Many flight providers, including RyanAir and Easyjet, fly out of Stanstead and Luton to Madrid many times throughout the day. Book far in advance to get the best deals! Average costs: £60-70
Top (cheap) eats
Best low-key dinner
Venta el Buscon, near the Plaza del Sol, is a great choice for authentic, delicious Spanish cuisine. Most meals are less than €10, and that includes free pre-meal tapas. Be sure to try the sangria, with floating fresh fruits, for just €2.20.
Don’t miss San Ginés, near the Puerto del Sol metro stop, to sample some churros and melted warm chocolate for just €3. The chocolate is served in a tea cup, and if you have some left over, take it like a shot. So sweet!
Check out Cerveceria 100 Montaditos, which serves tiny sandwiches from a menu of more than 50 options. It’s a great, inexpensive way to try a wide variety of Spanish favorites. The best part? Average cost is less than €5.
What to see:
If you like…
Take a free tour of the city with Sandemans New Europe. Your tour guide, your choice of English or Spanish speaking, walks you around the city, giving you bits of history and advice along the way. You’ll see many of the city’s main sites in just three hours.
El Prado: The museum houses many works of Velázquez, Goya, Titian, Rubens and Bosch. Allow about 2-3 hours. Students under 25 get in for free
Head to Kapital, an upscale but not uptight club that boasts seven floors, including three dance floors with different kinds of music and a rooftop bar. Cover charge ranges from €12-20, but it includes two drinks.
Buen Retiro Park holds its own against Hyde Park, with its sprawling green gardens and pond with paddleboats. There are free museums in the park, and plenty of places to grab a cold ice cream and lay out on the warm grass to take a siesta.
Sunday is your main day. Spend your hard earned pounds at El Rastro Market. You’ll find lots and lots of antiques and knickknacks, but there are treasures to be found if you devote enough time.
Other top Madrid Tips
In restaurants, leave a tip, but only of 5-10%.
Madrid is very walkable, so don’t buy a huge Metro package.
Stay hydrated. Summer temperatures often rise about 30 degrees.
Don’t eat at restaurants on main squares and circuses — they tend to be more expensive and more touristy.