Visiting Madrid

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Taking a second honeymoon in Madrid

Jan 2007

My husband and I have decided to take a 2nd honeymoon of sorts and will be heading to Madrid next March for ten days. We are looking for recommendations on places to stay (what part of the city?) and things to do (nightlife, food, shopping). Also, any other tips in general about Madrid would be much appreciated! Make way for Madrid!

One of the highlights of my visit to Madrid a number of years ago was a day trip to Toledo. Definitely do that if you have the time Susan

I stayed at the Hotel Ritz and really loved it. It was my splurge when visiting my brother and I'll never regret it. I ended up getting a suite because it was their only availability. It's not part of the ''Ritz Carlton'' chain so you won't feel like an American sell out, and it's very close to Madrid's AMAZING museums. I am sure you will get lots of advice on restaurants and shopping but if not feel free to email me. Also, if you stay at a good hotel they can help immensely. emilyandbrian

We went to Madrid 2.5 years ago and stayed at the Westin Palace, Madrid. I was on my own for a few days, as my husband was there on business. I walked everywhere, and got to see all of the major museums and many different neighborhoods. There is both high- and low-end shopping in Madrid. I felt safe the whole time, and really enjoyed the city. After he got off of work, my husband and I went out for tapas and dinner, but this was a little difficult, as dinner is very LATE in Spain! Enjoyed Madrid

Madrid and a beach town with 2 energetic boys?

August 2003

I am planning on going to Spain next summer with my 2 boys (8 and 9). We have been told to go to either Madrid or Barcelona for part of the time and then to a beach area (Cadiz or others). Any recommendations out there as to areas to be for a month with 2 energetic boys? iwonder

We have traveled twice to Spain with young children, so the advice may not apply for everything since your children are older. The first trip we stayed at an aparthotel in Madrid, which was a good way to go since you can cook light meals in the room. Madrid was not very child friendly for our kids (1 and 3); it's like Paris, New York, or other big cities . There is a large park (the Retiro), museums, and a zoo. We spent a week there before going to our favorite beach town. The following trip we only stopped in Madrid long enough to catch a plane to Almeria, the closest airport to Roquetas de Mar, a cute beach town on the Mediterranean. It is a well kept secret with American, until now, though the Brits and the Germans know it well and you get bratwurst or pub food as easily as sangria. We rented a two-bedroom townhouse right on the beach for about $2,400 a month. If you can go in August, Almeria, which is 20 minutes away from Roquetas, has a terrific fair (feria) with a parade, rides, games and even nighttime musical entertainment for the adults. Have a great trip. Anon

Madrid is terrible in the summer. Very hot, very dry and a ton of air pollution. We lived there for 4 years until my son was born and then fled. There's also not much to do there with kids except walk around. The parks have either dirt or cement on the ground with no trees for shade and there are very few public pools, etc.

Go to Barcelona where you have beaches and cool breezes from the sea. The architecture and food is more interesting in Barcelona and it's a generally more pleasent city. Then you can go to the beaches along the Med. coast of northern Spain (Costa Brava) which tend to be less overrun and commercial.

I lived in Spain for 4 years in the 90s and I would say that, if you can swing it, the best place to go would be a rural village which is close enough to a beach and/or larger city to make interesting side-trips. Most Spanish city-dwelling families spend at least a month in the summer in ''their'' village (where their family migrated from in the 60s or 70s usually, but sometimes just an adopted village or ''urbanizacion''(a modern, constructed village with 2nd homes)). Many villages have packs of kids in the summers, where life-long friendships are made. If I were you, I'd try either Andalucia (around Cadiz is nice, and there are some nice villages by the beach, like El Puerto de Santa Maria, or around Granada there are also some nice villages) or in the north near Santander is very beautiful. You really almost can't lose with the part of the country you choose, but I would try a Spanish speaking area if you want your kids to learn Spanish and not, say, Catalan or Gallego. The most important thing would be to somehow ask around and find a village where a lot of people return in the summer and which would be friendly... The summers I spent in a village in the mountains of Andalucia were among the most relaxing, wonderful times in my life. Good luck! anon