Currently on her university Year Abroad studying in Madrid, Millie (@millie_norton1) has lived in Spain’s sunny capital for the last 7 months and has kindly shared all her favourite spots with us! Keep reading for top tips on where to head for amazing tapas, unique bars and the best sunset views in Madrid!
What is a typical breakfast and where would you go?
My hands down favourite brunch spot in Madrid would have to be Café Federal in Malasaña, as they have a wide range of delicious food in a really nice setting. It’s the perfect place to get some work done at one of their laptop tables or enjoy the outside seating area in the sun. My favourite dish is probably the French toast which they top with berries and mascarpone. Another top pick of mine is the chicken sandwich (more of a lunch dish) with avocado, halloumi and lemon mayo- but be careful not to overorder here as their portions are often big enough for two!
What is your favourite place to grab lunch?
Honest Greens is my favourite lunch restaurant, they have really yummy healthy food and specialise in large salad bowls. Sometimes you have to queue out the door at Honest Greens, it is that popular! But the wait is worth it as both their meat and veggie options are delicious- you can choose a pre-prepared garden plate or select your own combinations of salads, protein and pulses to create amazing healthy bowls.
What is an ideal afternoon activity in a city like Madrid?
My go to afternoon would be heading to a rooftop bar to watch Madrid’s incredible sunsets. A classic choice is Bellas Artes in the centre which has a 360 degree view of Madrid’s skyline, but again you do sometimes end up queueing- trust me, the views are worth it! I also like going to Casa Suecia which is next door to Bellas Artes as every Sunday they hold their ‘Groovy Brunch’ event (and no, sadly you don’t get to eat brunch there!) where they have live DJ sets and drink bundles for a really fun all day party.
Where is the best place to have dinner?
The restaurant Marina Ventura serves the best paella I’ve eaten in Madrid. This is a real Spanish delicacy and you can choose from the classic paella with chicken and sausage, seafood paella and also a vegetarian options amongst many others. Although it is a bit on the expensive side, the paella at Marina Ventura is served in a large dish so you do get lots for your money- it’s ideal to share a big pan between 2 people!
In the evening what is the city like and where do you usually find yourself?
If you fancy bar-hopping and going for a less crazy night then Malasaña is a very fun place to go out, this is where I usually find myself most evenings! Start off in the one the many lively plazas such as Dos de Mayo for a few sangrias and then head to La Vía Láctea– it’s one of Madrid’s remaining bars from the 80s and is a great spot for lively music and cool graffiti décor. The bars next to the Complutense University in Moncloa area are also a favourite of us students on a budget. In terms of clubs, Madrid is very lively at night and there are so many options depending on your music taste! Berlin Club is probably my favourite spot as it’s not too big and hosts some really good disco funk club nights.
In a busy city like Madrid, is there anywhere to chill?
There are so many parks in Madrid so we’re spoilt for choice really! Retiro Park is the busiest and perhaps not the most relaxing as it gets very touristy, but is a really nice spot to take the electric scooters for a spin! My favourite spot is the Templo de Debod, which is an ancient Egyptian temple ruin surrounded by a lovely park, and as it is less busy then Retiro, it’s a great place to enjoy the sunshine and watch the sunset.
What is there to do for something fun and different?
Pinta en Copas is a pottery painting shop in Malasaña where you can go with friends and bring your own food and drinks for a fun evening of wine and painting! It stays open until 11pm so is the perfect evening activity or a great spot to head to for a wholesome birthday celebration.
Where is the best area to stay/sleep for young travellers?
Definitely Malasaña or Chueca for young travellers; they are both full of quirky restaurants, bars and shops, and Chueca is Madrid’s gay district so it is colourful and lively every day of the week!
What season would you recommend visiting?
I personally love autumn in Madrid as it is not as exhaustingly hot as it is in July and it is also less busy. But Madrid is such an amazing city that I would recommend visiting any time of the year!
Is Madrid best for family holiday/friends holiday/ couple holiday?
Madrid is so versatile that I would say any of these. Probably a friends holiday would be best as there are plenty of activities to do during the day but the nightlife is also really good. But saying that, my whole family came to visit last year and they all loved it- everyone should visit Madrid when they can!