6 Plans Perfect For Your Bachelorette Party in Madrid

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Wedding season has officially arrived! Before you and your partner tie the knot, you should plan to have a bit of fun first. With so many other wedding decisions on your plate, don’t overcomplicate things and instead choose a destination you and your entire gal group will love for the ultimate bachelorette party send-off into married life. Regardless of what you may have imagined for this quintessential ladies getaway, Madrid has it all. Whether it be high-end fashion and shopping, craft cocktails, gourmet cuisine or a nightlife scene that rivals Las Vegas or Ibiza, Madrid is a dream spot for your hen party.

Design by Isabel Zapardiéz

 

Soak in the sun

Nothing ruins a girl’s getaway like rain. But Madrid’s 300 days of sunshine per year will ensure you’ll not only have clear skies, but you may even bronze those shoulders as you stroll the streets of the Spanish capital city beneath the rays. Spending time outside sets the scene for serious bonding with the girls, so consider hosting a picnic or doing a relaxing yoga class in the park. After all, not every bachelorette party activity needs to be wild — simply enjoying time outdoors with friends is the best.

 

Hit the shops

Shopping with the girls is the perfect way to prepare for your upcoming nuptials and there’s plenty of boutiques in Madrid where you can discover one-of-a-kind items. Whether it’s leather shoes, vintage shops, wedding lingerie or bridesmaids dresses, you’ll be sure to find the ideal garment(s) here. If you aren’t quite sure where to go, Insider’s Madrid (authors of the style section for the Louis Vuitton Madrid guide!) curates customized fashion and shopping tours — meaning we’ll plan you a flawless shopping day, from stopping into the boutiques of Chueca, Alonso Martínez, and Serrano to visiting the workshops and the independent stores of Spain’s designers and curators, all based on the bride’s preferences. If you’d prefer to include wedding dress shopping into your itinerary, we can arrange that too.

¡Ole! Time to Dance

If you imagined attending a flamenco show surrounded by your closest friends or even taking a dance class itself, Insider’s Madrid can make it happen. Flamenco Uncovered is a unique tour where you’ll get to actually get to spend the evening with a flamenco dancer and learn a full flamenco choreography during a personalized dance class. We even offer discounts for groups over two people! Whether you see the art, learn about it or even begin to dance it yourself, flamenco will make your bachelorette celebration a special one.

Drinks High Above

Madrid is budding with rooftop bars where you can enjoy cocktail after cocktail with the ladies. The views of Madrid, speckled with red-tiled rooftops sitting beneath the blue sky, will seem even more impressive as you sip a crisp glass of cava or a refreshing mojito. Make sure to reserve ahead of time for your group to ensure you get the best spot in the house.

Photo by Lori Zaino

Night Out on The Town

If you want to swing traditional for your bachelorette party with a (wild) night out on the town, Insider’s Madrid will curate every detail for you — we can plan cocktail workshops where you meet Madrid’s most fashionable mixologists, an upmarket tapas tour or whatever style of evening you desire. You can’t go wrong with one of Insider’s Madrid’s food tours — the Spanish wine tasting is a wonderful way for you and your girls to chat over Riojas and Riberas.

See Spain Beyond Madrid

For an extra exclusive fashionista hen party, why not get out of Madrid and see all of Spain, eating, drinking and exploring the history of fashion along the way. The fall edition of the Fashion, Food and Textiles Tour hosted by Corazón Travel will be an unforgettable experience — one that includes an insider visit to meet Nacho Aguayo, creative director of Spanish fashion house Pedro del Hierro in Madrid, a almazuelas patchwork workshop with former Givenchy model Lola Barasoian at her converted water mill and meeting couture designer Isabel Zapardiéz in her San Sebastian atelier for your own personal design !

Design by Isabel Zapardiéz

If you’d rather focus on dining and drinking instead, Corazón Travel’s Insider Gourmet Tour offers your group the chance to indulge in some of the best tapas, wine, sherry and more throughout central and southern Spain. The fall event includes meeting winemakers, dining at Michelin-star restaurants, Iberian ham tastings and so much more.

San Sebastián under sunny skies

Teambuilding in Madrid: Why the Spanish Capital is Ideal to Bring Your Team Together

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When coordinating a 300-person event with employees coming from over forty different countries around the world, it’s crucial to choose a destination that can accommodate my team in terms of direct flights and meeting spaces. A beautiful and vibrant city like Madrid filled with sunshine, delicious food and culture is an important plus too,” explains Sandra Bucher, Event Manager of Endress & Hauser.

The Plaza Mayor. © Sebastian Dubiel / Wikipedia.

Thinking about hosting a corporate event in Madrid? The Spanish capital is actually the third most popular city for conference tourism thanks to its modern and clean transport network, rich cultural offerings and the fact that the city is safe and becoming  more and more eco-friendly every day. Here’s all the reasons why you should consider Madrid, Spain for your next corporate event, retreat or conference.

Madrid has a warm and welcoming energy

Locals welcome you with open arms in Madrid, excited to share their magnificent culture with you, so embrace it! Although the Spanish capital may not be as famous as its sister city Barcelona, the city retains an authentic Spanish charm that’s truly difficult to find elsewhere. With city-dwellers of all ages, shapes, sizes and colors, Madrid has the best of both worlds: the charming ambiance of a small, Spanish village and the energy of a bustling cosmopolitan city.

Plaza de la Villa © Madrid Destino Cultura, Turismo y Negocio.

The city is well-connected to Europe, Asia, Africa and America

Direct flights are offered from 174 different destinations to Madrid, making arrival a relatively easy feat. The high speed train system also runs from Madrid to 30 different destinations. Once in Madrid, the airport is a short hop away from the city center, accessible by taxi, train, bus or metro.

Bright lights along Madrid’s Gran Vía street. © Madrid Destino Cultura, Turismo y Negocio.

The transportation system is modern, clean and easy to use

Getting from A to B, even if you have a large group, is easy and cost-effective in Madrid. The metro system is expansive, clean and user-friendly, and hundreds of bus stops also ensure you and your team will get where you need to go hassle-free.

The metro is easy to use. © Madrid Destino Cultura, Turismo y Negocio

It’s your home away from home

With expansive restaurant and cultural options and over 42,000 hotel rooms, you’re sure to find your favorite snack or the ideal place to lay your head to rest. You won’t need to leave all the comforts at home when visiting Madrid as the city can offer anything and everything you need. You’ll never be bored in Madrid — it has 53 theaters, 87 art galleries and 71 museums.

The Plaza De Toros. © Carlos Vacas Madrid Destino Cultura, Turismo y Negocio

Madrid is green, safe and sunny

The city happens to be one of the safest capitals in Europe — and also the sunniest! You can count on over 300 days of sunshine per year. Madrid also takes second place in the world for green spaces, with over 225,000 trees and 18m2 of green space per inhabitant. Make sure to take your team to the Casa de Campo park, which is four times the size of New York’s Central Park.

Madrid has plenty of green space. © Madrid Destino Cultura, Turismo y Negocio.

It’s (literally) the best!

Of course, we may be biased as we love our city of Madrid, but if you don’t believe us, check out the facts:

  • Madrid is the number one city for business tourism in Europe
  • Madrid has been nominated as the best European destination for MICE tourism in the World Travel Awards
  • The city hosted over 2,500 conferences and over 7,000 corporate events last year
The Royal Palace at night. © Agustín Martínez Madrid Destino Cultura Turismo y Negocio.

Insider’s Madrid and Corazon Travel can help you organize and coordinate your company event, meeting or conference in Madrid, making sure you have an safe, comfortable stay and enjoy all the best that Madrid has to offer — culture, food and more. Contact us for more information. 

Best Spots for a Rooftop Cocktail in Madrid

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The sun is shining in Madrid and that means one thing: terraza season! This special time of year refers to the moment when the outdoor terraces, patios, courtyards and rooftops of Madrid open up for business. Locals and tourists alike flock to these spots to indulge in beer, wine or cocktails al fresco. Rooftop bars are an especially exciting way to experience Madrid’s terraza season, offering incredible views and delicious drinks from up above. Here are our top picks:

La Azotea del Círculo de Bellas Artes

With 360° panoramic views of Madrid and beyond, this rooftop is one of the best spots in the Spanish capital to have a drink and take in some seriously awe-inspiring views. Lounge on the relaxing beds with cava on chilled ice or enjoy lunch with views of the Sierras. This is the ideal place for admiring the Retiro park and the famous Atocha train station to the Plaza Mayor. You can also peek over the edge to watch the world go by on the famous Calle de Gran Vía. Although visibility is great at any time of day, sunset makes for a stunning experience. Don’t forget to snap a photo of the Minerva sculpture by Juan Luis Vassallo, the Roman goddess of art.

Cost: Entrance is four euros, but contact for table reservations.

Madrid’s Gran Vía from the Círculo de Bella Artes. Photo by Lori Zaino

Mirador del Palacio Cibeles

This outdoor terrace overlooks the busy Cibeles traffic circle, the Bank of Spain and beyond. A chic place for a rooftop cocktail, the Mirador actually isn’t on the top roof itself, but a little side terrace on the sixth floor. Still, the views are fantastic and the drinks are flowing! Note that this bar doesn’t open until 1:00 pm daily.

Cost: Entrance is two euro. If you dine at the restaurant, it’s free to go up.

El Cielo de Alcalá Rooftop Bar

This is one of Madrid’s newer rooftops, part of the Hotel H10 Puerta de Alcalá.  You can often snag a table without a wait because many people don’t know about this hidden gem. The perfect spot to pop a bottle of icy-cold cava,  you can admire the sunset over the treetops of the Retiro Park and the nearby Casa Árabe. If you are a guest at the hotel, you can dip into the small but refreshing pool or lay out in the lounge chairs.

Cost: Free to enter, but you must pay to drink or dine.

A sunset view from the H10 Puerta de Alcalá El Cielo Rooftop Bar. Photo by Lori Zaino

The Hat Rooftop

Perched atop one of Madrid’s trendiest hostels, The Hat is a hipster space that’s coveted for its intimate vibe. You’ll feel as if you’re at a neighborhood barbecue in Brooklyn — except your actually on a roof  in Spain. With charming tables for two and lights strung up around the space, you can order cocktails that come in a bag and rounds of beers. The views aren’t expansive, but they do overlook the red rooftops of the city, adding to the already quaint ambiance of this outdoor terrace.

Cost: Free to enter, but you must pay to drink or dine.

SkyBar at the Axel

The Axel Madrid is aimed towards gay travellers but the space is most certainly ‘hetero-friendly.’  The rooftop SkyBar, which features a long, sleek pool, is particularly enjoyable  — think views for days, ambient music and spacious, comfortable seating. Plus, quirky details like neon signs and funky tiling make the space fun and inviting.

Cost: Free to enter, but you must pay to drink or dine.

Madrid’s rooftops from the SkyBar at the Axel Hotel. Photo by Lori Zaino

Radio Rooftop Bar

The Radio Bar at the Hotel ME Madrid Reina Victoria is one of the largest rooftop bars on this list. Recently renovated, the space overlooks the busy Plaza Santa Ana and is complete with cabanas, table seating and various sofas and spaces to dance. The spot prides itself on being ‘exclusive,’ and you can count on waiting in line to get in, especially on a Friday or Saturday evening. However, once you make it up, the glamorous scene is worth it!

Cost: Free to enter, but you must pay to drink or dine.

Nice To Meet You Sky Lounge

The Sky Lounge at the Dear Hotel is one of Madrid’s tallest rooftops. The almost vertigo-inducing space on the 14th floor of the hotel offers breathtaking views of the Royal Palace, Calle de Gran Vía and Plaza de España. A small plunge pool is available for hotel guests to dip into while enjoying the views. Dusk and evening times on weekends are best for visiting this bar to hear DJ sets — but dress to impress as the crowd is usually pretty sophisticated.

Cost: Free to enter, but you must pay to drink or dine.

Gran Vía at night from the Sky Lounge at the Dear Hotel. Photo by Lori Zaino

8 Epic Sights and Monuments You Can’t Miss in Madrid

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We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Madrid is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. With an expansive art realm and a mouthwatering food and wine scene, you may forget that Madrid is also full architectural wonders: neoclassical palaces, charming fountains and unique green spaces. In fact, Madrid happens to have 2,294 monuments — so you better start now if you want to see them all! If the thought seems too overwhelming, though, we’ve narrowed it down for you. Here are some of the most epic sights and monuments you just can’t miss in Madrid, Spain — and if you can’t fathom exploring them all on your own, Insider’s Madrid can give you a curated private tour.

Palacio de Cristal

Madrid’s most famous park, El Parque de Buen Retiro, is already a must-see when visiting Madrid. Inside the park’s iron gates, the Crystal Palace awaits, nestled upon a small lake shared by ducks, turtles and other flora and fauna. A structure created almost entirely of glass, there’s nothing like seeing the sun streaming in through the glass windows and looking up to the green treetops hovering over the clear rooftop. If you’re lucky, you may catch a temporary art exhibit inside the palace, fulfilling both the need for nature and creativity in one go.

The Crystal Palace in the Retiro Park. Image by Diego Delso / Wikipedia.

Puerta de Alcalá

Madrid was once a walled city and this monument used to be one of its five entrance points. Flanked by blooming flowers and the aforementioned Retiro park, you can spot the city of Madrid below through the gate’s arches. When walking around the stone ‘door’, you may notice some small marks: cannon shrapnel damage from the Spanish Civil War. After all, the gate does date back to the late 1700s — it’s bound to have some scars!

The gate of Alcala. Image by Juanlufer4 / Wikipedia.

Palacio Real

We know Buckingham Palace and Versailles get all the attention, but Madrid’s Royal Palace is actually the largest royal palace in Europe in surface area. You can pay an entrance fee to to explore some of the 3,418 rooms (beyond the bedrooms and ballrooms you can also check out the royal library and pharmacy), but we love simply admiring the outside of the palace. The grounds are bordered with 44 statues of historic Spanish royals and the Sabatini gardens filled whimsical labyrinths of trimmed hedges and ponds.

The Royal Palace at night. Image from Madrid Destino Cultura Turismo y Negocio.

Templo de Debod

Bewildering as it may seem, an Egyptian temple sits peacefully in the heart of Madrid’s city center. The temple dates back to the 2nd century BC, but was given to Spain as gift from Egypt in 1968. The temple arrived in Spain disassembled in stones and was rebuilt in the Parque Oeste, piece by piece until it finally opened to the public in 1972. Locals and visitors have been enjoying colorful sunsets seen from the temple and its surrounding park ever since.

Templo de Debod in fall. Image by Lori Zaino.

Plaza de Cibeles

The busy traffic circle may not seem appealing on paper, but when you see the beautiful Cibeles Palace, you’ll immediately be impressed. The massive structure was once a post office, but is now the mayoral office. Don’t worry though, many parts of the building are open to the public, like the lobby and the building often houses art and fashion exhibitions. The rooftop, which overlooks the bustling rotunda and beyond, is a chic place to enjoy a sunset cocktail. Below, you’ll see the Cibeles Fountain, another emblematic structure in Madrid. The fountain depicts Cybele, the Greek goddess of fertility pulled by two lions on her chariot.

Cibeles Palace and fountain. Image by Lori Zaino.

Catedral de Almudena

Built on the site of a former mosque, Spain’s cathedral is relatively new compared to many of its other monuments, officially consecrated in just 1993, over 100 years later when construction first began. Although most Christian churches have an east-west orientation, this one is unusual in that it has a north-south orientation to match with its neighbor, the Royal Palace. The Cathedral has services you can attend if that’s your thing, but you can also walk through to check out its Neo-Gothic interior free of charge too.

The Almudena Cathedral and Royal Palace. Image by Lori Zaino.

Edificio Metrópolis

Perched on the corner of one of Madrid’s most exciting streets, this impressive building is the perfect jumping off point to start your trek down Calle Gran Vía. Although the street is known for shopping  with many stores housed in refurbished movie theaters, don’t forget to look up to see some spectacular architectural wonders — the Metropolis building is just one of them. The design of the building is French-inspired, and you’ll be in serious awe of the dome at the top which is covered in 24-karat gold and presided by an angel.

The Metropolis Building. Image by Max Alexander / Wikipedia.

Plaza Mayor

This majestic plaza may just be Madrid’s most emblematic sight. Although it can be touristy and crowded, you can’t leave Madrid without seeing this special square, which has 237 balconies that face its center. With the red walls and newly-renovated fresco facade, the bustling plaza is home to cafes and pubs where you can chill out and grab a beer. The ambiance is quite different than what it once was back in the day — a spot for town meetings, the site of Spanish inquisition trials and even home to bullfights.

The Plaza Mayor. Image by Sebastian Dubiel / Wikipedia.

Your Guide To Spain’s Fashion, Shopping and Designer’s Scene

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When you think of fashion capitals around the world, New York, Milan, Paris, London and Tokyo may first come to mind. But don’t discount Madrid, a European capital with some seriously chic style,  talented designers and fashionable brands, or even Spain in general. After all, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville are all spots budding with fashionistas too! Here are just some of the designers and shops to know and check out during your next visit to Spain.

Bimba y Lola

This brand has colorful and versatile garments for everyday wear — think stylish separates and soft leather handbags and wallets. The spring campaign, #ThisisSUMMEROFLOVE, with its bold and vibrant florals and details like feathers, stripes and dots has us believing that this summer will indeed, be filled with love.

Photo by Bimba y Lola

Roberto Verino

Whether it’s preppy menswear suits or an elegant, glittering gown, Roberto Verino has been trending on the Madrid fashion scene since 1984. With his designs in over 46 stores and 76 Corte Inglés locations, the designer is a staple on the Spanish fashion front. His SS18 collection, Dream Island, makes us want to hop on a yacht and take a spin around the Mediterranean: think nautical stripes, crisp white linens and soft cotton. The leather bomber jackets and cigarette pants rewind us back for vintage-inspired spring.

Photo by Roberto Verino

Sita Murt

Sita Murt grew up designing her own knitwear and named her brand after herself in the 1990s. With light, flowing fabrics and simple, modern designs, Sita Murt has made a name for herself in spots like Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona. Check out one of her shops to purchase a red, wide-leg jumpsuit or voluminous, earthly green and beige separates this season.

Adolfo Dominguez

Another designer who’s been hot on the Spanish fashion scene since the 1980s, Dominguez has created a brand aesthetic and always sticks to it: using loose and natural fabrics. Although his designs move with the current trends, he always seems to stay true to his original aesthetic while creating stylish and wearable clothing. This spring, it’s all about color, with vivacious pinks, bright golds and rich royal blues.

Photo by Adolfo Dominguez.

Teresa Helbig

Known for her dresses, Teresa Helbig creates garments that are both romantic and bohemian, but modern enough for a 21st century, all-encompassing female. Impeccably designed and sewn, you’ll turn heads in a Teresa Helbig dress, that’s for sure. She’s also known for her made-to-measure bridal wear. For SS18, get ready for bold and gold from her collection, Rien ne va plus.

Photo from the Teresa Helbig Facebook page.

Juana Martin

Coming straight from Córdoba, Spain, you can feel the Andalusian flavor this designer’s garments emit immediately. However, her talent lies in making ruffles and flamenco-inspired pieces relevant to city living. So don’t be surprised if you end up taking back a little bit of Andalusia to New York, London or Singapore with you. Pickup a flowy, white sundress or an layered orange tea-length number for this summer.

Photo by Juana Martin.

Uterqüe

Although this company is owned by Spanish group Intidex, the fashions found at this shop seem original, despite the fact the brand boasts 82 stores around the globe. Uterqüe still hasn’t made a debut in the UK, Australia or the United States, so it’s best to visit Spain to shop, where you’ll find 34 of the stores. The store feels like an upmarket Zara, with snazzy fashions appropriate for pretty much any occasion. The spring collection is full of exciting colors and silky fabrics, so stop in to check it out.

Photo by Uterqüe.

If you want to shop these brands and more, Insider’s Madrid will create a personalized shopping or fashion tour for you around Madrid, ensuring you discover all the coolest Spanish brands that perfectly cater to your individual style and budget.

If you want to dig even dipper into Spain’s fashion roots, a textile, food and fashion tour from Corazón will take you to different cities in Spain, giving you exclusive opportunities like meeting cape-makers and silk painters in Madrid, taking a patchwork class from former Givenchy model Lola Barasoain in La Rioja and touring the Valgañon family factory (which has been said to  manufacture for the likes of Hermés, Givenchy and others) in the country town of Ezgaray and  is known for its mohair and cashmere scarves.

Your Guide To Exploring Madrid’s Expansive Art Scene

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It’s no secret that Madrid is famous for having some of the most impressive art in the world. Besides the acclaimed museums the city is known for, there’s also an abundance of lesser-known spots to see some truly inspirational paintings, drawings, prints, architecture, photography, sculptures, street art and more. Here’s your go-to guide to exploring Madrid’s multifaceted art scene.

Photo of La Guernica painting from Wikipedia.

The art triangle: a Madrid must-see

No visit to Madrid is complete without wandering through its three most famous museums, conveniently located in a triangle in the heart of the city center: the Museo del Prado, where you’ll spot famous works by Diego Velázquez and Francisco Goya, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, home of Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica, and the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, which houses a comprehensive collection featuring the likes of Claude Monet, Jackson Pollock and more.

Hoping to see it all? Sign up for a curated Fine Arts Tour from Insider’s Madrid, guiding you through your choice of museums (and/or galleries) in Madrid.

Photo by Museo del Prado.

Go to ARCOmadrid at IFEMA

You’ll be impressed with how many well-known modern artists select this festival to unveil their work. ARCOmadrid, the city’s largest COntemporary ARt festival takes place annually at IFEMA, the city’s trade fair venue. ARCO this year is February 21st – 25th. See ‘historical avant-garde, the contemporary classics, and modern art. The galleries display painting, sculpture, installations, photography, video, new media, drawing, and etching.’ IFEMA also hosts other various art events throughout the year, like FERIARTE, the art and antique festival. This year, IFEMA will also be hosting ARCOLisboa and Estampa, another contemporary art fair. Stay tuned.

Museums with a more personal touch

Tucked away in local neighborhoods of Madrid, more personal museums abound. Start by exploring work by the great luminist, Joaquín Sorolla. The Museo Sorolla is set in the artist’s private home and  showcases work throughout his career, all while keeping in the style of his home when he and his family once lived there. The gardens are modeled on the Alhambra Palace’s ornate Generalife gardens. Set in the Tribunal area of Madrid near Malasaña and Alonso Martínez, the Museo de Romanticismo goes beyond just paintings with furniture, stamps, drawings, clothing garments and more from Spain’s Romanticism period. Set in the former residence and magnificent mansion house, the Museo Cerralbo houses the collection art, furniture and objects belonging to the house’s former owner, the 17th Marquis of Cerralbo.

Photo by Museo de Romanticismo.

From meat to art

The Matadero is one of the most eclectic spots in Madrid to experience art and culture. A former slaughterhouse dating back to 1911, the space is now dedicated to different art forms like cinema, theater, music, books, contemporary design and more. You could spend a couple hours here — or an entire vacation soaking up all the cultural activities and events offered.

Hit the streets 

Madrid’s boulevards and streets feature nonstop architectural wonders, but there’s also literal art too. Street art is most prevalent in the bohemian, hip neighborhoods of Lavapiés and Malasaña. You can spot some special graffiti simply walking around, or for several murals in one spot, stroll past the Tabacalera in Lavapiés.

Colombian artist Fernando Botero also has a few of his oversized masterpieces scattered around the city and the Parque de Juan Carlos I offers a day filled with blooming trees and flowers, plus some unique abstract sculptures.

Photo of the walls of the Tabacalera by Guillermo de la Madrid and Madrid Street Art Project.

Galleries galore

Museums aren’t the only way to experience art in Madrid. In fact, the city is full of galleries, some of the most interesting located near the Reina Sofía on the street Doctor Forquet. Slowly but surely this street is becoming a mecca for art aficionados and the gallery count is 15 and growing. If this seems overwhelming, don’t worry — Insider’s Madrid can create a special gallery tour just for you, guiding you alongside curator, art appraiser and writer Cristina Anglada.

Check out the calendar

Many exhibition spaces in Madrid are dedicated to showcasing temporary art, such as the Fundación Mapfre, Fundación Canal or the Espacio Fundación Telefónica. Each of these halls changes exhibits frequently, showcasing photography, fashion, paintings, drawings, sculptures and more from new and emerging artists to famous, well-known big timers. Make sure to see what’s on during your visit to Madrid.

Photo of the previous Houdini exhibit by the Fundación Telefónica.

Remember, Insider’s Madrid would be happy to curate any specific art tour you’d like, guiding you through your desired combination of museums, galleries, art fairs, exhibitions and more. For more information or to personalize a tour, contact us at info@insidersmadrid.com.

6 Reasons Why You Need To Check Out Spain’s Up & Coming Fashion Scene

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Milan, Paris, Tokyo and New York may come to mind when you think about fashionable destinations around the world. But we have a little secret: Spain is that up & coming fashion haven you need to explore. Sure, it’s famous for tapas, wine, bullfighting and siestas, but the fashion scene, which has been growing immensely over the past several years, is now on everyone’s radar. Here’s why:

Fashion Weeks Galore

Spain has several fashion weeks (even in smaller cities like Valencia or the island of Ibiza), the most famous being Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid which occurs twice per year. This particular week has a lineup of talented Spanish designers such as Andrés Sarda, Juana Martin, Roberto Torretta and many more. The EGO portion showcases young and emerging designers — Spain is full of youthful creativity. BCN 080, also a biannual event, is Barcelona’s fashion week, home to the world-famous brand Custo BCN. Make sure to check out the catwalks, as these events are on deck for January and February.

Capes designed by Devota y Lomba and Teresa Helbig walk the Madrid runways. © IFEMA.

Shop ‘Til You Drop

Spain is home to some seriously trendy boutiques, especially in Madrid. If you’re hoping to experience a little bit of the city’s special shopping scene, sign up for a Shopping Tour with Insider’s Madrid. You’ll discover items like merino wool, leather goods (even see items made in their workshops), ceramics, gourmet food products and more. Make sure to leave some space in your suitcase!

If you want to go a step further and really get up close and personal with Spain’s impressive textile and fashion industry, sign up for a Corazon Textiles, Food and Fashion Tour, which includes going behind the scenes at famous brand Loewe while also checking out handmade cashmere items made in small villages, seeing locally-made designs at family-run workshops and visiting world-renowned fashion museums.

A glimpse of Madrid’s vintage shopping seen at The 2nd Room. © The 2nd Room

Flamenco is Fashion

Spanish fashion has a variety of unique style influences and one of these is flamenco. Flamenco isn’t just a genre of music or dance, for some, it’s a lifestyle. Seville even houses the We Love Flamenco fashion week, a six-day event dedicated to flamenco and it’s many colors, shapes and styles. This season, which happens to be in January this year, has over 48 different fashion shows, so get ready for ruffles.

Bold and red are two common trends spotted during flamenco fashion shows © We Love Flamenco Facebook page

Famous Designers

The names Adolfo Dominguez, Hannibal Laguna, Roberto Verino, Balenciaga or Jesus Del Pozo may ring a bell. Did you know these are all Spanish fashion designers? It’s true – some of the biggest names in fashion hail from Spain, so make sure to check out their boutiques and designs when visiting.

Roberto Verino floral prints on the Madrid catwalk © Ifema

Blushing Brides

Both Madrid and Barcelona also have Bridal Fashion Weeks, so if you’re planning on tying the knot, you can check out all the dress and accessories trends coming this April. You may spot something ideal for your coming nuptials. In fact, the aforementioned Corazon Textiles, Food and Fashion Tour takes you behind the scenes with wedding dress designer Isabel Zapardiez (whose designs walk the Barcelona Bridal Week catwalks) and even give you a wedding dress fitting.

A wedding dress at the 2017 edition of Barcelona Fashion Week by designer Immculada Garcia. © Barcelona Fashion Week.

Made in Spain

Check out your tag — and if it says ‘Made in China,’ it’s time to head to Spain, because there are plenty of handcrafted goods created right here in Spain. Those summery shoes everyone wears are called espadrilles and are decidedly Spanish. Seseña is a famous brand of capes made here in España — Hilary Clinton is a fan of the brand, and Pablo Picasso was actually buried in one of these capes. Many small boutiques make fascinators, or tocados, which are hair pieces artfully crafted for your most important special occasion. Alicante is famous for its leather industry which makes soft and supple handbags and shoes. Hand-crafted jewelry can be found all over the country too.

Handmade jewelry by Helena Rohner in Spain. © Helena Rohner

Here’s Why 2018 Is The Year To Visit Madrid, Spain

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Madrid has always been an exciting city to explore. Thanks to its nuanced architecture, world-famous art museums, vibrant nightlife scene and a never-ending supply of tapas and vino, it’s always been a top travel destination (and likely always will be). But if you haven’t been yet — or even if you have — 2018 is the year to visit.

Madrid is the heart of Spain. © Luis Garcia/ Wikipedia.
Madrid is the heart of Spain. © Luis Garcia/ Wikipedia.

Intrigued? Read on to find out why now is the time to go:

A Pedestrian-Friendly, Pollution-Free Madrid is in the Works

Madrid’s current mayor Manuela Carmena, has diligently worked to increase the number of bike lanes and trees-planting around the city this past year. By the start of 2018, circulation around the city center by car will be limited, helping to maintain better air quality and encourage people to bike and walk instead. Calle de Gran Vía, one of the Madrid’s most famous streets, will have more lanes accessible to pedestrians and car traffic will be restricted.

Calle Gran Vía will such much less traffic in 2018. © Lori Zaino.
Calle Gran Vía will such much less traffic in 2018. © Lori Zaino.

300 Days of Sunshine in 2018

Okay, you’ve got us, this isn’t a new development for 2018. It’s sunny 300 days out of every year in Madrid, making it Europe’s sunniest capital. But why not take advantage and walk the city under the warm rays?

The sun shines down on Madrid's Puerta de Alcalá monument. © Lori Zaino
The sun shines down on Madrid’s Puerta de Alcalá monument. © Lori Zaino

Fly to Madrid from Around the World

Arrival to Madrid has never been easier. Madrid’s Barajas Airport is already well-connected to cities around the world such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Paris, Rome, Dublin, Dubai, Bangkok, Bogotá, Mexico City and many more. Starting in 2018, though, there will some new routes launched. Air Europa will fly nonstop to Guayaquil, Iberia will operate a nonstop flight to San Francisco from April to September and Ryanair will be flying from Madrid to five new destinations: Bari, Frankfurt, Glasglow, Poznan and Prague, bring the total destination count to 55 different cities from Madrid.

Iberia will soon connect San Francisco directly to Madrid. © Micha Sender / Wikipedia.
Iberia will soon connect San Francisco directly to Madrid. © Micha Sender / Wikipedia.

Sample all Madrid’s Tastiest Tapas

The Spanish capital is having a moment when it comes to food. With an influx of trendy new food markets, international restaurants and an increase in travelers and tourists coming to Madrid specifically to experience cuisine. If you want to eat, 2018 is the year to do it. And did you know Madrid is home to the world’s oldest restaurant, Botín? Why not try one of Insider Madrid’s specialized food tours, like the Botín Experience or the Gourmet Tapas and Wine Tour to hear (and taste) all the hidden secrets about Madrid’s food scene.

Typical Spanish snacks. © Escarabajo Amarillo / Madrid Tourism.
Typical Spanish snacks. © Escarabajo Amarillo / Madrid Tourism.

Enjoy the Arts

In your hoping to experience a more creative side of Madrid, 2018’s cultural offerings come in many forms beyond the golden triangle of museums (the Prado, the Reina Sofía and the Thyssen-Bornemisza). Musical events such concerts from Bruno Mars and Pearl Jam and Broadways’s Lion King are on the agenda. Special exhibitions like Harry PotterManolo BlahnikAuschwitz and art from Fortuny will pass through the city in 2018.

Besides all of the famous works by Goya, 2018 will bring art, music and other cultural events and festivals to Madrid. © Museo del Prado.
Besides all of the famous works by Goya, 2018 will bring art, music and other cultural events and festivals to Madrid. © Museo del Prado.

Happy holidays to you all!

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Dear all,

We have enjoyed another year of adventures. We have met so many people – from orange growers to sheep farmers, from wine-makers to fashion house designers, from world-class flamenco artists to Michelin star chefs. They don’t all have to be the prizewinners. There are so many people doing remarkable things and we have enjoyed taking you to meet them.

Next year, we have lots of exciting tours in the pipeline including Cadiz and Valencia. We are also looking forward to leading our first tour along the Way of St James, the Camino de Santiago and then outside of Spain, we will be discovering the delights of Sicily.

Yes to good food and wine, yes to learning about this country’s art and history but most of all, yes to boarding our tour bus!  Our journeys are full of anecdotes and experiences that unfold as we travel, and it wouldn’t be possible without you.

Wishing you a very happy holiday season and all the very best for the New Year,
Joanna, & the Insider’s Madrid & Corazón Travel team!

We’re headed to Cádiz for New Year’s 2017! 

What is so enticing about this Southern tip of Spain? Is it the old fortress city of Cadiz, founded by the Phoenicians with all its seafaring history or is it the whitewashed hilltop villages with their Moorish architecture?  Perhaps it’s a lunch of fresh fish and chilled wine by the beach, the smell of aging casks of the old family bodegas in sherry country or the sound of a flamenco guitar from the bar on the corner?

From the majesty of Seville, to the antiquity of Cadiz Old Town to the magical, Moorish village of Vejer de la Frontera. This six-night New Year’s Eve escape takes us on our own voyage of discovery as we experience its food, wine and history.

NEW TRIP!
Valencia 2018

Valencia has recently stepped out of the shadow of Madrid and Barcelona to become a world class destination in its own right. With its stunning City of Arts and Science (designed by local architect Calatrava), as well as a charming old quarter and a burgeoning gourmet scene, this is city on the rise.

The region is the birthplace of Spain’s best known dish, paella, and of course is famous for its vast orchards of orange trees that dominate the landscape. Local drinks such as Agua de Valencia (a cocktail made from orange juice, Cava and sugar) and horchata (made from tiger nuts) are not to be missed. Valencia, both the city and region, has the feeling of a place whose time has come and we are delighted to be returning there.

Insider’s Gourmet Tour 2018
October 28th – November 3rd, 2018

This seven-day tour offers a gourmet overview of central and southern Spain, allowing you to see, taste and breathe the wonders the country has to offer. We travel through the diverse landscapes of Castile and Leon, Extremadura and Andalusia, beginning and ending in Madrid.

The trip is hosted by Joanna Wivell (Corazon Tours & Insider’s Madrid), designed together with Jeremy Shaw (Iberian Wine Tours). Their inside knowledge offers a unique insight on how to taste the very best of Spain,

The love of wine, and the stories surrounding it, is a key element of this trip. We experience tastings of top-class wines from established winemakers as well as visits  the best of the new wineries in the region.

7 Beautiful Cities in Spain You Have To Visit

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Picturesque beaches, towering mountains, rolling vineyards and some of the most elaborate architecture in the world. All of these wonders and more can be found in the country of Spain. Here’s a list seven beautiful Spanish destinations you absolutely have to visit at least once in your lifetime.

Madrid

Perhaps we’re biased, but Madrid, often ignored in lieu of cosmopolitan Barcelona, has something for any style of traveler, whether it be tapas, flamenco, nightlife, wine, architecture, history, fashion or major sporting events. With its quaint, cobblestone streets leading to grandiose squares like the Plaza Mayor or the Plaza Cibeles, you’ll be in awe just roaming around. Plus, Madrileños are passionate about all things edible, so foodies can bask in numerous options for international and Spanish cuisine, food markets and food tours. Of course, we recommend doing one (or more) of the many different food experiences and tailored tours by Insider’s Madrid, like the gourmet tapas tour or a paella and sangria class.

Plaza de la Villa in Madrid. © Madrid Destino Cultura Turismo y Negocio

San Sebastián

San Sebastián, located in the Basque country is known for its famous seashell-shaped beach, La Concha. Beloved for its fancy pinxtos (these are similar to tapas and can sometimes be found “pinched” with a stick and placed on a baguette slice) dining scene and large number of Michelin-star restaurants, it’s also the last stop on the specialized Textile, Food and Fashion Tour led by Corazón. The city is surrounded by rolling green hills and wild beaches, and the Sagrado Corazon de Jesus statue on top of Monte Urgull keeps watch day and night over the city.

An aerial view of San Sebastian. © Keta / Wikipedia

Bilbao

Also a stop on the  Textile, Food and Fashion Tour tour, the Guggenheim Bilbao is one of the most intriguing art museums in the world. Designed by Frank Gehry, visitors come from around the world to see both the curved stone, glass and titanium exterior overlooking the Nervión River as well as inside of the museum, which features masterpieces by artists such as Willem Kooning, Yves Klein, Andy Warhol and Antoni Tàpies.

The Guggenheim exterior in Bilbao. © VA / Wikipedia

Santiago de Compostela

The final stop on the famous pilgrimage Camino de Santiago, known as the Way of St. James in English, Santiago de Compostela is a welcome site for weary travelers — ones who’ve been trekking for days or even those just getting off a Ryanair flight. The city’s magnificent Romanesque cathedral (which later added on Gothic and Baroque touches), towers above the rest of the city and is said to be the burial place of St. James the Great. The entire historic city center is designated as an UNESCO World Heritage site, so grab your camera and spend the day wandering around.

The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. © Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez / Wikipedia.

Ibiza

This island, part of the Balearic archipelago, is best known for its party scene, but what many don’t know is that the island’s many hidden coves known as calas and secret beaches are some of the most stunning in the world. This is an island made for exploring — so rent a car and start your adventure. We recommend Cala Lentrisca, which you’ll have to walk through a small pine forest when the road ends in Urbanizació Es Cubells.

A cala in Ibiza. © juantiagues / Flickr

Logroño

The gateway city to Spain’s famous Rioja wine region, this city was made for food and wine aficionados, just a short drive way from hundreds of vineyardsThe city is beautiful in a different way, which stems from its very special manner in which both visitors and locals alike can dine: specialty tapas along the famous Calle Laurel. The long, winding street is lined with tapas bars — small bar-style ‘restaurants’ where you’ll often spot more people standing at the bar or around wooden wine barrels that sitting, chattering over one another while sipping a local Rioja variety or beer and their favorite tapa.

Tapas (or pinxtos) along Calle Laurel. © jynus / Wikipedia

Cádiz

This Andalusian gem is one of Spain’s oldest continually inhabited cities, and its historic architecture mixed with its long stretches of sandy beaches that sparkle beneath the sunshine will ensure you never want to leave. The city boasts a few different cathedrals, an ancient Roman theater and an 18th-century watchtower. You’ll be able to see all these delights and more if you sign up for Corazon’s specialized New Year’s Eve Cádiz Tour.

Cádiz. © Anna & Michal / Flickr