Madrid, Christmas Atmosphere

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Dalla Francia alla Spagna, ecco per voi un post dedicato ad un?۪altra capitale che durante il periodo natalizio regala un?۪atmosfera magnifica grazie ai suoi mercatini ed ai suoi famosi alberi di Natale presenti nelle piazze!Qui di seguito l?۪elenco delle cose da non perdere:

Plaza Mayor Il mercatino di Plaza Mayor ̬ il principale della citt??. Vengono allestite 104 casette in legno che offrono prodotti tradizionali del Natale, decorazioni, statuine del presepe e dolcetti natalizi. Viene anche montata una giostra luminosissima con i cavalli che contribuisce a creare una magica atmosfera!

Dal 1 al 31 Dicembre

Lun-Ven 10.00/21.30 Sab-Dom 10.00/22.30

Plaza de Callao Ogni anno viene allestito un mercato natalizio coperto, la pista di pattinaggio sul ghiaccio ed un bellissimo e luminosissimo albero di Natale!

Dal 18 Novembre al 9 Gennaio

Tutti i giorni 10.00/22.00

Plaza de??Espa̱a Plaza de Espa̱a??̬ famosa per la presenza della ???Feria de Mercado de Artesan??a de la CAM?۝, un?۪esposizione di prodotti artigianali. Vi consiglio di fermarmi ai banchetti di bigiotteria, alcuni hanno pezzi davvero originali!

Dal 15 Dicembre al 5 Gennaio

Tutti i giorni 10.00/22.00 24 e 31 Dicembre chiude alle 15.00

From France to Spain, here for you a post dedicated to another European city which, during the Christmas season, offers a wonderful atmosphere thanks to its markets and its famous Christmas trees in the squares ! Here follows the list of the ???Must Do?۝:

Plaza Mayor The market in the Plaza Mayor is the most famous and big. It is composed of 104 small wooden chalets that offer traditional Christmas products such as decorations, nativity figurines and Christmas cookies . You can also find a bright carousel with horses that helps to create a magical atmosphere!

From the 1st to the 31st?? of December

Mon-Fri 10.00 a.m./9.30 p.m. Sat-Sun 10.00 a.m./10.30 p.m.

Plaza de Callao Every year there are an indoor Christmas market, an ice skating rink and a huge Christmas tree!

From the 18th of?? November to the 9th of January

Every day 10.00 a.m./10.00 p.m.

Plaza de Espa̱a Plaza de Espa̱a is famous for the presence of the " Feria de Mercado de Artesania de la CAM ", an handicrafts exhibition. I highly recommend you to visit the jewelry stalls , some bracelets and earrings can be really nice and original presents!

From the 15th of December to the 5th of January

Every day 10.00 a.m./10.00 p.m. On the 24th and 31st of December it closes at 3:00 p.m.

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L?۪albero di natale pi?_ famoso ̬ quello presente in Plaza del Sol, dove non allestiscono infatti alcun mercatino. Proprio nel centro della piazza di erge questo cono verde di luci magnifico che ha la particolarit?? di essere cavo dentro e quindi ci si pu?_ entrare! Un?۪altra particolarit?? del periodo natalizio ̬ la Cavalcata dei Re Magi, nella notte tra il 5 e il 6 gennaio. Rappresenta l'arrivo dei tre Re Magi, provenienti dall'oriente, in citt??. Durante questa tradizionale sfilata i Re, accompagnati da cammelli e numerose carrozze, percorrono la citt?? distribuendo ai bambini caramelle e dolciumi. Le carrozze percorrono la citt?? da Plaza de San Juan de la Cruz fino al Municipio, situato nella Plaza de Cibeles. Per quanto riguarda i presepi, non perdete quello della Villa de Madrid, quello napoletano esposto nel Museo Municipale ed il presepe tradizionale ??nel Museo di San Isidro.

The most famous Christmas tree of Madrid is in Plaza del Sol, where in fact they do not put any market. Right in the center of the square rises this magnificent green cone of lights that has the particularity to be hollow inside and then you can enter in! Another feature of the Christmas season is the Cavalcade of the Magi, in the night between the 5th and 6th of January. It represents the arrival of the Three Kings, coming from the East, in the city. During this traditional parade, the Kings, accompanied by camels and numerous carriages, go across the town distributing candies and sweets to the children. The carriages run through the city from Plaza de San Juan de la Cruz to the City Hall, located in Plaza de Cibeles. Concerning the cribs, do not miss the one in Villa de Madrid, the Neapolitan one exhibited in the Municipal Museum and the traditional nativity scene in the Museum of San Isidro.

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Enjoy and have a nice Christmas trip! :-)

BFL

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Madrid - Vamos A Bailar? -

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Of course, I must also write about Madrid’s nightlife; how can I leave out "la movida" and the nightclubs? Where to go dancing in Madrid!?

Always a difficult question with such a vast array of options catering to almost any taste in music. Especially given that most nightclubs are so much fun!

The following is list of the best:

KAPITAL

Kapital is among the most famous and iconic nightclubs in madrid. Build on 7 floors, the first three overlook the main dancefloor, above that there is a rock’n’roll floor, followed by a floor playing latin-american music. On the roof, there is a wonderful terrace, perfect for a drink under the stars. On the second floor, there’s even a room for karaoke, and among the many bars, one even dedicated solely to Bacardi. Cover charge is between 10 and 15 euros with one or two cocktails included, depending on the night. The music is quite mainstream, but the choreographed performances, dancers, light shows, and acrobats swinging accross the ceiling are what make it truly special. This is without a doubt, my favorite party destination. Dress to impress, the doormen can be quite picky, and for boys, avoid shorts at all costs!

GABANA

The Gabana is currently one of the most “in” nightclubs in Madrid. It’s right in the center, in the Salamanca neighborhood. The doormen are very very picky, I suggest making a table reservation or making friends with someone who works there. As a nightclub, it is much smaller than Kapital, but still, you are guaranteed a fantastic night.

FABRIK

This nightclub is definitely a household name, it can easily accommodate 10 thousand people. It is often the venue of choice for very famous DJs. This is the perfect place if you lost electronica, house, and techno. The only catch here: it’s situated a little far from the city center, the best way to get there is by car or taxi.

 

 

 

 

 

JOY

Joy plays many genres of music and is centrally located on Calle del Arenal, a few steps away from the Opera metro station. Very popular for Erasmus university parties.

FORTUNY

Fortuny is a very posh club. It caters to an older clientele than the previous nightclubs mentioned. This is the place to be if you are looking for somewhere to be seen.

MOMA 56

Similar to Fortuny, this club is also quite exclusive, enjoy a meal here and then dance the night away.

SALA MARCO ALDANY

The Sala Arena, also known as the Sala Marco Aldany, hosts many smaller spaces where DJ’s frequently host concerts. It is located right in Plaza de Espana. There is always something different depending on the night from pop to techno. More often than not, you’ll hear some alternative or punk rock. The Smashing Pumpkins and Lagwagon, among others, have played shows here.

Madrid - A Secret & Colorful Corner -

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After having recommended hotels, restaurants, shops, parks, and sights to see in Madrid, I would like to to share one last thing; my favorite corner of Madrid, Plaza de la Cebada. One of the most historic plazas in the city, it is well known for it’s famous covered market. The market takes up nearly the whole plaza! This plaza is in the heart of the Latin quarter, in fact, easily reachable from La Latina station.  Next to the plaza, you’ll find many small bars offering tapas with some wine to wash them down. You’ll also find the famous La Latina theatre- they still host daily shows! While these are all interesting attractions, the reason I love this plaza is completely different. Very few people are aware, but there’s an amazing small courtyard surrounded by some rather dilapidated walls behind the market. At first glance, it might not seem like much, but once inside you’ll see that it is truly fantastic! The walls are full of colors and graffiti art. A band generally plays in a small outdoor amphitheater, adding even more ambiance to the whole scene. Everything is absolutly authentic. There are even some shopfronts that frequently host a wide variety of artists.  Before heading into La Latina Sunday market, stop a while to take some sun on a colorful bench . Between the improvised music and the mix of colors, you can’t help but feel some Spanish Allegria!

Madrid - Fuencarral & Chueca -

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Fuencarral street is one of the main thoroughfares of Madrid, filled with shops and bars. Chueca, on the understand is known as the LGBT-friendly neighborhood of Marid. In my opinion it’s a very colorful and interesting part of town; don’t miss a visit here!

On Calle de Augusto Figueroa, you’ll find the famous Mercado di San Anton: a marvelous covered market. Here you can purchase tapas and other Spanish specialties. On the top floor, there is also a great terrace and restaurant.

Keep in mind that Lateral, one of best tapas restaurants in Madrid is on Fuencarral 43.

 

 

Madrid - Palacio Real & Plaza del Sol -

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Madrid is certainly a fascinating sprawling metropolis, it’s very much worth exploring all the neighborhoods; each with something unique to offer. In order to get a good taste of the city, I would recommend visiting for a minimum of 4 or 5 days.

I would also recommend the following activity for a great day of sight seeing: start your moning with a big breakfast to help fuel a long walk, put on your sturdiest walking shoes and off you go...Hop on the metro and first stop “OPERA”, upon exiting, you’ll find yourself in Plaza Isabel II, very beautiful...

From the nearby Plaza de Oriente, you can already make out the stupendous Royal Palace...certainly worth a stop to snap a few photos between the well manicured flora of the gardens.

Skirting the palace you can also see the cathedral. Following Calle Mayor, you will end up in Parco Atenas: make sure to have a nice break near the kiosk...pleasant music, and palm trees; no better place to grab a coffee and feel swept away on a vacation far away from chaotic city life. The sun makes everything that much more spectacular!

After walking the Paseo de la Virgen del Puerto, and once you’ve reached the Principe Pio station, continue towards the Jardins de Sabatini (one of my favorite sights).

If after all that walking you find yourself starving, i suggest you head to Calle Carlos III and find: “Entrepanes – Café de Oriente”.
For an alternative, on Calle Arenal, there’s always “Jamones Ferpal”, very typical madrilena cuisine.

Finally, a few steps away, you’ll find Plaza del Sol...enjoy!

Madrid - La Latina -

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BY DAY

This is one of the most hip and lively neighborhoods of Madrid, however, during most days, there aren’t many interesting things to see. The Rastro, or Sunday market, is definitely the exception. It is easily the most famous weekend market in the city! Here you will find streets packed with people and vendors...lose yourself in the small alleys hunting for anything from vintage accessories, jewelry, souvenirs, posters, but above all great used furnishings!


BY NIGHT

The Latin Quarter (metro la Latina) is easily the night life spot in the city...hundred of little bars and restaurants; a little something for everyone. Below are two of my favorite places, but trust me, you will have no trouble following your nose to find any number of great little supper spots.

Cava Baja is the main road with tonnes of little bars and restaurants wedged together:

  • At 17 Cava Baja, you’ll find “Orixe”. Here you can sit either on a bench outside or within the restaurant (much more comfortable) and enjoy a tapas menu at 14€ including wine or beer. They take care to most stylish tapas I’ve ever seen, high points for presentation.
     
  • At 12 Cava Baja, “Posada del Leon de Oro”, is another very pleasant tapas restaurant.
     
  • La “Sureña”, at number 15 Cava Baja, is a very popular and well known bar specializing in beer. It can be super chaotic during peak hours. Definitely popular among the local Madrilenos.

Prepare yourself for waves of people- normally people have cocktails and tapas at around 8-9 pmand then head for dinner at around 10 pm. Sometimes you’ll catch people heading for dinner at midnight; especially on weekends!

Madrid - A Breathtaking Sunset -

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The most beautiful sport to watch the sunset in Madrid is at Parque del Oeste, in between Plaza de España and Moncola neighborhood.

I recommend climbing on the little hill in the middle of the park where the DEBOT TEMPLE, a second century Egyptian temple is perched.

From up there, you’ll be treated to one of the most spectacular susnets in the city as the colors and lights hit the water and filter through the gaps in the temple structure.

Madrid - Restaurants & Food -

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Some many things to do and we haven’t even made it to the food! I’m sure by now you must be starving. I’ll start with the best place to fill your stomach with some typical Spanish “tapas” in very chic location.

  1. The “Lateral”, arguably the best tapas Madrid has to offer. There are a few locations scattered throughout the city, be sure to find the one closest to you via their website. They are open for lunch and dinner- no excuse not to try at least one time!
    I would suggest you order: the pinchos (a type of Spanish bruschetta with various toppings), patatas bravas, tortilla española, alcachofas fritas con jamon, and las croquetas.
     
  2. On Calle San Gines, you’ll find the “Pasteleria San Gines”, the most famous place in Madrid for chocolates and churros. No trip to Madrid is complete without trying one of their churros (especially delicious in the early morning after a wild night out). Be careful because churros can be found everywhere, but are generally of poor quality. Never the case at Pasteleria San Gines.
     
  3. The paella at “La Barraca”. Paella is a touchy subject given that it is a typically Valencia dish and therefore at its best in its place of origin by the sea. “La Baracca” on Calle de la Reina 29- parallel to the Gran Via, is one of the only Paellas I’ve had that is up to scratch. Here you can choose between various sea foods, chicken, Valencia style, or whatever combination you feel like having on that particular day. The restaurant itself is a historic location, don’t expect anything modern or flashy, you are here for their excellent paella after all.
     
  4. La Pulpería de Victoria”. If you want to sample the famous pulpo a la gallega, head to Calle Victoria 2 (metro Puerta del Sol). Make sure to try very tasty pulpo a feira con cachelos.
     
  5. Juana la Loca” is a bar in the Latin quarter, one of my favorite areas. Here you can stop in for a quick lunch and try their famous “pinchos” (the most famous being those with the potato tortilla and those with "solomillo", a type of tender meat filet, and those with a quail egg).

The Latin Quarter is no doubt my favorite neighborhood, i’ll be sharing all my suggestions in a dedicated post coming soon!

Madrid - Out of Town Trip or Relax ? -

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Here are some additional suggestions for tours or relaxing activities should you find yourself in Madrid for longer than the 4-5 days I recommended earlier.

From Atocha, you can catch a morning train to spend the day in Escorial or Toledo. Both less than 45 minutes away, Toledo and Escorial are both charming in their own respects. I find Toledo to be especially beautiful though.

If you would prefer to relax without leaving the marvelous sights and sounds of Madrid, why not spend the day taking some sun on the terrace of the “Oscar Hotel” in Plaza Vazquez de Mella 12. From theopen-air rooftop pool, enjoy breathtaking views of the whole city. Don’tforget to catch the splendid sunset too! The price for a half day (from 15.30 to 18.30) is 20 euros and is absolutely worth it. The hotel provides towels, and lounge chairs. There is even a bar; ideal for a drink at sunset. Just remember to call and book a reservation!