madrid is very much a party town. one soon notices that madrilenos have a slightly different rhythm: there’s barely anybody in the streets in the morning but the bars and restaurants are overflowing at night. so join in on the fun, be prepared to get things done during the day to be able to go tapeando (go from one tapas bar to the next on a tasting hunt) in the evening!

tortilla, warm duck salad and tuna

here you have five highlights of my recent short stay in madrid:

1. the leonardo da vinci exhibition at the centro de exposiciones arte canal. it shows the multitude of leonardo’s interests and it displays objects built after his sketches. translating his writings and actually making the items was a difficult task but the people in charge did a wonderful job: one cannot help but be absorbed in that world and start to observe how so many of the every day things we take for granted today were actually created by his great mind. also, there’s a 3d film, a detailed section on mona lisa, as well as many other interesting exhibits. cheap (only 3 euros), next to a metro station,  with spanish-only content,  open from 10-21 until may 2nd, i’d say this exhibition is worth visiting.

2. prado museum. it holds among its many treasures goya’s las meninas and hieronymus bosch’s garden of earthly delights and it currently has (among others) a temporary exhibition of the hermitage collection (extended until april the 8th).  i always take advantage of the two hours at the end of each day that allow for free entry, as my visits are more for getting up to date. another detail that may lure you to see el prado may be the newly discovered mona lisa copy. check the website for more info.

3. reina sofia museum. with an ever growing range of things on offer, it houses an important spanish art collection (expect huge crowds in front of picasso’s guernica). a new wing by jean nouvel was added to great effect.  check website for more info. they also allow free entry every day of the week, for a couple of hours.

4. caixa forum. a post-modern art gallery under the patronage of local bank la caixa, with a building by herzog and de meuron and a vertical garden by patrick blanc, the place is currently showing, until june the 3rd, a wonderful collection of diaghilev’s ballets russes stage costumes (by london victor&albert museum). wonderfully lit and showcased, the displays transport you to another time and space. wonderful!

5. mercado de san miguel. an exciting marketplace that helps the visitor sample the many tastes of local food: amazing olives, subtle cheeses, an endless range of preserved meat products, as well as a few places offering delicious tapas. a must stop on the daily itinerary of the knowing tourist!

seafood aka marisco



caviar and vodka

portuguese sweets

madrid makes for a perfect city break destination. it could be next on your list!

photo credits: lilaesthete, google search

video credits: youtube