24 Hours in Madrid from Corte Ingles
View of Madrid from Corte Ingles

Two weeks ago, I shared my vows with my husband for a second time.  This time we did it in front of our European family and friends in Barcelona. Given the rising cost of airfare, I decided to make a few stops to cities that are very close to my heart on my way to the big party: Madrid and Brussels. We only spent 24 hours in Madrid but had a lovely walk around the city that reminded me why this is one of my favorite European cities. My dear friend Carlis from SpicyCandyDC was my travel buddy for this trip and we loved every minute of our adventure.

24 Hours in Madrid with friends
24 Hours in Madrid with Carla

After a late arrival from Brussels, we got some much needed sleep and started our day quite late. It was warm and sunny in Madrid as we began our tour at the Gourmet Experience at El Corte Ingles. Let’s start with the view: if you only have 24 hours in Madrid, this has to go on your must see list. Have a tinto de verano and tapas like we did and observe all the iconic landmarks of the city.

24 Hours in Madrid Corte Ingles
View of Madrid from El Corte Ingles

After stuffing our faces on montaditos, we decided to walk it off and see El Palacio Real (Royal Palace). We cut through the Plaza Mayor, which is always a pleasure to indulge in its magnitude with the tourists, local students, and questionable performance artists. Afterwards, we walked by the famous Mercado San Miguel.  From there, we found the Palace via Plaza de Oriente, where you can have a lovely cocktail and indulge in people watching of tourists and locals alike.

24 Hours in Madrid La Posada del Leon de Oro
The Floor at La Posada del Leon de Oro

We continued to walk by the tiny streets and alleys of Madrid with my dear friend Santiago, who has lived in Madrid for three years. We admired hidden churches, secluded plazas, and little details which make this city so great to visit. We found ourselves taking a break at Posada del Leon de Oro, a small hotel with a lovely bar with ample windows to the street and an interesting glass floor. There, we sipped on more tintos de veranos and reminisced about old times and good times in Brussels, the city where Santiago and I met.

24 Hours in Madrid Plaza del Oriente
Plaza del Oriente

As the sun started to set, we continued our walk to make the most of our time in Madrid. We walked by Parque del Retiro, which I love for running (did many training runs there during my prior visits) and took in the beauty of Madrid City Hall. We ended our aggressive walking tour with a little shopping in the fashionable Salamanca neighborhood where I bought a fabulous cocktail dress at Trucco for my wedding after party. This was my fourth time in the city and although it was 24 Hours in Madrid, it was a lovely experience. Many people focus on Barcelona for travel in Spain, but Madrid also has something very special. I love the history, architecture, and old soul of Madrid. A must go, even if for 24 hours….