The guest author for this article is Fatima Hajji, label owner of ‘Silver M’, world traveller and DJ behind the decks of world wide renowned clubs. Within this Madrid t[rave]l guide from a real local you will get to know about the best spots in the Spanish capital. Fátima, Spanish by birth but with Arab origins, is a confessed lover of nature and animals and will reveal her top localities for you.
Madrid is the city I lived in for the last 18 years, I moved there from Salamanca, the city were I was born. Madrid is where I first started to study musical production, which I did alongside working various different day jobs and Djing at the weekends, which was quite hard work! Madrid is a wonderful city, with so many options of things to do, so you never get bored. I lived 10 years in the city centre and the last 8 year I’ve lived outside, in an area called La Sierra, in the middle of a forest near the mountains, and not too far from the airport and the city. So my tips for the visitors are combining the city with nature.
Food Spots in Madrid
The city has plenty of amazing places to eat very good food. Some musts are “Cocido Madrileño” – one of the most famous is “La Bola”.
The “Bocadillo de Rabas” (Calamari Sándwich) is fast, cheap and tasty – you can find the bar under the arches at the beautiful Mayor Square.
Las tapas, also everywhere, some areas where you’ll find awesome bars are La latina o El Barrio de las letras, you just order the drink (trendy options are Cañas draft beer in small glasses or even Vermouth on Sundays (because you’ll need to sleep afterwards)
“Alta Cocina Michelin y Luego Bahia Taberna” near the airport is one of the best places you can go for lunch or dinner. Its a modern tavern inspired by exclusive restaurants and mixed with the taverns where you can eat amazing tapas in the bar area or even have a menu in the comedor room while watching the chefs work.
Exploring the Nature around Madrid
The city is surrounded by mountains from the North to the North West – its called La Sierra – and it’s all forests, rivers, lakes and nature. There are nice and interesting villages like Buitrago de Lozoya, Patones or El Escorial to mention a few, even a ski station. In addition there are miles of trekking routes. A favourite place of mine is “La Pedriza” a nature park with free entrance but limited places to park the car (so summer Saturdays you need to go early) and the easiest path is up to the river through the forest where you’ll find amazing natural pools every 20 meters. This makes it easy to refresh yourself. But be careful with the water as it comes from the melted snow.
Madrid’s City Parks
I spent lots of time in the parks of the city with my dogs. One of my favourite is Parque del Oeste where you can walk several km. You can even visit an Egyptian Temple – Debod´s Temple, which was transported from Egypt stone by stone and assembled again in this park. Its a magical place so see the sunset.
There is also a nice rose garden and there is a cable way with nice views and with stop in La Casa de Campo, the biggest public park in Madrid.
In the heart of the city is El Retiro, which I think is the most beautiful park. One of the entrances is at the amazing gate La Puerta de Alcala. The park has a mini lake with boats, the famous Cristal Palace, and sometimes you can find street artists there. One thing is for sure, you’ll always find nice vibes there.
Techno Clubs in Madrid
Madrid is famous for its night life, with lots of good places to meet people and have some drinks before a party. There are terraces all over the city and areas like Malasaña or La Latina are famous for their nighttime vibes. For techno there are some good options as well. In the city the main places are Crow at the Chamartin Station – a brutal club with an amazing sound system, and also the famous Mondo in the centre. Outside the city centre is the biggest one, the impressive Fabrik. A really huge main room, a second floor with a lovely soundsystem and several more areas including a crazy big terrace. Each one have their own personality and you just need to visit all to know which you prefer.
I like to walk around the different neighbourhoods and without any doubt, one of the coolest is Chueca, a free place where you can meet all kind of people from all parts of the world. In June the heart of the pride celebration is at its peak and it’s a totally mad party! During the rest of the year you can find a lot of good restaurants, pubs, music clubs and a really special vibe there.
Are you now keen to see one of Fatima Hajji’s upcoming shows? Maybe even in Madrid? Find her next dates here.