A bit of background info
So here is the rundown on my trip to Madrid. Before we launch right in I think it’s worth mentioning that I took this trip with a fellow travel-loving friend of mine. Both of us have backpacked for various stints of time but as fully fledged working gals this Madrid trip was a bank holiday weekend city break. So instead of backpacking, we took a flash-packing approach to this trip. Read on to find out more.
First of all, we flew Ryanair from Stansted to Madrid on Thursday evening after escaping a long day of work. The flight cost £46 each return departing at 8pm and we got out of the Madrid airport just after midnight. The taxi fare from the airport is a standard €30 into town.
Our choice of accommodation for our stay in Madrid was Cat’s Hostel. We came across this hostel on Hostelworld which was rated really well for atmosphere and is a well-known party hostel in Madrid. When we arrived the festivities were in full swing but we were in a state of delirium so we just checked in, paid the balance of our bill (which was just over €100) then we went up to our private attic room.
Now in terms of the hostel itself, it’s a nice enough place. Obviously, if you’re looking for something super fancy a hostel wouldn’t be on your radar anyway, but if you’re looking for somewhere comfortable, clean, good atmosphere and a bar with cheap drinks this is a great place.
One thing I didn’t enjoy about the room was the fact that it was an attic room (I’m not a huge fan of slanted roofs because I’m tall so there was a whole section of the room I couldn’t get to without hunching over) and it wasn’t ideal that the toilet was across the hall in one room and the shower was also across the hall but in another room. So even though each of the private rooms had a toilet/shower room they were across the hall from the room apart from one. Nothing major but something to note. Anyway onto the itinerary!
For our first full day we got up to have some of the hostel breakfast which was included in our room fee but it was pretty…umm…let’s say basic. Up for grabs was toast, cereal, packaged croissants, and juice. Not exactly the most riveting choice of breakfast munch, so we decided to grab breakfast at one of the many local bakeries for the remainder of our stay.
1. Do a walking tour
After breakfast, we joined the hostel’s morning walking tour which leaves at 11am every morning taking a 2.5 hours. Our tour guide was Gianpaolo took us around some of the major sites of the city. It was a really interesting tour and gave us the opportunity to learn more about Madrid. It was great to learn about the different invasions that occurred in Spain and the significance of different sites. If you have an opportunity to I would definitely work in a walking tour. It’s a great way to plan out the rest of your trip and get your bearings of the city. The tour is free but like with most free walking tours you are expected to provide a tip to the guide at the end.
2. Visit Place Mayor and indulge in a calamari sandwich
Our first stop on the walking tour was Plaza Mayor, when visiting here it is customary to have a calamari sandwich which is exactly what it says on the tin. A halved sandwich roll stuffed full of calamari. All the restaurants in the Place Mayor sell this but our tour guide recommended a place just off the square called La Campana where you can get a calamari sandwich for €2,50. We did end up doing this but half way through my sub I discovered I’m actually not a big calamari fan. So if you are a calamari fan this is for you!
3. Have a walk through Puerta del Sol and go for lunch at Rosi la Loca
After the walking tour ended at the opera we continued up to Puerta del Sol with the tour guide just having normal chit chat as he was divulging restaurant recommendations, one of which was Rosi la Loca. Mon-Fri during the day they offer a lunch time menu for €12,90 which includes a starter, main, dessert, and a sangria. I had a paella for starter, entrecote with roast potatoes for mains, strawberry and cream for dessert and of course my sangria which was phenomenal. The food was really good and amazing value.
4. Take in the city views from Circulo de Bellas Rates
Next on the agenda was a roof top bar called Circulo de Bellas Rates. It was €4 entrance fee and you go up to the 8th floor where it opens up onto a really nice rooftop bar with great views of the city. The perfect place to chill out, have a chat and drink.
5. Go crazy with the Cats!
Next on the agenda was the hostel pub crawl. Oh God lol. So we went down to the hostel bar at about 11:30pm (after a casual snooze) and ordered a round of gin and tonics + a free sangria that we got with our pub crawl wristband. The pub crawl cost €12 and included, free entrance into all 4 bars, a free shot on arrival at each and a €2 discount voucher for each bar. As you can imagine this quickly spiraled into a messy night and I have the scar to prove it! But all in all it was a good pub crawl.