Over the years we have very occasionally visited Madrid, but starting in 2017 we have decided to try to see the major sights of the Spanish capital. Starting with our first visit to (part of) the Prado Museum in Feb. 2017.
Sites, Monuments, Museums, ...
Tickets can be pre-purchased for the Prado Museum. There is 50% reduction for >65, but you must collect the tickets, and present passport, ID card, etc. to justify >65, and actually be physically present. There is a small advantage in that the ticket window is a different one from that used for the usual ticket purchases, so it is a little faster.
I also found a guided tour that had an early access to the museum, but it was full by the time I had decided that it might be interesting.
Our first stay (Feb. 2017) in Madrid was in the NH Collection “Paseo del Prado”. This 5-star hotel was well situated right in front of the Prado Museum, but in many ways it failed to live up to its 5-star status. Staff were fine, the breakfast perfectly sufficient, and there was secure parking very close by. But the room was a bit small, and the parking cost €75 for 2 nights.
An alternative might be to take a hotel less central, but use taxi’s to get around the city. Still, being near the Prado there were some good dining and tapas options, which might not be the case with a hotel in a less central location!
We actually only dined out once during our first visit (Feb. 2017), and this was in the marisquería restaurante El Barril de las Letras (C/Cervantes 28). The restaurant was nice, the food good, but a bit expensive, and finally it was nothing to “write home about”. I made the booking online, and got a email confirmation.
Other places I had identified were Sinfonia Rossini. For tapas I had identified the Taberna de la Dolores in Plaza Jesús (we also saw a number of other tapas bars in Calle de Jesús), the Taberna El Rincon de Jose in Calle Duque de Medinaceli, and the Cerveceria Cervantes, also in Plaza Jesús.
In driving up to Madrid in 2017 we stopped overnight in the Parador at Chinchón.