Many people would argue that Spain is a summer destination but I would say that it isn’t the end of the world if you go to Spain in the winter. The temperatures in Spain don’t really hit extreme lows compared to countries like Germany and Switzerland where it hits negative temperatures.
I visited Madrid as a weekend trip in November and it was one of the most enjoyable trips that I’ve been on. Madrid has everything necessary of a holiday destination- culture, food and shopping. As with all places in Spain, there will be Tapas. In Spain, they love their ham (aka. Jamon). While this sounds kind of lame, the ham in Spain is actually really different from the kind of ham that I’m used to and it’s actually really tasty, albeit slightly salty.
(Spanish Tapas- Cheese, Jamón and Salami)
Arriving on a Friday evening, I only really had dinner on the first night before heading back to the hotel. We went to a typical Spanish tapas bar. So surprise surprise, we had tapas. Another thing the Spanish do really well is seafood so we had Jamon and squid. While the restaurant was really non-descript, the service staff were really friendly and at the end of the meal, we were offered a peachy beverage. At first we thought it was alcohol until our waiter pointed insistently at the label on the bottle to indicate that it was alcohol-free. Interestingly enough, this is actually a product of Spain which I actually really wanted to buy in the duty-free store in the airport but couldn’t find.
The next day, we began gallivanting around Madrid. I would love to say that I remember the names of all the churches and buildings that I saw in Madrid, but I don’t. More often than not, we often just stumbled upon these places. To be honest, when I went to Madrid, I was more interested in the shopping and the food (which did not disappoint).
When going to Spain- NEVER forgot that churros are a Spanish dish. I doubt you will forget either given that you find churros at every next corner. Whilst I was in Madrid, I made it my personal mission to try as many different churro shops as possible. But if you want to skip to the best, one of the oldest Churro shops in Spain is called Valour and they serve churros with hot chocolate. Do note that when ordering hot chocolate in Spain, you’re not so much ordering hot chocolate as you are ordering liquid chocolate. Hot chocolate in Spain is so rich, I can understand why they actually dip the churros in the hot chocolate and eat it. Personally, my favourite way to eat churros is with a ton of sugar. ANYWAY, cue the churro montage:
Valour- famous for their hot chocolate just as much as they’re famous for their churros
Another less known fact about Spain is that it is the home of the famous (well I don’t know if its famous but its pretty damn popular in Singapore) Llao Llao. Knowing that, I made it my mission to hunt down Llao Llao stores and have as many Sanums as possible. (Sadly that was only 2) But I would say that there is definitely a wider range of products they offer in the Llao Llao in Spain
Frozen yogurt is pretty rampant in Spain so you definitely don’t have to settle for just Llao Llao. I just chose to have Llao Llao because it’s a name I’m familiar with and its pretty popular in Singapore. Its also cheaper to have Llao Llao in Spain than in Singapore (fyi).
A place that you must go to is this market called Mercado San Miguel. It is BRILLIANT. They have so many different stalls and all the food just looks amazing. Its also a great opportunity to try some Sangria, which is so damn yummy. Another interesting fact about Sangria is that it can only be called Sangria if it is made in either Spain or Portugal. Sangria is also one of the reasons why I say Spain is a summer country because I can imagine that it would be amazing to sip on some cold Sangria in summer. But I digress, the market was just amazing with its range of food, there was paella, desserts, sangria, Jamon and even fresh seafood (Sea urchin, calamari, prawns etc.)
Onto the topic of shopping, shopping in Madrid is pretty damn awesome as well. There isn’t a particular place that you go to shop in Madrid, there are shops everywhere in the city of Madrid. In particular when shopping in Spain the brands to look out for are the Inditex brands (i.e. Zara, Bershka, Pull and Bear etc.). Inditex is a Spanish company so naturally the clothes tend to be a little cheaper in Spain. Also, when you see a shop called Leftys, GO IN! Leftys is basically the factory outlet version of Zara, they sell Zara clothes that don’t make the cut for Zara. So you’re basically getting Zara clothes for a ridiculously cheap price. I didn’t know that the clothes were Zara, if not I would have bought a lot more than I actually did. The prices are really good and the designs are great as well.
I’d say that Madrid is great for a short holiday. I’m not entirely sure that it’ll be so good if you go for a week but I think 3 or 4 days in Madrid would be perfect. Personally, I’m really looking forward to the next time I get to visit Madrid. It was the first time i’d ever been to Spain and its left such a good impression on me that I’d really love to go back again some time soon.
And now, I leave you with some random pretty pictures I took in Madrid.