Madrid – Tourist Attractions, Things to do & Photo spots (Spain)

Categories: Travel reports, Europe, Spain

By chance we had seen a great offer for a Businss Class flight to Madrid with the holiday pirates. Since we didn’t know the capital of Spain yet, this was a good opportunity for a great weekend trip 🙂

Madrid

Our business class flight in the Dreamliner from LATAM Airlines

We like to look at portals like holiday pirates or holiday guru to find particularly inexpensive bargains for holiday destinations and then book them. For example, we have already been able to fly to Hawaii for just under 500 euros.

The low prices of LATAM Business Class

Flying for only 90 EUR in Business Class? And even in a modern Dreamliner from Frankfurt to Madrid. Doesn’t exist? Surely there are! 🙂

In March of this year we saw a great bargain for a business class flight of LATAM Airlines from Frankfurt to Madrid. And even in the Dreamliner for 180 EUR back and forth per person in a real long-haul business class with reclining seats, lounge access and 2 x 23kg checked baggage! We didn’t have to think long, because usually the regular flights cost so much. After we had found a suitable weekend in May, the flight was already booked 5 minutes later 🙂

This flight from Frankfurt to Madrid is a so-called Fifth Freedom flight and is only the extension of the LATAM flight from Madrid to Santiago de Chile. The offer can be booked normally via the LATAM website on various dates:

LATAM, Business Class, Low price, Direct flight, Frankfurt, Madrid

The low price in Business Class from Frankfurt to Madrid

The Business Class Lounge in Frankfurt & Madrid

At the end of May we started. We were at the airport a few hours before departure to take advantage of the free access to the Business Lounge and have a bite to eat. Since LATAM does not have its own lounge in Frankfurt, all business class guests have access to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, which is located in Terminal 1B on the 3rd level – right next to the gate where LATAM departs. It is important to have an invitation card to enter the lounge, which you will receive at the LATAM check-in desk. The business class ticket alone is not enough to get into the lounge.

The lounge is not very large, but very tastefully decorated. When we were there, the lounge wasn’t so crowded, which was nice. The lounge’s catering area is divided into 3 areas: a bar area where there are cold and warm, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. A kind of roundel in which you can find all kinds of chilled sandwiches, spreads, salads but also fresh fruit. And on the side there is a counter with hot dishes and desserts, such as muffins, doughnuts and cakes.

On our way back from Madrid to Frankfurt we were back at the airport a few hours before to have a bite to eat in the lounge. At the airport in Madrid, the passenger of LATAM simply goes to the Iberia Lounge, whose access is located on the edge of the duty free shop. We did not need a separate invitation card for the lounge, but the business class ticket was enough. The Iberia Lounge is significantly larger than the Air Canada Lounge in Frankfurt and there are plenty of seating options overlooking the tarmac. The food was also very good here and there are various stations with hot food, cold dishes (sandwiches, wraps, salads), ice cream, dessert and bread as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

Our flight LA705 in Business Class

After we were well strengthened, we walked to the nearby gate. As business class guests, we were the first to get in and make ourselves comfortable in the seats. In total, the business class in the LATAM Dreamliner (Boeing B787-900) has 30 seats. Shortly before departure we had the opportunity to take a look into the cockpit. That was pretty cool and we didn’t think that would be allowed in today’s world. But the pilots were insanely nice and likeable 🙂

Unfortunately, the flight passed far too fast and we fear that we will never want to fly Economy Class again 😉 The seats were insanely comfortable and even had a 2m long couch. For a long-haul flight, the gold is worth it. We had the delicious food tasted, watched a few series and swab, we were already in Madrid. A great flying experience!

Our Hotel Maydrit Airport

For Madrid we had chosen a hotel near the airport, because the hotels in the city were very expensive. It was important to us that we have a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel, that the hotel is very well served by public transport and that it has good reviews on TripAdvisor. And so we came to the Hotel Maydrit Airport, which we then also for 2 nights incl. had booked breakfast for 245 EUR.

The shuttle bus to the hotel worked well, even though we had to wait for him for some time. We liked our room very much: it was nicely furnished, and the bathroom was very spacious. Everything was clean and tidy and we felt very comfortable here. With us the breakfast was included in the room rate, which we liked very much. There was everything your heart desires here: from Spanish churros to fresh juices and fruit to the usual things like bread rolls, croissants and cold cuts.

The hotel is located in a very quiet residential area. About 5 minutes walk from the hotel is the metro station “El Capricho”, from where you can reach the center of Madrid in about 30 minutes. We got a 10-passenger ticket for 12.20 EUR (+ one-time 2.50 EUR for the rechargeable card), which can also be used for two. This made more sense for us in terms of price than a tourist card. Information about the prices for metro, tourist tickets or taxis can be found here.

Things to know about Madrid

Here we have compiled some facts worth knowing about Madrid, which we didn’t know in detail before:

– Madrid is the capital of Spain and seat of the Spanish government
– Madrid is the third largest city in the European Union after London and Berlin
– The city is the geographical, political and cultural centre of Spain
– Madrid is located at an altitude of 667 meters, making it the highest capital of the EU
– Madrid has six public universities
– The inhabitants of Madrid are called “Madrilenians” or “Madrider”
– Madrid is divided into 21 districts (Distritos)
– The coat of arms of the city shows a brown bear, which stretches against a strawberry tree. The two are also part of the coat of arms of the football club Atlético de Madrid.
– Every year more than 13 million tourists visit the city
– The Sobrino de Botan, founded in 1725, is the oldest restaurant in the world
– The Museo del Prado houses one of the most important collections of paintings in the world

Explore Madrid on your own

The capital of Spain can be explored very well on your own, on foot and by public transport. We always explore cities on foot, so we usually walk 15 to 20 kilometers on such sightseeing days. In the evening your feet can hurt 😉

The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace (Palacio Real) in Madrid is one of the city’s top attractions. Completed in 1764, the palace is the official residence of the Spanish royal family, although it is no longer inhabited by the current monarchs. It is mainly used for ceremonial and public events and is open to the public as a museum. With an area of 135,000 m2, the palace is one of the largest castles in Western Europe and has 3,418 rooms, 870 windows, 240 balconies and 44 stairwells. At the northern end of the palace are The Sabatini Gardens with a large rectangular pond. From here you have a beautiful view of the north side of the palace.

Countless tourists flock to the Plaza de la Armera in front of the palace to view it from the outside and take pictures. If you want to enter the interiors of the palace, you should either buy tickets in advance online on the official site or you queue in front of the box office in the morning about 30 to 40 minutes before opening. If you arrive later or during the day, you have to prepare for very long waiting times. Tickets cost 13 euros per person. The palace is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in summer (April to September) and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in winter (October to March). On special days and also certain holidays, the palace is closed – it is best to inform yourself before visiting the official site.

We looked at the palace both from the outside and from the inside. The most important rooms include the Throne Room, the majestic staircase, the Hellebard Hall, the dining room with the long table, the Mirror Gallery and the Castle Chapel. Most rooms are very sumptuous and decorated in different styles. It took us about 45 minutes to visit the interiors. Even though there were a lot of tourists on the way, the palace did quite well.

Another highlight takes place in front of the palace’s doors: the changing of the guard of the Royal Guard. There is a big change of guard or a military parade on the first Wednesday of each month at 12 o’clock (except in January, August and September) in the large courtyard of the palace, where even the military chapel plays. A total of 400 people and 100 horses will take part in the spectacle. Unfortunately, we were not lucky enough to experience this ceremony as we were here on a weekend. However, there is a minor change of guard in front of the Puerta del Principe gate. Every Wednesday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can watch a changing of the guard ceremony here.

Almudena Cathedral

Right next to the Royal Palace of Madrid is the Almudena Cathedral. Although the first foundation stone was laid in 1883, the construction of the cathedral dragged on for decades, as not enough donations were made. The crypt was inaugurated in 1911, but further construction could not be resumed until after the Civil War in 1939. It was not until 1993 that the construction of the cathedral could be considered finished. In the same year it was consecrated by Pope John Paul II and at the same time elevated to the Episcopal Church of the Archdiocese of Madrid.

Admission to the cathedral and the crypt is free of charge.

Der Plaza Mayor & die Puerta del Sol

Plaza Mayor is a rectangular square in the center of the city, completely surrounded by residential buildings. Unfortunately, the place was a pure stint of construction during our visit, because the preparations for the Champions League final 2019 were in full swing. Actually a pity, because the place and especially the buildings are very nice. The most famous and oldest building on the square is the “Case de la Panaderia” – the house of the bakery.

About 5 minutes walk from Plaza Mayor is Puerta del Sol, one of Madrid’s most visited squares. Unfortunately, there were already many stages for the Champions League final, so we could see very little from the actual place. On the edge of the square, in front of the Casa de Correos, is the zero-kilometre stone of Spain’s six main national roads, which stretch from Madrid across the entire Spanish mainland.

The Mercado de San Miguel Market Hall

The most famous market hall in the city is probably the Mercado de San Miguel, an iron building that was opened in 1916 as a market hall and was converted into Madrid’s first culinary market in 2009. This is where gourmets get their money’s worth: Iberian ham, fresh seafood, special cheeses, fresh fruit and much more. The market hall is very nice, but also very sterile and a bit boring. We prefer traditional bazaar-like markets where there is a lot of activity.

The Grand Street of Madrid

The Gran Via is the most famous and important shopping street in Madrid and stretches over a length of 1,300 metres through the city – from the Plaza de Cibeles to the Plaza de Spain. Some sections of the road are traffic-restricted zones or even pedestrian zones, which certainly makes strolling and shopping easier. Our tip: On calle del Carmen is the department store El Corte Inglés, from whose terrace you have a great view of the city. For this purpose, you can simply take the elevator or the escalator to the last floor. Here you will find the gourmet department of the department store with a café and an outdoor terrace. From the windows and the terrace you have a great view of Madrid and the famous Schweppes building (Edificio Carrion). And best of all, it’s completely free 🙂

The Retiro Park with the Crystal Palace

A green oasis in the middle of the turbulent city is the 125 hectare Retiro Park. We entered the park via the “Puerta Felipe IV” access gate and explored the park with a walk of about an hour. Particularly noteworthy are the lake where you can rent rowing boats, the Crystal Palace, which was created for the exhibition of exotic plants as part of the Philippines exhibition in 1887, the beautiful rose garden and the trimmed cypress trees, which we really liked and which are a great photo motif.

The Ghost Station Chamberi

Chamberi Metro Station is one of the original 8 metro stations of the first Madrid Metro, which opened in 1919. The station has been closed since 1966, but line 1 still passes here (but no longer stops). Since 2008 you can visit the station as a museum free of charge and get an insight into what a metro station looked like more than 50 years ago.

More sights in Madrid

Madrid has many more sights to offer. These include, for example, important buildings, such as the Spanish National Library. It was founded in 1712 and comprises about 26 million media units, making it one of the largest libraries on earth. The buildings on the busy Plaza de Cibeles are also worth a visit. These include, for example, the Palacio de Cibeles, which has been the seat of the Madrid City Council since 2007. Not far from the Royal Palace, perched on a hill of templo de Debod. The temple is a gift from the Egyptian government to Spain. It was thus saved from sinking into Lake Nasser during the construction of the Aswan Dam.

For all chocolate lovers, a visit to the city’s best churros shop (at least if you believe the queues): the Chocolateria San Ginés. The Teatro Real is the Opera House of Madrid, which was opened in 1850 near the Royal Palace. In the following years, the house was one of the most important opera theatres in Europe. However, due to due to due to construction, it had to be closed again in 1925. It was reopened in 1966 after extensive restorations. Another beautiful sightseeing highlight is the former station hall of Atocha station, which has been transformed into a tropical palm garden and thus offers an oasis of peace in the otherwise very turbulent railway station.

In total, 1.5 days were good enough for us to explore the whole city with all its sights and photo spots on foot 🙂

Starbucks Global Icon City Mug of Madrid

We are collecting the Starbucks Mugs from the cities and islands we visit on our travels. Unfortunately, not every city that has a Starbucks store with an own mug. But if the city has an own mug we like to collect them as a souvenir. We only collect city mugs from the "Global Icon Series", which was released in 2008. You can see our complete collection here: Starbucks - Our collection of Mugs from the Global Icon Series

Madrid has several Starbucks stores and also its own cup 🙂

Madrid, Starbucks Cup, Global Icon Series, City Mugs, Collection, Spain, Travelreport

The Starbucks City Cup of Madrid

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