Travel 2023: The Joys of Visiting Madrid Off-Season
A three-day trip to Madrid in April 2022 during the shoulder season revealed how much cosmopolitan brio it is blowing these days. Photo: Sylvain Sonnet/Getty Images
Escape and find a purpose! In our February/March 2023 issue of Zoomer magazine, we featured “23 Reasons to Travel in 2023”. In this edition, we tour one of Europe’s most beguiling cities during shoulder season. Click on the link at the bottom of the story for more ideas and inspiration for your next trip.
Madrid is having a moment: All the cognoscenti will tell you that. One of the most beguiling cities in Europe, the Spanish capital has been often neglected in favour of its coastal sister, Barcelona, or, farther down the Iberian Peninsula, the more on-trend Lisbon. But the pendulum has swung. Salud!
Visitors appreciate the same imperial city splendour as Paris or Rome, with half the crowds. As far as strolling cities go, this is one of the finest. A three-day trip to Madrid in April 2022 during the shoulder season revealed how much cosmopolitan brio it is blowing these days, with a medley of languages (French, German and Arabic) rising up as you walk around cool neighbourhoods like Chueca or Malasaña, emblematic of what a melting pot it has become.
The recent opening of a magnificent new Four Seasons in the heart of the city, within walking distance of the Gran Via – and built into an historic edifice where two banks once stood – signifies the renaissance happening, but, likewise, there is more than enough Almodóvar-style nostalgia to take in, like at Museo Chicote, Spain’s first cocktail bar. A red-hued lair that opened in 1931, it once drew the likes of Grace Kelly and Ava Gardner. Of course, it typically does not get going until 11 p.m. This is Spain, after all.
Do check out “Las Meninas,” the Diego Velázquez masterpiece considered the first post-modern painting, inside the Prado, which many arty people consider as impressive as the Louvre. Do zip by the Royal Palace and make a trip to La Venencia, the old Hemingway haunt. A tight, mischief-filled bar, it has two important rules: no photos and no tips. Sherry comes from a tap. And it is a bit like strolling into the past.
A version this article appeared in the Feb/Mar 2023 issue with the headline ‘Go Off-Season’, p. 86.
For more ideas and inspiration for your next trip, go here.