Here's a rundown of the top 5 things (in no particular order!) to do in this amazing city

Studying Spanish in Madrid is an absolutely fantastic idea – we obviously all think it is at Hablamos or we wouldn’t all be here! Not only do you get the chance to speak Spanish with millions of people, but also you have an enormous range of activities to immerse yourself in Spanish culture.

1. Eat a bocadillo de calamares in Plaza Mayor

This ranks as one of the most madrileño things you can possibly do. But what is a bocadillo de calamares you might ask? Well, it’s a baguette with deep-fried squid rings! Honestly, they’re delicious, and you can water it down with a caña de cerveza (a small beer) or two while sitting in the famous Plaza Mayor. This square, in the heart of the city, dates back to the late 16th century and has always been at the centre of Madrid life. It was used as a place to hold inquisitions, bullfights, public hangings, official events, you name it! Nowadays it’s a tourist attraction and is full of bars and restaurants for you to enjoy the city’s culinary delights.

2. Take a stroll around the Parque del Buen Retiro

Another area of the city worth a trip to is the Parque del Buen Retiro, or El Retiro for short. This 5.38 km2 park located east of the city centre is perfect for an afternoon paseo (stroll/walk) once you’ve had some tapas (small plates of food) and enjoyed a little siesta (nap). The site of an old palace, the park features a beautiful boating lake, a couple of exhibition halls belonging to the nearby Museo Reina Sofia and abundant green spaces where you can chill out after a hard day learning Spanish. Locals flock to the area at weekends, but during the week it’s nowhere near as busy.

3. Visit Goya and Velázquez in the Museo del Prado

An unmissable stop on any visit to Madrid is the Museo del Prado. This enormous art gallery is filled with paintings by great artists such as Goya, Velázquez and the ahead-of-time El Greco. While you’re in Madrid studying Spanish, you’ll probably have time to visit more than once as there’s far too much to take in on one day. Given the immensity of the museum, we’d recommend getting an audio guide to help take you around and also practise your Spanish listening skills at the same time. As well as having an incredible selection of paintings, El Prado also hosts a collection of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures and the Tesoro del Delfín which is a collection of various beautiful objects collected by the son of the French king Louis XIV. Check it out on your visit!

4. Take a tour of Real Madrid’s stadium

Madrid is home to two of Spain’s greatest football teams – Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid. Both are in the top flight of Spanish football, but (even though Atleti fans don’t like it!) it’s Real Madrid who have won, by far, most championships and cups in their 120 year history. The Bernabéu stadium is home to these sporting legends, and has its own museum detailing all the past glories of the club. You can see their 14 European Championship cups, 34 La Liga (league) trophies and many more. The tour starts in the museum area, but visitors are also treated to a trip to los vestuarios (changing rooms) and el campo (the pitch). You can even sit on el banco (the bench) where the substitutes wait to go on the field! Any sports fan learning Spanish in Madrid has to go on the tour, and we’d also suggest going to un partido (a match) or two while you’re here as well!

5. Take a selfie with el oso y el madroño in Puerta del Sol

If you’ve ever looked for information about Madrid online, you’re sure to have seen the famous el oso y el madroño (the bear and the strawberry tree) which is one of the most emblematic symbols of the city. The legend goes that King Alfonso XI was out hunting on the outskirts of the city in the 14th century and captured a large bear. He was so impressed with the animal that he decided to include an image of it on Madrid´s heraldic shield! The origin of the madroño revolves around a political dispute between the Ayuntamiento de Madrid (Madrid city council) and the Church in 1222 over which areas of land they both controlled. The madroño tree was included on the city’s shield as a sign of the agreement reached between the two parties. Curious, right? Nowadays, a statue of this symbol of Madrid proudly stands in Puerta del Sol, another square right in the middle of Madrid. Tourists and locals queue to snap a selfie with this famous landmark, and it makes a great recuerdo (souvenir) of your time studying Spanish here in the capital.

Looking forward to seeing all these sights? Then come and join us here at Hablamos and start one of our Spanish courses today! There’s plenty more to see in beautiful Madrid, so what are you waiting for?