My wife and I will be traveling to Madrid for four days in September and since this is our first time I wanted to get some feedback from some of the veterans on if our itinerary is okay or needs tweaking along with any other suggestions. We're both Americans in our late twenties, we've been to a few foreign countries where English is not the primary language but never Spain (I spent a lot of time in Puerto Rico so I'm used to Spanish, understanding they are somewhat different languages). We both enjoy history (me more so than her), shopping (definitely her more so than me), and LOVE food. Our primary reason for visiting Madrid are culture and food.
We'll be staying at the Me Madrid Reina Victoria. I appreciate your help!
-Afternoon Arrival from Portugal
-Stroll the neighborhood around our hotel
-Evening Tapas Tour
-Mercado de San Miguel (is this a good lunch option? are there places to sit and/or pick up picnic supplies?)
-Palacio de Cristal
-Shopping (Any suggestions on some good non-touristy shopping?)
-Tapas Crawl (saw this suggested before: Txacolina, Casa Lucas, Taberna Salamanca, Txirmiri, La Parrala, Xentes, Vinos, Almacen de Vinos. Thoughts?)
-Palacio de Cibeles
-Palacio de Linares
-Lunch (Open to suggestions, we're considering the Mercado again if we like it)
-Temple de Debod
-More shopping or any other sights we must see?
-Have availability in the morning before we fly out--not sure if we could see anything else?
*A few general questions. Is alcohol allowed in the parks for a picnic? Is there a place to get good, but not too expensive (comparatively speaking) Cuban cigars? What are options for breakfast? I know Spaniards prefer lighter fare than Americans. Are there any good places near our hotel? I have four years of Spanish from school and spent time in Puerto Rico so I can speak a bit (slowly relative to native speakers) and understand a bit more than that, but how difficult will it be to order in a tapas bar with noise/crowds? Any tips I should be aware of?