Planning a weekend getaway this Spring - see what the Spanish capital has to offer
Ten years after I fell in love with Madrid and spent an unforgettable summer here, I come back, and there is an instant spring in my step.
With its fantastic artistic pedigree, culinary riches and legendary nightlife, there is no place on earth that puts in me a surge in energy like Madrid. I love the openness of this place, it doesn't matter where you are from for the oft-heard phrase to ring true "If you are in Madrid, you are from Madrid". April and May are the perfect months to visit - make the most of the San Isidro festival and hurry before the hot summer days descend on madrileños.
Plaza de la Independencia, 3, Salamanca, 28001 Madrid
This hotel is a true gem and often in the shadows of its better known 5-star peers. Set in a historic building in the elegant district of Salamanca it overlooks El Retiro. The rooms are classy and spacious - book one with a view over the park. The hotel has a gym and a spa; the restaurant has a large terrace with views of Puerta de Alcalá. Guests even get a free bike rental ! Enjoy a morning jog in the park and the fantastc restaurant and shopping scene in Salamanca.
Relais & Châteaux Orfilia
Orfila, 6, Chamberí, 28010 Madrid
A real sanctuary in central Madrid in Salamanca, this hotel is set in a 19-th century palace. Features a garden restaurant and tea room.
Velázquez, 33, Salamanca, 28001 Madrid, Spain
A five-star boutique hotel at the intersection of two of Salamanca’s iconic streets, the Adler combines classy and supremely comfortable rooms with near-faultless service. Room decor subscribes to a vaguely old-world elegance, but is light-filled and never stuffy.
My Places To Eat
Rising above the humble claims of its local cuisine, Madrid has evolved into one of the richest culinary capitals of Europe. This is a city that has wholeheartedly embraced all the creativity and innovation of Spain’s gastronomic revolution. The acceptance of the new is wedded to a passion for the enduring traditions of Spanish cooking – it’s no coincidence that the world’s oldest restaurant is found here – for the conviviality of the eating experience and for showcasing the infinite variety of food from every Spanish region.
Sergi Arola Gastro
Calle de Zurbano 31, Madrid
A stellar Catalan acolyte of the world-renowned chef Ferran Adrià, Sergi Arola runs this highly personalised temple to all that’s innovative in Spanish gastronomy. The menus change with the seasons. You pay for the privilege of eating here. But this is culinary indulgence at its finest, the sort of place where creativity, presentation and taste are everything. And oh, ... with just 26 seats, booking well in advance is necessary.
Jorge Juan 16, Salamanca, Madrid
Undeniably one of the best restaurants in Madrid, and a real testament for it is the predominantly local clientelle. The menu boasts typical Spanish food from the region of Asturias. We recommend manitas con colmenillas y trufa negra (trotters with morels and black truffles).The less formal sister restaurant, Ten con Ten, is just a walking distance away so if you fancy something more relaxed you can try that.
Restaurnate Sobrino de Botin
Calle de los Cuchilleros 17, Madrid
It’s not every day that you can eat in the oldest restaurant in the world, Sobrino de Botin was established in 1725, and has also appeared in many novels about Madrid, most notably Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, and Frederick Forsyth's Icon and The Cobra. The secret of its staying power is fine cochinillo (roast suckling pig) and cordero asado (roast lamb) cooked in wood-fired ovens.
Don't leave without...
Taking a walk in El Retiro
No Madrid experience is complete without a visit to the grand El Retiro. Relax by the lake or walk through the divine rose gardens.
Seeing a flamenco show
Enjoy the intensity of the performance in the intimate Casa Patas (Calle de los Cañizares, 10, 28012 Madrid), often frequented by locals.
Watching a bullfight
Not everyone's cup of tea, but certainly a unique spectacle, and one worth experiencing at the world's premier bullfighting venue, Madrid's Plaza de Toros Las Ventas. The best time to experience bullfighting in Madrid is during the San Isidro fiesta, which takes place between May and June each year. This is the most famous bullfighting festival in the world and fights take place every day for three weeks. Plan in advance as it is practically impossible to get tickets on the day.
What to wear...
RUMOUR LONDON wardrobe suggestions for your trip to the Spanish capital