may be a capital city, however unlike other bureaucratic and dull capitals, is also the liveliest and dare I say “funnest” city in Spain. Despite local and international dramas, locals really do work to live and love their pleasures - which usually involves eating, drinking and going out. Even more than New York say, the night is when Madrid really comes alive and the Latin spirit is such that they never want it to end. so be ready…
MY MADRID LIST
Air Canada has nonstop flights from Toronto (Summer only) rest of the year you have to connect (I suggest Munich or Zurich). http://www.aircanada.com/en/home.html
KLM (via Amsterdam) is not a bad option either and they usually have very good fares. http://www.klm.com/travel/ca_en/index.htm
Chic & Basic: http://www.chicandbasic.com/eng/hotel-mayerling-madrid/
Posada del Leon de Oro: http://www.posadadelleondeoro.com/lang/index_en.html
Praktik Metropol: http://www.hotelpraktikmetropol.com/
Room Mate Hotels: http://www.room-matehotels.com/index.php/eng# they have 4 design hotels in central Madrid.
Hotel Urban: http://www.derbyhotels.com/en/hotel-urban/
Al Cuadrado Taglio Bar (no website) add: Ballesta 10 tel: (34-91) 521-3515
Bar Tomate: http://www.grupotragaluz.com/rest-tomate.php
El Viajero: http://www.elviajeromadrid.com/
Estado Puro: http://www.tapasenestadopuro.com/
Gastro Croqueteria: http://www.gastrocroqueteria.com/
Italiana Madrid: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Italiana_madrid/176820085664941
La Cocina de la Mojigata: http://lacocinadelamojigata.blogspot.ca/
La Gorda: http://www.restaurantelagorda.com/
La Rosa: http://barlarosa.com/index.html
La Tita Rivera: http://www.facebook.com/pages/La-TiTA-Rivera/180160918666598
Ole Lola: http://www.olelola.com/bar.php
Olivia te cuida: http://www.oliviatecuida.com/
Sergi Arola: http://www.sergiarola.es/
Toma Cafe: http://www.tomacafe.es/
Viva la Vida: http://www.vivalavida.com.es/latina.html
Do Design: http://dodesign.es/ think of a Spanish “Colette” if you will.
Femisa Objectos Perdidos: https://www.facebook.com/FEMISA.OBJETOS.PERDIDOS
Matadero: http://www.mataderomadrid.org/ a new art complex.
Nomada Market: http://www.nomadamarket.com/ a design event.
Ocho y Medio: http://www.ochoymedio.com/ bookstore (and cafe).
A FEW TIPS
keep in mind meal times as they are different than North American norms - breakfast is later and light (usually just coffee and bread), Lunch is the main meal of the day (and best value as most places have a set 3 course menu) and dinner is lighter and very late (say 10pm or later). A lot of restaurants follow very strict hours.
There are TONS of pickpockets in the tourist areas as well as on the subway trains most used by tourists (the airport line is a favourite). The local economic situation has only increased their numbers. Also there are some parts of the city you shouldn’t hang out at night as they are full of pimps and hos (real ones that is).
Unlike Barcelona or the south of Spain, Madrid is at a very high altitude (it’s the highest capital in Europe) so be prepared for 4 seasons. Winter gets cold eh.
August is the worst time to visit since its also the hottest month (lots of humidity) and when most locals take holiday with a lot of smaller businesses closing. I suggest visiting Spring, early Summer or early Fall.
links (most are in Spanish only and there are LOTS) here are some English ones:
if you can speak (read) Spanish: http://madriddiferente.com/
images via motha*, artrip*, matadero*.