September 24, 2018
What to do in Madrid this Fall

What to do in Madrid this Fall

September 24, 2018
autumn fall spain guide outfit
It still feels like summer in Madrid but it won't be long before temperatures go down and leaves turn crimson and gold. Autumn days call for cozy plans and comfort food and that's what you will find on this guide. On today's post I'm going to tell you what to see and do in Madrid this fall. Just because the weather in October and November is not as good as in the previous season, it doesn't mean you have to stay at home. As a preview I can tell you that we are going to see a ghost metro station, the most beautiful colors in Madrid's famous parks and a cozy fall meal.
Does it sound like something you'd like?
Let's get started.
platform 0 chamberi ghost museum metro station madrid
VISIT THE GHOST STATION
A.K.A. Platform 0 or Chamberi Station, this spooky metro station is one of those secret places in Madrid you need to know about. Take a trip down memory lane in this ghost station inaugurated in 1919 that is now a museum where you can see advertisements from the time, ticket offices and other memorabilia from the early 20th century.

The architect was inspired by Parisian stations of the time and managed to make the station appealing to those who were reluctant to travel underground thanks to colorful details and an abundance of white tiles to make it brighter. It was used as a shelter during the Spanish Civil War and closed its doors in 1966 when logistical difficulties meant that Chamberi could not be extended. In 2008 it reopened to the public again completely restored as a museum.

You can stroll down the station, from the ticket offices to the platform, and discover a 1919 station with its original pieces. It's funny to picture yourself in a vintage outfit waiting for the metro. I always do that when visiting historic sites, do you?
Even though the station is not used as such anymore, the metro still passes through it, so you'll see trains on both directions during your visit.

Opening hours:
Thursdays 10am to 1pm.
Fridays 11am to 7pm.
Saturdays and Sundays 11am to 3pm
Entrance is free.
platform 0 chamberi ghost museum metro station madrid
platform 0 chamberi ghost museum metro station madrid
platform 0 chamberi ghost museum metro station madrid
platform 0 chamberi ghost museum metro station madrid
platform 0 chamberi ghost museum metro station madrid
platform 0 chamberi ghost museum metro station madrid
HAVE A ROMANTIC AND COZY MEAL AT GIGI
Walk 5 minutes southwest from Chamberi station and you will find Gigi, a romantic restaurant with a pink room that reminded me of Instagram favorite Sketch in London. The ambiance can be described with one word: hygge. Have you ever heard this word? This term has become increasingly popular in recent years. Hygge is  is a Danish and Norwegian word used to describe a moment as cozy, charming or special.

We had a wonderful experience at Gigi. My husband and I eat out quite often and we both agreed that we haven't encountered staff as lovely as Gigi's in a long time. We ordered a cheesy burger -the creamy melted cheese tasted like heaven- and the equally delicious ceviche -a dish made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices- with diced avocado and mango sauce. For dessert we had the chocolate brownie with nuts and their famous cheesecake. The latter is so popular that in the menu it appears as "the best cheesecake in Madrid". Now I haven't tried all the cheesecake in Madrid but this one surely lives up to its name. It's creamy, smooth, decadent and melts in your mouth. Everything you can ask for in a cheesecake.

Restaurant info:
Address: calle Luchana, 13. Madrid
Phone: +34 680 40 89 71
Price: $$ - $$$
gigi romantic restaurant chamberi luchana madrid
gigi romantic restaurant chamberi luchana madrid
gigi romantic restaurant chamberi luchana madrid
gigi romantic restaurant chamberi luchana madrid
gigi romantic restaurant chamberi luchana madrid ceviche
gigi romantic restaurant chamberi luchana madrid burger
gigi romantic restaurant chamberi luchana madrid
gigi romantic restaurant chamberi luchana madrid chocolate brownie
gigi cheesecake romantic restaurant chamberi luchana madrid
FALL FOLIAGE
A favorite place of mine to visit during fall are Madrid's beautiful parks. I can't wait to see Parque del Buen Retiro in fall foliage. It's a feast to the eyes! Apart from Retiro, La Quinta de los Molinos and El Capricho are a must when seasons change. glass palace autumn fall retiro park madrid
autumn fall retiro park madrid
GO SEE A MUSICAL
One of the things we love the most about Madrid are the many leisure options it has to offer. Needless to say, there's no shortage of plays and musicals in Madrid. Hubby and I are excited about seeing West Side Story which premieres October 3rd. We've never seen the movie so we thought the musical would be a great idea to see this modern adaptation of tragic love story Romeo and Juliet. There's already a spot in our October agenda for it!
Right now, in Madrid you can also see world famous The Lion King, Billy Elliot or Dirty Dancing.

Want more? Visit the most viewed Madrid guides:
What to do in Madrid this summer
What to do in Madrid this spring
The most Instagrammable places in Madrid
Madrid for Foodies: the Best Food Markets

FALL WISHLIST

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madrid spain guide autumn fall
September 17, 2018
Where to Eat Near Madrid's Top Attractions

Where to Eat Near Madrid's Top Attractions

September 17, 2018
retiro park madrid travel outfit spain
Madrid is well known for being a city full of monuments. From visiting the Royal Palace or some of the best museums in the world like El Prado to taking a stroll around Retiro Park, there's plenty to see and do. With so much sightseeing you are bound to get hungry. Sure there's always some restaurant nearby offering typical Spanish food but you don't want to end up in a touristy restaurant with disappointing and overpriced food. To help you avoid this mistake, today I bring you my foodie guide to the best places to eat near Madrid’s top attractions.

THE ROYAL PALACE
royal palace sabatini gardens madrid spain
Cafe de Oriente & La Botilleria de Oriente are timeless, there's a mixture of modern and traditional decor with uniformed staff that will make you feel like you are in a luxury restaurant without having to spend a fortune.
Mercado de San Miguel is the best place to try tapas. However, you won't find average tapas here, think more like "upscale tapas". The place tends to be crowded but it's worth it.

PUERTA DEL SOL & PLAZA MAYOR
plaza mayor madrid spain
I'd say San Gines is a tourist attraction more than a place to eat. Tourists and locals go to this place for the best chocolate con churros in town.

MUSEUMS
mr frank restaurant madrid
mr frank restaurant madrid
Mr Frank is like half way between Puerta del Sol and two of the most famous museums in Madrid: El Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza. This restaurant offers unique dishes inspired by trips all around the world. The restaurant is divided in two areas: one looks like a wine cellar and the other has a rustic decor that makes you feel at home.

GRAN VIA
gourmet experience callao gran via madrid
El Jardin de Salvador Bachiller and El Invernadero de Salvador Bachiller have a similar menu but different atmospheres. The first is a rooftop and the second one a basement. The decor in both is based on nature with flowers and plants all around. Their specialties are brunch, natural fruit juices and cocktails.
Gourmet Experience El Corte Ingles. On the 9th floor of Spain's most famous department store in Gran Via you will find a mixture of gourmet food store and food market. You can buy products or eat tapas, pizza or gelato with a view.

PLAZA DE ESPAÑA
plaza españa gran via madrid spain
Cafe Mür is the cutest coffee shop and cocktail bar. The decor is a mixture of rustic and industrial with elements that contribute to create a cozy atmosphere like Chester sofas, vintage cushions, a chimney and wooden beams. The menu includes a selection of salads, bagels and their famous homemade cakes.

CHUECA
mercado san anton chueca madrid
Chueca is the gay neighborhood in Madrid and has some of the best decorated eateries and cafes in the capital of Spain. Frida is one of the most popular among locals. They offer creative cuisine, taking care of every detail regarding both their food and the decor. Be sure to make reservations or you will have to go somewhere else.
If I fancy a burger when I'm in the area, I go to Anauco Gourmet. Apart from the delicious food I love the fact that you can choose the size of your burger.
Mercado San Anton is foodie paradise. The first floor focuses on perishable food, the second one on take-away food and on the third floor you'll find Cocina de San Anton, a restaurant where customers can eat their goods bought on the first floor, cooked for a supplement of 4€. There's also a menu and a great selection of cocktails.

EL RETIRO PARK
glass crystal palace retiro park madrid
glass crystal palace retiro park madrid
El Perro y la Galleta is one of the most intagrammable places in Madrid and has delicious reasonably-priced food too. What's not to like?
Atlantico Taberna offers a mixture of tradition and trendiness. When you walk into this Galician restaurant you feel like you have been transported to the seaside.

SERRANO
habanera restaurant colon madrid
habanera restaurant colon madrid
If you have some time to go shopping be sure to visit Serrano (a.k.a. the golden mile) and nearby streets. The biggest Zara and Mango shops in the country are waiting for you along with luxury brands like Chanel, Dior or LV. There are plenty of restaurants around but my favorite are the following:
Cafe Colon a luxury restaurant for a luxury neighborhood. A great option to give yourself a treat. Very close to Cafe Colon you can find La Habanera. I have to say that the decor here is better than the food but it's so beautiful it will make your jaw drop when you walk in. If you want to see where all the pretty people in Madrid hang out, go to this Caribbean inspired restaurant.
What amazed me the most about Ultramarinos Quintin was the quality of their products. Every single ingredient of the dishes we ordered tasted like heaven. It's pricey but this is one of my favorite places to celebrate a special occasion. On Puigcerda street you'll find the cutest restaurants lined up, the tricky thing will be to pick just one!

Because of my love for food, I'm on a crusade to try all the amazing restaurants and cafes Madrid has to offer. In order to share my adventure, I've created a new Instagram account @madrid4foodies. Follow it if you want to keep updated and see the best restaurants in Madrid.

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gran via madrid

FALL TRAVEL COMPANIONS
September 10, 2018
Day Trips From Nerja

Day Trips From Nerja

September 10, 2018
larios shopping malaga spain
As we saw last week, there's penty to do if you’re holidaying in Nerja. However, there are many more places worth seeing a bit further than the beautiful whitewashed village of Frigiliana or the breath-taking Nerja Caves. If you drive west, you can visit the region's capital city, Malaga or celebrity favorites Marbella and Puerto Banus. If you decide to head east, you can find the spectacular Granada with its world famous Alhambra Palace.

Let's take a look at those amazing places:

MALAGA
Distance: 50 km - 1 hour drive
Being a bigger city, Malaga has much more to offer than the coastal pueblos of the region. Nevertheless, we decided to stay in Nerja instead because it's much quieter and therefore relaxing which is what we were aiming for. Still, we couldn't go back to Madrid without visiting Malaga. As we had an amazing beach in Nerja, we swapped the bathing suit for our walking shoes and decided to do some sightseeing.
malaga spain city hall
Malaga's old town is charming. I recommend visiting the main shopping street, Larios, and historical buildings like the city hall, the cathedral or the colorful episcopal palace. Also, the Alcazaba is a palace that is similar to Alhambra but not as spectacular. It used to be the palace fortress of the city’s Muslim rulers. Last but not least, a walk along the port's promenade when the temps go down is also a delight.
cathedral malaga spain
episcopal palace architecture malaga spain
old town cathedral larios malaga spain
alcazaba gibralfaro city hall malaga spain
WHERE TO STAY:
If you decide that one day in Malaga is not enough, you can spend the night in one of these dreamy hotels.
It's located atop Mount Gibralfaro opposite the Alcazaba from which you get amazing views of the bay and city.
parador malaga gibralfaro hotel spain
malaga spain bullfighting ring beach views port
This stunning 5-star hotel has served different purposes since it opened in 1926. It has been hotel, hospital during the Civil War, Palace of Justice and finally it reopened as a hotel again in 2016. 
palacio miramar hotel malaga spain
palacio miramar hotel malaga spain
WHAT TO EAT:
If you go to Malaga, you need to try the most famous dish: espetos. Pescaito frito (fried fish) is popular all around Andalusia but espetos are typical from Malaga. You may be wondering what that odd word means. Espeto is a traditional way of cooking freshly-caught sea fish, most often sardines. The verb espetar means to skewer. The fish is skewered, seasoned with a bit of olive oil and sea salt and cooked over a pit of coals which are usually in a little boat on the sand as you can see below. You can find this finger food all around Malaga, specially in beach restaurants.

A great place to try Andalusian food is Mercado de Atarazanas. This is Malaga's biggest market where apart from buying produce, meat and fish, you can eat seafood and delicious tapas as well.
malagueta beach playa espetos spain
sardines espetos malaga spain
BENALMADENA
Distance: 86km - 1 hour and 10 minute drive
In Benalmadena you can take a lovely walk along the marina which offers great shopping and dining. There's also a Sea Life Center where you can see a wide variety of marine wildlife.
benalmadena malaga spain marina
benalmadena malaga spain marina
benalmadena malaga spain marina
MARBELLA
Distance: 128 km - 1 hour 30 minute drive
Marbella has been a favorite destination among celebrities for years. All the glamour has overshadowed the true charm of the city which lies in the lovely old town. Because of that, this hidden gem is often missed by visitors. The maze of narrow cobbled streets full of cute restaurants and bougainvillea hanging from white walls will remind you of whitewashed villages.
old town marbella malaga spain
old town marbella malaga spain
old town marbella malaga spain
old town marbella malaga spain
PUERTO BANUS
Distance: 9 km from Marbella
If you go to Marbella, Puerto Banus is a must-see. This luxury marina is filled with the biggest yachts and the most expensive sports cars in Europe. The stores and restaurants you can find here are pretty expensive as you can imagine. The place is full of life specially around the evening and at night.
puerto banus marbella malaga spain marina
puerto banus marbella malaga spain marina
puerto banus marbella malaga spain marina
GRANADA
Distance: 1 hour 15 minute drive heading east.
Ah, Granada, the crown jewel. This is the most popular day trip from Nerja. Granada is home to The Alhambra, the most spectacular Moorish palace in the world. To visit the Alhambra you need to reserve tickets well in advance since there is a restriction in the number of visitors per day.

Even though the Alhambra is the main attraction, Granada has much more to offer like the Albayzin -the traditional Muslim quarter- with its hilly and narrow streets or Sacromonte, the gypsy quarter with its flamenco venues.
alhambra palace granada spain
alhambra palace granada spain
alhambra palace granada spain
If you want to head further afield you could visit Seville (260 km) or Cordoba (220 km) but you might want to consider spending the night there.

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nerja malaga marbella puerto banus spain
SEPTEMBER TRAVEL ESSENTIALS