Cultural & Touristy Places in Madrid, Spain - Part 1/2

As a traveler who likes to experience both touristy and non-touristy places, I thought it’d be helpful in sharing my recommendations for sightseeing places in Madrid, Spain for these types of travelers.

I just came back from my two week vacation with my family. A few weeks ago, we flew to Madrid, Spain and Paris, France. This was my first time ever being in Europe and oh boy, it was different cultural experience. Barely a word of English. Being there definitely improved my Spanish. All those years spent studying Spanish in high school finally paid off. The trippiest thing for me was seeing the few Asians who immigrated there, not being able to speak any English, but only Mandarin and Spanish. It made sense, but it was a such strange world.

This will be a two party blog post since we toured so many places and there’s so much to talk about. The list would of been too long and overwhelming to read and write. Happy reading!

Madrid - Day 1

1. Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real de Madrid)

Price: 10 euros general admission. Make sure to buy the tickets in advance so you don’t have to wait in a long line just to buy the tickets because the line to buy tickets was 3x longer than the line for visitors with tickets.

Time Spent: 2-3 hours 

Touristy?: Very

The first place my family and I visited. A very touristy place, but I think it’s worth going. The palace is huge and there were so many rooms to explore. 

My favorite room was this. It had such intricate details. It was pretty crowded and this was during an off peak season, so I can’t imagine how packed it would be during the summer. There are some areas where photos are prohibited. That’s why I took photos of their postcards in their gift shop.

2. Almundena Cathedral (Catedral de la Almundena)

Price: Free, but it’s nice to donate to the church.

Time Spent: 10 – 20 mins

Touristy?: Semi

This is right next to the palace, so it’s a nice place to stop at if you’re interested in the medieval artwork and the whole grandness of the church. I mainly went for my family since they are really religious.

3. Puerta de Sol

Price: Free

Time Spent: 10 – 20 mins

Touristy?: Hell yeah!

Checked out this place after grabbing a bite at San Miguel Market. Essentially, a giant public square with a whole lot of tourist. You can just tell by seeing the number of street entertainers there, a lot of men in mascot costumes that’s somewhat creepy. I like to think of it as an equivalent to the NY’s Time Square or LA’s Walk of Fame.

Madrid - Day 2

4. Templo de Debod

Price: Free

Time Spent: 10 – 20 mins

Touristy?: Not when I went.

Templo de Debod is located in a park and you can tell with groups of the elderly doing their morning exercise. The temple was dismantled in Egypt and rebuilt in Madrid. It was a nice walk in the morning, but the temple was under construction when we went. They drained the water, so it looked dead. I’m sure it would look beautiful during the spring with the flowers bloomed and with the water back surrounding the temple, especially during a sunrise.

5. Plaza de España

Price: Free

Time Spent: 10 – 20 mins

Touristy?: Nope

This is a nice rest area before continuing on your walking journey and to take selfies! This plaza is the spot to viewing two of the tallest skyscrapers in Madrid, the Torre de Madrid and the Edificio España.

6. Gran Vía

Price: Free, unless you’re shopping

Time Spent: 1 hour

Touristy?: Yes

A less than a mile street that’s lined up with lots of brand name store and a crazy number of people/tourists. I, for one, could live without brand name clothes. Hot tip: Primark is a really cheap clothing store, probably the equivalent to Forever 21. There were these really cute blue and white striped pants I wanted, but they look cuter on the manikin than they did on me.

As you pass by, you’ll noticed touristy souvenirs shops. If you like to save money like I do, then don’t buy from here immediately. As you explore, you are bound to see other, more affordable, souvenirs shops with the exact same items.

Well, that’s the end of part one! The second half of it will come pretty shortly. Have a good week!

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