Marbella. There aren't many places offering year-round sunshine in Europe that, from beaches and golf to shopping and fine dining, tick as many of the luxury holiday boxes. Sounds tempting?…
Madrid is an eclectic, cosmopolitan city where tradition meets modernity. From bars and cafés where abuelitas make croquetasby hand, to some of the finest gastronomic delicacies in the world; underground art exhibits to renowned European collections; incredible green spaces to awe-inspiring architecture… So, where to start? Madrid in a day is a challenge—there’s so much to see. But we’ve compiled the best of the best to take you on one of our favourite routes through the city. Take a look at the most essential things to see, do, and eat in Madrid in a day.
In the morning…
Start your day off in the warm glow of the Spanish sun with the Royal Palace smiling down on you. Have a traditional Spanish breakfast at Café de Oriente like a real madrileño with a café con leche, freshly squeezed orange juice, and toast with tomato purée and Iberian ham. On nice days sit out on the terrace for spectacular views of the palace.
Address: Plaza de Oriente, 2, 28013 Madrid; Telephone: +34 91 541 39 74; Cafedeoriente.es
Start strolling, take in the sights
After a tasty breakfast, stroll through the Plaza de Oriente to arrive at the gates of the Royal Palace. Gaze up at the incredible Baroque architecture, or take a peek inside. Although the Spanish royal family no longer live here, the palace offers an insight into Spain’s royal history.
Open every day October-March 10am-6pm (tickets on sale until 5pm); April-September 10am-8pm (tickets on sale until 7pm)
Address: Calle de Bailén, Madrid 28071, Spain; Telephone: +34 902 044 454; Patrimonionacional.es
After you’ve marvelled up at where the royals live, wander through the streets to get a taste of old Madrid. Take Calle Mayor straight from the Palace to Plaza Mayor (walk there in about 10 minutes). Enter the large square through one of its beautiful arches. Sit for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine (it’s never too early for a glass of wine in Madrid) on one of the terrace bars and take in the stunning architecture that surrounds you. Then stroll through the plaza’s traditional shops, which offer authentic Spanish products like mantoncillos.
Address: Plaza Mayor, 28012 Madrid
A bite to eat, and a little art
If you’re looking for a little snack to hold you over until lunch (Spanish lunchtime is traditionally from about 2.00-3.00pm), wander over to Mercado de San Miguel for a little Madrid-style showmanship and some tasty treats. This pretty, iron-and-glass market originally built in 1916 offers fresh products and tasty tapas everywhere you look. Its central location—right next to Plaza Mayor—makes it a great place to stop for a quick bite between sightseeing.
Address: Plaza de San Miguel, s/n, 28005 Madrid; Telephone: +34 915 42 49 36; Mercadodesanmiguel.es
After refuelling at the market, take a walk through Madrid’s old town toward the world-famous Prado—don’t miss a stop in Puerta de Sol, the heart of the city, to watch the masses flood by on your way. No trip to Madrid would be complete without a visit to the Prado. You could easily spend an entire day exploring what is known as the best collection of European art in the world. But if you feel like popping in just to see the big names, don’t miss Velázquez—especially Las Meninas—and Goya’s Black Paintings.
Open Monday-Saturday 10am-8pm; Sundays and bank holidays 10am-7 pm
Address: Paseo del Prado, s/n, 28014 Madrid; Telephone: +34 913 30 28 00; Museodelprado.es
Lunch and siesta
Lunch is the biggest meal of the day in Spain. Book your table at Michelin-star restaurant Ramón Freixa Madrid for a taste of innovative cuisine with Mediterranean roots from Catalan chef Ramón Freixa. Grab a car or taxi from the Prado, and arrive in 10 minutes. Make sure to order by 2.45pm to be able to enjoy the tasting menus (otherwise order á la carte). You’ll find yourself right in Madrid’s “Golden Mile” in the ritzy district of Salamanca; so after enjoying the chef’s deftly crafted plates mixing Spanish tradition and innovation, head out for a little shopping on Calle de Serrano.
Address: C/ Claudio Coello, 67, 28001 Madrid; Telephone: +34 91 781 82 62; Ramonfreixamadrid.com
Not many Spaniards still take a siesta, but it is true that after an indulgent lunch, it’s nice to take a little rest. Retiro Park, a beautifully manicured oasis in the middle of the thumping metropolis, is the perfect place to lounge after lunch. Stroll down Calle de Serrano from restaurant Ramón Freixa and stop to smell the roses in Madrid’s most spectacular green space (about a 10-15 minute walk). Find the statue of the fallen angel, rest by the Crystal Palace (or see an exhibit there) or row a boat in the park’s lake while gazing up at the Monument to Alfonso XII.
In the late afternoon…
A drink and a culture trip
After a rest in the Retiro, stroll down Paseo del Prado toward Plaza de Cibeles to marvel up at the city hall, neoclassical sculptures and fountains in marble. Then continue on to Tartán Roof for the best views of the city and a glass of wine or a simple cocktail on a lovely rooftop terrace.
Address: Calle del Marqués de Casa Riera, 2, 28014 Madrid. Azoteadelcirculo.com
Come down from up above and you’ll be in the perfect place to wander through Madrid’s hippest districts, Chueca and Alonso Martínez. Head through Chueca toward Calle de Fernando VI and the small streets in the area for boutique shopping in clothes, jewellery and design. If you’re feeling like something sweet for Spanish-style merienda (late afternoon snack) pop into Mamá Framboise or La Duquesita for a treat.
Address: Mamá Framboise. Calle de Fernando VI, 23, 28004 Madrid. Telephone: +34 913 91 43 64; Mamaframboise.com
Address: La Duquesita, Calle de Fernando VI, 2, 28004 Madrid. Telephone: +34 913 08 02 31; Laduquesita.es
Dinner and a show
When it’s time for dinner make sure you’ve booked well in advance to participate in the extravagant world of “Dabiz” Muñoz at DiverXO (especially for dinner). Dining here is more than just eating a meal at a restaurant—it’s a comprehensive gastronomic experience. As one of the world’s 50 best restaurants, DiverXO is a stop in Madrid well worth making.
Address: Calle Padre Damián, 23, 28036 Madrid; Telephone: +34 915 70 07 66; Diverxo.com
If you can’t make it to DiverXO, or want a top chef experience with a little less planning, try StreetXO for a casual taste of what Muñoz has to offer. Make sure to arrive early (before opening) or late (after 9.30pm) if you don’t want to wait in line to get in; they don’t take reservations.
Address: Calle de Serrano, 52, 28001 Madrid; Telephone: +34 915 31 98 84; Streetxo.com
Madrid is a city that doesn’t sleep. If you wanted, you could easily stay out until 7 o’clock in the morning. For a more relaxing experience, seeing a flamenco show is a great way to end your night. There are plenty of shows to catch in the capital, but sometimes the best way to go is to see Spain’s most famous art form at a tablao. Cardamomo and the rest of the tablaos in Madrid mainly cater to tourists, but you’re guaranteed a fantastic show any day of the week. You’ll find multiple sessions at Cardamomo, with the last starting at 11.30pm.
Address: Calle Echegaray, 15, 28014 Madrid; Telephone: +34 691 022 117 or +34 918 05 10 38; Cardamomo.com
Before you pack your bags, keep these top tips in mind:
- Get ready to walk. You’re in sunny Spain! If you’re here in spring or autumn, it will be the most comfortable time for walking, so put on those trainers and get ready to discover hidden treasures around every corner.
- Madrid is an incredibly safe city, but while in touristic areas (Puerta de Sol or Plaza Mayor, for example) or the metro, be sure to watch out for pickpockets and keep track of your valuables.
- Keep in mind that gratuity is not customary in most situations in Spain, although at higher-end restaurants it wouldn’t be out of line to show your appreciation with a 10-15% tip.
Still looking for other places to visit while in central Spain? Have a look at the best towns to see around Madrid and if you need accommodation and want something very special, then Hacienda Sofia is ideal.
Array (  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 78708 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2019-12-02 11:31:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-02 11:31:07 [post_content] => Marbella. There aren't many places offering year-round sunshine in Europe that, from beaches and golf to shopping and fine dining, tick as many of the luxury holiday boxes. Sounds tempting? Perhaps the best part of all is just how easy it is to get to...
Where is Marbella?First things first, though. Where is it? Marbella is in southern Spain - in the province of Malaga in the Andalucia region, to be exact - on a stretch of coast called the Costa del Sol. Here's a map of Marbella to help you get your bearings:
Where Do You Fly to?It depends on from where you're flying in. The nearest international airport to Marbella is Malaga. Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport (Aena.es) is 51km away and an easy 40-minute car/taxi ride. Virtually all the major airlines fly there direct from the UK and from across northern Europe. The next closest airport to Marbella is Gibraltar (Gibraltarairport.gi), which is just over an hour's drive away. British Airways, Easyjet and Monarch all fly direct from the UK to Gibraltar.
From the USIf you’re flying into Spain from the USA you'll probably have to travel to Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (Aena.es). From there you'll have to either fly, take the fast speed AVE train (Renfe.com) or drive to Malaga and transfer from there to Marbella. The most convenient way to get to Marbella from Madrid is by the fast speed train taking just 2.5hrs or by flying taking only 1 hour and 15 mins.
how to get there from malaga airport
By CarThe best way to get from Malaga to Marbella is to drive. And if you're on holiday that probably means you're going to need to hire a car. As with almost all international airports, Malaga has a frankly baffling array of different car hire options to pick through. To avoid the scrum of the departures lounge, jump on the complimentary minibus to the offices of Niza, Helle Hollis or Enterprise situated a mere minute outside of the terminal. Inside the terminal you can find Sixt, Hertz and Europcar. If you're unsure of which company to use, click the following link. For a more luxury car hire service we'd recommend Sixt (Sixt.com). They're friendly, totally professional, trustworthy and have a range of high-end rental options, from BMWs, Audis and Porsches to Mercedes and Range Rovers - and even automatics. If you're travelling in a large group, they also have 8-12 seater self-drive minibuses available for hire. Of course if you're looking for ease, our Concierge can make the reservation for you to be dropped directly off at the villa. A car of your choice can be delivered to your villa. Once you've picked up your car/minibus hire, driving from Malaga airport to Marbella could hardly be easier. Directions from Malaga-Costa del Sol airport are as follows:
- Leave the airport and head southeast onto N-348
- At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on N-348
- Take the Torremolinos ramp to N-340/Cádiz
- Merge onto Avenida de Velázquez/N-340/MA-21
- Take the ramp to E-15/A-7/Benalmadena/Algeciras. Merge onto AP-7
- Pass Torremolinos, Benalmadena, Fuengirola
- Take exit 184 towards Marbella/Casco Antiguo/Avenida del Trapiche
By TaxiFor sheer ease, you can’t beat jumping in a taxi. A taxi rank is situated outside the arrivals sidewalk of Terminal T3, level 0. It's best to ask the driver, beforehand, how much a taxi is from Malaga to Marbella to ensure they don’t overcharge you. There are two transfer prices, and these are dependent on both times of the day and the day of the week. Transfer Price Band 1 is weekdays from 06.00 to 22.00 hrs. Transfer Price Band 2 is weekdays from 22.00 to 06.00 hrs, all day Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays, the August Feria and Holy Week. Band 2 transfer time is more expensive than Band 1. Alternatively, you can pre-order a taxi at Malaga Airport Taxi (Malagaairporttaxi.net) and get a price when booking. The transfer time from Malaga Airport to Marbella takes around an hour, in a taxi.
Other Ways to Get to Marbella
- By bus: It is possible to take a bus (Alsa.com) from Malaga airport to Marbella. But it's a whole lot less convenient than driving via hire car or private transfer.
- By train: There isn’t a train connection from Malaga airport to Marbella.
Distances - how far is marbella from...
- Malaga (city): 61km away and 46 minutes' drive.
- Granada: 187km and just over 2 hours' drive.
- Seville: 258km and 2 hours 45 minutes' drive.
- Gibraltar: 78km and 1 hour 2 minutes' drive.
- Madrid: 584 km and 5 hours 45 minutes' drive.
A Bit of HistoryThe land previously belonged to the Saudi businessman Adnan Khashoggi, who it is said, used the estate as his party house and hunting grounds. The property and land went up for sale and a group of Spanish property developers bought it and put plans together to create a playground for the rich and famous in Marbella. Each villa is unique, with their own styles depending on the specifications of the owner.
Location & Getting There
So where is La Zagaleta?The large estate sits in Malaga province in the south of Andalucia. It’s in the foothills of the Ronda Mountains just 25 minutes from Marbella, 18 minutes from Nuevo Andalucia and the nearest beach. It's 20 minutes from the village of Benahavis, 40 minutes from Sotogrande port, 50 minutes from Ronda, 55 minutes from Malaga airport and just over an hour from Gibraltar airport. La Zagaleta is very easily accessed by car or helicopter. There's heavy security surrounding the estate and entrance is on prior permission only.
What Else is in La Zagaleta?It’s worth noting that all the facilities in La Zagaleta are for exclusive use to villa owners only; they pay an enormous service charge to be allowed to use the facilities.
Golf CourseLa Zagaleta golf club is only open to villa owners and their guests. They have exclusive access to two of the Costa del Sol's best private golf courses, La Zagaleta and Los Barrancos. La Zagaleta golf course - known as the Old Course - is to championship standard with 18 holes, Par 72 over a distance of 4800 - 6000 yards. Designed by renowned golf architect Brad Benz in 1991 and redesigned by Marc Westenborg in 2016, it’s a rewarding course with fantastic views to the coast and flanked by mountains. The New Course, Los Barrancos, is very different to the Old Course. It’s a challenging 18-hole, Par 70 with lots of obstacles over a distance of 4356 – 5381 yards.
The ClubhousesThe hub of the estate is the spectacular Old Clubhouse, or La Zagaleta country club. Measuring 5,100m² it has an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, billiards, bowling alley, tennis courts, gourmet food supermarket, pro-golf shop and restaurants (see below). There's also a nightclub, bars and events space where there’s a full schedule of experiences and parties planned. The New Clubhouse is a thatched lakeside venue. A lot smaller than the Old Clubhouse, it's still just as popular with La Zagaleta residents for events or having a quick drink in the bar.
Horse RidingLa Zagaleta is home to some beautiful stables with indoor and outdoor schooling arenas. Horses can either be kept on a full livery basis, or horses and ponies can be hired for lessons or hacks. ‘The Riding Club’ equestrian centre has a team of instructors and well-schooled horses for all levels of rider including Arab, PRE and, for the children, Farabella horses and Welsh ponies.
RestaurantsWhy leave the comfort of a beautiful villa when you can enjoy a top-quality meal at home? At La Zagaleta there are Michelin starred chefs available for in-house dining throughout the estate. However, for owners the clubhouse has two restaurants: the formal dining Old Course Restaurant; and a terrace bar restaurant that's ideal for light bites and brunches.
Famous ResidentsThere is private security throughout the whole of La Zagaleta - so know one really know who lives or owns houses there. It’s a place where the super-rich and famous go to be away from the limelight. However, it is said that Hugh Grant, Rod Stewart and Vladimir Putin all have house in La Zagaleta.
What to Do NearbyWhen staying in La Zagaleta, the houses are so special that it’s sometimes difficult to tear yourself away from the estate. However, if you do want to see more of the area, here's our pick of easily accessible and great day trips:
- Ronda: historic, boutique wineries and ab-so-lutely beautiful.
- Benahavis village: a great option for restaurants; have a lunch or dinner in this pretty village.
- Granada: a romantic inland city and home to the Alhambra Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Malaga: the birthplace of Picasso with a fort, palace and Roman amphitheatre.
- Cordoba: historic city with a stunning mosque-church at its centre.
- Sevilla: one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
- Sotogrande: a lovely port, wake boarding lake and polo hub.