My cousins and I booked Madrid on a complete whim but we loved the city so much that our Whatsapp group was called ‘Left my heart in Sol’ for months!
I was a bit sceptical before flying out, thinking we’re just flying to the capital of Spain when there are so many other places in Spain to visit and wondering if we had made the wrong decision but it turned out to be a great holiday. Don’t get me wrong it’s good to ask people you know about the city your visiting but don’t make judgements and assumptions based on what they say, definitely go and experience the city yourself as everybody takes away something different.
Travel agency: British Airways
Dates: 12th – 16th July
Price: £170 each (including checked luggage)
Airline: Iberia/British Airways
Hotel: Ilunion Alcala Norte
I think if you’re planning a trip to Madrid then 4 days is about enough time. We went in the heart of the summer when Madrid is at it’s hottest and it was beautiful. The city is vibrant and just as alive in the daytime as it is at night. We spent a lot of time in Gran Via/Puerta del Sol where there was always something happening from street dancers to sellers – it’s definitely the heart of the city. There are hundreds of shops lining the streets from designer to local, bakeries and for all my makeup lovers out there a Sephora too😍
Our hotel was really nice, the rooms were clean and the wifi was good enough for social media posts. It didn’t deal well with FaceTime or YouTube but who goes on holiday to watch YouTube videos anyway?
Breakfast wasn’t included in the deal and there were hardly any local shops so we were starving till about 2/3pm when we would finally reach the city and get some food.
On the flip side, it is quite far from the heart of the city so we spent quite a lot of money doing taxis to and from Sol everyday. The Ilunion Alcala is a business hotel so perfect for people on a working trip but maybe not for 5 girls looking to have a good time.
If I was to go back to Madrid, I would definitely be looking at hotels that are inner city like in Puerto del Sol or Gran Via rather than in the business district.
If Madrid is on your bucket list then I would take some decent cash with you because like any other capital in the world, it’s not cheap. The taxis and food can set you back quite a bit so be prepared for that. The food in Madrid was good but nothing amazing – there are loads of Turkish/Arab food places so you can easily find a decent Halal place to eat. We were only there for four days so stuck mainly to veggie food and we were so busy having a good time that we hardly ate any big meals.
For footy fans, the Real Madrid stadium is probably a must when it comes to attractions but none of us are even remotely interested in football so we gave that a miss.
We did go on the teleforico which is situated in Case de Campo and is a cable car ride giving you some stunning views of Madrid. It’s much greener than I would have imagined. Some advice: you have to walk up a LOT of stairs so wear suitable footwear (no heels or wedges, yes I’m talking about you Mariam!)
There’s a stunning Egyptian temple which we only got to see at night but was just as serene – definitely something to see.
On the last day, we went to the Hammam Al Andalus and even thinking about it now is calming! It is a stunning hammam and very peaceful but it is EXPENSIVE! We paid around £40 each and that just gave us access to the four heated pools and some fruit tea – not worth it. The massages are even pricier so we steered well clear of them. We definitely left refreshed but in hindsight we could’ve spent that money doing something else.
Once you’re in Sol, there are plenty of places to spend your evenings, however you want to spend them. A lot of the places are really casual so don’t feel the need to get dressy for dinner or sheesha.
I really loved Madrid and I think going in summer made it even better.
Spain is massive and there are so many touristy hotspots so if you want a city break this Summer rather than a beach holiday then check out Madrid. But saying that I went to Barcelona and it’s probably one of my favourite cities on Earth so go there instead.