Madrid is in the heart of Spain and probably a rarer choice for Irish holidaymakers given our love of the seaside. This is, however, a little gem of a city break. If you have 24-hours, this is my recommendation to make the moments count in the Spanish capital.
From the airport to the city centre by taxi takes about 30 minutes and is a very reasonable €25.
The Museo Nacional del Prado is a spectacular example of neoclassical architecture and no less impressive is the world-renowned art collection housed inside. Entry is €15 or free for the last two hours (6-8pm Monday to Saturday).
Strolling the spotless streets in Madrid, the Spanish sun makes a crisp January afternoon feel warmer than it was. Just six minutes by foot from the museum, the iconic Metropolis building stands, with the Spanish flag flying from the second floor window. The ornate, gilded roof almost glowing in the sunlight. Decadent buildings line the streets. Small city parks with mature, gnarled trees stretch up to the sky. No doubt in summer, these provide a leavy shade.
Pausing for refreshments, a local eatery El Cardeña, served Andalusian style tapas (more generous portions I was told). At €8 a portion, 3 shared between 2 and a beer at €2.50 is very palatable for a capital city.
For fabulous flamenco dancing and incredible food, experience Corral de la Moreria (https://www.corraldelamoreria.com/en/customers/). Their wall of fame is a reason to go alone with every “A List” star hanging on display. Walk into this cavernous warren of old tables, moody lighting, Spanish aromas and an energy that will keep you enthralled – you won’t want to leave.
Finally, treat yourself to a tipple of your choice at the rooftop bar, Azotea del Círculo (€5 charge in but food & drinks are reasonably priced). It’s vast terrace with 360 degree views of Madrid is a must. I’ve searched this spot out twice now and love it as much as before. Sit back and inhale the views of the city, where old meets new architecture, greenery splatters the rooftop mosaic that stretches for miles. Life weaves through the streets, busy in their own purpose, I, happy with my own.