Last month we were in Madrid for architecture week, a wonderful series of exhibits and conventions celebrating the city’s architecture and looking towards the future of architecture. Of course we took advantage of our visit to explore this beautiful city!
Madrid has a beautiful range and mix of traditional European and contemporary, Hi-tec architecture. One of the most intriguing events of architecture week were tours exploring the city’s most prominent buildings, and seeing the progression of the city’s architecture throughout its history.
Madrid airport: inspiring first steps in Spain.
The city’s most hustling and bustling main street is filled with all the must have shops (Zara, H&M, Pull & Bear, etc) as well as some of the city’s most beautiful traditional architecture.
The detailing on the buildings is so beautiful that we couldn’t stop taking pictures!
Calle Mayor and city center
Reality vs. illusion.
Plaza del Sol.
Caixa Forum is a museum and cultural center located on Madrid’s beautiful Paseo del Prado boulevard and one of the city’s most interesting contemporary buildings.
The beautiful geometric structure was built by architects Herzog & de Meuron. It was built on the foundation of an old abandoned electrical station and the architects incorporated the steel aesthetic into the interior design as well.
We loved the Caixa Forum’s museum store and spent hours going through the architecture and fashion books.
Next to the Caxia Forum is a building covered with a vertical garden: a green wall designed by botanist Patrick Blanc.
To us this really signifies the future of architecture and landscape design, especially as urbanization develops and cities get more and more overpopulated.
Reina Sofia Museum
This museum underwent modern renovation and expansion by architect Jean Nouvel and now has a beautiful rooftop overlooking the city, as well as a wonderful courtyard and sculpture garden.
Besides its design, it was definitely our favorite museum in the city. It houses important pieces by Spanish artists such as Picasso, Dali, and Miro, as well as modern art and photography exhibits.
Hide and seek among the Richard Serra.
The Royal Palace
Beside the beautiful architecture of the palace and its lavish interiors, we loved the royal gardens.
A beautiful park which sits on the Paseo del Prado, it is a wonderful place to relax, have a picnic, or go for a nice stroll.
A pleasant surprise: a modern art exhibit at the park’s gallery.
El Retiro park leads up to Salamanca neighborhood, one of Madrid’s most expensive areas.
If luxury shopping is what you’re after, this is the place to go. From local labels to international designers, the boutiques in this area are beautiful.
Cool display at Camper.
Spanish designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada.
This is a central neighborhood which has become well known for being a gay friendly neighborhood. This area has some of the coolest restaurants, bars, cafes, and boutiques, as well as very cool street style.
As in every traditional European city, some of our favorite attractions are the markets. Madrid has an abundance of them, some offering food and drink and some clothes, home goods, etc.
Mercado San Miguel
This hip market and architectural gem has a delicious assortment of food and drink and seems to be the place to be at all times of the day and night.
This giant market spreads along several streets and reminds us a bit of London’s Camden Market. Here you can find everything from authentic high quality leather goods to graphic T Shirts, to 3 euro shoes (!!!). We clearly had to be dragged away.
This market only opens on Sundays and showing up early is a must, to avoid the huge crowds.
Spaniards sure know how to party! They spend morning to night in bars, restaurants, cafes, drinking all day long! Don’t miss out on the city’s fabulous nightlife.
One particular must visit are the flamenco shows. We of course had to go for the best and visited Corral de la Moreria, a gorgeous traditional venue which also serves dinner and drinks and features the most prominent dancers in the country.
The smartest thing to do when traveling is to check for any special events or attractions that take place during the visit. We were lucky enough to attend a special Hermes exhibit featuring the fashion house’s luxurious leather goods.
The only downside is the insatiable craving we now have for the Birkins and the Kellys!
What to wear
This time of the year the city is getting colder and starting to get more rain. The most wise thing to do is wear layers that you can peel off and pile back on towards the evening and night.
Looking for more amazing places to visit in Spain? Check out our post on Barcelona and Montserrat. Follow us as we report from more awesome destinations around the world!
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Wishing you all a wonderful week!
V & R