When planning this trip I picked up so many helpful hints and tips from this forum so hope this review helps a few fellow planners!.
My Partner and I travelled to Madrid June 6th-9th from Bristol, staying at the wonderful Hotel Orfila. Despite a delay at airport due to a electrical issue we enjoyed time in the Aspire Lounge before boarding our Easy Jet flight.
Taxi from airport to Hotel was 35 Euros - slightly above the expected fixed fee of 30 Euros but may have been due to the time of night perhaps.
Wonderful reception on arrival by the Orfila staff which set the tone for the entire stay. Fantastic boutique hotel, spacious and well appointed room, delicious food and everything was really top notch. (I have written a separate hotel review)
Despite a late arrival at 11pm we decided to pop out for a drink to sample the late night culture. We were recommended to visit the bars in the next block and enjoyed a few plates of tapas to accompany our wine.
After a great nights sleep in a very comfortable and large bed we had a late breakfast in the hotel courtyard before setting off on our travels - a six mile circular walk of the City. From Plaza Colon we walked along Paseo Recoletos to Pl. de Ciebeles for a photo opportunity. Continued to Plaza Mayor for a drink - price was reasonable and people watching was great. Popped in to Mercado San Miguel next door - what a place - was very busy but seeing all the food displays and lots of people enjoying wine and tapas - definitely worth a visit.
Continued to the Royal Palace area, Plaza Espana and along Gran Via. Ready for a snack we head to Calle Infantas to visit El Tigre bar - the good news is there are now 2 El Tigre bars in the street! We knew of this bar due to this forum - we ordered 2 beers and the free tapas started arriving! Plenty of bread, meat and potatoes which filled us up nicely. Bar was not overcrowded but we passed it later in the evening and it was packed!
Wandered back to the Hotel for a wash and brush up (via a cocktail at the Hard Rock Café) and once revived we headed out to Room Mate Oscar Hotel for drinks in the roof top terrace bar. Great atmosphere and views and we were served by the lovely Henrik from Finland.
Late night tapas again at midnight - by now we were really getting into the Madrid way of life!
Day 2 was supposed to be the relaxing day but many miles on foot still covered! First stop was Circulo de Bellas Artes for a visit to the rooftop terrace bar - 3 Euro entry fee - absolutely brilliant!! We were fortunate to get a double lounger and enjoyed a drink and the fantastic views - this is a must do! On the way we saw lots of Police activity on Gran Via and watched and waited and saw the Royal Family whizz by on their way to an official engagement.
Off to Parque de El Retiro - what a great place. We walked through the park enjoying all the sights with occasional stops under a shady tree.
Lunch in Calle Huertas - lots of small bars - all looked good and food again excellent and very reasonable. Lovely large glass of wine for 2.20 Euros.
Tired feet but we were keen to see Plaza Mayor by night so decided to try the Metro. It was clean, easy to navigate and cheap! Found the famous Chocolateria San Gines but decided to be sensible and have our evening meal first! Fantastic meal at Chiky Restaurant just along the same street - we had the red sausages in cava, freshly baked cod, prawns in garlic and potato bravas with a sauce which had quite a bit of poke! We have good appetites and with the complimentary bread it was plenty! We were almost defeated but managed to finish. Lovely bottle of wine approx. 15 Euros - could not fault it.
Wandered through Plaza Mayor - it was Sunday evening so was quite quiet. It looked lovely in the moonlight but was sad to see the number of homeless people who were settling down for the night. Certainly made us think as we headed back.
Final day - the Bernabeu Stadium. Arrived by metro which is literally outside the stadium. First queue we saw was not for the tour but for a Madrista fan club card which does offer savings if you plabn to make purchases in the shop. Found the ticket office outside gate 7 - 19 Euros each for tickets. The tour is brilliant and recommended for football fans and non fans alike. Plenty to see, interactive displays and you really get a sense of how quickly this club has grown and developed. Visit to the dressing rooms and the pitch. The tour ends with the obligatory shop visit - plenty of purchases being made although probably need to be on football player wages!
Nice shops and bars in the local area and after a quick snack we decided to start walking to the next Metro station and the next... as this was a straight line route back to town we walked back to the Centre along the tree lined avenue. For us that was our trip over as we returned to the Hotel to collect our bags. With time on our side we took the Metro to the airport (standard ticket plus 3 euro supplement) so 2 tickets just 9.60. Another easy trip with great signage making it easy.
We have been home less than 24 hours and are discussing when we can return - it was that good!
The city is clean, well laid out and everyone we met was friendly. We found the food and drink prices reasonable and in some cases cheap - portions were large too!
Plan your routes so you get to see all the sights and definitely look for the rooftop terrace bars.