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Best of Madrid

Here's a guide to what I think is the best that Madrid has to offer to the expat English speaking community: that includes all of you teachers who are thinking of coming here. I think we're all fed up with having to click fifty million times through ad-filled pages (aha!) each with a line or two of information. This is the best I can do to help you to cut to the chase by putting it all on the same page.

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William Christison
William Christison

Teaches English classes in companies and in his own private home.

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The main tourist areas of Madrid:

Plaza de Oriente - Palacio Real This Royal Palace of Madrid is easily one of the most visited landmarks in all of Spain. In the photo on the left you can see the Royal Palace in the background and the Jardines de Oriente in the foreground. In the picture to the left, you can go inside the Royal Palace for around 10 euros and the Cathedral of Almudena is right next door. A less pleasant walk to the right and around to the rear of the Royal Palace will get you into the Campo del Moro, the rather lovely and large Royal Palace park garden. Also, if you go to the right (of the Royal Palace in the image to the left), you're just a 5 minute stroll from the Plaza de España and Templo de Debod area (see photos below). Also, if you just turn around and go the other way, you're just around the corner from the more centrally located Opera, Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol areas.

Plaza de Oriente - Teatro Real 3
Plaza de Oriente - Teatro Real 2

Plaza de Oriente.

Palacio Real 1 - Campo del MoroPalacio Real 2 - Templo de DebodPalacio Real 3 - Templo de Debod
Palacio Real 4 - Jardines de SabatiniPalacio Real 6 - Jardines de SabatiniPalacio Real 5 - Plaza de Oriente

Palacio Real.

Catedral de la Almudena 3Catedral de la Almudena 4 - Make sure to visit the Crypt. Catedral de la Almudena 5
Catedral de la Almudena 1Catedral de la Almudena 2

Catedral de la Almudena

Monumento Cervantes Plaza de España 2Monumento Cervantes Plaza de España 1Monumento Cervantes Plaza de España 3
Plaza de España 2

Plaza de España

Templo de Debod

Templo de Debod.

Gran Via 2016 at Plaza de EspañaGran Via 2 from Plaza de España

Gran Via.

Teatro Real - 2016Puerta del Sol is about 10 minutes from the Royal Palace via Opera. It's also about a 3 minute walk from the Plaza Mayor, which is a must-see. You can also walk the area around the old City Hall near the Plaza Mayor. Actually, there are all sorts of things to do and see in the area, which has been completely renovated with pedestrian-only streets and so on which really have transformed it into a first-class tourist destintion. There are also lots of shopping centres around the center and north of Sol and on the Gran Via.

Teatro Real Madrid 2016 2Teatro Real Madrid 2016 3

Opera - Teatro Real.

Plaza Mayor Madrid 2016 4Plaza Mayor Madrid 2016 7Plaza Mayor Madrid 2016 1
Plaza Mayor Madrid 2016 2

Plaza Mayor.

Puerta del Sol - OsoPuerta de Sol 2016 1Puerta del Sol 2016 1
Puerta de Sol 2016 2 Puerta del Sol - Mallorquina

Puerta del Sol.

The best museums in Madrid:

There are three of the world's greatest museums within walking distance of each other here in Madrid. - My personal favorite is the Thyssen Museum, but you may prefer to visit the Prado Museum just across the street or the Reina Sofia Museum just 10 minutes down the street across from Atocha train station. The most recent addition to the area is the also great CaixaForum.

The best of nature in Madrid:

Palacio de Cristal 2016Stuck in Madrid but need a breath of fresh air? Take a walk in the park at the Retiro and see the Palacio de Cristal and the Monument to Alfonso XII. Between the Retiro and Atocha Train Station (where there's a great indoor jungle-type garden, by the way), you can also visit the Botanical Gardens. You can also take a walk and see the beautiful sunsets in the Parque del Oeste starting at either end at the Plaza de España or Moncloa. While you're there you might take the Teleferico cable-car to the Casa de Campo.

Palacio de Cristal 1 -  2016 Palacio de Cristal 2 -  2016 Palacio de Cristal 3 -  2016
Palacio de Cristal 4 -  2016 Palacio de Cristal 5 -  2016

Palacio de Cristal at Retiro park.

Monumento Alfonso XII 1 -  2016 Monumento Alfonso XII 2 -  2016 Monumento Alfonso XII 3 -  2016
Monumento Alfonso XII 4 -  2016

Monumento Alfonso XII at Retiro park.

Puerta del AlcalaPuerta de Alcalá 2 - 2016 Puerta de Alcalá 3 - 2016

Puerta de Alcalá (is on the corner of Retiro park).

Palacio de Cibeles - is nearby

Palacio de Cibeles (a 5-minute walk from Retiro park.)

The best party area in Madrid:

Plaza de Santa AnaBetween the Royal Palace and Puerta del Sol in the West and the Prado Museum area in the East, my favourite area in Madrid for both day and night time fun is called Huertas and runs along Calle Huertas from the Plaza de Santa Ana to the Prado museum. There are plenty of bars and restaurants throughout the area and you can just take your pick. Huertas is part of a tourist area with very little vehicle traffic permitted in it. You can walk on pedestrian-only streets from Recoletos at the Prado Museum all the way to the Royal Palace.

Language School Requires Teachers

First Language is seeking experienced and qualified English in-company teachers for Sept. 12 -19 start.
13.30-15.00 MTWTh Nuevos Ministerios, 12-13.30 Th Las Tablas, 20.30-21.30 M 19-20.00 F Metro Legazpi.

Englishforfun English for Fun is currently recruiting an Assistant Director.
To assist the director in running the day-to-day operations of the center, compile summary reports and logs, implementation of program and operating policy, maintaining paperwork, manage and evaluate teachers, provide mentoring and professional development, and any other duties needed for the smooth operation of the center.

Kennedy Languages is looking for a Didactic Development Assistant.
A graduate degree in a business related field is required, and CELTA, TEFL or TESOL.

The best tourist area in the Community of Madrid:

El Escorial from Silla de Felipe

El Escorial to the northwest of Madrid in the Sierra de Guadarrama of Madrid. It's an UNESCO world heritage site and it deserves to be. I recommend the walk up to "Felipe's Chair" (Silla de Felipe) for a magnificent view of everything.

El Escorial 2016 El Escorial 2016 2 El Escorial 2016 3
El Escorial 4 2016 El Escorial 2016 5El Escorial 2016 6

The "other" best day-trips outside of the Community of Madrid:

Alcazar Castle in Segovia Just outside of the Community of Madrid there are some other wonderful places to visit, At the top of the list is Segovia. It's also an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Roman-built aqueduct is one of Spain's best known monuments, but you've probably seen the fairy-tale "Alcazar" castle at right as well.

While you're in the area, try to find the time to visit La Granja de San Ildefonso and have a picnic at Boca del Asno park.

Other nearby places you just have to go to are Toledo, Aranjuez, Ávila and, a bit farther away, Cuenca (It actually may be faster to go to Seville by high-speed train than to go to this last one.) For a lovely one-day excursion, visit Sigüenza, an authentic medieval village (1.5 hours from Chamartin train station).

If you can get access to a car, you might also consider going to Arenas de San Pedro in the mountains of Gredos, 2 hours southwest of the Community of Madrid.

La Granja de San Ildefonso (Segovia):

La Granja de San Ildefonso is about 20 km from Segovia and about an hour's drive to the northwest from Madrid on the other side of the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains. Make sure to climb up to the lovely little lake. It's not such a long walk.

La Granja de San Ildefonso 1 - 2016 La Granja de San Ildefonso 2 - 2016 La Granja de San Ildefonso 3 - 2016
La Granja de San Ildefonso 4 - 2016

La Granja de San Ildefonso

Boca del Asno 1 - 2016Boca del Asno 2 - 2016Boca del Asno 3 - 2016
Boca del Asno 4 - 2016Boca del Asno 5 - 2016Boca del Asno 6 - 2016
Boca del Asno 7- 2016Boca del Asno 8 - 2016Boca del Asno 9 - 2016

Boca del Asno (nearby)

The best of nature in the Community of Madrid:

The best place to go to in Madrid for a bit of fresh, crisp, mountain air is the Sierra (in the Spring, Summer and Fall for hiking and in the Winter for skiing or sledding. The best easy trails to hike are the Camino Schmid in Puerto de Navacerrada, Camino Puricelli to Las Dehesas park and then the old Roman road (Calzada Romana) to Fuenfria Pass (Puerto Fuenfria) which meets up with the Camino Schmid, the waterfalls at Cascadas del Purgatorio (Rascafria). A bit more difficult is La Pedriza. If you really miss the lush forests of cooler moister climates and you can't make it to Asturias or Cantabria in the north of Spain, why don't you go have a look at the: Hayedo de Montejo in the northeast of the Community of Madrid?

On Youtube: Cascadas del Purgatorio, Rascafría, Madrid.

Laguna de Peñalara 0 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 10 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 11 - 2016
Laguna de Peñalara 9 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 8 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 7 - 2016
Laguna de Peñalara 6 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 5 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 4 - 2016
Laguna de Peñalara 2 - 2016Laguna de Peñalara 3 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 1 - 2016
Laguna de Peñalara 43 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 13 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 33 - 2016
Laguna de Peñalara 32 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 41 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 42 - 2016
Laguna de Peñalara 31 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 30 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 28 - 2016
Laguna de Peñalara 26 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 25 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 23 - 2016
Laguna de Peñalara 24 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 22 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 21 - 2016
Laguna de Peñalara 18 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 17 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 16 - 2016
Laguna de Peñalara 15 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 14 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 38 - 2016
Laguna de Peñalara 37 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 36 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 35 - 2016
Laguna de Peñalara 34 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 40 - 2016Laguna de Peñalara 19 - 2016
Laguna de Peñalara 29 - 2016 Laguna de Peñalara 39 - 2016

Laguna de Peñalara

Camino Schmid 11 - 2016 Camino Schmid 10 - 2016 Camino Schmid 9 - 2016
Camino Schmid 1 - 2016 Camino Schmid 2 - 2016 Camino Schmid 3 - 2016
Camino Schmid 4 - 2016 Camino Schmid 5 - 2016 Camino Schmid 6 - 2016
Camino Schmid 7 - 2016 Camino Schmid 8 - 2016 Camino Schmid 12 - 2016

Camino Schmid

The best shopping area in Madrid:

The Rastro - You can find anything and everything at the Rastro from left-over pieces of junk to beautiful works of art. And in case you were worried about safety, it's usually crawling with police officers.

The best thing for kids to do while you visit:

Madrid Zoo - It's a question of preference whether the zoo in Casa de Campo or the one called Faunia is best. They have a slightly different selection of animals.

Swimming pools in Madrid, Aquopolis - In the Community of Madrid there are two of those swimming-pool parks with all sorts of strange contraptions for people to torture themselves with (worse than the inquisition). I go to my local neighbourhood swimming pool which is just fine at 2.50 a head for the day. There are plenty of them around along with Sports Complexes where you can sign up to play sports like tennis and soccer. You may even be able to join the local leagues, it's all pretty well organized. A warning: I don't see the lifeguards at my swimming pool ever paying very close attention - just an opinion - and there were something like at least 20-30 drownings in the summer of 2008 on the beaches and in the pools.

Warner Park Madrid. - Except for the super-hot August days and super-long waits on weekends, I'd heard nothing but positive recommendations about the cool rides and shows and now that I've gone myself a couple of times as well, I can sincerely say that I agree with them - it's fantastic! Oh, and by the way, the shows are all in Spanish which might be a bit frustrating for you if you don't speak the language.

Parque de Atracciones (Amusement Park) - There are loads of picnic tables and I've even seen people lugging around enormous coolers with their lunches. It's also inside Madrid and not out in the sticks. By the way, I'm not a big fan of Disneyland or anything, but I just love this amusement park. Except for the lack of good places to eat, it seems to be well-managed, well-kept-up, modern, etc. If you look at in the satellite photo in Google Maps, it doesn't seem to be as big as Warner Park and maybe it isn't, but bear in mind that it's got a lot more tree cover as it's a much older park and so you can't actually see as much of the park. Some of the rides are better in my opinion. The "rapids" ride here is longer and nicer than the ride at Warner and there are a couple of roller coaster rides including the Vertigo and the Tarantula that are different and pretty cool without getting too extreme.

The best of Sports in Madrid:

Real Madrid soccer or football - Ticket prices are at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu are really expensive, but it's worth going to at least one match.

For basketball, Real Madrid games are also an excellent option. Estudiantes is another team which occasionally does well. Real Madrid matches are often played in the Palacio de Deportes or Caja Mágica.

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