January 24, 2021
Snow in Madrid

Snow in Madrid

January 24, 2021

snow in Madrid

Does it snow in Madrid? Unlike in the north of Spain, snow is quite an unusual sight in Madrid. Winters here are dry and cold. A few snowflakes may fall here and there every year but it's not often that we get to see winter wonderland in the capital of Spain. 

However, storm Filomena brought us the heaviest snowfall in 50 years to start 2021. After more than 24 hours of non-stop snow, the streets were completely covered. Snow reached a height of about 40 cm (15 inches). Cars were blocked and hunderds of people spent the night in their cars, rows of buses were abandoned in the middle of the street, trees fell covering roads, supermarket shelves were empty because they couldn't stock up and even the airport and schools had to close. 

The sights were unbelievable. Streets looked like sets for an apocalyptic movie. We had thought we had seen everything in 2020 but we were wrong. 

Two weeks later, there are still mountains of snow and branches on the side of streets and roads.

Despite the chaos, this unusal phenomenon was something Madrileños had to enjoy. Most of us had never seen so much snow outside the mountains. So the day after the blizzard the streets were full of people. Some of them saw this as a chance to take their ski equipment out to get around. There was even a massive snowball fight in Madrid's most famous street: Gran Via.  

I myself couldn't miss this chance to take some unique photos to remember the epic snowstorm so I grabbed my camera and ventured out to take some photos of snow in Madrid. At the end of the day, we don't know if we'll ever get to see Madrid turned into a snow globe again. 

snow Madrid

snow Madrid
snowman Madrid

snow Madrid
Snow Madrid

snow Madrid

Snow Madrid
Cibeles

Gran Via, Madrid

Gran Vía

WEAR THIS HERE

Puerta de Alcalá

Puerta Alcala

Planning a trip to Madrid? Check out this local's guide with the top restaurants, hotels sights and activities you can't miss.

January 7, 2021
A Local's Guide to Madrid

A Local's Guide to Madrid

January 7, 2021

Gran Vía, Madrid

Today I am going to take you along with me on a local’s guide to Madrid. Covering where to stay, the best things to do, and of course my local picks for where to eat and shop.

Why trust all this local advice from me? I have been living in Madrid for 6 years, experiencing the city to the fullest. I have truly tested out the town and want to share the best of the best with you. Without further ado, let’s get into the list.

Here’s my local’s guide to exploring Madrid


COVID-19 Update

It's possible to travel to the Madrid right now. However, if you are coming from a country with a big covid-19 impact, you must have a negative test done 72 hours before when you land in Spain. International visitors to Spain do not currently have to go into quarantine. However, you must check what conditions your country has when you return from your trip. Most hotels have now reopened their doors along with the main tourist attractions, shops and restaurants.

At the moment, shopping centers, restaurants and cafes have some restrictions such as capacity limitations and distance between tables. It's mandatory for anyone 6 and older to wear face masks while in public, both indoors and outdoors.


Where to Stay in Madrid

There are plenty of hotels around the city center for all budgets. The most luxurious hotels are the Ritz and the Palace Hotels. More affordable options include The Principal or Orfila. Hotel chains like Melia, NH, Hyatt or Vincci are always a wise choice. The Hat is a lovely hostel with one of the best rooftops. Finally, Urso is another budget friendly option to check out. 


Transportation in Madrid

Metro is the best way to move around Madrid. It's clean, safe and fast. Although, if you are staying downtown, you probably won't even need to use it as the main spots are within walking distance.


What to do in Madrid

Parks: there are several parks worth visiting. Retiro is the biggest and most beautiful. It's right in the city center. La Quinta de los Molinos and El Capricho are off-the-beaten track but still worth visiting.


Museums: visit El Prado for one of the most impressive collections of classical art in Europe. If you prefer modern art, Reina Sofia is the place to go. I also recommend the collections from the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Sorolla house-museum. 


Landmarks: the main square: Plaza Mayor, the bustling Gran Via, the stunning Palacio de Cibeles, the Almudena Cathedral and the Egyptian Templo de Debod must be on your to-see list.


Get the best views from the Teleferico, a cable car service that connects both sides of Madrid.


Visit the best palaces: Palacio Real, Palacio de Liria and Palacio de Linares. The later offers a dramatized visit once a month that tells you the story of the ghost that is believed to live in the palace. If you speak Spanish I highly recommend it, it's a unique experience. 

Templo Debod

Retiro

Retiro, Madrid

Librerías Cuesta Moyano

The best places to shop in Madrid

Did you know that Zara and Mango are Spanish brands? Be sure to visit their flagship stores in Serrano street. This street and the contiguous ones house the best brands in the world both high street and luxury. 


If you want to take home with you unique Spanish products check out Real Fabrica Española and Gonzalez & Gonzalez


Find the best vintage books at the book stands in Cuesta Moyano.

Read more about Fashion Shopping in Madrid

Read more about Spanish brands

Brownie shop

The best places to eat in Madrid

Best restaurants

One of my favorite things about living in Madrid is the wide variety of restaurants you can find. Their amazing decor and food make Madrid foodie paradise.

If you love healthy food, Superchulo is for you. El Perro y la Galleta is the cutest place with yummy and affordable food.

La Petite Cuisine

Fellina

Best coffee shops

You can't leave Madrid without trying the world-famous chocolate con churros from San Gines. Especially at winter time!


The most spectacular coffee shops are Salon des Fleurs and Living in London.


If you can't skip brunch go to Zenith, Abolea or Bendita Locura. For a unique brunch surrounded by nature go to La Petite Cuisine.

Read more about the best brunch and breakfast spots in Madrid


Best rooftops

Drinks with a view are your thing? Madrid has some of the trendiest rooftops in Europe. Add 360º Skybar Riu Plaza España, Picalagartos and Radio to your itinerary.

San Gines

Vincci Mint Rooftop

Food Markets

San Miguel, San Anton and San Ildefonso are the best markets to grab a bite. (San Miguel is closed at the moment due to Covid-19)

Mercado San Miguel

Helpful tips and fun facts about Madrid

  • Did you know that the name Madrid comes from the Arabic “magerit” which means ‘place of many streams’?
  • Madrid’s most famous museums offer free admission on certain days and hours. Book your ticket in advance as these times tend to be more crowded.
  • Avoid the restaurants in Plaza Mayor in Madrid. The food is overpriced and the food  is average.
  • Paella may be Spain's most famous dish but Madrid is not the place to have it. Save that for a trip to Valencia.
  • Madrid is a safe city but you still have to watch your belongings. Pickpockets are global.
  • Any season is good to visit Madrid as it doesn't rain a lot. Actually, it has more cloudless days than virtually any other city in Europe. Summer does get a bit to hot to explore the city in the midddle of the day though.

City Hall, Madrid

I hope you enjoyed this quick local’s guide to Madrid. I'll be happy to answer any questions you have while planning your trip. So don't hesitate and ask away on the comment section below!

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madrid guide

October 3, 2020
Gran Canaria: a five day itinerary

Gran Canaria: a five day itinerary

October 3, 2020

Puerto de Mogan

Gran Canaria is the biggest of the Canary Islands or "lucky islands" as we call them in Spain. The nickname was given with good reason. The islands are located off the coast of Morocco and have the perfect temperature to swim and sunbathe all year long -an average of 25ºC- and there's a wide variety of breathtaking landscapes that you can't find in the peninsula.

It doesn't matter whether you are going in January or August, you can always make the most of this remarkable island. Because of this, it's worth avoiding peak season -July and August- if you can so that you can have the island to yourself.

On this post you are going to find a 5-day itinerary to explore the island. However, if you want to make the most of your experience, I recommend spending 7 days in the island as the ideal option.

COVID-19 Update October 2020

It's possible to travel to the Canary Islands right now from any country in the Schengen Area. International visitors to Spain do not currently have to go into quarantine. However, you must check what conditions your country has when you return from your holiday. Most hotels have now reopened their doors along with the main tourist attractions, shops and restaurants.

At the moment, shopping centers, restaurants and cafes have some restrictions such as capacity limitations and distance between tables. It's mandatory for anyone 6 and older to wear face masks while in public, both indoors and outdoors.

Gran Canaria Itinerary Day 1

Arrival in Gran Canaria. Distances around the island aren't big but it all depends on where your hotel is. Traveling around the coast is fast and easy on the highway. However, the center of the island is mountainous land with narrow winding roads. 

Needless to say, renting a car is mandatory. CICAR -Canary Islands Car - is the largest car rental company in the island. You can book the car you want online prior to your trip and they'll have it ready for you as soon as you land. 

Since you are probably tired from the trip, spend the rest of the day exploring your hotel surroundings. 

Our hotel was Melia Tamarindos in Playa de San Agustin, a stone's throw from Maspalomas in the south of the island.

Long flight? If you are in the area and need to relax, go to the spa at Meloneras Lopesan Hotel.

Where to eat:
  • Pitos y Flautas for a great outdoor dining area with sea views and delicious Mediterranean food.
  • Churrasco for great Argentinian meat.
Meloneras

Gran Canaria Itinerary Day 2

Visit Maspalomas, one of the most famous towns in the island. The top 3 spots are Playa del Ingles -one of the best known beaches in the island-, the lighthouse and the sand dunes at Maspalomas beach.

After lunch, drive to the most instagrammable place in Gran Canaria: Puerto de Mogan. Also known as "the Venice of Gran Canaria", because of the channels around the town, this picture perfect port is surrounded by beautiful houses painted in different colors and bougainvillea on every corner. The fuchsia petals scattered on the floor give it an even dreamier feel.

Where to eat: 

  • Hard Rock Cafe at Playa del Ingles
  • 360º a one of a kind restaurant with 360º views
Mogan
Mogan
Mogan

Gran Canaria Itinerary Day 3

Spend a day outdoors visiting Roque Nublo. Formerly, an ancient place of worship for the aborigines., Roque Nublo is an 80 m tall volcanic rock in the center of the island. This is just an example of the islands geological past as the Canary Islands were made up from volcanoes. That's why the sand at the islands' beaches is so dark.

The roads that reach this spot are narrow and winding. If you get car sick easily, you may want to take your time to get there doing frequent stops at the villages along the road. 

Don't leave the area without visiting the village of Tejeda which is on the "most beautiful villages in Spain" list. It's a charming white washed village surrounded by mountains. If you have a sweet tooth be sure to grab a few treats at Dulceria Nublo. They sell typical sweets from the area made with almonds, the most famous one is called Bienmesabe which literally means "it tastes good".

Tejeda

Tejeda
Tejeda
Tejeda
Where to eat: 

  • Drive 10 minutes north of Tejeda and you will find Parador de Cruz de Tejeda. This luxury hotel and spa offers amazing location and views of the mountains. You can book a spa circuit and traditional Canarian meal for 57€.
Parador Cruz de Tejeda

Parador Cruz de Tejeda

Parador Cruz de Tejeda
Parador Cruz de Tejeda
Parador Cruz de Tejeda

Gran Canaria Itinerary Day 4

Las Palmas is the capital city of Gran Canaria. It's not the most beautiful place in the island but it's still worth a visit. It's a bustling place compared to the rest of the island and has plenty of foodie spots. It's highlight is the beach of Las Canteras. If you are brave enough you can swim to the reef and do some snorkeling. The Alfredo Krauss auditorium shaped as a lighthouse and located at the end of the beach is a beautiful sight. I also recommend visiting Vegueta, the lively old quartier of Las Palmas. Full of life at nighttime. 

A short drive from Las Palmas you will find Arucas. A lovely town famous for the iconic church of San Juan Bautista -built with volcanic stone- and one of the most important rum distilleries in Spain: Arehucas. You can tour the facilities and do a rum tasting for 4.20€

Where to eat: 

  • Allende has several locations around the island. They serve typical food from the island. We were amazed by the quality of the dishes.
  • In Vegueta, check out Scooter for delicious American food and pizzas and La Azotea de Benito for drinks and incredible views.
Arucas
Arucas
Arehucas rum

Gran Canaria Itinerary Day 5

As I said in the intro 7 days rather than 5 are ideal to see the whole island. So for this day I'm going to give you two options:

  • Spend the day on the south of the island at Anfi del Mar, a manmade beach and resort with white sand and turquoise water that recreates the Caribbean sea. Go to Marao Club to rent a luxury sunbed for the day.
  • or explore the rest of the north by strolling around these charming towns: Firgas -a.k.a. the village of water-, Teror -the name has little to do with the word terror. The delightful and colorful wooden houses and balconies will surely brighten your day- and finally, Agaete where you can find Tamadaba Natural Park.

Anfi del Mar
Anfi beach
Anfi del Mar
Now it's time to pack your bags and say goodbye to the beautiful island. But you are taking with you all the beautiful moments and memories that you will cherish forever.

Gran Canaria Itinerary: The Map

Gran Canaria Itinerary: Wear this Here

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Gran Canaria

July 8, 2020
Madrid for Foodies: La Petite Cuisine

Madrid for Foodies: La Petite Cuisine

July 8, 2020
La Petite Cuisine

Madrid's food scene is foodie paradise. There's a wide variety of restaurants offering something for everyone, from international cuisines to the best Spanish classics. However, if you decide to flee the concrete jungle to find some peace and quiet, you can still find great spots to eat.

This is the case of La Petite Cuisine in Cercedilla, a town 45 minutes north of Madrid. If I had to define La Petite Cuisine with one word, I'd say it's dreamy. Picture a conservatory surrounded by nature, with French cafe chairs and tables al fresco where you can enjoy a long, peaceful and delicious breakfast or brunch while breathing fresh air and the only noise are birds chirping.
Brunch at La Petite Cuisine

Brunch at La Petite Cuisine

La Petite Cuisine, Cercedilla, Madrid

La Petite Cuisine Cercedilla

La Petite Cuisine, brunch, Madrid

La Petite Cuisine offers many things: baked goods, catering service, events venue and workshop. They make the cakes for one of my favorite cafes in Madrid: Salon des Fleurs and I can't wait to attend one of their baking workshops.

Besides the scrumptious food they serve, my favorite thing about La Petite Cuisine is their business idea and savoir-faire. What they offer is not only a great meal but also an unforgettable experience. And how do they achieve that? They focus on quality rather than quantity by choosing the very best ingredients and keeping the number of customers to a minimum so that they don't compromise the quality of their products. Furthermore, every single corner is beautifully decorated so your time there is a pleasure of all the senses. Last but not least, they take the time to talk to their costumers, to make them feel welcome and comfortable. To sum up, at La Petite Cuisine you feel at home from the moment you get there.

Apart from the outdoor area, there's a lovely dining room in the conservatory that you can book for events to get the complete unforgettable experience I was talking about. The beautiful decor, delicate hors d'oeuvres and floral china kind of reminds you of the Mad Hatter's tea party in Alice in Wonderland, right?

You can get the full brunch menu for 28€ which consists of a refreshing cup of gazpacho or salmorejo, premium coffee or tea, a basket of assorted homemade bread, a savory tasting dish and a sweet treat tray to share. We were full after brunch but it was so good that we couldn't leave without taking home one of their freshly baked pies and cakes.

Would you like to give La Petite Cuisine a try?
La Petite Cuisine
La Petite Cuisine

La Petite Cuisine

La Petite Cuisine

La Petite Cuisine

La Petite Cuisine

La Petite Cuisine

La Petite Cuisine


La Petite Cuisine opening hours

During the month of July they are open from Thursday to Sunday from 10:00 to 14:00 for breakfast or brunch. The rest of the year they organize open houses on the first weekend of the month. You can book the place for events as well. You can make reservations on this phone number: +34 636 01 71 15.
Not in the mood for a trip to Cercedilla? You can also order their cakes from their online shop.
La Petite Cuisine

La Petite Cuisine

Le Petite Cuisine

La Petite Cuisine

The town of Cercedilla

Cercedilla is a town in the Madrid mountains. It's beautiful in winter to see the stone and slate roof houses covered with snow. In summer, the temperature is always lower than in Madrid, so it's a great place to escape the scorching heat. Cercedilla is an incredible place for hiking, adventure activities and taking a dip in the natural swimming-pools.

How to get to Cercedilla

Train: take Cercanias line C-8 from Chamartin or Atocha.
Bus: take line 684 from Moncloa.
Car: take motorway A6 north towards el Escorial.

Wear this in Cercedilla


Click on the tag Madrid for Foodies to read more about the best eateries in the capital of Spain.