I really loved Madrid. It wasn’t that touristy when I was there and it has a great relaxed atmosphere with a ton of culture. As always, here are my tips for Madrid:
- Most museums are free for students or have certain days and times when they are free to the public. Booking in advance can save you some time in museum lines.
- The public transportation is pretty new and functional. Google Maps works great with the transportation system, though keep in mind if you’re going to the airport with the subway there may be an extra cost. Walking is also a great option.
- Stay up late. The hours are shifted in Spain, with late lunches and late dinners (around 8 pm).
- The permanent must sees were: Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and Prado for a range of artwork, Sorolla Museum, and Guernica at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
- Nice outdoor spaces: pay a quick stop by Plaza Mayor, check out the park by Rio Manzanares and the art at Matadero, Parque del Oeste and the Temple of Debod, Real Jardín Botánico, and Parque Retiro
- Places to eat: go to San Ginés for chocolate and churros. The Calles Cava Alta and Baja generally have good tapas, as do mercados, or markets. I also had good food at Taberna la Concha and La Rue
- Lots of restaurants will have a menu del dia, or daily menu, which often is three courses and wine for a very reasonable price.