The Secret Madrid pay local prices

The Secret Madrid pay local prices

We arrived in Madrid on a warm November day.  A bunch of my friends go away together for a weekend in Europe every November. Its a tradition now. No kids and a different city for the last 12 years. I had never been before even though I had always meant to and my only regret is I didn’t go here sooner.  Madrid is the 3rd largest city in Europe with a population of 3.3 million. The metropolitan area is 6.5. This is without a doubt probably the most social city I’ve ever been to. It comes alive at night after 10pm. Restaurants and bars will be buzzing all night. Night clubs don’t get busy until after 3am and normally its only tourists that you find before 1am. Public transport is excellent with a train service and bus service. You wont need a car here.

The Secret Madrid pay local prices

Unless you insist in drinking and eating in tourist spots you can have a great time at really reasonably prices and compared to other major tourist cities you can have a really cheap weekend.  Most bars in Madrid serve tapas complimentary with your drink.  Then you can opt to purchase more at your own expense.  People tend to bar hop which is fantastic. Each bar specializes in their own type of tapas, maybe its seafood, or bacon or veg, whatever it is they are all great especially the shrimp.


IMG_1785IMG_1785“What are Tapas?

Tapas are snacks, canapes or finger food that originated in Spain.  Tapas come in many different forms and can vary from town to town.  Tapas can be anything from a chunk of tuna, a cocktail onion and an olive skewered on a long toothpick, to piping hot meat with sauce served in a miniature clay dish.  Tapas are served every day in every bar and cafe in Spain.  It is so ingrained in the Spanish lifestyle that the Spanish people invented the verb tapear which means to go and eat tapas!  In most regions, you must order and pay for a raciónor serving, but in the province of Granada, one small tapa is complimentary with each round of drinks ordered. Tapas keep the Spanish fueled for their long journeys from bar to bar before their midday meal, as well as in the evening before dinner”  

The Secret Madrid pay local prices

The Secret Madrid pay local prices

Day or night the city is buzzing with so much to do from museums, shopping, fabulous restaurants or visiting the Royal Palace.

The Secret Madrid pay local prices The Secret Madrid pay local prices




We happened to be there on a day there was a protest against the government.  Like the rest of Europe Spain is suffering extreme hardship with Austerity measures imposed on it by Europe.  At these organized marches in Spain it is advisable for tourists to avoid if possible as can turn out the be very violent.  There is huge police presence including riot police and just by being in the area you can get caught up in it.  We were lucky and it remained peaceful.  Spain has a huge unemployment problem especially with young people with an estimated 50% under 25 years of age out of work.

Madrids famous Market

The Secret Madrid pay local prices The Secret Madrid pay local prices If markets are your thing then the Sunday market in Madrid is the best is absolutely huge.  Everything from masquerade masks to full body armor war costumes are available to purchase along with the usual clothing, leather goods etc.  Its a great way to spend a Sunday morning.  A word of advice, go very early as it gets so crowded its hard to move.

Madrid Airport

Getting from the airport: well you can take a cab for about 40 euro or you can take a shuttle for 5 euro to the center then you can hook up with the underground train system or bus service if you like.  That is the most efficient and cheapest way to do it.  People are helpful and it is easy to navigate your way.

My favourite bars and restaurants in Madrid

My favourite bars are also restaurants and frequent by mainly Spanish people.  I don’t like tourist traps and avoid them at all costs.  One of my favourite bars but more a restaurant actually is Lamucca, its located off the beaten track and 99% local clientele.  A local recommended it to me and I’m so glad.  I came here twice and was given the tip by a local. The Secret Madrid pay local prices its tucked away in a lovely plaza and as were were he in November we did not sit outside although the tables are set up and if the sun is shining on them its still very comfortable.  The bar area is great and very trendy.  We were back for Sunday lunch and i recommend booking as every table was booked.  We did get one but had to be gone by a certain time which was OK as we need to be anyway. The food was excellent and the staff are lovely and helpful and there is free WiFi.   The first occasion we just had starters and wine and stayed in the bar area but on the second we went all out 3 courses.  The veggie platter is huge, but i was craving vegetables after a few days of tapas and lots of carbs.  Love it and will be back.   You can find it here.  

The Secret Madrid pay local prices

The Secret Madrid pay local pricesI stayed at a Petit Palis Plaza del Carmen twice and another location of there’s also. They are fantastic. They are located all over the city. They have different star ratings so all are not the same.  They are situated in old houses refurbished into hotels.  Some are grander than others often with fabulous staircases etc.  The breakfast was fabulous and the staff were wonderful.  I will definitely stay here again when in Madrid.  Tip, Stay on the 3rd floor.

All in all, I really enjoyed Madrid.  I would return in a heartbeat and yes I wouldn’t mind living there. If museums are your thing then I also have a blog piece on what days are free just click here. Madrid museums

I have been to other cities in Spain namely Barcelona but Madrid is by far my favourite.

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About Sandra

Just a girl from Ireland who wants to live everywhere. Not a planner, a winger when it comes to travel. I don't even like people who plan too much. Without spontaneity there is no depth. A jack of all trades. A great friend, loyal and passionate and I expect the same in return. Always ready for the next adventure at a moments notice.
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