I had the chance to visit Madrid in October, while visiting friends who lived there. The capital of Spain is amazing, very rich in terms of museums and exhibitions. I visited the Prado and Reina Sofia museums where you have A lot of exhibitions. I also spent a few hours walking in the Retiro Park, where you can meet many runners, or families spending time together on the lake. For shopping, the best place is in the center, near Calle Gran Via and Puerta del Sol. At night, the whole city comes alive in the Malasaña neighborhood (get lost in Calle de Pez or near Plaza del Dos de Mayo), or in the Chueca neighborhood where I shared tapas with my friends. I advice to try also « Ochenta grados » (for el menu del dia) or « 100 montaditos » to eat or to have a drink. The atmosphere in Madrid is crazy, it's very crowded but you can easily find green spaces to relax and read a book.
I continued my trip to Spain in Valencia where I also visited some friends. Valencia is close to the sea; it's amazing to get a breath of fresh salty air in the early winter! Running, biking or walking through the park of "la Turia" (which was an old river running through the city - it was diverted after the 1957s floods) is the best way to arrive at sunset in the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. You have also a lot of activites in La Turia like yoga classes, or even concerts and festivals (at the palacio de la musica). I loved going out to eat in the el Carmen neighbourhood (try the Valencian paella!), or going out in « radio city » and having a few drinks during the night in Russafa. This is a very buzzy area, a bit boho, with many cafes, small shops, second hands vibes, … I also went on the top on la Torre de Serranos and la Torre de Quart, two emblematic places remaining from the old mural of Valencia. If you can, try to go to Valencia during the "Ferias" in March for a 100% Valencian experience.
I ended my trip with a short visit to Barcelona. This city is very lively with a lot of tourists. I walked around La Rambla to find a fruit and vegetable market. I tried to visit the Sagrada Familia, but it was under construction and I couldn't get in, although I heard the view was really beautiful. I remember that I really liked the Eixample and Garcia neighborhoods. I went to Parc Güell to see some of the views of the city and appreciate the art of Gaudi. Barcelona is famous for its flamenco; attending a flamenco show is a really great experience. You can also take a hike Montserrat, which is a rocky massif traditionally considered the most important and significant mountain in Catalonia. It is located 30 km from the center of Barcelona.
Finally, I spent a few hours on the Barceloneta beach, which is not that beautiful but it feels good to be able to swim in the sea after a long day of walking.
Q & A
What would you have changed?
I would not have changed anything, the season was perfect with less tourists, amazing to have a bit of sunshine before cold winter back home.
What tips would you give a friend?
Don’t forget to take a good raincoat, at that time of the year it can be chilly at night!
The train network is very well developed, but having a car could also be very nice in order to visit smaller villages between the bigger cities.