Exploring Madrid and Oliva in Spain

I traveled to Madrid from Lisbon by bus. It was an overnight one leaving Lisbon around 7pm and it took almost 11 hours before it was able to reach Madrid South Station. Well, there are also some flight options from Lisbon to Madrid but it’s five times more expensive than the cost of the bus fare. As a budget-traveler, I always opt for the more practical option. 


It was a weekend when I arrived in Madrid, so basically everything was closed. And I realized that the data sim I bought in Portugal doesn’t seem to work in Spain. Fortunately, there was this one cafe in the station which was open, and thank goodness they have wifi, so I just booked an Uber instantly to my accommodation which in this case was the house of one of my good friends. 

On my way to my friend’s house, I got a really good glimpse as to how beautiful this city is from the Uber car. The streets were just bustling with lovely people walking their dogs and people sitting on outdoor cafes enjoying their cup of coffee. And upon arriving at my friend’s house, I left my luggages and we went out to do a little bit of exploring.


In the afternoon, we decided to go swimming to one of the public pools in Madrid. To my surprise, I didn’t expect the queue to the pool to be a mile long! Well, basically it was summer during that time, and since Madrid is from from the beach, people often flock into pools to cool-down. 

After queuing for almost two hours, we were finally able to get in. But again, to my surprise, the pool is so crowded, like literally, there is no more space to get into. I’ve never been to any pool this crowded, but it was quite an experience. 

On my second day, I went to explore Madrid’s old town, and damn, it’s very gorgeous! Madrid is one of the most beautiful capitals I’ve ever been to. It’s very clean and almost all streets are covered with trees. In the main part of the old town, gorgeous pedestrian streets, stunning monumental buildings and squares filled with monuments are just some of the things that you’ll see. Madrid is indeed a city of great monuments.

Gran Via is Madrid’s most famous street and also one of my favorite streets in Madrid. It is also described as a hustling and bustling part of Madrid’s city center with no shortage of interesting and exciting things to do and see. Here you can find lots of buildings with stunning architectures, luxury shops and department stores. Definitely the best place to go shopping in Madrid. 

The Plaza Mayor, which literally means ‘Main Square’ in english is my favorite place in Madrid. It is a major public space in the heart of Madrid where you can find countless shops and cafes offering authentic Spanish Cuisines. 

On the next day, we went to Oliva, a small coastal town in the Valencian community. A three-hour drive from Madrid, this gem is one of the most beautiful town in Spain but also one of the most underrated as people tend to go to its more famous neighbor, Valencia City. We stayed for a total of three days in Oliva, often times busking under the sun by the beach. It’s also here where I got sunburnt so bad, but I have no regrets as I had so much fun. 

Back in Madrid, I spent my remaining days in the city, exploring and experiencing it like a local. Often times, I have no concrete itinerary and just wander around till I find a nice local pub. For me, wandering is often the best way for you to actually discover the best things any city has to offer. 

While writing this article, I actually cannot wait to visit Madrid again, or Spain in general. Also, would love to be able to visit other Spanish Cities like Barcelona next time. 

Have you been to Spain? How was your experience? Share it with us through the comment section below. 

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