Weekending in Madrid

We left the kids behind with some good friends and spent a whirlwind long January weekend in Madrid. It was so much fun and we did everything but sleep!

We made sure to hit to major highlights but also focused on eating our way through Spain’s capital. Join us through the photos below as I recap the highlights, the hidden gems, and the unexpected moments that made our weekend truly unforgettable.

First stop: checking into our hotel. Even in January (i.e., low season), hotels can’t guarantee early check-in. Since our flight landed at 5:45am, we knew we’d need a nap to make it through the day, so we booked our hotel for the night before. We headed straight to check in and got to the hotel around 8am. We chose the Circulo Gran Via, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection of hotels. It’s adults only (because it’s right next to a casino) and offered a delicious breakfast each morning.

After a much-needed nap, we headed off for tapas and a fun tuk-tuk tour of the city. Capping off our first night, we went to the oldest restaurant in the world!

The next day, we were ready to take on two of Madrid’s most famous sites: the Prado and the Royal Palace. Madrid’s Royal Palace, the Palacio Real, epitomizes regal grandeur as the official residence of the Spanish monarchy. Its opulent interiors and historic significance make it a captivating visit. Meanwhile, the Prado Museum stands as a cultural gem, housing a world-renowned collection of European masterpieces by artists like Velázquez and Goya. With its rich artistic heritage, the Prado offers a captivating journey through the evolution of European art, making it a must-visit destination for enthusiasts in Madrid. We finished off our first day with a captivating flamenco performance!

Some more tapas — and a home-cooked meal!

Toledo is a magical little town that isn’t too far from Madrid. We took the train out to spend a few hours exploring and had a fantastic guide show us the highlights and history. Luckily, our guide was an archaeologist for the city, so he had keys that opened up doors that aren’t available to most… we saw an only-recently-discovered well used centuries ago and an old Jewish bath that is privately owned. Another highlight, though: a stop for some local jamón!

On our last day of the trip, we took the train a few hours to the south to Alicante, to enjoy the beautiful Spanish coast and unusually warm January weather… and more tapas, too!

Madrid seamlessly blends regal history with modern energy, presenting a magical blend of historic landmarks, bustling street life, and world-class art.