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Madrid Marco Polo Guide

Churros con chocolate
What better way to round off a night on the town than with churros con chocolate? The Chocolatería San Ginés between the Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor is one of the city’s most popular places and your best bet. It is always open and you will be forgiven for mistaking the thick creamy potion served here for hot chocolate but it is actually for dunking the churros – a delicious, deep-fried pastry. Heavenly!

As in Goya’s day
The Fiesta de San Isidro is an occasion for the residents of Madrid to don their traditional outfits and to celebrate in true Spanish style. The fiesta is held in May and honours the city’s patron, locals make a picnic pilgrimage to the Ermita de San Isidro across the river Manzanares in a scene reminiscent of Goya’s ‘La Pradera de San Isidro’ now gracing the Prado.

Live like there is no tomorrow
Seeing is believing – there are traffic jams on the Gran Vía in the middle of the night – the alleyways and streets of Madrid’s centro are jam-packed with late night revellers and it is not only the young. Drop in at one of the many open air terrazas and you will see the familiar sight of Madrileños of all ages up until the early hours of the morning.

Meeting place for intellectuals
There is no trace of the small tobacco kiosk that once marked the entrance to the Café Gijón. But even without the smoke wafting through it, this iconic coffee shop continues to remain one of Madrid’s intellectual institutions. Made famous over the past 130 years by the likes of Camilo José Cela, Ortega y Gasset and Rosa Montero.

A second-hand world
Madrid’s main flea market is an institution, a ritual that goes far beyond the mundane of buying and selling. You will find whatever your heart desires at the Rastro – you need only look long enough.

Tapas tasting
Eating out and going out become one thing when you do as the locals do and go on a tapeo – a tour of all the various tapas bars – a mandatory stop has to be the Bocaíto bar on the Calle Libertad in Chueca.


Buy the Madrid Marco Polo Guide.

Madrid Marco Polo Guide

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