Madrid is the capital of Spain and a booming metropolis of art and culture. For those who want to a taste of modern Spain, Madrid is the city to visit. Exploring Madrid can be done on a budget if you know the right places to go to keep you entertained and busy. You’ll want a good 3-4 days to soak up the culture Madrid has to offer. There are many great hotels, restaurants, museums and galleries to visit while in Madrid. Don’t forget to people watch too. From buskers to elderly couples out and about, Madrid is a city that offers great people watching for those wanting to get a real peek at the Spanish lifestyle.
How to Get Around
Madrid’s amazing public transit metro also makes it easy to get around the city. Don’t worry about getting knocked over on your Vespa or dealing with cabbies in this city. The metro is easy to follow and can get you anywhere you need to go in the city. A week or month long metro pass is the way to go for tourists visiting the city. Madrid also offers weekend passes and children 5 and under ride the subway for free. If you’re doing Madrid on a budget, a metro pass will get you everywhere for an affordable price. Even if you aren’t watching your pennies while in Madrid, still consider taking the metro for a few trips. It is a great way to people watch and perhaps explore parts of the city that wouldn’t normally make your itinerary.
Where to Stay
Madrid offers many fabulous hotels, even for those who are watching how they spend. The Room Mate Oscar is a bright hotel for those who want to be seen. At 80 EUR a night (if book well in advance), it is an affordable, yet trendy hotel that is usually noisy and happenin’. Expect a party-like atmosphere around the clock at the Room Mate Oscar. Room Mate Oscar is located in central Madrid, it is a prime spot to stay considering the great price. The rooms are comfortable and quite spacious for a European hotel. Room Mate Oscar also has a rooftop bar, which can be quite noisy into the wee hours of the night. If you’re staying with friends or a couple who’s up for meeting new people and mingling, the Room Mate Oscar is a great place to stay.
For families or those looking for a more tame place to stay in Madrid, consider Quo Puerta del Sol. This is also an affordable choice for travelers and is a more quite, cozy stay than what you’ll find at Room Mate Oscar. Quo Puetra de Sol is also located in central Madrid, making all of Madrid’s must-see sites accessible by metro or walking. People walk regularly in Madrid, so if you’re used to roaming around in your SUV, your body may need a few breaks when sightseeing. Quo Puerta del Sol has modestly sized rooms, but all of the high tech things a modern traveler is accustomed to. Quo Puetra also offers free breakfast, you can choose continental or English style, as well as free wi-fi for those who may be conducting business when traveling. For those who want a modern hotel room that’s easy on the budget and has a great locate, Quo Puerta del Sol is an ideal choice.
Where to Go
For major art, hit the Museo del Prado. This is the main national art museum in Spain and boasts a collection of 12th-19th century Spanish art. Among the amazing works you’ll find here are several pieces by Velazquez, Goya, Bosch, Titian and Rubens. Velazquez is the artists most represented at this museum and the Museo del Prado houses his famous painting, Las Meninas. For those who love classical art or just want to witness one of the greatest collections of art in a single place in the world, the Museo del Prado is a must-see. Do not let the sheer volume of art overwhelm you. The Museo del Prado has a café to sit and snack or have a drink that will refuel you to finish up the museum at a leisurely pace. The Museo del Prado is free after 6 p.m. during the week and has free early hours on the weekends. This museum can get packed during high tourist season, so it’s important to come with an open mind, comfortable shoes and be ready to deal with the crowds who also want to look at these pivotal works of art. For some, this is known as the best art museum in the world. It is a lot to take in, so if you end up splitting your Museo del Prado outing into two evenings, don’t worry! The lines move quickly, even when it is a packed house.
For more art, check out the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, located near the Museo del Prado. This museum features 20th century and more contemporary art. The Museo del Prado is a must-see for all, but if you’re a true art lover, the Thyssen-Bornemisza is for you. Artists like Van Gogh, Munch and Monet are showcased at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. While this museum is part of the Golden Triangle of Art in Madrid, it is often far less crowded than the Museo del Prado. For teenagers who are interested in art, but yawn at the classics, this museum may interest them more with a hefty display of Impressionist and Dadaism art. There are no free hours at this museum, but at 8 euros per person, it is still a great way to spend a day in Madrid and take in the remarkable art this city offers.