cathedral and the Plaza Mayor; a calamari roll, a hot chocolate from San Gines and eggs Lucio-style. Tip: try to make sure these last three things are not on the same day… 😉
But if you dig just a little deeper, you will also find the Crystal Palace, El Retiro Park, Reina Sofía museum, Cibeles square and the recreated ancient Egyptian Temple of Debod.
And if you come with enough time, you can also make a trip outside the centre – I’m sure you’ve already heard about Escorial palace, the Basilica and Memorial at Valle de los Caídos and the Royal City of Aranjuez, which are just some of the must-see places.
But if you really want to enjoy your visit to Madrid, you have to go beyond the things that everybody does and spend a day or two like a gato, or ‘cat’, as they call natives in the capital. Without too much effort, you’ll immediately understand why people say that in Madrid, everyone’s a local.
A good place to start is getting lost in the neighbourhoods of Chueca, Malasaña and Lavapiés. You don’t have to take a planned route, just take a stroll, enjoy the mix of cultures, the small vintage shops and larger chains, the designer boutiques and those original little places where you can find just about anything and everything.
It’s around now you’ll start to fall in love with this city. But be careful, because it’s a love that lasts forever. If you start to get hungry, let the aromas guide you in your choice of Pakistani, Ethiopian, Greek or vegan restaurants. Or if you just want something simple, a pizza from Lamucca (in Malasaña) or a slice from Papizza (next to the Callao metro station) and then… Onwards!
For your afternoon, you have several museums to choose from. While you’ll definitely have fun in the wax museum, we would be remiss in not recommending the Archaeological Museum and the National Library. Another must is the Botanical Gardens and, on leaving, a walk along Calle Moyano among the stalls of second-hand books where you’re sure to find some little treasure to take home with you.
And when night falls, it’s time to explore the Gran Via. Yes, even if you have already seen it by day, because at night it becomes a kaleidoscope of light and colour which will make you forget how exhausted you are after following all our advice. Have a wander around and see if anything catches your eye, but remember to look up every now and then because there’s a whole other world up there on top of the buildings around you.
And, yes, now it’s time for a drink! The Chicote Museum is good, but there are innumerable other places on offer. And then back to the hotel – you need a break!