5 Best Plazas of Madrid
Great Plazas in Madrid!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah
Spanish people are all about being out and about. Spring, summer and autumn are filled with people laughing loud in good company of friends and cañas (Spanish for small beer).
But if you had to select, what would be the top 5 non-too-touristy squares of Madrid?
1- Plaza Matute, this square is not the common square you would imagine. It’s weird if you get what I mean, it’s like a narrow triangle street that turns into a small cozy, square, sort of. Small terraces here allow you for a rest in the shade, away from cars. Plaza Santa Ana, on of the most famous squares of the capital (but rather touristy) is just steps away and only pedestrians can access here. Trust me, this place is really something. Matute 12 bar and restaurant I personally recommend, great brunch and cocktails for a very honest price.
2-Plaza de la Paja, literally Hay Square in Spanish, is a little corner of the center you might miss even if surrounded by famous sights (Opera, La Latina) in case you walk distractedly among the charming sunny sidewalks of Madrid.
Situated just next to the Mercado La Cebada and Metro la Latina, this genuine beauty is often not taken into consideration as it surrounded by famous sights and has a rather narrow access.
This special hilly square is unique for many reasons. History first: this square is placed in of the most ancient districts of Madrid, Palacio. This is were the kings, after living in Toledo for centuries, initially lived, when they decided to move the capital of Spain to Madrid in 1561. You can still find the sign on the building that once hosted the kings. Here you also find the first church of Madrid, Iglesia de San Andres (Saint Andrews’ Church).
The fact that it is on a downhill already make it pretty special, giving you a nice depth of view from each part of it. All the nice little bars and terraces give a very calm atmosphere to this special corner.
Bars tend to open quite late here, from 12.00 so not the best if you are an early riser in need of caffeine, but it is great if you want to partner up with your hangover for a chill Caña (small beer in Spanish) after lunch. You have plenty of options for both lunch and dinner, from veggie burgers down to Russian cuisine and just typical Spanish are only few of the options here. You can even find a very valid Mexican deli down below close to calle segovia. The whole area of Palacio and La Latina is crowded with ultra valuable foodie options anyhow, so you will be very unlucky if you do not find a tasty solution for your Sunday cravings. Viva Burger with it’s veggie burger is a delight, Delic Cafe has amazing cakes also!
3- Plaza de las Comendadoras, is a square in an area many people from Madrid don’t even know! This is because it’s location on a light hill, steps away from Plaza de España make it a bit “off” the main circus. This part of the city is called Conde Duque, because it is very close to the mansion of the Duke of Alba. A huge cultural center takes place in the monumental military building next to the mansion, aging back 1717, it hosts today an open air cinema in summer, a free contemporary art museum, and a huge library with free internet and a gigantic forum for talks and shows.
The area is rather quiet and elegant, with many design shops and quality bars. You can also find some art gallery and the ABC Illustration museum that I strongly suggest you visit, free everyday. The square hosts 2 very famous and valid bars, among others. Federal cafe with its hipster vibes, quality cakes and cappucino. And Roll cafe, an american authority in the city in terms of brunches.
4- Plaza de Lavapies, If you like high quality Indian food at a reasonable price go here, Now! Naaah come on, not only for that! Lavapies is a bit of a contradictory neighborhood. This is why for me it is so interesting to visit it, wander in its labyrinthine streets. From you here you are steps away from the Modern Art Museum of Reina Sofia and the Atocha Train Station that hosts an amazing indoor botanical garden with a huge, turtle pool! You can also access easily the Retiro Park, just minutes away. The architecture here is very charming, and it is traditionally a very Antique Shop neighborhood, also as it hosts every Sunday the Rastro flea market (every sunday 9am to 2pm). The beauty of this square is its life, this square and the neighborhood never sleeps. There are many events, festivals and the vibrant Theater here is full of programs too. Tapapies is a tapas festival in October that is a true taste explosion for your mouth. BollyMadrid in June is another indian culture related festival that enhances the many restaurants and shop from this country in Lavapies. But it’s not until August that Lavapies truly skyrockets with San Lorenzo Festival, the holy protector of this district.
5- Last but least…..! Plaza San Ildefonso, despite here we are in Hipster Central (nothing against Hipster, just sayin’), this square has so so so, help me say so, so much charme. First of all there is almost no traffic like most of the other 4 square above. Is one of the few places where misteriously you can still do Botellon, which means you can drink in the streets seated on the floor, just chatting, with drinks you brought there yourself (careful it is very strictly forbidden in Spain and the fines are very painful). The bars all over ( I recommend Corazon Bar, Fabrica Maravillas, Bicicleta cafe, Pescaderia) are really decorated in a very creative way, serve a great variety of high quality cocktails and the music is what you expect it to be. During the day is a good place for shopping and lunches also. This is one of the most central squares of the center.
Hope you enjoyed this post!!!!
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The Food Guru