New Year's Eve in Madrid
December 26, 2013 3:47 PM   Subscribe

I am going to be in Madrid, Spain for a few days. Most of my time is scripted. However, I had the afternoon of New Year's Eve free. Do you have any suggestions on what to do? I am already going to the Prado, taking a walking tour, and a bus tour. I am looking for something that is a must see or do. I am a female in my early 40s. I may or may not be able to get someone else to go with me.
posted by nimsey lou to Travel & Transportation around Madrid, Spain (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you have one afternoon free, I cannot imagine doing more than going to the Prado, taking a walking tour, and a bus tour. Seriously, that is more than enough; leave it.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:14 PM on December 26, 2013

Response by poster: Sorry, the Prado and tours are on other days. I have one afternoon as free time.
posted by nimsey lou at 4:17 PM on December 26, 2013

If the walking tour doesn't take you there (or even if it does), I would meander around the Plaza Mayor/Puerta del Sol area. If it's your thing, get churros y chocolate somewhere, like at San Ginés. Walk around Retiro if it's nice weather. I also liked the Palacio Real.

Another thought: are your walking/bus tours before or after this free afternoon? It might be nice to just reserve this time and use it to explore a space that piqued your interest during one of the other tours. You might decide you want a second day for the Prado, for example.
posted by pitrified at 4:53 PM on December 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Good thought. The free afternoon is after the tours/Prado.
posted by nimsey lou at 5:19 PM on December 26, 2013

I don't know if you're the type who would enjoy this, but my wife and I were in Madrid in August, and if we were there again with an afternoon to spare, we would likely end up here:
posted by jangie at 5:44 PM on December 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

pitrified is on it.

I had one free (long) night in Madrid - virtually hit all those spots. Started with Retiro, took the metro over to Palacio Real. Walked all the way back to my hotel by the Prado for the rest of the night, hitting the Tapas bars, Plaza Mayor, whatever side street looked interesting. Everyone I talked to was nice, and they got a great laugh out of me struggling with my phrasebook, only lapsing to English when I was desperate. Epic.
posted by j_curiouser at 6:08 PM on December 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Gran Via, while touristy, has a bunch of Broadway style shows and designer clothes stores.
posted by empath at 10:43 PM on December 26, 2013

Best answer: I think it depends a lot on your interests. If you like art, I'd try to take in another museum, either the Reina Sofia or the Thyssen, depending on your preferences. If you like baroque architecture, take a tour of the royal palace. If you're more interested in food and drink, walk around the Plaza Mayor area, stop in any bar that looks interesting and order a drink and a tapa/ración. Try a bunch. And absolutely do not miss the Mercado San Miguel. It will be packed, for sure, but even if there are too many people to eat comfortably, it is a beautiful gourmet market that you can eat with your eyes.

Sorry no links, I'm on mobile.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 2:17 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: As everyone else said, it depends a lot on your interests. The Plaza Mayor is usually lovely, but at this time of the year it's taken over by the tackiest sort of Christmas market, and there isn't much to enjoy there unless you are really interested on novelty party wigs. :/

Assuming the weather is good and you're OK with a fair amount of walking, I'd probably recommend heading to Atocha station, traversing the Retiro Park south to north (you want the northwest exit, Puerta de Alcalá) and walk from there to Puerta del Sol via Calle Alcalá. Depending on how much time you have left, you can easily hit Gran Vía, the Plaza Mayor and Ópera / the Royal Palace from there. That should take you near quite a lot of sights in a relatively short amount of time.

At some point in the evening, Puerta del Sol will get completely taken over by a massive mob of revellers celebrating New Year, which can be a bit overwhelming, but you should be fine if you get there before 20:00 or so.

Have fun, enjoy your time in Madrid and have a great start to the year! PM me if there's anything I can do to help.
posted by doctorpiorno at 2:44 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I just went to Madrid and it was awesome! I would walk from the Prado down to the Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor and then from there to the Palacio Real and take a tour. Definitely get your Prado tickets early so you don't have to wait in line.

I would also recommend going to Cortylandia if at all possible just to take in the atmosphere of kids gaping at tacky singing bears that look like they're straight out of a 1970s Worlds Fair but I'm sort of obsessed with it so feel free to ignore me.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:02 AM on December 27, 2013

« Older Why is it so hard to make it in America?   |   Fun neighborhoods for first time visitors to NYC? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.