Travel Advice, tips, on Madrid, Spain


I love bags
Sep 13, 2005
In a few weeks my mom, brother, and I will be going to Madrid, Spain and Valencia for a week and a half. My brother is doing a study abroad in Valencia, so we are going with him to get him situated.

I have been to Barcelona, but not Madrid. Where is the best place to stay in Madrid - as in area? I am looking for a good hotel!

Any suggestions on this trip are appreciated!! :heart:

La Vanguardia

Dec 21, 2005
I lived in Madrid for half a year bumming around after finishing grad school lol! Each time I visit (in the past and present), I've stayed in differentt hotels from friends, hostals and hotels.

One of my favorite is the Westin Madrid as it is very close to the Puerta del Sol (the center of everything) and yet not so crowded and loud. Sometimes, you can also get a good deal. When I went last year, I found a stay 4 nights and get 1 night free offer. So, it's worth checking it out.

A more reasonable priced hotel is NH. The one in Alberto Aguilera is a good location as it is very close to a metro stop and yet it's a relatively quiet area. It's also very safe!

For a more trendy hotel, try Hotel Urban. They also have a very cool bar/lounge on the rooftop where you can have a nice cocktail or after dinner drink.

Another location to check out for hotels is Barrio Salamanca. It's a very safe area and more quiet area. All the high-end boutiques are also close by.

Oh, and try to eat at Botin Restaurant close to Plaza Mayor. It is the oldest restaurant in the world!!!

For museums, don't miss out the Reina Sofia and El Prado.

Feel free to PM me for more details.


Bag Lovah
Sep 11, 2006
Madrid is so much fun. You have to check out Reina Sofia. That is where Guernica by Piacasso is. Also check out El Prado ( and Palacio Real. Plaza Mayor has a great Irish pub, spent St. Patty's day there. Don't remember the name. Clamores (Alburquerque, 14) is a great Jazz club. If you can take a day trip to Toledo, it's gorgeous. Great local shopping as well. Have a wonderful trip!!!

La Vanguardia

Dec 21, 2005
You're welcome Megs!

For really interesting ballerinas, check out Monica Garcia. She has 2 stores, one around the Chueca area and another in Serrano area (Barrio Salamanca).

Her website is

For some bohemian clothes, try the Argentinian brand Rapsodia at Velazquez.

I was also in Madrid in February for a short and spontaneous weekend break. I posted the trip on my blog.



Jan 9, 2006
Chicago, IL
I went with my family last May, the weather was perfect!

My favorite of the museums in Madrid was Thyssen-Bornemisza. I had always heard about the lines to get into some museums, but had never experienced the lines anywhere in France or Italy... but we waited a good hour outside in line for the Prado.

You can do a day trip to Toledo from there. Very quick on the train, LOTS of El Grecos and the Cathedral there is impressive. Even my bored with everything 19 yr old brother liked that.

Unfortunately, since it was just my dad and brothers, I can't really comment on the shopping... didn't really do any! Have a great trip!


Nov 30, 2006
Megs, I agree with Deux Armoires...definitely eat at El Botin! Madrid is famous for its museums so check out El Prado, Reina Sofia, or Museo Thyssen. Not sure what your take is on bullfights, but I would recommend seeing one at Plaza de las Ventas for the experience. If you want to check out a flea market, El Rastro is open from 8a-1p on Sundays (good place to buy trinkets, souvenirs). For other types of shopping, Gran Via is the area to hit. Palacio Real -the royal palace is also a nice place to tour.

I studied in Madrid a few years back, and those were the places I took my bf when he visited. HTH! Have fun Megs!


Sep 12, 2006
Sexy South Beach, FL
I went to Madrid last summer but the hotel we stayed at (Villa Magna, Park Hyatt) is closed for renovations. It needed it, actually! We went to the Silken Hotel Puerta America for dinner and a drink, really cool hotel, maybe a little bit aways from the center of town, though.
I would recomend:
Asiana (4 Travesía de San Mateo; 34/91-310-0965); tiny high end restaurant where you have to walk through an antique shop and then downstairs. There's only like 10 tables so you have to book in advance.
We went to two bars/clubs that were fun: Tupperware & the Mader Faker (yes, that's its name)


Jun 11, 2008
Hi everyone I was hoping to get some tips as to what to do in Madrid. I'll be there for a month and besides all the musesums and cultural stuff in the guide books (which I will do).

I wanted to know where would everyone go to get the best tapas, the best views of the cities, shopping (expensive and non-expensive) and in general what would you do. PS I'm going in December! TIA. :smile:
Jan 10, 2008
I hope i didn't see this thread too late. When are you leaving? I love madrid so much, it is great that you will be there a month so you don't have to be rushed.

Do you know what area you are staying in? I don't have much time right now but later I will post a TON of info for you on where to shop, best clubs, etc.


Jun 11, 2008
Thanks! Any advice would be much appreciated. I'm not sure where we are staying since my BF's company will be paying but I'm super excited. Hoping for advice on a great place for tapas, sipping coffee, buying leather boots (I'm very excited about this part) etc, etc., I just want to be a local. :yes:
Jan 10, 2008
Some restaurants worth checking out:

[FONT=@Arial Unicode MS][FONT=@Arial Unicode MS]La Broche: best to make reservations. It is at the Hotel Miguel Angel.

Jose Luis: great tapas! very traditional food and i think it is part of a chain but not too sure on that.

Santeceloni: This is one of my fave places. For me, it is one of madrid's best restaurants. It is great for dinner or lunch but I'd recommend it for dinner just because there is always a little something extra special in the atmosphere at that time.

Sobrino de Botin: It doesn't look like much on the outside but like the oldest restaurant in the world or something. I personally do not go here much, just been once to check it out. Food wasn't that great imo, but this is one of those places you visit just to say you've been since it is so old, etc. It is more for the atmosphere than the food really but even then it is mainly one of those touristy places these days.

El Chaflan: it is in a hotel too. nuveau cousine, so not very traditional but good nonetheless. really like the fried white asparagus and mushroom risotto and caramel dessert.

: not spanish, but more of an international cusine. It is a nice restaurant though and I recommend it for lunch.

El Amparo
: It is a nice romantic place to go for lunch or dinner. Good spanish food.

Cafe de Oriente
: go for the views! The second floor offers nice views of the park and palace. Food is really hit or miss imo though. Once, I went and it was great, another time i went and it was okay, it wasn't that bad but just seemed different than the first time and it was a bit cold. Still worth going though.
La Bocaito
: It is in Chueca neighborhood. I would go here during the day for lunch but at night it can get busy and it is a bit off the beaten path. Good place for tapas.

El Brilliante
: Nice and casual bar/restaurant. It's usually really busy at lunch time but it is a nice place to grab some food when you aren't in the mood for something quiet and more elegant. The tapas menus is really good too.

Casa Libre
: Really good tapas as well. I usually just get something to eat and leave, so I can't comment on the sit in experience. It is close to a ton of shops (preciados street).

Gabbana 1800: Great bar to just people watch. Most local celebs hang out here. It is on Velazquez street and the drinks are great! I could spend hours on end here lol.

Cholcolateria San Gines
: A nice place to grab some warm (and so delicious!) churros and chocolate!

La Paz
: nice market in Salamanca district. They sell amazing tapas, good cheeses, oils, fruit and stuff. My house is nearby so I shop there a lot but if you aren't nearby, it may not seem to be worth it unless you are shopping in the area then it is worth stopping by to pick something up.

: it is a must if you like wine. It is a wine shop with a huge selection and also a good place to get some lunch.

: delicatessan in Salamanca district. One of my favorite places to just grab something fro a quick lunch when I don't feel like eating out. They have a lunch menu too and a lot of pasteries, sweets, etc.(they are all sooo good!) It is close to the Retiro park so if you are going there you can pick up a picnic basket from here. The food is very good.

Jan 10, 2008

Eskeption: High end boutique, sells Chloe, Miu Miu, etc.

Elana Benarroch
: Spanish desinger who sells other names in her boutique as well as her own designs. check out the shoes!

El Corte Ingles
: popular department store, sells just about everything from cheap to expensive.

Salamanca district
: My absolute fave. I have a house here so this area is my speciality lol. The main streets are Serrano, Gasset and Ortega. All the names from back home like Gucci, Chanel are here but you will also find spanish designers here too. If you have Gucci, Chanel, Versace,etc. back home then I'd skip those boutiques and focus on the stuff that you don't have back home. There is everything you could want around here and the cafes and restaurants are perfect for taking a break from shopping. Some of the places listed here, like sybilla, are in salamanca but I double listed them lol

El Rastro
: It is basically a flea market with a lot of sellers. I only went once to get some interesting local things but it was busy and just too much too handle for me. I did get some nice souvenirs and stuff but I have not been back to it. If you want to go get there really early, i think it opens way before 9am but also, it is only on sunday. Be careful if you go because there will be tons of people so just keep an eye on your surroundings, etc. Not to scare you or anything but just worth mentioning because of the amount of people that there can be when it gets real busy.

: One of the best places to find hand made shoes.

J and J:
a cute little bookstore! If you like books, this is a nice little hang out. I usually just stop by and spend some time reading and drinking coffee. Books are in english and I just find it relaxing to just take some time out and stop by here.

: Spanish designer. be sure to check out her boutique, I like her shoes and some of her rtw collection is stunning.

El Jardin de Serrano
: a small mall that has a decent selection of shoe shops, accessory stores, etc.

a popular shoe store chain. I've only been to the one in salamanca district but there are otehrs around town too. I personally don't like their shoes (they have a website so you can check them out) but a friend of mine likes them and always has me pick up a pair.

Augusto Figueroa
: It is a street in the Chueca neighborhood (gay area of madrid but good for shoes). There are a ton of shoe stores here that are cheaper in price but trendy too. Sometimes you can find something nice an unique so it can be worth a visit. Besides, there are some other trendy shops in the neighborhood too, as well as a lot of alternative fashion stores too. There is also Fuencarral street, where there is a bohemian market and some other shops you might want to check out if that interests you.

Acosta and Bally: both in Salamanca. Sell good quality shoes and accessories.

Shopping in the center of the city (plaza de sol area, etc.) is mainly high street (mango, zara...) and department stores. You could find some great sutff though so don't be put off since it isn't all designer. There are some nice shops though and some streets are pedestrian only (calle preciados, etc.) so just take a stroll and see what you can find!

For bargains, check out the area near Plaza de Castilla. It is an area close to the university. I haven't been there though so can't really comment on what to find or how good it is.

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