Much of Madrid’s allure comes from its versatility, a unique ability to shift from grand and elegant to familiar and rustic. A sunset walk along the tree-lined boulevard of Paseo del Prado will provide you an architectural field-day as you encounter pristine marble statues, spectacular fountains, such as Plaza de Cibeles, and awe-inspiring sites such as the Royal Palace or the Opera House, provoking an eerie feeling that you’ve entered a time warp. That said, veer off the main drag into any windy side street and a cultural revolution of bohemian cafes, funky restaurants and traditional little bars surround you.
There is a distinct daytime and night time culture to Madrid as well. Aptly famed for its round-the-clock festivities, there is an intriguing change in vibe when shifting between morning and evening hours, as if the city shed its more formal and reserved side to show a boisterous, friendly and slightly gritty personality. To truly experience this fantastic evening vibe, head to the Alonso Martinez or Malasaña barrio where you can find groups of individuals suddenly breaking out in impromptu fusion flamenco music alongside street performers.
Though to truly understand a culture, one must dive deep into its gastronomy – and in respect to Madrid, there no city in Spain higher on the gastronomical charts for its traditional, yet contemporary, cuisine! A visit to San Miguel Market will introduce you to the everyday ingredients that grace the kitchens of local grandmothers, but wander without a tour guide and you’ll mis out on the history, culture and recipes that make each and every one of those ingredients unique. Or take a gastronomic walking tour of the old town, where you can discover the truly authentic and treasured culinary delicacies of Madrid (seasonal mushrooms, quality jamon iberico, local artesanal cheese or canned seafood – an experience not to miss).
Wine lovers are in good hands in the thriving capital. Although a wine by the glass can be found in any local bar, there are few that exhibit top quality wines from hand picked wineries dotting the peninsula. Why not enjoy a tour from a fellow wine lover who can expertly guide you to the top wine bars, restaurants conducting spot-on food and wine pairing, or a tour to local wineries inside the wine region, Vinos de Madrid? Vineyard and winery tours not only gets you out of the city and into the breathtaking countryside, especially during harvest, but it allows you a more personalized experience chatting up locals and savoring rustic cuisine. Take a tour of a boutique winery or two and you’ll discover some fantastic red and white wines, including ecological and natural wines. Most excursions include traditional lunches, either homemade or in an authentic local restaurant.
Below find our current list of recommended culinary experiences to be enjoyed in and around Madrid.
Madrid Food & Wine Tours
Full listings coming very soon!