The capital of Spain radiates heat in every possible way. With average summer temperatures of over 30°C, you can leave your sweaters and long trousers at home. We visited during the 2017 World Pride and already know we will be back! The World Pride event ensured crowds and an abundance of parties all over town. We can’t wait to visit Madrid again under normal circumstances.
Transportation and accommodation
How to get there
From anywhere in Europe, you can fly to Madrid using low airfare companies. We used Ryanair for this flight, but we have considered going there by train, just for the fun of it… Probably next time! We fell in love with train travel in Europe during a previous trip through Europe and would gladly do it again! Anyway! The most common way to get to Madrid is by airplane. It’s easy to do and getting into town from the airport is cheap and comfortable. Find the cheapest flights here!
Metro Metro Metro. The best way to get around is by metro. The Madrid Metro system is just awesome. There are metro stations everywhere and you can get to any place in town within 30 minutes or less. We advise to buy a 10 trip ticket, so you won’t have to bother buying a separate ticket each time you travel. And it’s cheaper as well! If you plan on partying all night long, you might need a taxi, since the metro isn’t operational during the night. The metro system is open to the public from 6 in the morning to 1.30 at night. When trains are no longer available you can always catch a cab. Official taxis have a diagonal red band across the side of the car.
Where to sleep
Even with its massive size, Madrid is easy to navigate. It’s not a must to stay in the center of town. Each barrio has its advantages, so you can’t really go wrong. The Parque Retiro, Chueca and Atocha areas are popular with a good reason. We opted for a fantastic Airbnb near the Cuzco metro station in Chamartin. Use our link to become an Airbnb member and get a discount on your first booking!
Things to do
Tripadvisor and other travel websites are bulking with stuff to do in Madrid. There are so many things, to sum up. We visited Madrid for a few days, but this is the kind of city I can imagine living in for a year and still discover new places each day. So we’re going to name a few of the attractions we enjoyed the most and leave you with this link to the Tripadvisor repository about this magnificent city.
Steady on one: the Madrid parks are wonderful! We spent hours in Parque de El Retiro, which is huge. The centrally located park offers a lot of nature, ponds, and birds in the center of the city. Retiro might be the largest park, but it’s definitely not the only one as these oases of green are nestled everywhere. We didn’t manage to visit them all. Most of our time was spent in Parque Retiro and it was simply amazing to escape the rush of the city in this beautiful place.
Puerta Del Sol
Madrid has countless plazas and squares. All have their own values, views, and character. We recommend the Puerta Del Sol and the streets around this area. The plaza is used for events on a regular basis. During Worldpride, the Puerta del Sol was also an event location. Mr Gay was elected here. There’s a regular shopping street, but the other streets have this “back in time” feeling where you can find stuff you didn’t imagine existed. There is a “ham museum” for instance. The area is awesome to walk through and discover.
It could take some time before finding the cozy streets, as it usually goes with us. Even when we know where to go, we’ll always be wandering around in the “not so cozy” streets for hours before we finally find what we’re looking for. So when we finally found the area of interest, we were so happy. Plazas bathing in the sun and cobblestone streets with cute little shops and bars. Yes, Madrid has it all!
Queer barrio of Madrid
Chueca is the queer barrio of Madrid, so that’s the place to be. The region has been revived by the queer community in Madrid. Revolving around the Plaza de Chueca, this barrio is lively and cozy. You can find gay bars, restaurants, and nightclubs in the streets around the Chueca metro station. Some of the clubs focus on a strict audience, while others are accessible for everyone. You can download an interesting gay guide about Madrid on the esmadrid website. There’s quite a lot of LGBT info to be found!
World Pride 2017
The 2017 World Pride was held in Madrid this year and it was a huge event, as expected. Over 2 million visitors come to the gay capital of the world to celebrate freedom and diversity. This immense festival took over the city for a week with concerts and parties all over Madrid. The summit of the event was, of course, the Pride Parade which was held on Saturday and the drew the big masses into Madrid. Here are a few pictures to give you an idea of this celebration!