24 Hours In Madrid: Good Food, Drinks & Vibes

Within 24 hours in Madrid, you will find good drinks, interesting characters and an energetic vibes.

On this list, you’ll find hotspots to recharge after an exhausting night then to get yourself ready for a full, exciting day ahead! 24 hours in Madrid starts and ends with good times all around.


1. Breakfast at Carmencita Bar.

Calle San Vicente Ferrer 51, Metro Noviciado

Carmencita has become THE breakfast/brunch spot for Madrileños in the central Madrid area. It’s a tiny adorable and cozy café tucked away in Malasaña with lots of natural light and happy colors. It´s the best if not only place in the city where expats can have a delicious, filling breakfast of eggs benedict, French toast, bacon, hash browns, huevos rancheros and the most essential brunch item, mimosas.

Come here to recharge after an exhausting night and to get yourself ready for a full, exciting day ahead!

madrid carmencita

2. Check out the new Museo Arqueológico Nacional (National Archaeology Museum.)

Calle de Serrano 13, Metro Serrano

The National Archaeology Museum in Madrid or MAN just recently reopened in April, 2014 and with spanking new renovations, the space is splendid and sleek and an absolute must-see for those who are familiar with Madrid’s outstanding museum scene.

Given that it’s an archaeology museum, it hasn’t got any familiar works of art, but it has got an incredible collection of craniums, artifacts, multimedia visuals and information of Spain’s archaeological history, from the pre-historic to the Hispano-Roman era.

madrid archaeology museum

3. Take a walk around Colon and Serrano.

Metro Serrano or Colón

Luckily as soon as your walk out of the Museo Arqueológico Nacional, you’ll find yourself in Salamanca, one of the ritziest areas of the city. Around here you will find posh terrazas, swanky cafés, classy restaurants and the best of high brand shopping.

If you walk north up Calle Serrano you’ll be met with classy boutiques from Prada and Louis Vuitton to well-known individual Spanish designers. If you walk a bit south on Paseo de Recoletos, you’ll be met with the beautiful Biblioteca Nacional (National Library) on one side and a few gorgeous terrazas along the pedestrian walk way on the other where you can have a relaxing coffee or a caña (small beer.)

madrid colon

4. Lunch at Platea Madrid.

Calle de Goya 5-7, Metro Serrano or Colón

Platea Madrid is a gorgeous gastronomic space that recently opened in a former theater on Plaza de Colón. It has multiple floors with a plethora of culinary offerings from traditional and regional Spanish food as well as Japanese, Peruvian and Mexican cuisine. Michelin chef Ramón Freixa has installed a restaurant here and you can also find the works of other top Spanish chefs such as Pepe Solla and Marcos Morán.

This spacious food hall is divided into 5 different floors which include a food court and artisan grocery market on the ground floor, a classy collection of bars on the 1st floor and the various sit-down restaurants upstairs. Everyone should at least pass through and take a look at this one-of-a-kind new addition to Madrid’s foodie scene.

madrid platea

5. Walk to Cibeles, have a drink at one of the rooftop terraces.

Walk south down Paseo de Recoletos until you stumble upon the glory that is the Plaza de Cibeles— you really can’t miss it. From this well-known and hectic intersection, you have the option of seeing Madrid’s most iconic views from a few building rooftops.

The most popular buildings that offer rooftop views are the Circulo de Bellas Artes on Calle Álcala or the Cibeles Palace itself. Personally, I like the view from the top of Cibeles better but the rooftop bar of Circulo de Bellas Artes is nicer for relaxing and having a drink. Both buildings have sophisticated restaurants and terrazas to go with the view so either place will do for having a drink and soaking in the sunny skyline of Madrid.

madrid circulo bellas artes

6. Take a nap in Retiro or rent a bike in Madrid Rio.

Retiro (Metro Retiro or Atocha), Madrid Rio (Metro Legazpi)

When all that Spanish food and alcohol has risen to your head and you’re ready to indulge in a siesta, it’s a great idea to go to one of the world’s most beautiful parks to do it. Retiro is peaceful and spacious with lots of shade and trees and green grass in between the sites with the most foot traffic. If you’re looking to relax then it’ll be a good idea to stay away from Retiro’s main attractions like the Palacio de Cristal or the pond. Hang out near the south entrance or go towards the eastern side of the park where there will be less crowds.

For those who are still bubbling with energy and would prefer to stay active one of the best things to do is to go towards the River Manzanares where you will find a more modern park and the Matadero cultural center. Madrid Rio is a much newer and innovative park that takes the form of a concrete strip along the river with bike lanes, a skate park, grassy areas, bridge, gardens and cool playgrounds for children. The Matadero is a former slaughter house that is now a beautiful, brick complex of performance art, visual exhibitions and sophisticated gastronomy.

Within the Matadero you will find a bike shop that rents bicycles by the hour and from there you can start an amazing, scenic bike ride down the river that will take you to Príncipe Pio by the royal palace and Casa de Campo.

madrid retiro

7. Dinner at Gau&Café.

Calle Tribulete 14, 4th floor, Metro Lavapies

Gau&Café is one of the most popular rooftop restaurants in the city thanks to its cool, stylish ambience in the hip, quiet district of Lavapies. It has a diverse menu of Spanish and fusion dishes such as croquetas, butterfish ceviche and broken eggs with potatoes and jamón.

This rooftop terrace restaurant is incredibly trendy at the moment and many Madrileños swear that it’s the best terraza in Madrid. Don’t miss the chance of have a delicious meal with an even delicious ambience to go with it.

madrid gau&cafe

8. Go out for drinks in Malasaña

Everyone knows that Malasaña is the place to go for bustling bars full of cool, well-dressed and lively people as well as live music from local musicians. Malasaña has a wide offering of bars, from grungy and dive-y to hipster-to-a-tee, with many of them having distinct themes according to musical genre or historical era.

SEE ALSO: What‘s Hip? Madrid’s Most Hipster Spot: Malasaña

Tupperware and Gorila are always popping while El Perro de la Parte de Atrás del Coche usually has some cool musical performances every weekend, and Triskel’s is a favorite among English-speaking expats and travelers. If you can’t decide on a bar it’s always fun to botellón, which simply means to drink in the street, in the two major plazas of Malasaña. The whole world seems to be at Plaza de San Ildefonso on weekends and Plaza Dos de Mayo is always full of Malasanese locals looking to play guitar, dance, skate, sing and whatever they feel like doing on their turf.

You will always find good drinks, interesting characters and an energetic vibes on any night of the week here so be sure to spend your after hours in Madrid’s trendiest district.

madrid Malasaña

Nadia Cho

Communications Associate

As the empowered female behind the blog: International Women of Mystery, Nadia reps Team JST traveling the world in search of exclusive features on hidden gems and cool hotspots. You can find her exploring metropolitan cities or lounging on tropical beaches.

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