The Ultimate Madrid Bucketlist

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Whether you’re coming to Madrid for a long term stay or just a short vacation, there’s so many things that you simply must see and do whilst here! So much so that you will have difficulty in getting everything ticked off your bucketlist in time. To help you, we’ve put together the ultimate bucket from checking out the famous sites to living and breathing the 24 x 7 non-stop Spanish culture to ensure you get the most out of this amazing city!
Wherever you are in the world, one of the must see ceremonies is the Changing of the Guards. Most countries with a royal palace and family has one and they are each unique in reflecting the country’s culture. In Spain, they host a small ceremony every Wednesday, but on the first Wednesday of every month visitors can witness the beautiful solemn changing of the guards, with hundreds of horses plus a live orchestra conducting the performance!
As one of Spain’s most famous tablaos (flamenco clubs), the Corral de la Morería in Madrid has been producing flamboyant and moving flamenco performances for nearly 60 years. Thanks to its reputation, the Corral de la Morería attracts its fair share of world-renowned dancers as well as the occasional A-List celebrity spotted among the audience. With seating around individual tables for a capacity of just 140, the club feels intimate and cozy, furnished in simple rustic style and with great views of the small stage from all sides. With two shows lasting over an hour every night, each featuring 11 performers, revered names from the world of flamenco who have danced their wild, passionate flamenco here include Blanca del Rey and Antonio Gades. The current artistic director, Blanca del Rey, has also received many awards for the stunning choreography of the flamenco shows.
The Temple of Debod is an Egyptian 4th century BC temple that now stands in the Parque de la Montaña near Plaza de España. While it seems out of place in Madrid, the temple has been there since 1971 when it was dismantled, shipped, and carefully reconstructed in the city. This was done to protect it from flooding caused by the Aswan Dam. Spain was chosen to receive the temple as a thank you for helping to save Abu Simbel, another archaeological site that was threatened by flooding in Egypt. As for the temple itself, it stands behind two stone gates rising out of a calm shallow pool. Inside the temple, there are hieroglyphs as well as photos documenting its history, including the reconstruction in Madrid. The temple and gates are illuminated at night, creating a clear beautiful reflection of it in the water.
Madrid’s Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas is one of the city’s most renowned and largest public squares, dominated by the iconic Las Ventas bullfighting arena. Whatever your views on the notoriously controversial sport of bullfighting, there’s no doubting its prominent place in Spanish history and the Las Ventas bullring (the largest in the world) remains one of the city’s biggest attractions. Built by Joseph Espeliú in 1929, the 4-story stadium seats up to 25,000 spectators and draws in huge crowds of both locals and tourists. The annual Corrida de Toros (bullfighting) season runs from May to October, but the biggest date on the calendar is the San Isidro Bullfighting Festival held each June. Daily bullfights are held for 2 weeks during the festival, featuring the world’s top bullfighters and including both traditional and mounted fights.
El Rastro de Madrid or simply el Rastro is the most popular open air flea market in Madrid (Spain). It is held every Sunday and public holiday during the year and is located along Plaza de Cascorro and Ribera de Curtidores, between Calle Embajadores and the Ronda de Toledo (just south of La Latina metro station).A great variety of products (new and used) can be found at el Rastro. A number of antique shops in the local area are also open on Sunday.El Rastro means "the trail". The market probably owes its name to the tanneries that were once located in Ribera de Curtidores (Ribera de Curtidores means 'riverside of tanners'). Close by, on the banks of the Manzanares River, was an abattoir. Transporting the slaughtered cattle from the abattoir to the tannery left a trail (rastro) of blood along the street. An alternative etymology suggests el Rastro once meant "outside", referring to the fact el Rastro was once outside the jurisdiction of the mayor's court.
Football fans won’t want to miss a visit to the magnificent Santiago Bernabéu, home to the legendary Real Madrid football team. The stadium opened its doors in 1947, boasts a capacity of 85,000 spectators and has a 5-star rating as a UEFA-classified Elite Stadium.Watching a game at the famous stadium – the 4-times host of the European Cup finals – is a memorable experience but if you’re not lucky enough to score tickets for a game, you can still visit the grounds. Fan tours allow behind-the-scenes access to the stadium, where you can take the lift to the top of the stadium towers for an impressive panorama of the vast playing field and walk in the footsteps of your heroes across the pitch. You’ll also get to sneak a peek into the players’ dressing rooms, the presidential box and the trophy room, and even walk through the players’ tunnel.
Parque del Buen Retiro - or Park of the Pleasant Retreat - is Madrid's most expansive park and landmark, covering 1.4 km2 350 acres. Known locally as just El Retiro, the park is referred to as The Lungs of Madrid, providing the majority of the greenery to feed off of the carbon dioxide of urban life and release enough oxygen to keep its many residents and visitors alive. One of the city's most popular attractions, Parque del Buen Retiro is filled with numerous statues, gardens, galleries and a beautiful lake. People go to meet with friends, to read or picnic, and to admire the art, both indoors and out. You can even rent yourself a boat to paddle around the lake. During the warmer months, also be sure to catch the free concerts in the park every Sunday afternoon.
The Chocolatería San Ginés is a café at Pasadizo de San Ginés, 5, in central Madrid, in a passageway close to San Ginés church, west of the Puerta del Sol. It has served principally chocolate con churros (hot chocolate and churros) since 1894. Coffee and cakes are also available. The interior is decorated with mirrors and green wood panels, with green velvet seats and marble tables. The hot chocolate is served in Spanish style - thick, dark and strong - and the churros - deep fried batter, similar to a light, crispy, linear doughnut, cut to length by the staff - are served hot and freshly cooked, ready for dunking
Like in any other big city, you will find many things to do in Madrid: museums, monuments, markets, restaurants, bars, parks,... the number of Madrid attractions is countless. But, when it comes to what to do, you shouldn't miss the opportunity to take an active role in your Madrid experience and participate on attractions where five senses are involved. Because of its central location, Madrid receives influences from every corner of Spain, what has made of it the best city to learn Spanish cuisine. The Madridian open and conciliatory character will let you discover Spanish wine and food excellences no matter their region of origin. In our cooking classes you will learn not just about the Spanish food but also how to make it, what offers the perfect 'take-home' experience that will stay with you forever. So, you will get a broad knowledge of paella and tapas and other typical Spanish food like cured ham, olive oil, saffron, paprika,... and how important they are in the Spanish culinary culture. If you are looking for different things to do in Madrid for your holiday, an alternative to sightseeing attractions, whether you are a travelling alone, with your family or in a corporate event, then consider Cooking Point's cooking classes to get to the very heart of the local culture.
Madrid Rio is the name given to the 820-hectare area running along the banks of the Manzanares river in Madrid. Unveiled in 2008, 1.5 km from Puerta del Sol, Madrid Rio runs alongside the river for 6 km and connects existing green areas like the Casa del Campo with the city center. As you explore, you'll see river rowing lanes, kiosks, cafes, restaurants, terraces, sports facilities, outdoor gyms for adults, and 17 children's play areas which include a tree trunk jungle, a slides hill and a zip line area. Eleven new footbridges have also been built as part of Madrid Rio, and already-existing bridges have been improved. New trees have been planted, including 5,000 in Arganzuela Park which also has a new cultural center, an auditorium for concerts, and a large skating rink. But come summertime, the most popular spot in Madrid Rio is the Urban Beach, which is little wonder given that the nearest beach is 220 miles away.

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