Madrid

Madrid has only been the capital of Spain since the mid-16th century and was chosen largely on account of its central position in the country, which was seen as useful in promoting national rather than regional unity. Today it is a large city with a population of almost 3.2 million and is located on the river Manzanares. As the Spanish capital, it is the seat of government and residence of the monarch (currently Felipe VI) and is the country’s political, economic and cultural heartbeat. While Madrid has all the trappings of a modern capital, it has preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighbourhoods and streets, which is good news for tourists. Visitors may find it convenient to see central Madrid as consisting of two distinct areas: Old Madrid to the west and Bourbon Madrid to the east. Most of what you will want to see is in one or other of these areas. So wander through its picturesque squares and green, open spaces and admire the endless array of statues on view.

Sightseeing Whispers

Hotel Whispers
Mercure Madrid Plaza de Espana  Website Trip Advisor Page The hotel is beautifully located about three minutes’ walk north of the Plaza de Espana and a short distance away from the Palacio Real, Catedral de la Almudena, Plaza Mayor and other main sights of Old Madrid. The hotel’s public areas have a homely, old-style feel to them while the modern bedrooms come equipped with comfortable beds, minibar, LCD TV, air conditioning, WiFi and free coffee. The breakfast buffet is comprehensive and the food is of high quality. The hotel staff is polite and very helpful and the hotel itself is not overly expensive, particularly if you can get a deal. (Calle de Tutor 1 - Esquina Ventura Rodriguez, 28008 Madrid)
Mercure Madrid Plaza de Espana
Mercure Plaza de Espana - Exterior Mercure Plaza de Espana - Lobby Mercure Plaza de Espana - Bedroom Click to enlarge

Restaurant Whispers

El Cisne  Website Trip Advisor Page A great little neighbourhood tapas bar/restaurant at the corner of Calle Tutor and Calle Ventura Rodriguez, directly opposite the Hotel Mercure. The bar is downstairs and the restaurant is upstairs. The food is good and very affordable and the service is attentive and friendly. The obvious place to go for a drink if staying at the Mercure. (Calle Ventura Rodriguez 4, 28008 Madrid) Furancho  Website Trip Advisor Page In turn, this fine Galician restaurant is directly across Calle Ventura Rodriguez from El Cisne. Furancho is a real find - excellent food, wonderful, knowledgeable Galician staff and a friendly, quirky atmosphere (think cushions attached randomly to the ceiling!). Portions are not large, so a three- course meal is feasible for most people, and it will not strain the wallet. Strongly recommended. (Calle Ventura Rodriguez 5, 28008 Madrid) Ginger  Website Trip Advisor Page This restaurant is part of Hostal Persal in the bustling Huertas area near Plaza de Santa Ana. The restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine (and some Asian dishes) with a modern twist. Beware - the starters tend to be large! The waiting staff can be taciturn bordering on grumpy at times, but the quality of the food and the old-fashioned ambience of the restaurant more than make up for this. (Plaza del Angel 12, 28012 Madrid) Nuevo Puerto de Vigo  Website Trip Advisor Page This fine restaurant is located about 5 minutes’ walk from the Mercure, near the Templo de Debod. The food is excellent but, like in Ginger, the starters are on the large side, so caution is required when ordering. The restaurant has mainly a local clientele, which is always a good sign. Prices are fairly reasonable and the service is efficient and helpful. (Calle de Ferraz 44, 28008 Madrid)
Nuevo Puerto de Vigo El Cisne Furancho Ginger Mercure Plaza de Espana - Breakfast Buffet Click to enlarge
Photo Gallery
Madrid is big on tapas and raciónes. A tapa is a small portion of food served (for free) along with drinks in a bar. A tapa can consist of nearly anything - meat, fish or vegetables - as long as the amount is small. A ración is a larger portion of food which is usually shared by several people. A number of raciónes can be ordered to substitute for a normal restaurant meal. Plaza Mayor Puerta del Sol Palacio Real Museu del Prado Catedral de la Almudena            El Escorial Toledo Segovia Aranjuez Chinchon   Out of Town Greatest Hits Worth a Look Teatro Real Parque del Buen Retiro Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales  Centro de Arte Reina Sofia Museo de Arte Thyssen-Bornemisza El Cisne Furancho Nuevo Puerto de Vigo Ginger
Travel Whispers
Madrid
Madrid has only been the capital of Spain since the mid-16th century and was chosen largely on account of its central position in the country, which was seen as useful in promoting national rather than regional unity. Today it is a large city with a population of almost 3.2 million and is located on the river Manzanares. As the Spanish capital, it is the seat of government and residence of the monarch (currently Felipe VI) and is the country’s political, economic and cultural heartbeat. While Madrid has all the trappings of a modern capital, it has preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighbourhoods and streets, which is good news for tourists. Visitors may find it convenient to see central Madrid as consisting of two distinct areas: Old Madrid to the west and Bourbon Madrid to the east. Most of what you will want to see is in one or other of these areas. So wander through its picturesque squares and green, open spaces and admire the endless array of statues on view.
Sightseeing Whispers
Plaza Mayor Puerta del Sol Palacio Real Museu del Prado Catedral de la Almudena            El Escorial Toledo Segovia Aranjuez Chinchon   Out of Town Greatest Hits Worth a Look Teatro Real Parque del Buen Retiro Monasterio Descalzas Reales  Centro Reina Sofia Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
Hotel Whispers
Mercure Madrid Plaza de Espana
Mercure Madrid Plaza de Espana  Website Trip Advisor Page The hotel is beautifully located about three minutes’ walk north of the Plaza de Espana and a short distance away from the Palacio Real, Catedral de la Almudena, Plaza Mayor and other main sights of Old Madrid. The hotel’s public areas have a homely, old-style feel to them while the modern bedrooms come equipped with comfortable beds, minibar, LCD TV, air conditioning, WiFi and free coffee. The breakfast buffet is comprehensive and the food is of high quality. The hotel staff is polite and very helpful and the hotel itself is not overly expensive, particularly if you can get a deal. (Calle de Tutor 1 - Esquina Ventura Rodriguez, 28008 Madrid)
Restaurant Whispers
El Cisne Furancho Nuevo Puerto de Vigo Ginger Madrid is big on tapas and raciónes. A tapa is a small portion of food served (for free) along with drinks in a bar. A tapa can consist of nearly anything - meat, fish or vegetables - as long as the amount is small. A ración is a larger portion of food which is usually shared by several people. A number of raciónes can be ordered to substitute for a normal restaurant meal.
El Cisne  Website Trip Advisor Page A great little neighbourhood tapas bar/restaurant at the corner of Calle Tutor and Calle Ventura Rodriguez, directly opposite the Hotel Mercure. The bar is downstairs and the restaurant is upstairs. The food is good and very affordable and the service is attentive and friendly. The obvious place to go for a drink if staying at the Mercure. (Calle Ventura Rodriguez 4, 28008 Madrid) Furancho  Website Trip Advisor Page In turn, this fine Galician restaurant is directly across Calle Ventura Rodriguez from El Cisne. Furancho is a real find - excellent food, wonderful, knowledgeable Galician staff and a friendly, quirky atmosphere (think cushions attached randomly to the ceiling!). Portions are not large, so a three-course meal is feasible for most people, and it will not strain the wallet. Strongly recommended. (Calle Ventura Rodriguez 5, 28008 Madrid) Ginger  Website Trip Advisor Page This restaurant is part of Hostal Persal in the bustling Huertas area near Plaza de Santa Ana. The restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine (and some Asian dishes) with a modern twist. Beware - the starters tend to be large! The waiting staff can be taciturn bordering on grumpy at times, but the quality of the food and the old-fashioned ambience of the restaurant more than make up for this. (Plaza del Angel 12, 28012 Madrid) Nuevo Puerto de Vigo  Website Trip Advisor Page This fine restaurant is located about 5 minutes’ walk from the Mercure, near the Templo de Debod. The food is excellent but, like in Ginger, the starters are on the large side, so caution is required when ordering. The restaurant has mainly a local clientele, which is always a good sign. Prices are fairly reasonable and the service is efficient and helpful. (Calle de Ferraz 44, 28008 Madrid)
Photo Gallery
Madrid