The cultural capital of Spain shines during the day and glitters royally at night. Madrid is a city perfect for walking, sightseeing, and for shopping. It's paradise for culinary-inclined culture seekers, offering an endless variety of eating experiences, whether that's a perfect espresso, a long, lazy lunch at 3 p.m., or a vibrant and varied tapas dinner at 10 p.m. Marketplaces brimming over with the bounty of Spanish delicacies are yours to explore as you wander the boulevards and laneways of this magestic city. But whatever you do and wherever your feet take you, your adventure will leave you feeling like a queen.
WHERE TO STAY
The H10 Villa de la Reina boutique hotel is a lovely and convenient base from which to explore the city. Located on the "Broadway" of Madrid that is the Gran Via, this upscale boutique property is designed with Art Deco flair, with some suites featuring private terraces overlooking the city's picturesque terracotta rooftops to the mountains—and the bustling and colorful laneways below. The H10 also has a delightful lobby decorated with potted palm trees, and an excellent bar, perfect for having a glass of cava (Spanish sparkling wine) before heading out into the bustling cityscape. Be sure to enjoy a full buffet breakfast each morning of your stay, but save room for the sumptuous snacks and lavish tapas dinners that are to be found on almost every corner in Madrid.
WHERE TO DINE
Madrid is home to countless restaurants, some of which are the oldest in the world and date back to 1725. But today's cutting-edge cuisine includes both regional Spanish dishes drawing on Spain's rich cultural history, as well as a fusion of international culinary trends and techniques.
The excellent restaurant El Altillo at the NH Suecia Hotel is perfect for a sophisticated tapas lunch or fine dining date night. The establishment also has a lovely and sunny rooftop bar, Atica, with views to the Sierra de Guadarrama, and a luxe and cozy basement bar, Bar Hemingway, which has a very creative "speakeasy" ambience.
La Botilleria Cafe de Oriente is a classic spot for traditional Spanish entrees, and is conveniently located just a short walk from the luminescent Royal Palace, a stunning feat of architecture that must be experienced while in Madrid.
For a taste of thoroughly modern Madrid, head to NuBel restaurant, which is right next door to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. NuBel is a space-age design dream in red velvet, and the food is innovative, too, offering a healthy and contemporary twist on tapas.
For a special evening dining either in a palatial room or al fresco in a magical garden, Cien Llaves Restaurante is an anniversary and wedding-worthy venue, set amongst historic buildings and lovely gardens complete with a courtyard fountain. The food is light, chic and innovative.
WHAT'S ON FOR WOMEN
There is so much to do in Madrid that its appeal for women is sometimes overlooked. Here are a few ideas for female travelers.
Focus On Women
This company, located in the district of Las Letras, offers cultural visits and tours with female artists, writers, and business owners to reveal Madrid from a feminine perspective. The purpose of Focus on Women is to reveal the city through tours designed especially for women, for example including a visit to the home of a female composer, listening to a concert in her living room, and a tour of the city's women with a female historian or architect—to raise the profile of women in the world and empower women from every country.
Prada leads international and is a recognizable and desired global brand. Miuccia Prada built the company from an old leather business into an admired empire of design, including the two stores in Madrid, on Serrano and Goya. Here you can peruse the items that display a simple interpretation of luxury with classic and sophisticated lines. Handbags, shoes, watches and jewelry—so much to choose from!
Mutua Madrid Open 2018
The world's top tennis players will descend upon La Caja Mágica for the Mutua Madrid Open—one of the world's elite tennis competitions. It is also one of the few opens in the world where the men's and women's competitions are held simultaneously. Since 2009, the Mutua Madrid Open has been held at La Caja Mágica, an impressive modern tennis complex with three courts and retractable roofs. Serena Williams won the women's competition in 2012 and 2013 and Rafael Nadal was proclaimed champion (for the fifth time) this year, while Romanian Simona Halep, a two-time winner, may be the woman to with next year.
The Race For Women
The Carrera de la Mujer (Women's Run) is the biggest women's sporting celebration in Madrid, raising money for breast cancer charities. It covers approximately 6.3 km and over 20,733 women ran in the 2016 race. Starting in Calle Princesa, it goes through the Plaza de España, Gran Vía, Alcalá, Puerta del Sol, Calle Mayor, Calle Bailén, the Royal Palace, Paseo del Pintor Rosales, Calle Ferráz, Calle Marqués de Urquijo and finishes in Paseo de Camoens, taking a maximum of 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete. Entrance is open to females over 12 years of age and costs 10 Euros to register.
To find more itineraries for women go here. To plan your visit to Madrid, go here.