CREATIVE director Mark Hayman and his wife Margaret indulged in sightseeing and sipping rioja under a sunny Spanish sky.
A weekend in Madrid is only a two-hour flight away from £30.
BAGS INTO CONVENITOR: There’s little more to Madrilenia than sitting on a picturesque square, enjoying some Spanish Fries with a cold beer – and, unlike some other European capitals, you won’t need a second mortgage to fund the experience!
Head to the bustling Plaza Mayor, a fenced-roofed square in the heart of Madrid’s old town, and book a table outside at Don Calamar to learn about history. A beer or a glass of rioja costs £4, and a plate of croquettes £8 (Doncalamar.es).
Enjoy the Spanish platter with every drink at the wonderful San Miguel Market, where you can enjoy the country’s best food, all under one roof. Don’t miss Daniel Sorlut oysters, a savory pastry stand, and end up at Madreamiga – “mom’s friend” – for delicious sweet treats (Mercadodesanmiguel.es).
PICASSO TEST: Madrid is famous for its many museums and galleries. The Museo Reina Sofía is a showcase of 20th-century Spanish art, including By Picasso Guernica masterpiece. Tickets cost £8, free for under-18s – or visit after 7pm on Monday, Wednesday or Saturday when everyone is free (Museoreinasofia.es).
A must-see for first-time visitors is the Museo Nacional del Prado, one of the most important museums for European art. With over 2,300 paintings, you definitely need to plan what you want to see. Tickets cost £11, free for under-18s or free for everyone after 6pm daily (Museodelprado.es).
POINT A STADIUM TOUR: Madrid’s other temple of art is home to a slightly different iconic breed. Zidane, Ronaldo and Di Stéfano may not have the charm of artists of the Spanish Renaissance, but they are equally respected in this football-mad city.
If you want to see where they trade, a two-hour tour around the world famous Santiago Bernabeu Stadium is a must, £12 per person (Bstadium.es).
SAMPLE SHERRIES: Spain’s capital is synonymous with nightlife from sunrise, Ernest Hemingway said of it: “Nobody goes to bed until they’ve killed all night.” There are few places in Madrid that don’t claim Don Ernesto as a regular patron, but he certainly has his favorites – La Venencia is one of them.
This quirky bar is home to an extensive display of Spanish cherries – samples from £1.50 a glass (Lavenencia.com). For something a little more modern, head to Macera TallerBar, where bearded bartenders serve signature Spanish cocktails, using house-brewed spirits, such as wine. Ginger-scented gin or cherry-infused whiskey.
SLEEP ’60s-STYLISH: The Canopy of the Hilton Madrid Castellana is located in the north of the city, a short distance from the Bernabeu. Recently refurbished, the hotel stays true to its 60s architectural roots. The lobby, which may have been pulled from a Stanley Kubrick movie (see the awesome red loo!) has a great bar and restaurant. Our top tapas pick is Iberian ham, £17.
Meanwhile, on the terrace, Planta Z, there’s a glittering breakfast cart that sells wonderful sandwiches – we love the veal, £4 – to eat by string lights. . Plus, there’s a great pool and rooftop terrace that offers stunning views of the city and the mountains beyond.
Double rooms cost from £100 a night and are modern, sparkling-clean. We also love the art and design books scattered around (Hilton.com).
FYI: Madrid is one hour ahead of the UK. Fly to Madrid from £30 one way (Easyjet.com).
https://www.thesun.ie/travel/8497111/madrid-weekend-getaway-spain/ The sun, the views, the rioja and the tapas mean Madrid is an ideal weekend getaway