Making the most of it: Madrid for the Champions League final ??
If you’re lucky enough to bag a ticket for the Champions League final in Madrid, then you’re in for a treat.
Not only is the match one of the highlights of the sporting calendar, but it also gives you an excuse to spend some time in Spain’s energetic and culture-packed capital.
Even if you haven’t wangled a spot at the Metropolitano stadium on 1st June, find another excuse to visit the city, whether or not you follow the beautiful game. And put some of these highlights on your itinerary.
Tour the stadiums
Whether or not you’ve got a ticket for the match on 1st June, it’s worth visiting either of Madrid’s two famous football stadiums: Wanda Metropolitano, home of Atletico Madrid, and Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu stadium
A €25 tour of the 81,000 capacity Bernabéu stadium takes you pitch side, inside the players’ dressing rooms and even into the Presidential Box.
Prado museum and Retiro park
Take a break from all things footy and head to the Prado National Museum, slap bang in the middle of Madrid.
It has one of the largest art collections in the world, with masterpieces by the likes of Velasquez, Goya and El Greco
If your spare time in Madrid is limited to a day or so, then the Prado makes a great starting point as it’s so close to many other city highlights, not least Retiro park, which is filled with sculptures, galleries, and a lake where you can rent a rowing boat.
However, you spend your weekend in Madrid, make sure churros are on the menu. If you aren’t aware of these sweet fried treats then imagine a donut, only it’s piped and crunchy on the outside, and is served with thick hot chocolate.
You don’t have to go far in the city to see or smell these indulgent treats. And best of all, in Madrid they’re deemed acceptable fare at any time of day, from breakfast until late at night.
If churros alone don’t sate your appetite, try a walking tour that combines the best local food spots with a dash of culture.
The popular Devour Madrid Food Tours visit markets, tapas bars, specialty food shops, bakeries and more. More specialised versions include evening tapas tours, flamenco and tapas tours.
Squares and fountains
If you’re short on cash and happy to spend your time pounding the streets, then take a walk around some of Madrid’s impressive squares and fountains.
You could start at the huge Plaza Mayor square, which is packed with cafes and bars, stop in at the nearby Mercado de San Miguel, a famous food market, and head to Puerta del Sol, another magnificent public square.
Another ten minutes or so on foot from Puerta del Sol is the Neptune Fountain in the Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo. This is where Atletico Madrid's supporters celebrate the team’s victories. Only 500m away, at the Cibeles Fountain, is where Real Madrid fans gather to celebrate their team's wins.
Such is the reputation of the people of Madrid for staying out all night, that they’re known as ‘gatos’, Spanish for the cats.
So, if it’s nightlife you’re after, you’ve chosen the right place.
You could head to the many night spots in Puerta del Sol or Barrio de las Letras, both popular with visiting football fans.
Or, if you’re feeling flush, try either the Asador Donostiarra or Mesón Txistu restaurants, both popular with Real Madrid players and managers.