It was a popular destination for many Europeans craving a trip to a restaurant or bar during the last lockdown, and yet it’s right now, as summer properly kicks in, that we most want to lose ourselves in the Spanish capital.
Of course, any self-respecting visitor has to go and admire all the world-beating art inside in the Prado and Reina Sofia museums, but por favor, the unpredictable city of Madrid, cradle of La Movida, deserves much wider admiration for its embrace of cultural creativity. Take the Matadero, where all the arts find wacky and innovative expression. Or indeed pretty much any production at the Teatros del Canal, which has found a new lease of life thanks to director-choreographer Blanca Li.
Then, you’ve got to go hopping from bar to bar, whether in LGBTQ+ neighbourhood Chueca – bound to be genial – or in the artsy district of Lavapiés. Be warned: a Madrileño night out is a whirlwind of warmth, laughter and joy. Without really understanding why, eight or nine hours could easily slip by after dinner, out of nowhere the sun will start to rise, and the only logical place to go on to next would be the century-old Chocolatería San Ginés for a generous plate of churros con chocolate.
The next day, think like a local: whether you’re travelling solo, as a couple or with friends or family, a ramble around Retiro Park never fails to please. And the best place to wind up as the sun sets must be La Latina neighbourhood, where amazing tapas and a glass of something decent are all but guaranteed.