Another trip that has been in the pipeline to be posted for a while has to be our amazing trip to Madrid last autumn (yes, we also can’t believe that this is now last year!). For ourselves, Madrid wasn’t an obvious choice to travel to; by all means we’d heard amazing things about the place but it wasn’t too high up on our visiting radar initially. However if you’re a fan of fashion, design and architecture, Madrid should definitely be on your list of places to see in Europe! It’s the perfect place for a short city break and an ideal place for photographers like us to run wild.
The first thing that stood out for us were the hotels. Both hotels we visited were modern in design, with clean lines and colours, they were a treat to stay in as well as to photograph. The first, NH Collection Hotels, is a little further away from the city centre, but it’s ideal for a slightly cheaper way to enjoy a luxurious break. From floor to ceiling windows and minimal grey furnishings to brilliantly thought out desk space, the rooms were a delight to lounge around in. The second stop along the way, Hotel Catalonia Atocha, was a little more traditional in style but with the added benefit of being right in the middle of the city centre. Plus the building benefited from a beautiful roof terrace with views over the city. One word of advice when booking hotels in the city centre is that Madrid is full of tall buildings and narrow streets, which can limit the amount of natural light you get in your room. So try and book a higher or street facing room!
The next thing that stood out for us needless to say was the food. The city centre was of course riddled with amazing tapas restaurants but there were definitely a few unexpected finds during our time in Madrid. The best find was surprisingly a sushi restaurant by the name of Yoko Loko right in the middle of Mercado De Anton Martin. At a first glance it may look like a run down little stall, but it served fresh fish caught that morning from the adjacent market and you could really taste the difference!
In terms of places to visit when you’re in Madrid, if you’re huge shopping addicts like us and enjoy the likes of Zara & Mango then go with wallets armed as these shops are MUCH cheaper than in the UK. Also if you’re a fan of shops like Pull & Bear and Bershka, then along with these we’d definitely recommend checking out Lefties and Springfield (for men’s clothing especially) for some cool pieces!
To recover from your shopping frenzy there are lots of places to visit that are relatively budget friendly as well as beautiful. El Parque De Retiro is a huge expanse of greenery that puts something like Hyde Park to shame (in our opinion anyway). The weather in Madrid is mostly sunny and clear (even in the winter, albeit a bit chilly) so we’d recommend taking a stroll in the park and visiting the Palacio De Cristal, a melancholic glass building hidden away in the middle of the park that lends itself to some awesome pictures if you’ve got your camera handy.
We don’t usually give ourselves a set agenda when travelling somewhere for the first time, as we prefer to wander the streets and see what we stumble upon. That’s exactly how we came across La Bicicleta, a kooky cafe off Calle Gran Via that doubles as a work space. It was a great opportunity to grab a flat white and tap away on the laptop for a few hours! Another place we stumbled upon was Madrid and Portugal exclusive T shirt shop, Typographia. They specialise in custom screen printed T-shirts and they were so unique that we couldn’t help but pick up a few while we were in there. The interiors were also super minimal so we couldn’t help but go a bit snap happy!
Overall we’d definitely recommend Madrid if you’re a fan of short city breaks on a relatively low budget. There are definitely places to see that are wallet friendly as well as a bustling shopping district if you’re feeling spendy!
Patches & Flash x