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Ten Highlights From A Puente In Madrid
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Long weekends caused by bank holidays in Spain are perfectly optimised to maximise the amount of time people have off work, they even have a word for it. A puente is a day off between the weekend and a strategically placed national holiday. Last week there were two national holidays in the country on Wednesday and Friday, and a puente on the Thursday. I made the most of this opportunity to visit Madrid, a city I’ve never been to before and also heard relatively little about. Whilst in England it has an understated reputation, it is very popular amongst many Spanish people I’ve spoken to, so I was intrigued to see what it had to offer.

I travelled by coach to the city with the tickets costing 33€ for a return, a very reasonable price considering the journey lasts over five hours. Once there, a lot of the city can be traversed by foot. However, if you’d like the convenience of using the public transport or are visiting some less central landmarks I recommend purchasing a “Multi Card”. It is a rechargeable contactless payment card that you can use for the metro and buses throughout the city. As well as being reassuringly thick and nicely designed, if you preload it with ten journeys each one will only cost 1.22€.
If you’ve visited London before, Madrid feels similar, if a little smaller and less wealthy. I really liked the city for this reason, it has the same national importance and buzz as London but is less overwhelming and significantly safer. I only spent three days in the city in total and there was definitely a lot more to do when I left, however I did manage to cram a lot into my stay. Therefore, I’ve selected ten highlights from my trip to help you create your own itinerary. This list is in no particular order so you can pick and choose as you see fit.
Gran Vía is Madrid's main thoroughfare, and it is full to the brim with grand, impressive buildings
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Gran Vía is Madrid's main thoroughfare, and it is full to the brim with grand, impressive buildings. Photo by Barney Sheppard
Museo Reina Sofía is a huge modern art gallery with a wide variety of work
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Museo Reina Sofía is a huge modern art gallery with a wide variety of work. Worth visiting to see Picasso's Guernica alone, there's bound to be more that catches your attention. Photo by Barney Sheppard
Located in the artist's former home, Museo Sorolla celebrates the life and work of Joaquín Sorolla
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Located in the artist's former home, Museo Sorolla celebrates the life and work of Joaquín Sorolla. The paintings really are exquisite, with a bright and dynamic semi-realistic character. Photo by Nuevas Miradas De Madrid
Andén 0 (meaning Platform 0) is a free exhibit showcasing a disused metro station in Chamberí
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Andén 0 (meaning Platform 0) is a free exhibit showcasing a disused metro station in Chamberí. In a strange and charming mix of old and new, modern trains still run past the platform with its historical signs and adverts. Photo by Barney Sheppard
Parque Del Retiro is one of Madrid's largest public parks
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Parque Del Retiro is one of Madrid's largest public parks. Previously owned by the royal family, it contains a wide range of landscapes, from gardens to woodland, and attractions. One of my favourite moments of the trip was looking out over the park in the sun whilst listening to a saxophonist busker. Photo by Barney Sheppard
Located in Parque Del Retiro, Palacio De Cristal is another free attraction
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Located in Parque Del Retiro, Palacio De Cristal is another free attraction. The way the sun filters through the leaves of the surrounding trees and then the glass is stunning. Photo by Barney Sheppard
A pair of curious statues appear in Madrid
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A pair of curious statues appear in Madrid. Statue Of The Fallen Angel is the world's only public statue of the devil, and Aerial Accident shows a winged man crashing into a building on Calle Milaneses. Photos by Barney Sheppard
Templo De Debod is an Ancient Egyptian temple that was gifted to Spain by Egypt in 1968
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Templo De Debod is an Ancient Egyptian temple that was gifted to Spain by Egypt in 1968. I think it's the easiest way to see Ancient Egyptian ruins in Europe. Photo by Barney Sheppard
The sunset from the nearby viewpoint is stunnning
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The sunset from the nearby viewpoint is stunnning. Photo by Barney Sheppard
CaixaForum is a popular cultural centre that hosts a wide range of events and contains countless art pieces, however, in reality, I just came here to see the unapologetically massive green wall
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CaixaForum is a popular cultural centre that hosts a wide range of events and contains countless art pieces, however, in reality, I just came here to see the unapologetically massive green wall. Photo by Barney Sheppard
Torres Blancas is an otherworldly must see
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This one's for the architects... Torres Blancas is an otherworldly must see. I haven't included photos of the interior because I want to maintain the surprise, but it's well worth sneaking in if the gate is open. Photo by Barney Sheppard