If you’re after a city break that will promise you the ultimate in nightlife, then look no further than Madrid. While Spain is famous for its late night revelry the country over, its capital scoops the crown, boasting the award for the city with the most bars per capita than anywhere else in the world. In fact, Ernest Hemingway famously said of its after dark culture that, “Nobody goes to bed in Madrid until they have killed the night.” But it’s not all partying and dancing until dawn; you won’t be stuck for attractions, fine art and spectacular food. With a plethora of holiday villas to pick from, Madrid offers some of the most varied holiday lettings Spain has going, getting any Iberian travel plan off to flying start. As for the basics? Let us give you a few pointers.
Things to do
Hire a bike and whizz along the banks of the Madrid Rio, taking in the bustling community in the recently regenerated Manzanares region. Here, locals and visitors alike hang out on basketball courts and the beach area (which is actually more grassy than sandy), enjoying the laid back mañana vibe particular to Spain.
Get highbrow at the Museo del Prado, Europe’s largest art gallery and museum. Expect to be dazzled by dozen of paintings by the likes of Goya and Velåzquez amongst hundreds of others. You can’t truly say you’ve been to Spain until you’ve experienced its extraordinary contributions to art.
Share a meal with a local around their kitchen table. Mealsharing is a great way to permeate the skin of a country by dining with the residents, who happily cook up the best of Spanish cuisine. Get in on what and where Madriñelos do and go while making a few new friends along the way.
Best time to go
There’s really no need to plan a trip to Madrid around a particular date in the calendar: this city is alive 365 days of the year. However, temperatures soar during summer months to near on unbearable, and August is famously known as the month where urban Spain shuts up shop and heads out to the countryside and coast for reprieve. Equally, it can get pretty bitter during winter, so aim to visit Madrid either during springtime – March to May – or autumn, September to November.
Top 3 Hipster districts to visit
La Latina: Like the name suggests, Madrid’s Latin quarter makes up part of the city’s oldest districts. And despite its age, there’s no ignoring the young and energetic buzz to this area. Crammed full of cool shops as well as bars, vintage lovers will love La Latina: there are loads of vintage clothes shops that stay open until well into the night.
Malasaña: A firm good time go-to of Madrid, the Malasaña district is a long-standing favourite amongst the hip party set in the city. You’ll find a wealth of great bars, restaurants and hangouts here.
Chueca: For the trend-conscious foodie, this is the area for you. Chueca is known for its awesome food markets and coffee shops. With that comes a raft of eateries, so this is definitely the place for meet ups and catch-ups with friends.
Insider locations to dine and hangout
To be fair, dining and hanging out is something most of Spain does better than anyone else in the world. But for a few tips on the best places to do this, we’ve got a few tips…
Edificio Escuelas Pias (UNED), Calle Tribulete, 14, 4a Planta, 28012
+34 915 29 25 94
This rooftop hangout is super popular among Madriñelos and is possibly the number one spot to enjoy views of the setting sun over a beer. The contemporary Spanish menu is also a must.
Calle Leon, 12, 28014
+34 914 29 56 18
Made famous by Woody Allen, this superb tapas bar has been family owned and run since opening in 1931. Spanish cuisine at its most authentic.
Calle Cuchilleros, 17, 28005
+34 913 66 42 17
Dating back to the early 18th century, Botin is the world’s oldest restaurant. Its menu is hearty: try some of its famous whole oven cooked pig for the real deal.
Fatigas del Querer
Calle de la Cruz, 17, 28012
+34 915 23 21 31
If you can squeeze your way into this quintessentially Madrid bar, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with hundreds of locals. Always a good sign that the beer’s cold and the wine list extensive!
Calle de Echegaray, 7, 28014
+34 914 29 73 13
This was Ernest Hemingway’s favourite bar in Madrid, and the preferred watering hole amongst the resistance during the civil war. A must for lovers of history.
La Taberna de Mister Pinkleton
Calle Chuchilleros, 7, 28005
+34 913 64 02 63
You’ll find traditional Flamenco here every night of the week, alongside one of Madrid’d longest wine lists.