Here's why there's no better time to visit Madrid than now
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Madrid, like any other millions-strong capital cities, is a shapeshifter, easy to adore but hard to pin down. To museum lovers, it’s a bottomless trove of Goyas, Velázquezes, Sorollas, and Picassos; to partiers, it’s a choose-your-own-adventure of world-class techno, house, flamenco, jazz – any scene you love, any night of the week. Food lovers may have the most fun: Dinner might be a handful of olives and Sangria at a glorious hole-in-the-wall tapas bar, a nine-course tasting feast at a Michelin-starred gastro haunt, or anything in-between.
Today Madrid is a patchwork quilt of cultures hailing not just from around the Iberian Peninsula but far, far beyond. Here are the reasons why there’s never been a better time to visit the Spanish capital – plus a smattering of insider tips to knit you straight into the city’s fabric from the moment you touch down.
What to see
With its architectural wonders, beautiful parks, famed art museums and laidback lifestyle – Madrid is basically a dream come true – provided your dreams are filled with influential art, delicious food, and beautiful people.
If life were a city, it’d be Madrid
Must visits include the great galleries of Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art, home to the Prado (be sure to book in for your own private tour), Thyssen-Bornemisza
What to eat
We love a tapas crawl as much as the next chowhound – who can resist meaty croquettes and slices of ooey-gooey Spanish omelette? So where better to start than at the oldest restaurant in the world? Founded in 1725, and with almost three centuries of history behind it, Botín is one of the capital’s most authentic and traditional eateries. But what sets Madrid apart from other Spanish cities is its nueva cocina scene that throws the rulebook out the window. For that type of cooking, there’s no hotter barrio than Saddle, helmed by chef Adolfo Santos, having just collected its first Michelin star last year. Saddle joins an impressive collection of 19-strong Madrid establishments that are part of the Michelin Guide 2021, which includes DiverXo headed by Dabiz Muñoz, Coque by Mario Sandoval and El Invernadero, by Rodrigo de la Calle.
Where to stay
The best of the old have survived, upgrading their facilities while adhering to old-style values of discretion and hospitality, but they have been joined by modern designer hotels that capture the essence of Spain’s style revolution. The Four Seasons, for example, is a newcomer to the capital, having opened its doors in 2020, while both the Rosewood Villa Magna and the Mandarin Oriental Ritz, are once again welcoming guests after undergoing ambitious restoration and renovation work. These three new additions join Madrid’s extensive list of premium hotels which includes the historic Westin Palace and the Santo Mauro Autograph Collection.
*All UAE residents who have been fully vaccinated can enter Spain for a vacation without proof of a negative Covid test. Please refer to local government guidelines before travelling.*