Madrid - not only a city to #VisitAgain but also to #LiveAgain


Photo of Madrid - not only a city to #VisitAgain but also to #LiveAgain by Aahuti Sejpal

After spending almost one and a half years in the beautiful city of Madrid, I'd be lying if I said it is not home.

I still remember the feeling of stepping out of Madrid Barajas Airport on my first day in Spain and thinking to myself that I belong here. After having traveled to 27+ countries, I haven't felt this way for any other place before. There is something very comforting about Madrid - maybe the streets, the friendliness of locals, the language... I haven't figured it out yet.

Probably the best sunset I have ever witnessed. It was magical!
My No. 1 day trip option from Madrid: Toledo (so-called old capital of Spain)
Have you tried the Spanish churros from the most popular place in Madrid?
My go-to place for a walk : El Retiro Park
I will always be in awe of the streets of Madrid, especially in the centro!

People have often asked me if Madrid is better than Barcelona. This is a very common comparison made amongst tourists. For me, Barcelona is a tourist destination especially great for people who visit Spain for the first time. Madrid on the other hand, is a great city to LIVE in.

I completed my Master's degree in Madrid and stayed back after graduation to pursue an internship with a sustainable travel start up. I had dreamt of spending many more months in the city after my internship but due to global pandemic, I had to cut short my time there and make my way home to my family in India.

I still have hope to #VisitAgain, if not #LiveAgain in Madrid.

It was heart wrenching to get on the special evacuation flight from Madrid to Mumbai without knowing when I will be back. But I don't regret my decision. I believe it is essential to stay with family during these testing times.

The reason this city is so close to my heart is because it has been a 360 degree experience living there - a mix of good and bad experiences that have only made me stronger. Right from falling off a scooter and getting stitches at a local Spanish hospital to witnessing my closed ones get pick pocketed right in front of me and spending hours at the police station filing a report in Spanish to surviving a pandemic alone in Spain when the country was at its peak. Looking at the positive side, I have met SO many amazing people, traveled to 7 new countries and graduated from one of the best B-schools in Europe and worldwide.

Almost every month, I have had friends and family visit me while I was there. As their official tour guide, I have pretty much seen all things tourist-y in Madrid multiple times by now.

Besides the city attractions, there are plenty of day trips and hikes in the Community of Madrid. Toledo, Segovia and Cuenca are my top three choices of day trips. Right before the lockdown in Madrid, I went on a day hike to this medieval town of Chinchon as well which was beautiful with almond blossom trees everywhere.

If you don't have many days to spend in Madrid, you can simply focus on the local attractions like the El Retiro Park, Gran Via, Sol, Plaza Mayor, Royal Palace of Madrid to name a few. Madrid is also known for its nightlife, rooftop sundowners and food.

Vegetarian or not, there are food options for everyone.

This city is so diverse that there is something to see for every age group. You have the Warner Bros Studios for children along with lush green parks like El Retiro and Casa De Campo. For adults,there are some really good clubs for partying and rooftops for having pre drinks with friends. You will also find some great museums like Thyssen, Prado and Reina Sofia for all the history fanatics.

To add to that, the weather in Madrid is never extreme - winters can be chilly but it rarely snows and the temperature doesn't go below -5 degrees. Summers are warm with temperatures anywhere between 30-40 degrees on an average but it is not humid.

All in all, this city has my heart if it is not clear already. I will jump onto the opportunity to #VisitAgain whenever I get a chance!