In Madrid for 24 hours? Explore the best of the city.Less
8AM: Wake up in the historic core of old, royal Madrid, at the Gran Meliá Palacio de Los Duques. This luxury hotel was indeed a ducal palace, and the room designs draw on the artworks of 17th-century court painter Diego Velázquez.
10AM: Shop for fine Spanish wine, vermouth, chorizo and Manchego cheese (all of which you can try before you buy) at Donde Sánchez, a tiny, friendly independent deli and bodega inside the Mercado Antón Martín.
11AM: Have a mid-morning chocolate y churros at Café Comercial, where the walls are illuminated with quotes from Madrileño poet Rafael Soler. First opened in 1887, the place had a full facelift in 2017, though the café’s spirit (and much of the old-time interior) remains unchanged.
NOON : Design a fabulous home for yourself at Casa Josephine. Iñigo Aragón and Pablo López Navarro launched their design studio in 2012 with the aim of creating spaces where contemporary design and cultural tradition act in harmony.
1PM : Try on an imperiously stylish cape at Capas Seseña, a specialist workshop that opened in 1901. Past clients have included Picasso, Catherine Deneuve and Hilary Clinton. The classic, Spanish-style designs transcend mere modishness.
2PM : Pause for lunch at Bistronómika, where veteran chef Carlos del Portillo operates a “no menu” policy, working with whatever fresh seafood looked best at the market that morning. Portillo has built his reputation over almost thirty years of never letting diners down.
4PM: Retreat to the Spanish Golden Age at the Casa Museo Lope de Vega, the restored home of the great 17th-century poet and playwright. The courtyard garden, with its orange tree grown from the roots of de Vega’s own, is a peaceful corner of a bygone Madrid.
6PM: Snap up handmade floral and fauna-themed jewellery and bags at AndresGallardo. Gallardo and Marina Casal went from recycling antique porcelain pieces to making limited-edition prototypes where lions and panthers cohabit in perfect harmony – and revived Spanish artisan traditions in the process.
7PM: Swing to the roof of the Círculo de Bellas Artes for a gin and tonic as the day begins to fade. The vast rooftop bar offers some of the best views of Madrid, and from a building where Pablo Picasso once took art lessons no less.
9PM: Graze down the length of Calle Ponzano: tapeando from taberna to restaurant to bar. Start with vermouth and gourmet Basque finger food at Arima, and end with delicately sliced chuletón (T-bone steak) carpaccio at the avant-garde Sala de Despiece.