Articles about Madrid, Spain, Spanish gastronomy, customs and local life, written by local guides and enthusiasts

Discover Madrid and Spain Through Our Arcticles

Spanish history, Madrid tailor-made historic tours

The Underestimated Intruder King of Spaon - Jose Bonaparte

This post would like to stand up for this underestimated King. In July 1808, José Bonaparte came to the throne of Spain. He made history as José I. Napoleon's elder brother reigned for five years. In order to gain people's confidence he had to struggle hard. But why? Why was he rejected? Was he really an alcoholic? ...In spite of being brothers, Napoleon and Jose were significantly different. Nowadays many experts are on Jose's side: they appreciate his personal appearance (slender, elegant, handsome) that runs counter to the rumors that he was one-eyed and hunchbacked. These experts also insist on the idea that he loved art, especially painting and theatre. ...

Keep reading

click for
related tours

tours info
Spanish Gastronomy| Madrid Priate Tours, Madrid tailor-made gastonomic tours

"Gastronomy" in Madrid is Not Just A Fancy Word

The thing that amazed me the most when I just moved to Madrid was the amount of time Spaniards can talk about food without getting board or bothered. The same way I realized why Englishmen can dedicate a lengthy conversation to weather, I discovered why madrileños are eager to spend hours talking about food. In England the weather is a continuous disaster, it interferes with your life, it determines your energy levels, it is the major factor in planning your free time and, most of the time, it is unpleasant, so it is necessary to vent and to seek consolation. In Spain, and even more so in Madrid, food and gastronomy is also your life's determining factor, but in a positive way...

Keep reading

click for
related tours

tours info
Tortilla de Patata | Madrid Priate Tours, Madrid tailor-made tours

About "Tortilla de Patata"

The Spanish omelete, or locally known as “tortilla de patata” (potato omelet) is a typical gastronomic item in Spain: such an easy dish and so tasty at the same time. Every single Spaniard, and this is a true fact, has a female figure in his or her family (aunt, mother, grandma, great grandmother, etc.) who makes undoubtedly “the best tortilla in the whole world”, so as you can understand for us, Spaniards, “tortilla de patata” is not just a potato omelet, but a matter of national and personal pride.

Keep reading

click for
related tours

tours info
Tortilla de Patata | Madrid Priate Tours, Madrid tailor-made tours

Madrid Through the Almodovar´s Prism

Pedro Almodovar was born in 1949, in a little town in the middle of Castile-La Mancha, Don Quixote’s land. At the age of 8, he moved to a religious boarding school in Cáceres. That was his first contact with the cinema. Later, he said: "Cinema became my real education, much more than the one I received from the priest". He was influenced by Buñuel, Bergman, Fellini and many others...
..."I remember that I became very famous in Madrid because, as the films had no sound, I put a cassette with music, while I personally did the voices of all the characters, songs and dialogues."

Keep reading

click for
related tours

tours info
5 Useful Apps for Madrid Visitors

5 Useful Apps for Madrid Visitors: For the Love of Your #Travel

For the love of your #travel and for the love of everyone's inner explorer, we want you to discover Madrid and we are willing to equip you for that. Here is the list of apps, which together will answer most of your quests and questions and will point you in the right direction. Try not to miss on the most fun and fantastic faces of the city!

GuíaPunto: Guide to Madrid's Places


A rather complete and trustworthy guide to the city of Madrid. There is an English version which makes the user friendly interface even more intuitive. The information is complete and includes places that are popular among locals..



Keep reading

click for
related tours

tours info
Hot Summer Afternoon Formula for Madrid

Hot Summer Afternoon Formula for Madrid

Eureka! We found it! We found the perfect formula for the hot Summer afternoon in Madrid for locals and visitors! This magic formula will snatch you out of the afternoon laze, will paint a smile on your face, will fill your lungs with laughter and fresh air and will expand your horizons without having to go to remote corners of the world. As every genious discovery it is simple and a lot of madriders will exclaim the traditional "how come it has never occured to me!". Well here it is, finally uncovered.

Keep reading

click for
related tours

tours info
Things To See In One Day

Things To See In One Day

That’s it, finally we are in the season when travelling is in the air! One day, while doing the city and beach hopping you find yourself in Madrid and you only have one day! Of course you´ve heard stories, saw pictures and are anxious to fit in as much as possible from museums to rooftops and flamenco shows. But the real question is how to do it in the most effective manner.

Keep reading

click for
related tours

tours info
Curious peek into 'Eight and a Half'

Curious peek into "Eight and a Half"

Browsing sometimes brings you to inspiring places, and virtual inspiration takes you to the brick-and-mortar ones - perfect and productive synergy. This time it happened thanks to Cat Bethune's post in Spotted by Locals about "Ocho y medio". Cat "spotted" a place which I have actually seen and past by several times while going to see a movie in one of the theaters on the same street, but never have adventured to enter. After seeing it spotted, I can't wait. I am sitting on my couch, some 500 meters away from the spot, writting this post and can't wait for Saturday afternoon to come, to go and check it out.


Keep reading

click for
related tours

tours info
Superstitions of the Madrileños in 1500's

Superstitions of the Madrileños in 1500´s

Well is known that Madrid, and Spanish people in general are and always were very superstitious, especially if we look back to medieval ages and all the stories about witches, wizards, dragons or potions for this and that. To the point that eventually, people lived in fear, surrounded by lies based on faith or believes.
The "evil eye", wow, careful with it 'cause you could easily get cursed by a gypsy for not buying something from him/her, and then only a gypsy or a witch could take off the spell of this evil eye!


Keep reading

click for
related tours

tours info
La Tarasca, the Dragon, from Medieval Madrid

La Tarasca, the Dragon, from Medieval Madrid

The legend claims that this monster, called La Tarasca, was originally found in France on the Provence-Alps region and has always been connected to Saint Martha, who was able to dominate the mythological beast, but once it was controlled, the locals decided to kill the monster at night and this is when this part of France will be Christianized.

For the people of Madrid la Tarasca was once a unique thing related to the procession of the Corpus Christi, when the figure went on the streets to entertain and amuse the locals, and was well known for its ugliness and rudeness:


Keep reading

click for
related tours

tours info
King Of Kings or How Tapas Came About

King Of Kings or How Tapas Came About

In the thirteenth century, there was a King of Castilla named Alfonso (1221-1284), it would be the X-th. Apparently this wise king was not only a great protector of the many different languages of the world and developer of the school of translators in Toledo, he also was the father of this very unique item and ritual that Spaniards make and eat -- "tapas".

The tale tells us, that our beloved king would have suffered from some kind of an illness, and that is when the royal doctor warned him to be very cautious.


Keep reading

click for
related tours

tours info
San José Homeopathic Hospital, Healing Architecture

San José Homeopathic Hospital, Healing Architecture

It is not a very well-known place even for the native inhabitants of Madrid… This hospital was founded in 1874 by a group of doctors and supporters by Samuel Hahnemann, the inventor of homeopathy. They did not agree with conventional medicine of their time, usually including painful and useless treatments. They also wanted to offer their services to anyone, regardless of the economic situation. And finally, they needed their own independent hospital and also a center, some sort of school to teach their therapeutical methods to other professionals.


Keep reading

click for
related tours

tours info
A Door To Hell Hidden Behind The One Of The Monastery Of El Escorial

A Door To Hell Hidden Behind The One Of The Monastery Of El Escorial

Did you know that Philip II built the Monastery of El Escorial to fight the devil?

He was looking for a good place in the mountains close to Madrid to commemorate the victory in the battle of Saint Quentin (that happened in France in 1557, August 10th, feast day of Saint Lawrence). At the same time the place could include an elegant burial place for his father, the Emperor Charles I, (died in 1558), his mother, his first wife, and many other members of the Habsburg family, as well as for him in future. He was planning a huge building, with the pantheon, a big basilica (so they could have masses in the memory of the deceased), a monastery for 100 monks, an impressive library and a palace where he could live sometimes.


Keep reading

click for
related tours

tours info
Between Legend and Reality - Saint Francisco of Assisi and Saint Dominic of Guzman in Madrid

Between Legend and Reality - Saint Francisco of Assisi and Saint Dominic of Guzman in Madrid

The story about the visit of these two prominent religious leaders to the city of Madrid weaves between myth and reality. Saint Francisco of Assisi and Saint Dominic of Guzman (Santo Domingo), both were travelling in the effort to grow their religious communities and to impulse their respective organizations’ projects, both arrived virtually at the same time to Madrid, and both contained huge importance to the city, as they left behind massive influential communities of respective religious orders; both friars contributed to the appearance of architectural and historical monuments in the city, with the only difference that only one of them will inspire the evolution of a simple monk’s lodging into a monumental piece of art preserved through the centuries, while the creation of the other will vanish into the dust of times.


Keep reading

click for
related tours

tours info
Leonardo Alenza, Scenes of Romantic Madrid

Leonardo Alenza, Scenes of Romantic Madrid

During the first quarter of the nineteenth century and with the appearance of the Napoleonic Empire there will be a great influence in Europe from French artists like J.L David. Among others disciples of David was Jose Madrazo and through his works, neoclassicism starts approaching our peninsula, which will drive the bourgeoisie into neoclassical style, and will cause the situation when in Spain little by little wealthy Spaniards start forgetting their roots - that is the moment when Costumbrismo begins.


Keep reading

click for
related tours

tours info
When the Streets Talk

When the Streets Talk

What can I say, most of us that come from Madrid, born in the 70’s have some special tender feeling about street art, the graffiti.

I remember being a kid when everyone was talking about some weird name, Muelle. At that time he was becoming a legend and the only thing we knew about him was that Madrid was crowded with his “signature”, a fun looking word that means a coil spring, one of those small elastic metal things that inhabited our mattresses.


Keep reading

click for
related tours

tours info
Secrets of El Capricho Park in Madrid

Secrets of El Capricho Park in Madrid

During the late 1700s, many important gardens in England had a hermit living in them. They lived in fake caves or rustic huts and received salary from the owner. That was their job: pretending they were real hermits living in nature. If the owner’s budget was not enough to afford a real hermit from flesh and blood, they had wax figures or automata. In Madrid, in El Capricho Park, lived a hermit for a long time.


Keep reading

click for
related tours

tours info
About Retiro Park in Madrid

About Retiro Park in Madrid

Autumn has reached Madrid, the wind blows softly trough the naked trees and wispers in my ears: “Welcome to Retiro”. It sighs; “Oh, Madrileño, how do I love to see you cracking the golden leaves we have placed on the ground to make your path softer!” The park turns into a sea of dead beauty, gorgeous dead leaves. Looking at the sky, I reach the deep blue and the cotton clouds. The rays of the sun touch my chicks as I stop to breathe in. The freshness of the pines, the crystal air, marvelous pieces of art peek out at me, the nature reflected in the water, the boats following the movement of the waves, and the glorious king rising above it all.


Keep reading

click for
related tours

tours info