Siri, what are the top 10 things to do while studying abroad in Madrid?”
Anyone can pull out their smartphone and get this information from Google, so the objective of this article is not to guide a tourist trip around Madrid, but rather, assuming you're already planning to visit the Prado Museum, El Retiro park, and the Bernabeu stadium, here is an insider's account of the best “behind the scenes” spots to spend time.
El Sobrino de Botín Restaurant
My favorite place for a great Spanish meal experience. Serving authentic Spanish food, this restaurant boasts being the oldest restaurant in the entire world. Writer Ernest Hemingway and painter Francisco de Goya both spent a great deal of time at this restaurant throughout their lives, and you can receive a full account of it's rich history on the back of the menu when you go there for dinner.
San Ginés Chocolatería
Do you like chocolate? Churros? San Ginés is a place you cannot miss. Thick, dense liquid chocolate served with warms churros for a bargain. Switch it up and order coffee and porras, which are thicker and softer than churros, but definitely don’t miss out on dunking them in that famous San Gines chocolate.
The Hat: Hostel, Bar and Restaurant
Located between Plaza del Sol and the Royal Palace, this hip hostel has an adorable rooftop bar and restaurant. If the weather’s nice, head on over there and sit underneath the stars and the string-lights while you enjoy your choice of their mouthwatering menu.
El Jardín Secreto Café
The incredibly unique and relaxed vibe of this café makes you feel like you’re sitting in a hippie’s living room rather than a restaurant, and the servers act like your best friends! Their menu has a huge variety of different coffee concoctions, desserts, and mixed drinks, and the environment is perfect for a place to sit and enjoy the company and conversation of friends.
100 Montaditos Restaurant
This place is a MUST for young people and students who are looking to enjoy some fun time together over some inexpensive tiny sandwiches. This chain restaurant offers 100 different mini-sandwiches, all from 1 to 1.70 euro each. Order a couple different options and enjoy!
Templo de Debod
A gift from the Egyptians to Spain, this authentic Egyptian temple is breathtaking and eery. It is often lit up at night, and is a nice place to walk to after getting dinner on Gran Via or in the Malasaña area.
The entire Retiro park itself is a perfect place to spend extra time on a lovely day, but definitely pencil in some time to watch the sun set over the lake. It’s an incredible experience and makes for fantastic photos.
Sarah U. is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO in Madrid, Spain. She is currently a sophomore studying Spanish and Songwriting at Belmont University.
Sarah Underwood is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO Blogger in Madrid, Spain, and is currently studying at Belmont University.