I am lucky enough to come back to Madrid often in the last few years. I used to lived here for 4,and left an image in my mind of good times, never to forget, or as the saying goes Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day! I was back in Madrid last week.
I arrived on Iberia from Nantes France very early and took advantage of some time off to walk the city and enjoy it fully; walking brings back many memories of youth, and my mother. You know the esmadrid tourist office so will skip that now.
I am very happy with Iberia, easy flights, good prices and on time, in addition to the Adolfo Suarez airport Madrid-Barajas has been name the best airport in 2017 by a survey of airport users which they proudly post it in the gate areas. Here is their link: http://www.iberia.com/?language=en
I had some time before the hotel check in so decided to have lunch on the road. Headed straight for the Atocha area and El Brillante. A wonderful place with great views of the train station Atocha on one side and the Reina Sofia museum on the back. Great chorizo sandwiches and a Mahou 5stars beer and see the world go by you, superb. More here: http://www.barelbrillante.es/
The Atocha was packed as always and so was the Reina Sofia museum with a line down the stairs all the way to the street at the Plaza Emperador Carlos V! I did walk Paseo del Prado and saw the Caixa Forum which had some renovation done, as well as the Botanical garden with the entrance doing some work but all open.
The Reina Sofia was showing the great Guernica painting exhibition, so that is why was packed. More here: http://www.museoreinasofia.es/en
Atocha train station here: http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/info/ZonaEmbarqueAtocha.html
The Caixa Forum a great exhibition area right around the triangle of great museums is worth a detour; more here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/caixaforum-Madrid
And the Botanical gardens are one of my favorite spots in Madrid that I have come since a kid…. El Real Jardin Botànico de Madrid. The official page in English here: http://www.rjb.csic.es/jardinbotanico/jardin/?len=en
You should take a look at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries that conducts tours with the tourist office, this is a great architecture building and gorgeous rooms right around the Atocha train station. El Ministerio de Agricultura y Pesca is located in the Palacio de Fomento from the 19C and gone thru many changes in name and uses until the current one. One of your off the beaten path sites in Madrid and worth the detour. More here on the guided visits in Spanish: http://www.mapama.gob.es/en/ministerio/palacio-de-fomento/visitas-guiadas/default.aspx
Up the road from the above and going by Calle Dr Velasco, you reach the Real Observatorio Astronomico de Madrid or Royal Astronomic Observatory to see the sky! This is another off the beaten path trips to Madrid and it should be encouraged more, I have come here since school age in Madrid!!! More here on visits in Spanish: http://contenido.ign.es/rom/visitas/reservas.html
You can go by the paseo way before the main entrance to the Prado museum and go by the Puerta de Murillo, the south door entrance of the Prado. The building dates from 1786,and you heard it here! And of course, in Spanish you have the information on it at the bottom of page, it disappear when you change to English ::) More here: https://www.museodelprado.es/visita-el-museo
Here you will see a statue of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo; from which the square and entrance is name after. Golden age of Spanish painting and he was one of the main one;living in the 17C.
See the great façade of the Chapel of the Children’s Hospital on the Avenida de Menendez Pelayo facing the Retiro park. The hospital is Hospital de Niño Jésus; more info here in Spanish: http://www.madrid.org/cs/Satellite?cid=1142401273116&language=es&pagename=HospitalNinoJesus%2FPage%2FHNIJ_contenidoFinal
And of course, I was able to check in to my usual hotel the Ayre Gran Hotel Colon on Calle del Pez Volador,1 and corner of Calle del Dr Esquerdo, metro Sainz de Baranda line 6 or 9, couple minutes from hotel. Great service, good prices and central to all my needs, very close to Retiro park. More here: http://www.ayrehoteles.com/en/hotels/ayre-gran-hotel-colon/
And just head out for the city on my again usual resto, why change when you found the best ::) Cerveceria Cruz Blanca, on Calle del Dr Esquerdo closer to Conde de Casal metro station but about 10 minutes walking from the hotel. And always the same guys,good service, good food and see the world go by on the inner courtyard facing the street or the terrace tables right on the street! They have another one on the other side of Retiro park on avda Menendez Pelayo that is great too as well as others in different parts of Spain. More info here in Spanish: https://cerveceriacruzblanca.es/local/cervecer%C3%ADa-cruz-blanca-esquerdo
I will stop here on the tour, there is more and more personal for me but Madrid is personal up close and wonderful, it really provides some extra to continue back new home. And just to think about it, I will be back with the family in summer !!!
Enjoy your Sunday wherever you are and happy travels, remember la vida es chula, la vie est belle, la dolce vita, life is beautiful, enjoy it now. Cheers