36 hours in Madrid

Madrid, Spain’s bubbly capital city offers a lot; fantastic food, an exciting nightlife, great shopping, friendly people and good museums. Yet, compared to Barcelona Madrid tends to end up in the second rank. Whether or not that’s fair is a question of taste. It is true though that Madrid and Barcelona are as different as chalk from cheese. It is difficult to compare Madrid’s very urban charm with Barcelona’s touristy, Catalonian vibe. La Bonne Vivante visited Madrid recently and can’t wait to bring you the latest on where to shop, eat and sleep.

Restaurants: If there is one thing that Madrileños enjoy it is eating. Whether it is Tapas or a long, 5 course menu, hearty meat dishes or refined Michelin starred cuisine or the ubiquitous Jamón Iberico ; you’ll find all of it in Madrid. For dinner, make sure to book a table after 10 pm unless you’d like to be identified as a tourist straight away.

Tapas: La Plaza de San Miguel is THE place for Tapas. In essence, Plaza San Miguel is a covered food market which serves everything from sweet to savory. Try the frozen yoghurt at La Yogueria which Prince Charles and Camilla couldn’t resist when they stopped by a few years ago.

Restaurant Almagro in Salamanca offers a stylish interior and excellent cuisine and to die for Truffle Ravioli. The value for money is good too. Address: Almagro, 10 Madrid, 28010, Madrid

Restaurant Iroco is a stylish restaurant  which offers excellent Spanish cuisine. Most dishes can be ordered as a small portion which gives visitors the opportunity to try out various dishes. Adress: Velazqzuez 18, 28001 Madrid

Café de Oriente is located only steps away from Palacio real. Book a table in the restaurant’s beautiful and very romantic cellar and enjoy the decisively Spanish cuisine. Av. del Mediterráneo, 25, 28007 Madrid, Spanien, Tel+34 915 01 61 93

Hotels: Hotel Santo Mauro was the former residence of the Duke de Santo Mauro. The historic building has been refurbished tastefully and hosts an elegant and modern interior. The spacious rooms feature a view into the beautiful garden and once you’ve seen the large, stylish bathrooms you’ll never want to leave. Calle Zurbano, 36, 28010 Madrid, Tel: 34 913 19 69 00

Shopping: Madrid’s best shopping area is in Salamanca where you’ll find all of the high street and luxury brands. Nevertheless, Madrid also hosts various affordable Spanish brands which are only available in Spain.

The following 3 brands should be a must visit on every Fashionista’s shopping schedule:

Uterqüe is owned by Inditex which Zara is part of too. It offers affordable yet sophisticated, colorful clothes and accessories and an interesting mix of fabrics including some beautiful suede and leather pieces. http://www.uterque.com

Adolfo Dominguez – Colorful, playful yet wearable. To me these three attributes describe the Spanish take on Fashion. Adolfo Dominguez turns this into wearable and affordable clothes. If you had no time to to visit their boutiques during your stay they have a boutique at the airport for some last minute shopping. http://www.adolfodominguez.com/en-es/

Purificación Garcia created this brand in the 80’s. It stands for elegant, feminine and timeless fashion. http://www.purificaciongarcia.com/

For a round up on Spanish brands visit Corte Inglés where you’ll find a good selection of Spanish and International labels.

Sights: Every visit to Madrid should include a visit to Palacio Real. Also, don’t miss out on Pablo Picasso’s Master Piece Guernica which is showcased at Museo Reina Sofia. Other must visit museums include the Prado, one of the most important art museums in Europe.

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