Madrid. The Spanish capital famous for flamenco and sangria in mass quantities. I spent 4 nights in this incredible city at the end of June with some mates I went to school with. Despite it being 35℃ for most of our trip – a temperature most Scots have never experienced – it was so so good.
Hostels are probably the best places to stay when you go to a major city like Madrid. Not only will you meet loads of amazing new mates but you’ll often have endless opportunities to see and do things at a much discounted price. We stayed at Way Hostel and it is genuinely the best hostel I have been to. Ever. The staff were so friendly and remembered you by name – something chain hostels don’t have time for. There was a real sense of community in the hostel as over 70% of guests were solo travellers. This made meeting new people incredibly easy. I even found out that not all Australians watch Home and Away (can you believe it) and that they refer to sex as “putting one through her”. Banter. Also, smaller independent hostels like Way genuinely want their guests to have an amazing time unlike many chain hostels whose main aim is to make a large profit. If you plan on staying in a hostel, stay here. There are endless amounts of activities on offer from Flamenco nights to Pub Crawls and even a day trip to the town of Toledo – a UNESCO World Heritage Site!!
Drinking games at the hostel. Who can say no to free Sangria??
A great way to see Madrid is on foot. Many hostels will provide free (tip based) walking tours and you’ll find out so much more than you would on the overpriced bus tours. Again, if you’re travelling alone or just want to meet new people, the walking tour really helps you do that! The walking tour we done took us to all the top places like the Royal Palace, the Opera and the Cathedral. However, we also got to see some places that aren’t typically included in paid tours such as the “Beverly Hills of Madrid”. At the end of the tour our guide told us of all the places to avoid and recommended where we should go for food and drinks. She even invited us to lunch with her at a local restaurant which was so good. I just don’t think you’d get this type of experience with the better known tours.
The Royal Palace, so Royal that not even the King lives there..
The fact that there are no beaches in Madrid shouldn’t put you off visiting. If you’re looking for a cool spot to sunbathe and go for a swim then check out one of the city’s many public pools. The weather was so good when we visited so we wanted somewhere to cool off and relax. We chose to go to a public pool around 20 minutes from our hostel by foot, which is not bad, especially when the weather is so nice. The entry fee was €5 but this included somewhere to store your belongings. You could choose from two different sized pools and there was areas where you could just chill with some snacks. There are lifeguards too so don’t worry if you’re not quite Michael Phelps.
Piscina Municipal Peñuelas. A great place to get away from the busy city centre.
Nightlife in Madrid is incredible and I mean fucking out of this world. I recommend you start your night by going on a pub crawl, either one at your hostel or some other hostel. Clubs or Discotecas don’t open til around 2am in Spain so you’ll have plenty of time to get out your tits by the time the doors open. We visited Madrid during the week and were told it wouldn’t be that busy. I would like to see it on the weekends because, fuck me, it was busy! But in a good way. On Monday we decided to go to the Fucking Mondays event at Independence club. It was amazing, entry is €10 but that includes 2 drinks. Beers are around €2 and Jägerbombs are also €2!! The place is huge and plays a mixture of English and Spanish chart music. However, be aware, the DJ shouts “Fuuuuckinggg Mondayyyyysss” into his microphone like every 15 mins and it’s so so funny. Me and my mates still mock him when we’re on nights out. I would also recommend going to Planet, where for €10 you get unlimited Sangria or Beer for one hour, check out EnBabia club too.
Clubbing with a group of French-Canadians at EnBabia.
Other cool spots to check out are Sol, the main meeting point in Madrid. It has lots of street performers that are worth checking out. Also, Retiro Park is a must see, it’s huge and also has row boats that you can rent at €5 for 45 mins. If you have time, visit Prado Museum, where you can see some of Picasso’s work! Don’t forget to drink unhealthy amounts of Sangria and beer whilst your in Madrid!!!
On the row boats at Retiro Park.
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