I recently had a layover in Madrid on my way back home after spending Christmas in Wales. It was January 4th, the day before ‘Three Kings Day‘, which the Spanish celebrate with even greater vigour than they do Christmas.
The weather was glorious, all crisp and bright blue skies, and I spent the day doing what I love most, wandering aimlessly through the pastel-hued streets with my camera in hand, trying to capture a sense of this seductive capital’s soul. Stopping as frequently as possible to top up on tapas and Rioja.
In my humble opinion, Madrid is one of the most underrated cities in Europe.
It is every bit as grand and regal as London, every bit as romantic as Rome or Paris. There’s something about the clarity of the light. So much colour. So much character.
Yet she doesn’t quite have the loyal following that her sisters boast…
I think it might be due to its scale. Madrid is a difficult city to get, impossible to conquer. Barcelona and Seville are, by comparison, relatively small and manageable.
They surrender everything all at once and happily provide the whirlwind romance most of us want when we travel in Europe.
But Madrid is more of a slow burn. It’s takes a bit more work to get to know.
And there’s an energy, a self-confidence, an indifference to your opinion. The Madrileños don’t need your approval – they know they live in the greatest city on Earth.
But don’t let me give you the wrong idea here… The people of Madrid are famed for their friendliness and openness.
In fact, I definitely feel more welcome in Madrid than I do in Barcelona, and I know plenty of people who would agree.
Which is silly, I often think, when you can enjoy a little of them all here in the capital, in this kingdom elsewhere.