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Explore Madrid, Spanish Traditions
1. Go to a Christmas market

Nothing better to feel the christmas like a Christmas market.

The one in the main square is the most famous, but beware, it is also the busiest. The center of Madrid can be a bit overwhelming on weekends and holidays, and this situation increases significantly during these dates. This is a market composed of more than 100 booths dedicated to the sale of traditional Christmas products: nativity scenes, sweets, decorations and the big star for children, joke items.

 

If you want to get closer to a market where you can move more smoothly, you have the independent design market Nómada Market, Christmas edition. In the Market of the barley and only for a few days (December 14, 15 and 16) you will be able to get the creations of many artists, also, you can find street food and fun activities.

El Rastro is the best-known market in Madrid on Sundays throughout the year, and at Christmas it is not far behind. It is located in the neighborhood of La Latina and is so well known that, if you miss the map, anyone from Madrid can tell you how to get there.





2. Ice skating

In winter, several places are enabled to enjoy this fun activity in Madrid. The main and best-qualified place is the ice palace, and also the one that is open the longest during the year.



On these dates you can also find “Pop Up” tracks through different parts of the city. Perhaps the most spectacular is the Crystal Gallery of the Cibeles Palace, where children and adults can enjoy a 400m² track next to a large Christmas tree.




3. Watch a Christmas play or musical

Nothing better to take refuge from the cold and escape from the world than to go to see a play, or for the most musical, listen to it. In Madrid the offer is huge: from classic Christmas stories like the nutcracker, to more modern plays. Another good option is to choose a holidays that is not related in terms of themes with Christmas but which are especially enjoyable during these dates. Like the super blockbusters as The Lion King. You will find tickets for practically everything in ticketea.



4.The Navibus

Are you crazy about Christmas lights? Well now there is a double-decker bus with a duration of 50-60 minutes that will show you the most magical part of Madrid illuminated by the lights while actors tell you the legends that accompany the tour. Here you have the offer tickets.


5. Visit Madrid Río

Madrid Río dresses as a Christmas from December 21st at 7:00 pm, starting with a light parade, from there on there will be concerts, shows… it will even be transformed into a great ballroom on December 30th. In Matadero Madrid there will be a lot of activities, mostly free, that we leave here.





6. Museums for childrens

Whenever you visit a city, you like to see some museums. But doing it with children can complicate things. Do not worry, many of the museums in Madrid are totally adapted to the taste of the youngest of the house. The Prado Museum has an itinerary for children, with a children’s audio guide available on its official website. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum has an initiative for children called EducaThyssen and a large number of museums follow them.



Christmas is a good time to take advantage of these initiatives since in these dates there are more events and workshops than in any other.

Happy holidays from Heima Homes!


 

 

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Gastronomy
  1. Cebo Madrid

A 1 Michelin Star restaurant inside de Urban Hotel in Madrid. Aurelio Morales (El Bulli, Tickets, Echaurren…) commands the kitchen and Paco Patón is the director (Nacional Prize to the Best Maître).



The experience: They offer two different closed menus (short and long) that will blow you away with dishes like Autumn Calçots,  Croquettes made from Callos and many different courses where they re-interpret classic Spanish recipes in a beautiful and innovative way.

Note: It’s not always easy to book a table.

Food allergies, intolerances and particular dietary requirements: Make sure you warn them about this when you book in advance.

 

Contact: HOTEL URBAN 5*GL – Carrera de San Jerónimo, 34 | Phone: (+34) 917 877 780
Average Price: More than 100€ /person

  1. Restaurante Kappo

This restaurant is considered one of the best places to eat good Japanese food in Madrid. Not a surprise, taking into account that the chef is Mario Payán (formerly part of the Kabuki team, a Michelin star Japanese restaurant).

 

The experience: It’s a more personal style, with the personal constantly approaching the customer. The food is made ad hoc in an open view bar. Nowadays the offer a closed menu.

Note: It’s a place to go with time and not in a hurry.

Food allergies, intolerances and particular dietary requirements: Being a closed menu and despite the wide variety in their menu, there may not be a lot of options in this cases.

Contact: Bretón de los Herreros, 54 | Phone: (+34) 910 42 00 66
Average price: Closed menu from 65€ /person (Beverages not included)


  1. Barra /M
Specialized in Peruvian modern cuisine, the head chef is the famous Omar Malpartida (Tiradito Bar, Chambí).

 

The experience: It’s a relaxed and different experience. When we enter the main room we find a zigzagging bar with industrial aesthetics that can host 30 people. Everything happens in that bar and it serves to separate the customers and the kitchen, placing both face to face. The food, Peruvian inspired, is original and amazing. A really recommended experience, they also offer workshops and kitchen lessons on Saturdays.

Note: Not the place for an intimate, romantic dinner.

Food allergies, intolerances and particular dietary requirements: Very little vegetarian courses on the menu, which is not really long. If you seek with them about it when booking in advance, they may surprise you.


Contact:
Libertad, 5 | Phone: 916 684 678. 
Average price: Closed menú from 44-50€/person, they also have a menu and offer half rations.

  1.  El café de la Ópera
Musical dinners in the Ópera restaurant, where the waiting staff its also the musical cast.


The experience: Located in front of Madrid’s opera house  “Teatro Real” (The Royal Theatre), this experience is designed to please opera and zarzuela fans. They have an open menu, but they offer closed menus too and the musical experience on Saturdays.

Note: Food is good, but is not near as impressive as previous recommendations.

Food allergies, intolerances and particular dietary requirements: Not at all recommended for vegetarians and vegans.


Contact:
 C/ Arrieta Nº 6, 28013 Madrid| Phone: 91 542 63 82
Average price: Orfeo musical experience is 45€/person, they also have open menu and tapas menu.


5. An EatWith experience
Eatwith is a website that allows you to enjoy gastronomic experiences in particular locals’ private homes.

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💥 ¡Feliz día de Acción de Gracias! Nos encanta celebrar todas las tradiciones que estén relacionadas con gastronomía y con la unión de personas alrededor de una mesa. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ♥️Damos las gracias por tener una comunidad tan maravillosa. Nuestros anfitriones, nuestros invitados y nuestros seguidores. Esperamos veros muy pronto en una de nuestras experiencias. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 👉 Si estás en BCN y todavía no tienes ningún plan para mañana, aún estas a tiempo de reservar una plaza para la cena especial Thanksgiving de Alberto & Ella. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🔗 Reserva tu plaza en el link de la bio. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
…………………………………….. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 💥 Happy Thanksgiving! Today we are thankful for our wonderful Eatwith community – our hosts, our guests, and our followers. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ♥️We're thankful that social media has allowed us to connect with food and travel-lovers all around the world, and we look forward to seeing you at one of our Eatwith experiences sometime soon. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 👉If you're in Barcelona and looking to celebrate the holiday, we still have a few seats left for a special Thanksgiving dinner with Alberto & Ella. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🔗 Link in bio to book! . . . . . #eatwith #eatwithbarcelona #barcelonafood#barcelonafoodie #barcelonafoodies#barcelona #barcelonaspain #barcelonaeats#barcelonapaella #barcelonarooftops#barcelonaparty #bcn #tapasparty#cenaclandestina #barcelonacookingclass#factorydinner #barcelonafoodguide#barcelonafoodtour#barcelonafoodexperience #localexperience#tablestories #acciondegracias #thanksgiving

A post shared by Eatwith España (@eatwith_es) on


The experience: Eatwith allows you to have a really different experience interacting with locals, enjoying an original food and go back to your Heima Home with a lot of Madrid tips. Usually, hosts are friendly and open locals used to host different people and make them feel at home.

Note: The closed price for the menu will make it easy for you to just enjoy the experience and all that you want to drink is usually included in the price. It’s an awesome experience for families with children too. Don’t forget to use the filters on the website to find experiences that fit your tastes and requirements.

Food allergies, intolerances, and particular dietary requirements: If you are looking for really special or custom experiences, you are in luck. In Madrid, you can find amazing vegetarian experiences like this one, totally customizable to your needs or allergies. Just send a message to the hosts with your specs here ->  https://www.eatwith.com/events/41064 

Bonus: if you make a booking for 90€ or more (total, not per person) you can have a discount applied on your first booking with the following code -> EE274A00 


Contact:
  https://www.eatwith.com/
Average: Depending on the host and menu

He hopes that you feel inspired by this ideas and come back home with great memories and stories! 

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Explore Madrid, Spanish Traditions, Travel tips

Spring is a wonderful season of the year, it warms up and the sun brightens our days. That’s why we recomend you some amazing places where you can go if you visit Madrid in spring.

1. Botanic Garden
Our first recommendation is The Botanic Garden. For a price of 2€, you have access to a unique plant collection in a very special environment. Spring is it’s best moment, because  the plants reach their maximum beauty. You can find it in Atocha, a very centric place easily accesible from all our Heima Homes.

 Botanic Garden of Madrid.

2. Museums
One of the most important atractions of a city is the cultural life you can find in it, that’s why we think visiting a museum could be a very enriching activity. The 3 most important museums of Madrid are: Museo Reina Sofía, Museo del Prado and Museo Thyssen. They have the most important spanish artworks and they are very close to each other, so if you are an art lover, you can not miss them!


 

3. El Rastro
Spending a morning in El Rastro of Madrid is a typical sunday plan. It’s a market with more than 400 years of history. Depending on the zone we are walking by, we can find different stuff, for example handcrafted items, new and vintage clothing, accesories, second hand CDs and magazines. All of these in a very cheerful and crowded enviroment.

  Second hand vinyls. 

4. “Ir de pinchos”

Spain is a country with strong gastronomic traditions and foundations. One of it’s stepping stones is ir de pinchos, which is basically making a route from bar to bar asking for a wine or beer together with a pincho, a piece of bread with delicious and sometimes incredibly complex food on top of it, something similar to the famous tapa. Although pinchos are typical specially in the north of Spain, Madrid is full of amazing places to taste them and substitute a classic structured meal with this playful and tasty tradition.

5. Escape
If you have extra days in Madrid you can always make a scape to other nearby cities. You can go and return on the same day so it’s a practical option you can always keep in mind. The most typical proposals are Segovia, Ávila or Toledo. They have a very beautiful storic center so they’re perfect to rest from the big city.

 

 
If you need more activity ideas, ask us! We’ll happy to give you some extra tips 😉

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Explore Madrid, Heima news, Travel tips

Heima homes has a new flat where you can enjoy a perfect holidays in the best location you can expect: “Barrio de Salamanca”. It’s a place where you can find the most famous stores to enjoy your holidays and also very near of one of the biggest parks in the city: “El Retiro”. 

Barrio de Salamanca

District of Salamanca, Madrid. 


The district of Salamanca it’s one of the 21 districts that form the municipality of Madrid. It owes its name to its builder, José de Salamanca y Mayol, who made one of the most beautiful architectural zone of Madrid. It has 5,38 km² which makes an extensive neighborhood, perhaps it is very well connected by metro or bus. 

Platea Madrid: the biggest gastronomic & leisure centrePlatea Madrid: the biggest gastronomic & leisure centre. 

It has become one of the most important commercial areas of the city and one of the highest living standards in Europe with the largest luxury shopping area in Madrid. It also counts with the best restaurants, where you can taste the best gastronomy of Madrid. 


El Retiro 

El Retiro.

It is a historical garden and public park. Its considered one of the main tourist attractions of the city. It houses many architectural, sculptural and landscape ensembles. El Retiro is the best place to escape from the city and enjoy the nature that offers the 118 hectares. Its also a good place to make some physical activity or to take some pictures. It counts with 19.000 trees of 167 different species, so if you are a person who loves nature, this is your place.



Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace), El Retiro. 

The Crystal Palace is one of our favorite architectonic place in Madrid. The crystal makes this palace a unique building that you can visit for free. 
Its opened the whole year so it doesn’t matter the season or the moment you visit Madrid, because you can always enjoy this beautiful place. 

Book it now here and enjoy the city! 

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Spanish Traditions

When thinking about Spain, two of the first things that come to people’s mind is “fiesta and siesta”.  These two elements are a very important part of the Spanish culture, however, there are other interesting habits and aspects of the Spanish culture you might want to know before you visit Madrid. We’ve made a short selection of the unique habits of the Spanish people and culture.



1. Siesta

Let’s start with the most well-known habit – siesta. Although “siesta” means “nap”, most Spaniards do not actually sleep in the middle of the day in major cities. Instead, during siesta time -from 2pm to 4:30pm approximately- most small shops close and people go home to have lunch and relax with their families. After siesta people go back to work until 9pm.

 

2. Meals

While in most countries dinner is the largest meal of the day, in Spain it’s actually lunch, which usually starts around 2:30pm. Dinner time is usually around 9pm to 11pm, and in the meantime you can go for tapas so you don’t have to starve to death! In this regard, and as a general rule of thumb, try to avoid restaurants with pictures of food, usually the food is not very good. 

 

3. No tips necessary 

Tipping in Spain is optional and not very common. Spaniards generally never tip and if they do it’s an insignificant amount because there’s usually a service charge included in the bill. However, if you do want to tip always use cash instead of credit card, otherwise the money will go directly to the owner.

 

4. Greetings

Spaniards greet each other with two kisses, one on each cheek. If it’s the first time you meet someone from Spain, usually they would start the interaction with two kisses. However, men usually greet other men with a friendly handshake. Keep in mind that in a professional environment the usual greeting is a handshake, despite the gender. 

 

5. Party 

Let’s finish this list with the other most known habit – fiesta. Spaniards are well-known for mastering the art of partying. People usually gather around midnight and go to a friend’s house, a bar or a park to drink. Clubs usually fill up around 2am-3am and people leave at around 6am or even later! Some people even have breakfast in a bar after partying and before going back home.

 

Keep in mind that this is just a list of the general things Spaniards do and there are many other unique aspects to the culture.

*Illustration: James Rae

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Explore Madrid

There’s a popular Spanish phrase that says “de Madrid al cielo” meaning “from Madrid to heaven”, which reflects that one of the best things the city has to offer is its sunsets. There’s no better plan than to spend a sunset sipping on a cocktail or enjoying a glass of Spanish wine on one of Madrid’s ultra-chic roof bars. Here’s our selection of the very best. 



1. Azotea del Circulo de Bellas Artes 

Probably the rooftop with the best views of Madrid. It is located right in the middle of the city center, at Calle Alcalá between Gran Vía and Plaza de Cibeles. The entry price is 4€ but the 360º panoramic view of Madrid makes the visit definitely worth the money. You can buy the ticket at the entrance of the building and make sure to get there early to avoid long queues and get to see the beautiful sunset! Address: Calle Alcalá, 42.
www.azoteadelcirculo.com // +34 913 60 54 00

 

 

2. The Roof 

One of Madrid’s most popular nightlife venues can be found at the Plaza de Santa Ana. This ultra-chic and elegant rooftop is located on the roof of the Hotel ME Madrid Reina Victoria, and it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail, the music and the great views of the city. Address: Plaza de Santa Ana, 14.
www.melia.com // +34 917 01 60 00

 

 

3. Terraza Cibeles

Terrace located in the sixth floor of one of Madrid’s most iconic buildings, the former city’s post office and the current city hall. The entry price is only 2€ and at the top you can have a cocktail, a coffee and or a meal at an elegant restaurant where you can have a unique gastronomic experience. Address: Plaza de Cibeles, 1.
www.adolfo-palaciodecibeles.com // +34 915 23 14 54

 



4. Urban Hotel Terrace 

One of the most spectacular rooftops is located in one of Madrid’s most exclusive hotels, the Urban Hotel. It is the perfect place to go on a summer night to enjoy a fancy cocktail and a unique view of Madrid’s skyline. Address: Carrera de San Jerónimo, 34. 
www.hotelurban.com // +34 91 787 77 70



5. Gymage 

Close to Callao Square and overlooking the Church of San Martín de Tours you will find the Gymage terrace. The place has different areas with sofas, chill out area, hammocks… and if you get a drink you can even access the pool. Address: Luna, 2.
www.gymage.es // +34 91 532 09 74 

 

We hope you’ve liked our top picks and that you enjoy the summer nights in Madrid from above the city streets. 


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Explore Madrid

If you’re visiting Madrid during the summer but you miss the beach… you’re lucky!! The city offers three urban beaches that you can’t miss.  
P.S.: even if it’s winter or a rainy day you can always go to the indoor option!


  • Pizzi&Dixie

A new restaurant that opened during the spring of 2017  and it is located in the most alternative area of the city, Malasaña, right next to the city center. The place offers an incredible fusion of Italian and vegan food. They have a wide variety of pizzas, even suitable for those with coeliac disease!

The owner has prepared a beautiful beach-inspired area in the basement where you can relax and read a book with one of their delicious cakes or have a drink with your friends. 

 

  • Ojalá

A two-floor restaurant where you can choose between staying at the regular restaurant or going for the cozy beach. They’re open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner but it is definitely a place to try all sorts of drinks: for the daytime such as shakes or soft drinks, or perfect for the night such as cocktails, gin tonics…

 

  • Urban beach next to the river

If you’re looking for a tan, you must know Madrid is crossed by a large river called Manzanares, better known as Madrid Río (río means river in Spanish). The whole river is surrounded by garden and it’s enabled for pedestrians, runners and cyclists so it’s a very calmed area. In 2011 Madrid opened an urban beach by the river, with big water jets bordered with sun loungers, where you can stay in your swimming suits without any problems. Just make sure to bring your sunscreen with you!

 
Now you can both enjoy your stay in the beautiful city of Madrid with all its advantages, and spend a nice and refreshing day in any of any of these urban beaches, either chilling under the sun or having a drink.



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Travel tips

Nowadays, smartphones are a big part of our lives. You can find apps for socialising, business, leisure and many other things. Here is a selection of our favourite travel apps to help you make the most out of your stay in Madrid.

 

 

Metro de Madrid 

If we had to choose a way to move around Madrid, it would definitely be by Metro. It is affordable, fast and clean and it connects the main touristic attractions of the city. The app is available in English, French, German, Chinese and it provides the regular Metro map plus a tourist map with the main attractions of the city in relation to the Metro stops. Plus, you will be able to check the rates, create your own routes and calculate how long will it take to get from one point to another.


 

 

EMT

If you prefer to move around the city by bus, EMT’s app is essential. It allows you to plan the best route to get to your destination, check how many minutes it will take the bus to arrive to your stop and you can also get notifications in case of delay or breakdown. It is definitely one of the best apps to get around in Madrid.

 

 

 

My Taxi

Do you prefer to get a cab to move around the city? This app allows you to request a taxi directly from your phone. You can even reserve it in advance without extra fees, which might be handy if you’ve got an early morning flight. Plus you will be able to pay through the app and get the receipt by email.

 

 

Moovit

Moovit is the app that offers the most precise public transit information. The app shows you the best way to get from one point to another using all the available public transport systems: Metro, bus, railway… Simply input a starting location and a destination and Moovit will offer directions and notify you when you’re getting close to your stop.

 

 

 

Google Translate

Are you travelling to Madrid and you don’t speak a word of Spanish? Are you concerned about not being able to translate the items on the menu? Stop worrying! Google Translate allows you to instantly translate written text between languages in real time. Have in mind that this is an automated translation service and given the fact that Spanish is a really complex language, be prepared in case the translation leads to a funny misunderstanding. We spaniards love this kind of misunderstanding 😉

 

 
 
Guia Punto

This app is a complete guide to the city of Madrid and it helps you decide which activities to take part in. You can search for bars, clubs, galleries and cultural centres, shopping, historical places and many more. The app includes a wide variety of places that are very popular among locals.

 

 
 
Madrid Travel Guide – eTips

We know sometimes it is hard to choose which sites to visit and which to skip, but don’t worry, Madrid 360º app will assist you to decide which spots make it to your must-visit list. Thanks to the fully interactive 360 degree images it is possible to discover monuments, streets, gardens, churches and other major sites. The app also provides brief historical descriptions of each spot and recommendations for things to see and do in the surrounding area. Definitely, a must for sightseers.

 

 
 
El Tenedor (The Fork)

If you want to eat out in Madrid but have no idea where to go and need some inspiration, use El Tenedor, an app where you can search restaurants by location, cuisine and discount. The app allows you to find great deals on weekdays and make online reservations through the app . A must-have app for foodies.

 

 
 
XE Currency Converter

This is a very useful app to make sure you always know the exchange rates and help you to get fair deals when changing money. You can convert every world currency and you can also use the app offline by saving the last updated rates, which is great if you have limited connectivity or trying to save on data.

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