I’m really excited to interview Janelle Norman about Madrid, Spain. Janelle’s tips for the best things to do in Madrid are awesome because she moved to Spain from the US about 20 years ago for the experience of living abroad. She fell in love with the country, the people, and the lifestyle and has made Madrid her home for many years.

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Best things to do in Madrid Spain - Janelle Norman - Royal Palace of Madrid - courtesy of Jens Peter Olesen on Unsplash
Royal Palace of Madrid. Photo courtesy of Jens Peter Olesen on Unsplash

Madrid, Spain

Madrid is Spain’s central capital that is known for its elegant boulevards and expansive, manicured parks. The city has a continental climate with all four seasons. Janelle says that the best time to visit based on the weather is in the Spring or Fall. However, it is less crowded in the summertime because many of the locals head out to the beach or go on vacation. This makes it easier to find a table at the outdoor cafes throughout Madrid.

The city is also famous for its three major museums. The Reina Sofia houses modern art, Dali, Picasso, and more. Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum has an excellent all-around collection. And the Museo Nacional del Prado features art from Valazquez, Goya, and the Spanish Masters. The Royal Palace is worth a visit and kids usually like the huge armor museum.

Janelle says that you should visit El Retiro Park on a sunny day. It’s a fun place to hang out, but there’s also a rose garden and exhibit hall as well. After you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to San Miguel Market (next to Plaza Mayor) for tapas. The La Latina neighborhood is another recommended spot for tapas and people watching.

Buy the Madrid Card and save 40% on entrance to 20 of Madrid’s top attractions, tours, and experiences. The pass even includes skipping the line benefits at some attractions, which saves time and money!

We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out Turismo Madrid, the local visitor’s bureau. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests.

If you’d like to learn how to travel for free using airline miles and hotel points, check out my free 7-day email course.

Best things to do in Madrid Spain - Janelle Norman - El Retiro - courtesy of Javier Martinez on Unsplash
El Retiro. Photo courtesy of Javier Martinez on Unsplash

Getting around Madrid

The local airport is Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (MAD), which is a 25-minute drive to the city. It should cost about 30 Euros to get to the city by taxi.

Janelle says that there’s no need to rent a car when staying in the city. Public transportation on the Madrid Metro is great within the city and throughout the country. If you’re looking to explore outside of Madrid, then renting a car would be a good idea. For the best offers, visit Avis, Budget, or Hertz.

Lyft is not currently available in Madrid, but Uber is. Also, check out Bla Bla for carpooling options within Spain.

Best things to do in Madrid Spain - Janelle Norman - Doppelganger
Enjoy a tasting menu by a Michelin-star chef for 40 Euros at Doppelganger.

Places we talked about on the podcast

Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Janelle Norman about Madrid, Spain. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.

  • Red dots = best places to eat in Madrid, Spain
  • Green dots = best things to do in Madrid, Spain
  • Yellow dots = best places to stay in Madrid, Spain

Who is Janelle Norman?

Janelle Norman moved from Minneapolis to Madrid in 2000 with a desire to experience living abroad for a few years, and then got hooked on life in Spain and decided to stay. She has worked in the travel industry for the past 14 years, designing customized trips in Spain and Portugal. Janelle is also a member of the Madrid chapter of Travel Massive, a website for travel industry creators.

She is especially interested in food and wine and loves traveling around the country trying local specialties, visiting vineyards, and scouting out great places to recommend to travelers. Janelle has a new podcast called the Escape to Spain Podcast, which is dedicated to travel in Spain (and some of Portugal) to showcase local guides, suppliers, and hotels while getting to know the people making the magic happen.

Best things to do in Madrid Spain - Janelle Norman

Sign up to be the first to know when Janelle’s podcast, Escape to Spain Podcast, is released. You can also connect with Janelle on her website and on Instagram.

Best things to do in Madrid Spain - Janelle Norman - sunset at Pestana Plaza Mayor
Enjoy the sunset at Pestana Plaza Mayor

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Best things to do in Madrid Spain - Janelle Norman - rooftop pool at Pestana Plaza Mayor
Take a dip in a rooftop pool at Pestana Plaza Mayor

Stay tuned for our next episode

Best things to do in Denver, Colorado - Mitch Krayton headshotListen to the next episode when Mitch Krayton of Krayton Travel shares the best things to do in Denver, Colorado. In this episode, Mitch and I talk about the American Beer Festival, touring the Denver Mint, and The Unsinkable Molly Brown. We hope you’ll join us when We Travel There.

What’s your favorite part of Madrid? Send us a Tweet, let us know in the comment section below, or continue the discussion in our Facebook group!

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To see which cities we’ve interviewed and scheduled, please visit WeTravelThere.com/map. If you’d like to be a guest on the show, please submit an application at WeTravelThere.com/guest.

Related episodes

To learn more about Spain, listen to our other interviews: