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Toledo Coronavirus (COVID-19) La Mancha Travel Report

Wolfgang Holzem

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Toledo is a historic city in Castile-La Mancha, sitting majestically above the Tagus River and denoted a UNESCO World Heritage List heritage site in 1986. It is a very worthwhile day-trip from Madrid, only half an hour by train.

Understand

The history of Toledo dates back to Roman occupation (Toletum) circa 192BC. The ruins of the Roman circus are still visible just outside the walls of the city. Roman occupation was followed by Visigoth rule, Muslim rule and finally the Reconquest of Toledo in 1085AD. Toledo was the former capital of the Spanish empire until the mid-1500s when the royal court moved to Madrid. The winding, cobbled streets of the old town are often crowded with locals and tourists, as well as a surprisingly large number of cars and vans. Don’t miss the 13th century cathedral or the Alcázar which sits atop the town and dates back to Roman times.

As a visitor to Toledo, you are not allowed to pick or collect anything off the street because the entire city is a gazetted monument. However, there are souvenir shops where one can buy mementos. You get a better view of the ancient city as you enjoy local meals in one of the hotels across at the banks of Tagus River.

Get in

By train

The AVE high-speed train takes 33 minutes from Madrid’s Atocha station to  Toledo station and costs €10.60 + €8.50 = €19.10 for a same day round trip, and you have to specify your return time at time of purchase. Boarding starts 20–30 minutes prior to departure and the gate will close 5 minutes before schedule.

In Madrid, you will find vending machines for railway tickets. However, be careful with the red vending machines signed “Cercanias.” For foreigners it will be easier still to use the Renfe website to purchase tickets or to use a manned ticket booth. If you chose to buy at the booth, be careful with timing – perhaps go the day before – because you may not be guaranteed a seat or the time you want.

From Toledo station, urban buses numbers 5, 22, 61, or 62 stop on the street in front of the train station and take you to Plaza de Zocodover, the city center. The buses are €1.40 (pay the driver). All passengers must exit at Zocodover as it is the last stop on the route. It’s a pleasant 30 minute downhill walk back to the train station. City buses are blue; a private company operates red buses that wait outside the train station and charge €2.50 for the same route as number 5.

By car

From Madrid, Toledo is about 70 km southwest on the A-42 freeway, which is marked “Toledo” on all road signs. This used to be labelled the N-401, and old maps or signs may still refer to that, although almost all road signage appears to have been updated. There is often spot congestion during peak hours, sometimes as far out as Parla (25 km).

Parking on the narrow cobbled streets of inner Toledo is virtually impossible except for short loading/unloading stops, but there’s a big garage in Calle de Santa Úrsula, right in the centre.

By bus

Buses run between Toledo and Madrid’s Plaza Elíptica bus station (on the grey Circular metro line) every half hour until 21:30. The company is Alsa (old Continental-Auto). The trip takes about one hour and a return ticket costs €9.75. From the Toledo bus terminal it is a steep but picturesque 20-minute walk up to the old town. A local bus service is also available. To catch a local bus from the Toledo bus station to the center of town, head out of the station for a bit and you will see a bus stand, catch a bus going to Plaza Zocodover. Among other buses you can also catch Line 5 from the same stop which runs every 15 minutes and will drop you off right in front of Plaza Zocodover.

What to see and do

Image of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideArm yourself with a map to avoid getting completely lost!

  • CathedralIt is the centrepiece of Toledo. It sits on top of the hill and is deceptively large. When you enter you will be confronted by sparkling gold reliefs, huge oil paintings and portraits of all of the Toledo Cardinals going back at least 500 years. The baroque Transparente, behind the main altar, is like nothing you have ever seen. The Cathedral also has a great art gallery with works by Raphael, Rubens, Goya, Titian, and one of El Greco’s major works, The Disrobing of Christ. €10-12.5.
  • Iglesia de los JesuitasIt offers great views of Toledo and the surrounding region from its twin spires. It is set in the highest location in the city. (Oct-Mar 10:00-17:45, Apr-Sep 10:00-18:45)
  • Mosque of Cristo de la LuzIt was built 1000 years ago as a small mosque, but 200 years later was converted to a church. The building itself is a mix of the two styles, with a primarily Mudejar architecture, and early Christian paintings on the walls. (mid Oct-Feb 10:00-17:45, Mar-mid Oct 10:00-18:45, closed on weekdays from 14:00-15:30)
  • Iglesia del SalvadorIt was like the Mezquita Cristo de la Luze converted from a mosque into a church, though in this case the architecture of the building is more varied, combining Mudejar, Visigoth, and Roman-style architecture. (mid Oct-Feb 10:00-17:45, Mar-mid Oct 10:00-18:45, closed on Fridays from 14:45-16:00).
  • The Burial of the Count of OrgazOne of El Greco’s most famous and recognized works, it’s housed in Iglesia de Santo Tomé. (Mid Oct-Feb 10:00-17:45, Mar-Mid Oct 10:00-18:45)
  • Synagogue of Santa María la BlancaIt’s one of the three synagogues that remain in Spain from before the expulsion of the Jews in the 16th century, two of which are in Toledo (the third is in Córdoba). (mid Oct-Feb 10:00-17:45, Mar-mid Oct 10:00-18:45)
  • Monastery of San Juan de los ReyesIt’s a beautiful 16th century church in the Jewish quarter that was built by Ferdinand and Isabella to house their tombs. Upon the conquest of Granada, they decided to be buried there instead, but it is still easily worth the visit. (mid Oct-Feb 10:00-17:45, Mar-mid Oct 10:00-18:45).
  • Synagogue of El TránsitoThe second of Toledo’s remaining pre-16th century synagogues, it hosts the Sefardi Museum.
  • The AlcazarA large square building on the outskirts of the old city. It looks across the river at Franco’s old military barracks. The origin of the building dates back to the presence of a Roman camp in the 3rd century. The Muslims built there a keep transformed later by Alfonso VI and Alfonso X, which was the first Alcazar. €5, free on Sundays.
  • The Museo Victorio Macho is a small museum dedicated to the local sculptor, Victorio Macho, split between an interior gallery, and exterior gardens. Admission also includes a short film describing the history of Toledo ( Monday – Saturday 10:00-19:00, Su 10:00-15:00, closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, €3).
  • The Military barracks. There is a tourist pass available for €9 that allows entrance to 7 sites around the city (normally €2.5 each); but does not include the cathedral or other major sites so It would be of questionable value.

What to do

You may actually want to get lost in Toledo. Take some time to lose yourself in Toledo’s medieval streets. The city is surrounded by the River Tagus on three sides and two medieval walls on the fourth side. The old city is relatively small and can be crossed in 45 minutes, so you are never too far from the center. When you want to head back, just head uphill and you are virtually guaranteed to end up at the main plaza, Plaza de Zocodover.

Buy

The gold and black enamel work by local artisans is known throughout Spain. Many shops in Toledo sell decorated plates, shields, spoons and key rings.

Sword – Toledo is well known for its swords, so be sure to look for a conquistador sword, which should set you back around US$300. As you can’t bring it on a plane, you’ll need to send it. Fortunately, many shops will ship it for you for a reasonable price.

Ceramics – Talavera de la Reina (outside of Toledo) has a centuries-old tradition of glazed ceramics. Toledo is filled with handpainted ceramics of varying degrees of quality (upscale shops and boutiques are pricier, but generally carry higher-quality pieces).

Damascene – Another famous handicraft of Toledo is damascene, from the ancient Moorish art of interlacing gold on iron or steel, then firing it so the underlying material oxidizes and becomes black, with the gold in sharp relief. Every shop in Toledo will carry some form of damascene work, most frequently as small decorative plates and jewellery. Damascene also tends to be on the expensive side, so be sure to comparison shop around Toledo. The traditional manufacturing process consists of several steps, as it is shown in MadeInToledo.com.

Eat

If you want authentic paella, Toledo is not your best option because it is so far inland.

Sweets

The region around Toledo and southward in Castilla La Mancha produces typical almond sweets known as Mazapán, which is not to be confused with the Scandinavian almond paste called “marzipan”. Mazapán is glazed, and sometimes decorated with pine nuts (piñones). The most famous bakery making this sweet in all of Spain is arguably the Confiteria Santo Tomé (web-site only in Spanish), which is particularly crowded just before Christmas when shoppers from all over Spain come to Toledo to buy some Mazapán for their Christmas parties.

Budget

  • Bar La BovedaPlaza Solarejo, 3 (just off Plaza Zocodover). 11:00-01:00 (F Sa until 02:30).

Mid-range

  • Meson de la OrzaCalle de Descalzos, 5.   Monday – Saturday 13:30–16:00, 08:30–23:00Great food, great service, not so cheap, but it is worthy. Dishes include; lomo de orza, pork tenderloin; migas, a traditional Spanish breadcrumb dish served with lamb sweetbreads; roast suckling lamb and pig; partridge on arroz meloso; and vanilla-infused fried milk pudding. Wine list of 100 wines.

Drink

Try Picaro or Circulo de Arte for a hip night scene, Circulo de Arte is in a renovated church and plays good dance music. It also has some of the best batidos (milkshakes) in town! O´Brian’s serves good tap beer, and boasts a strong tourist and student crowd most nights.

  • O’BrienC/ Armas, 12.  Try Domas beer. Made in Toledo. IPA is a fusion & quite good.

Where to stay in Toledo (Spain)

Budget

  • Youth Hostel Los PascualesCuesta de los Pascuales 8 ,  fax+34 925282422 New, clean, safe and very central
  • Oasis ToledoCalle Cadenas, 5 ,   Upmarket hostel with kitchen and fantastic terrace, 12.5 euro peak season

Mid-range

  • Casona de la ReinaC/ Armas, 12.  Clean and classy hotel. Priced quite reasonably. Located on the river for impressive views but an up hill climb to through the city. Park on the street if available or on site garage. Incredible breakfast is included. Wifi works great.
  • Hotel Imperio, Cadenas 7 – situated close to Plaza Zocodover. (**)
  • Hesperia ToledoMarqués de Mendigorría, 8 -12this newly refurbished hotel offers comfortable rooms and is located a short distance from the city centre. Many famous tourist attractions are in walking distance. From €59.
  • Hotel Layos GolfCarretera de Toledo a Piedrabuena Km. 12, 45123, Layos – Toledo ,   4-star hotel 10 km from Toledo. The complex has a golf course and swimming pools.

Splurge

  • Parador de ToledoThis hotel offers the best views of the town.

Telecommunications in Toledo (Spain)

Stay safe in Toledo (Spain)

Toledo is a relatively small town, and so is rather safe. Toledo’s medieval streets are labyrinthine, so the biggest danger is getting lost, especially at night.

Cope

Due to the location of Toledo upon the top of a hill, the city is exposed to quite a bit of sunshine in comparison to Madrid. Therefore the average temperature you sense may be considerably higher than what you would expect from the forecast. Temperatures can be in the high 30s C (100°F) as late as nine in the evening. Be sure to bring plenty of water or get some refreshments in Toledo to support the local shopkeepers. Do not forget to put on sufficient sunblock on a hot summer day or try to stay in the shades of buildings and trees.

The historic center of Toledo is rather steep and hilly and most streets are cobblestone, so sensible shoes are a must. Those with wheeled luggage might also struggle

Go next

Oropesa is a picturesque hill-top town with a huge castle on the way to Extremadura

Los Gredos has a variety of scenic 1,000+ meter hill tops and provides a good route up to Avila if you have your own car.

  • Madrid
  • Aranjuez
  • El Escorial

Former founder of Asiarooms.com and now reporting mainly on the Asia Pacific region and the global Coronavirus crises in countries such as Thailand, Germany & Switzerland. Born near Cologne but lived in Berlin during my early teenage years. A longterm resident of Bangkok, Udon Thani, Sakon Nakhon and Phuket. A great fan of Bali, Rhodes & Corfu. Now based on Mallorca, Spain.

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Spain

Santander Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cantabria Travel Report

Wolfgang Holzem

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Santander is the capital and also the largest city of the province of Cantabria in Spain. The city is known throughout the United Kingdom for its bank of the same name.

Understand

Santander has some 180,000 inhabitants and is on the ocean. It features a small historic center and a handful of beaches. Its most famous tourist attraction is the Magdalena Palace which was used as a summer getaway of Spanish royalty.

  • Tourist Information (Oficina de Turismo municipal), Jardines de Pereda, s/n. ,  fax+34 942203005 from Sep 16 until Jun 14 Mon to Fri 8:30AM to 7PM, from Sep 16 until Passion Week Sat and Sun 10AM to 7PM, from Passion week until Sep 14 10AM to 7PM every day, from Jun15 until Sep 14 from 9AM to 9PM every dayM. Mm. M. M,,

Get in

By plane

  • Santander – Parayas, Aeropuerto Internacional de Santander (in the municipality of Camargo, 5 km East of Santander) ,  fax+34 942 202152 mostly domestic and charter flights; international flights from London, Dublin, Rome, Milan, Frankfurt(?), Paris, and Amsterdam

Ryanair fly from Brussels, Berlin, Rome, London, Edinburgh, Barcelona and Tenerife (all year) plus Weeze, Malaga, Dublin and Milano (summer schedule only).

Iberia offers daily flights to Santander from Madrid and Barcelona and weekly flights from Alicante, Gran Canaria, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Seville, Tenerife, Valencia, Paris, and Amsterdam.

Taxis from the airport to Santander are about €20. The taxi stand is in front of the terminal building.

You can also hire taxis with English speaking drivers at the following tel. +34692240616, you can ask for the price of your trip (airport to the centre for €15) and make reservations. Credit cards are accepted.

The Alsa city bus (tel 942211995) to Santander Bus Station (Estación de autobuses) departs daily at 6:30 and 6:50AM and then every 30 minutes from 7:15AM until 10:45PM from directly outside the arrivals terminal (€2,50). Duration of the journey: 10 minutes. If you go back to the airport from the bus station you can buy the tickets on the ticket machine inside the bus station.

Santander Airport has direct access to the motorway A8 Santander – Bilbao.

By bus

ALSA operates daily bus services to Santander from Galicia, Asturias, Pais Vasco, Extremadura, Castile-Leon, Zaragoza, and Barcelona; and weekly services from Belgium, France, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The trip from Madrid takes about 5 hours (about €30) and the trip from Barcelona takes about 9 hours (via Zaragoza).

There are about 20 buses per day from Bilbao to Santander, journey time about 90 minutes. Single ticket €6.71, return €12.75 (December 2020).

Bilman Bus offers daily bus services from [ , Alicante, Cartagena, and Murcia.

For more information see the  Santander bus station (Estación de Autobuses de Santander)   with timetables from and to all destinations available.

By train

RENFE operates daily train services from Madrid and Alicante to  Santander station (Estación de Santander) with stops in the main cities on the way (Palencia, Valladolid, Ávila). Trains leave from Madrid Chamartin Station at 7:40AM Mon to Fri, 1:30PM, and 6:05PM daily. The trip from Madrid takes about 5-6 hours (~€35).

Feve offers daily train services from Bilbao and Asturia to Santander .

By ferry

You may also wish to take a ferry from Plymouth, England to the  Santander ferry terminal. The journey time is approximately 24 hours each way, and is an interesting journey, although you may wish to resist having a large meal too soon after departure from Plymouth if you are unused to sea travel as the Cantabrian Sea can be extremely rough.

Britanny Ferries operates two sailings a week from the UK to Santander from mid-March to October, on Wednesdays from Portsmouth and on Sundays from Plymouth, average sailing time hours. operated by the modern MV Pont Aven. From November until around December 20th and from Mid-February until March only the Plymouth – Santander service is operated with MS Bretagne, journey time 24 hrs. There is no service from around December 20th until mid-February.

By car

from France

Santander is 150 ml (246 km) from Biarritz, 272 ml (437 km) from Bordeaux, 327 ml (537 km) from Toulouse, 583 ml (937 km) from Marseille and 685 ml (1103 km) from Nice.

from Spain

Santander is 517 ml (832 km) from Alicante, 443 ml (709 km) from Barcelona, 173 ml (279 km) from León, 243 ml (399 km) from Madrid, 630 ml (1014 km) from Marbella, 226 ml (364 km) from Salamanca, 474 ml (763 km) from Santiago de Compostela, 155 ml (250 km) from Valladolid, 314 ml (505 km) from Vigo and 249 ml (401 km) from Zaragoza.

from Portugal

Santander is 848 km (527 mi) from Lisbon and 405 ml (648 km) from Porto.

Get around

Image of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideBy foot

Santander is reasonably small. The distance from one end of town to the other are some 6km (4 miles) and can be walked in 2 hours along the coast road. Within the city center everything is within walking distance (15min walking).

By bus

Public buses are available at reasonable prices. Each journey costs € 1.10 (more for journeys out of the city proper, or you can save 40% by buying a 10-journey ‘Bonobus’ at a ‘Tabaco’ shop). A 10 journey Bonobus ticket costs € 6 (December 2020). Specifically, buses can take you to the main beaches some 2-4km (2m) from the city center. Timetables and map for download: 

  • Hop On Hop Off Bus, tel 800-750-2859 departs from the Cathdral daily at 10.45 and 11:25AM, 12.00 noon, 1.15, 1.55, 4.45, 5.20, 6.00 and 6:35PM, with stops at Pasea Pereda, Museo Maritimo, Palacio de Festivales y Planetario, Palacio de la Magdalena, Casiono/Playa de Sardinero, Faro de Cabo Mayor, Matalenas/Campo de Golf. Estadio, Universidad, Avenida Valdecilla, Cuatro Caminos and Barrio Pesquero, the entire journey which takes around 75 min. Internet rates: for 24 hours $21,95 per adult, $10.95 per child (5 to 15), for 48 hours $24,95 per adult, $11.95 per child (5 to 15) plus $3.95 “processing fee” per order. No refunds! Children under 5: free of charge. Explanations given in Spanish, English, French, German, Italian, Dutch and Japanese plus a commentary for kids.

By taxi

Taxis are widely available throughout the city.

  • Radiotaxi : tel. 942333333. Tariffs: Mon to Fri 6AM to 10PM, Sat 8AM to 3PM minimum € 3,15 plus € 0,78 per km, luggage € 1,17, waiting time € 15,52 per hour. Mon to Fri 10PM to 6AM, Sat midnight to 8AM, 3AM to midnight, Sun and public holidays: minimum € 4,00 plus € 1,02 per km, luggage € 1,50, waiting time € 20,23 per hour (2020)

By bicycle

The city offers bicycle rental, for a very low price, at a number of locations around Santander (Jardines de Pereda, El Sardinero, La Magdalena). Bikes are loaned for the day, so get in early to avoid missing out.

What to see and do

  • Palacio de la MagdalenaLa Magdalena, s/n ,  fax+34 942282689 Summer residence of the Spanish King from 1913 until 1930.

Museums

  • Prehistoric and Archaeological Museum of Cantabria (Museo de Prehistoria y Arqueología de Cantabria), Casimiro Sainz 4.  from Sep 16 until Jun 15 Tue to Sat 9AM to 1PM and 4 to 7PM, from Jun 16 until Sep 15 Tue to Sat 10AM to 1PM and 4 to 7PM, Sundays all the year round from 11AM to 2PMAn impressively well curated and presented museum focused on the ancient history of the local Cantabria region. All items are presented in Spanish, French and English, and there are a significant amount of video and interactive displays. More than 1000 objects are displayed with a Neolithic focus, though the collection ranges at least the Paleolithic through Roman and medieval periods. €5.
  • Maritime Museum of Cantabria (Museo Marítimo del Cantábrico), San Martín de Bajamar s/n. ,  fax+34 942281068 Oct 1 until Apr 30 Tue to Sun 10AM until 6PM, May 2 until Sept 30 Tue to Sun 10AM until 7:30PM, closed Mon, Jan 1, Good Friday, May 1 and Dec 25adults: €6, children from 4 to 12: €4, senior citizens over 65: €4, tourist groups: €5 per person.
  • Bullfighting Museum (Museo Taurino), Calle de Jerónimo Sainz de la Maza.  Jun 15 to Sep 15: Tue to Fri 6 to 9PM, Sat 11AM to 2PMIn the lower floor of the bullring, in the western part of the city, near the Plaza de México, with bullfighting memorabilia, posters, photos and paintings, and colourful suits of bullfighters from all over Spain admission free.
  • Municipal Museum of Arts (Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes), C/Rubio, 6 ,  fax+34 942203125 from 16 Sep until 14 Jun: Mon to Fri 10AM to 1PM, 5.30 to 9PM, Sat: 10AM to 1PM, closed Sat afternoon, Sun, from 15 Jun until 15 Sep: Mon to Fri 11:15AM to 1PM, 5.30 to 9PM, Sat: 10AM to 1PM, closed Sat afternoon, Sun,Principal art museum of the region with s remarkable collection of paintings and sculpture from the 15th to 20th centuries, from Italian, Flemish and Spanish schools and a painting of King Fernando VII by Goya admission: free.
  • Biblioteca Menéndez PelayoC/ Rubio 6.  Mon to Fri 9 to 11:30AM. guided visits every 30 min.
  • Museo del Faro de Cabo Mayor (exhibition of the painter Eduardo Sanz).  Jul and Aug Tue to Sun 11AM to 1:30PM, 5 to 9PM, rest of the year:11AM to 1:30PM, 5 to 8PMThere’s an art gallery and a strange collection of lighthouse images from popular culture–on everything from matchboxes to liquor bottles. admission free.
  • Colección del Ateneo de SantanderC/ Gómez Oreña, 5-1º ,  fax+34 942360520Salón Social and Cafetería: 9AM to 1PM, 4 to 9:30PMadmission free.
  • Colección del Parlamento de CantabriaC/ Alta 31/33.
  • Colecciones y Patrimonio de Caja CantabriaC/ Rubio 6.  Mon to Sat 9AM to 1:30PM, Tue and Thu 4.30 to 9PM except Jul, Aug, closed Sat afternoon and Sun.

Old Town

Churches

  • Cathedral – Catedral de Santa Maria de la AsunciónPlaza del Obispo José Eguino y Trecu s/n.  Mon to Fri 10AM to 1PM and 4 to 7:30PM, Holy service at 11AM and 6:30PM, Sat 10AM to 1PM and 4 to 8PM, Holy service at 11AM, 5 and 8PM, Sun 10AM to 1PM and 5 to 9PM, Holy service at 12AM, 1.30, 5 and 8PM. The cathedral cannot be visited during services, guided tours free of charge in July and August.
  • Iglesia del Santísimo CristoC/ Somorrostro s/nJun 1 until Sep 30: 8AM to 1PM and 4 to 8PM every day, Oct 1 until May 31: 8AM to 1:30PM and 5 to 8PM every day, Holy services from mon to Fri at 11AM and 8:30PM, Sat 10AM to 1PM and 4 to 8PM, Holy service at 8.15, 10 and 11:15AM, 5 and 8PM, Sat at 10 and 11:15AM, 1.15, 6 and 8:30PM, Sun at 8.15, 10, 11 and 12AM, 1, 5 and 8:30PM. The church cannot be visited during services, guided tours free of charge in July and August.
  • Iglesia de la AnunciaciónC/ Juan de Herrera 17open during services onlygood example of Renaissance architecture
  • Iglesia de la ConsolaciónC/Alta 19open during services onlychurch in classical Baroque style
  • Iglesia de Santa LucíaC/ Daoiz y Velarde 11open during services onlybuilding of the eclectic style dating from the 19th century
  • Iglesia del Sagrado CorazónC/ San Joseopen during services onlyone of the best examples of Neogothic style in town

Public buildings

  • Santander Ban (Edificio del Banco Santander), Paseo Pereda 9-12 (opposite Pereda Gardens, not open to the public, in the city center, best reached with bus no. 1,3,4.C1,4.C2,9 and 10).
  • Banco Español de CréditoHernan Cortes 11building in the eclectic style of 1900
  • Banco de EspañaAvenida Alfonso XIIIopened 1922
  • Town Hall (Ayuntamiento)Plaza del Ayuntamiento s/nbuilding in the eclectic style of the 19th century, richly decorated with columns, balconies and coats of arms
  • Mercado del EsteC/General Molaerected from 1840 onwards, completely reconstructed in 1986
  • Mercado de la EsperanzaPlaza de la Esperanzainaugurated 1904 in Modernism style
  • Plaza Porticadaconstructed as new city center after the fire of 1941
  • Casa PardoPaseo de Perez GaldosHouse from 1915, also called ‘Palacio de los Botin’ with spectacular views over the bay, one of the most splendid mansions of the city, at Sardinero, reached with bus no 10
  • Casa PomboPlaza de Jose Antonio 3 (mansion of 1875, in the city center, reached with bus no 1).
  • Dique de Gamazosmall fishing port, dating from 1908, 180 m long, 15 m wide, 8 m deep, in the city center, reached with bus no 1
  • Post Office Building (Edificio de Correos), Avenida de Alfonso XII.  An impressive building, one of the landmarks of Santander, builtin 1915,in the city center, reached with bus no 1 and 8
  • Edificio de Los Arcos de BotinHernan Cortes 21Neoclassic building on the north side of Piaza Pombo, near the harbour, good example of 19th cent. architecture, visitors are not allowed inside, in the city center, reached with bus no 1
  • Edificio de Los PinaresDuque de Santo Mauro (near Primera Playa, between Calle Duque de Santo Mauro and Calle Joaquín Costa). Impressive private home of ship owner Francisco García, with an outstanding view on the beach as well as Renaissance and Baroque elements of architecture
  • Edificio de ViviendasCalle Castelar, 15 (in the city center, reached with bus no 1). One of the city’s grandest mansions of the early 1900S in the historic district along the Calle Castelar and Paseo de Pereda.

Streets and Squares

  • Paseo de Pereda y Calle Castelar (in the city center, reached with bus no 1). 1550 m long street with nice views on the harbour and the cathedral and many buildings from the 18th to 20th cent., including Puerto Chico, Dique de Gamazo, Cuesta del Gas, and Banco Vitalicio
  • Plaza de José Antonio (Plaza Pombo) (Calle de Hernán Cortés and General Mola are on the north and south, and Pancho Cossío and Las Infantas on the east and west). charming plaza with colorful flowerbeds and musician bandstand

Parks

  • Alameda de OviedoSan Fernando, s/nin the western part of the city center, running from Cuatro Caminos Roundabout in the west, to Plaza de Numancia in the east, specifically between Calle de San Fernando and Calle Vargas.
  • Jardines de PeredaPaseo de Pereda, s/nSantander’s most famous park with a lot of trees, bushes and flowers, a pond, several sculptures, a music pavilion, a monument to the writer José María de Pereda (1833-1906), a fountain dedicated to the Cantabrian author, Concha Espina (1877-1953), the Fuente de los Meones and the city tourist office nearby.
  • Parque de AltamiraPaseo del General Dávila, s/n (in the north of the city near the commercial center between Paseo del General Dávila and Calle Vía Cornelia). botanical garden in city center, covering a total area of 16000m2.
  • Jardines de PiquíoAvenida de Castañeda, s/noccupying an area of 13000 m2, with fine views on the Ensenada del Sardinero, Cabo Menor to the north and Magdalena Peninsula to the south. On a promontory between Primera and Segunda Playa (First and Second Beaches, originally known as the “Piquillo” or the “Punta del Rostro” (Face Point).
  • Parque del Doctor González MesonesAvenida del Stadium, s/n (in theeast of the city near El Sardinero and the football stadium). park with an area of 40000m2,with fountains, ornate stone benches with heraldic shields and a statue of the poet José Luis Hidalgo.
  • Parque de La MargaJerónimo Sainz de la Maza, s/nwest of the city, near Puerto Pesquero (Fishing Port), Dársena de Maliaño (Maliaño Docks), fish market and restaurants in the Barrio Pesquero (Fishing Quarter).
  • Parque de La MagdalenaAvenida de La Magdalena, s/n.  8AM to 10PM dailyWith 25000 m2 the biggest park in the city, surrounding the Palacio Real (Royal Palace). It was deserted until the end of the 19th century and houses a hermitage dedicated to Saint Magdalena and a defensive castle overlooking the bay. It has a zoo on the rocky cliffs on the northern end, with lions, seals, penguins and polar bears and a galleon nearby that belonged to the sailor and adventurer Vital Alsar.
  • Parque de Cabo MayorAvenida del Faro, s/n, (situated near El Sardinero beaches.). Covering an area of more than 100,000m2, the park is extremely spectacular on windy days, when the waves crash onto the cliffs. The Faro de Cabo Mayor is the oldest lighthouse in Cantabria. It was built in 1839, is 30m high and its light can be seen from 29 miles away. The rock formation of the Puente del Diablo (Devil’s Bridge) and the Panteón del Inglés (Englishman’s Pantheon) is nearby.

What to do

  • Picnic on Magdalena Peninsula
  • Learn how to sail
  • 5 city walks: go to the Santander Tourist Office in the city center (Old Market, near the Old Banco de Santander) and get a free city guide; the free city guide describes these 5 itineraries.   These 5 itineraries are enough to keep you busy for 1-2 days.
  • boat round trip: There is a regular boat service through the Santander Bay, boats run from Santander to Pedreña, Somo and back. For a 45-minutes round-trip you have to pay €3,90 and the boats starts at least every hour.
  • Enjoy the beaches. Walk up to the lighthouse at Cabo Mayor, visit the museum and enjoy the view from the top.

Beaches

Santander has a lot of fine beaches.

  • Magdalena Beach (Playa de la Magdalena)
  • Sardinero Beaches (Playa del Sardinero)
  • Camel Beach (Playa del Camello)
  • Mataleñas Beach (Playa de Mataleñas)
  • Magdalena Peninsula (see the penguins in the ‘mini-Zoo’) & Magdalena Palace (Palacio de Magdalena)
  • Lighthouse at Cabo Mayor (faro de Cabo Mayor), and the devil’s bridge (puente del diablo), a bizarre rock formation.
  • Playa de Bikinis, safe and lovely beach on the Peninsula de la Magdalena, protected from big waves, very calm.
  • Playa de Covachos, Cotero (Santa Cruz de Bezana), one of the most attractive beaches,
  • Playa de El Bocal, Corbanera, peaceful and quiet,
  • Playa de El Camello, Avenida de la Reina Victoria, near Magdalena Peninsula,
  • Playa de El Puntal, Somo (Ribamontán al Mar),
  • Playa de La Concha, in the middle of Sardinero,
  • Playa de La Magdalena, Ensenada del Sardinero, with fine views of the bay,
  • Playa de La Maruca, Monte,
  • Playa de la Virgen del Mar, San Román, peaceful and quiet,
  • Playa de Langre, Langre (Ribamontán al Mar), spectacular situation between the cliffs,
  • Playa de Los Molinucos, small beach north of Segunda Playa,
  • Playa de Los Peligros, Avenida de la Reina Victoria, quiet beach in a sheltered bay,
  • Playa de Mataleñas, between Cabo Mayor and Cabo Menor, the ‘luxury’ beach of Santander,
  • Playa de Somocuevas, Liencres (Piélagos), with fine golde sands,
  • Playa de Valdearenas, Liencres (Piélagos), fine sand dunes,
  • Playa Primera de El Sardinero, Plaza de Italia, the most famous beach of Santander,
  • Playa Segunda de El Sardinero, Playa de Castaneda.
  • Somo Beach is a little bit outside of Santander. It can be reached from downtown Santander by boat. Boats leave every 10 minutes and the boat ride takes about 10 minutes. Somo Beach is about 3 km long and is less crowded than beaches in Santander.

Cultural events

  • Centro Cultural Caja CantabriaTantín, 25.  The buildings is also known as “Modesto Tapia”. It was designed by the Catalan architect, Domenech i Muntaner, a contemporary of Gaudí, and was inaugurated by Alfonso XIII in 1907. It incorporates many Modernist architectural features and was completely re-modeled in 1994. The Social and Cultural Office of Cantabria Bank offers theater performances, rock, pop and jazz concerts, conferences, art exhibits and workshops in drama, painting and photography.
  • Centro Cultural Doctor MadrazoCasimiro Sainz, s/n, (near Tetuán Tunnel and Puerto Chico).  Organized by the Cultural Bureau of Santander’s City Council.
  • Palacio de Festivales de CantabriaGamazo, s/n.  Designed by Javier Sáenz de Oiza, opened in 1991, classical music concerts, ballet and dance performances, home to Cantabria’s School of Dramatic Arts

Festivals

  • Fiestas Virgen del Mar (Lady of the Sea festival): May 19
  • Los Baños de Ola: July 16 until 20
  • Fiestas de Santiago (St.James’s Festival): July 25
  • Mercado medieval (medieval market): second half of August
  • Romería del Faro (pilgrimage to the lighthouse): August 23

Buy

  • Lupa (big supermarket chain), Avenida de Parayas, s/n.
  • Mercado de la EsperanzaEl Mercado, s/ (Behind the Mercado de la Esperanza in Plaza de la Esperanza is an open-air market selling clothes, fruits and flowers. Mon to Fri 8AM to 2PM and 5 to 7:30PM, Sat 8AM – 2PM).  busy market built in 1897 and restored in 1977, oldest surviving market in Santander after the Mercado del Este, built in 1839, was recently demolished
  • Santa María PescadosSan Francisco, 12 (fish market located in the San Francisco complex). Mon to Fri 9AM to 1:30PM and 4:30 to 8:30PM, Sat 9AM – 1:30PMoffering fresh seafood from the Cantabrian Sea, shellfish, hake, sea-bass, sardines, squid, octopus lobsters, percebes (goose barnacles) and crayfish
  • HilarioGeneral Dávila.  Mon to Fri 9AM to 2PM and 5 to 8PM, Sat 9AM to 2PMmeat shop located at the Hospital Santa Clotilde

Learn

The Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo offers summer courses for university students, including Spanish language courses for foreigners, that take place both at the Magdalena Palace and at Residencia Las Llamas.

The Universidad de Cantabria offers Spanish language courses of 4 to 10 weeks duration throughout the year through the Centro de Idiomas (CIUC). CIUC also coordinates exchange students at the university.

Eat

  • The best area to eat fish is the district close to fishing harbour (Barrio Pesquero), although locals usually regard this as a tourist trap.
  • Santander is known amongst Spaniards for its many Regma ice-creamery outlets. At times it can seem that they have an outlet on every corner. Their very generous serving sizes of 8 popular flavours of ice cream have been melting down the hands of locals for years, even throughout the winter months. Other chains such as Capri on Paseo de Pereda provide a greater range of choices.
  • Señores Patatas on Calle Santa Lucía offers student-priced meals of fries and hamburgers. Try the ‘Five Sauces’ (Cinco Salsas) plates with five types of fry cut and five types of sauce.
  • Taj Mahal on Calle Santa Lucía is the only Indian restaurant in town and serves a tasty alternative to the Spanish staples.
  • Sakura near Cuatro Caminos serves Japanese dishes.
  • La Casona del JudíoResconorio 35.  40 €.
  • La BombiCasimiro Sainz 15.  42 €.
  • La MulataTetuan sn.  30 €.
  • CañadioGómez Oreña, 15.  45 €.
  • La Posada del MarCastelar 19.  45-55 €.
  • ZacariasHernán Cortés 38.  one of the best restaurants in Santander, owned by the best known chef de cuisine in Santander, Cantabrian and seafood dishes, 45 €.
  • El SerbalAndrés del Rio, 7.  1.30 until 4PM, 8.30 until 11:30PM, closed Sun evening and Mon55 €.
  • Bar del PuertoHernán Cortés 63 ,  fax+34 942219393 60 €.
  • La Sardina de PlataPlaza Doctor Fleming, 3restaurant in nautic design, serving regional cuisine, cheese mousse, beef fillet with truffles and cognac, fish salad, € 20 to 40.
  • Bodega CigalenaDaoíz y Velarde, 19 (Zona: Puerto Chico).  1 to 3PM, 8PM to midnightCastilian bodega, popular with younger people, serving fish soup (sopa de pescado) and shellfish paella, great selection of wines from Castilia. € 30.
  • AltamiraAvenida Reina Victoria, 27.  Serves traditional cuisine.
  • Copa CabanaReina Victoria, 46.  spectacular views
  • El CormoránSegunda Playa del Sardinero.  dining by the sea
  • FigónCisneros, 7.  home-style cuisine
  • GelínNueva Montaña, s/n.  Traditional and rustic
  • Horno de BurgosLa Unión, 4.  Traditional Castilian cuisine
  • Peña PrietaVargas, 35.  Fresh fish
  • La MejilloneraPlaza de la Leña, 4.  Mussels
  • CapitolFrancisco de Quevedo, 7.  seafood tapas
  • El Estanque de GamaGama (Next to the N634).  One of the most beautiful restaurants in Cantabria. 20 min. from Santander towards Bilbao. It is also an elegant cocktail bar in the middle of the Santoña`s Nature Reserve Marshes. €20.

Drink

Everybody starts their night at Plaza de Cañadío, in the centre of the old town. It is a hive for young Santanderinos and exchange students. It is surrounded on three sides by various bars and restaurants. This is where most drinking of calimocho – the red wine/coca-cola combo favoured by young Spaniards – takes place.

Later in the night (from about 2AM) the drinking action moves to bars and clubs in the area, including La EmbajadaRetrosCafe del SolLa Rana VerdeOpium and many others. Three major dance clubs are located nearby – El DivinoMalaespina and Rocaverde.

Where to stay in Santander

  • Hotel Las BrisasCalle La Braña 14, El Sardinero Cantabria.
  • Santemar Hotel, Calle Joaquin Costa 28, Tel: +34 942 272 900, in the City Centre.
  • Hotel Sardinero, Plaza de Italia 1, Tel.: +34 942 271 100, near El Sardinero Beach.
  • Hospedaje Magallanes, Magallanes 22 Entlo, Tel.: +34 942 371 421, in the City Centre.
  • Hotel Chiqui, Avenida Manuel Garcia Lago 9, Tel.: +34 902 282 700, near El Sardinero Beach.
  • NH Ciudad de Santander, Menéndez Pelayo, 13-15, +34 94 2319900.

Go next

  • Castro-Urdiales: seaside village east of Santander with a nice Gothic church and lighthouse.
  • Laredo (Spain): another seaside village to the East, the old quarter is worth a visit.
  • Potes: this small village is the key to the Picos de Europa mountain range (which is a National Park), and the Liébana region. Good eating place, and the local orujo (a strong spirits drink) is highly recommended.
  • Reinosa: the main town on southern Cantabria, it’s a good base to explore the Cantabrian mountain range (Cordillera Cantábrica), with the Alto Campoo sky resort, the Roman city of Julióbriga and several Medieval churches close by.
  • Santillana del Mar: Picturesque stone village 1 hour away by bus; visit the famous cave of Altamira.
  • San Vicente de la Barquera – Sea-side fishing village, about 30 minutes by bus. See the fishing vessels unload what Madrid will be eating tomorrow. Fantastic tides, so stay for at least 6 hours. Nice Roman bridge.
  • Valles Pasiegos: for a taste of rural Cantabria, no better place than the Valley of the Pas river, especially Toranzo, Selaya, Villacarriedo, Vega de Pas, San Roque de Riomiera and San Pedro del Romeral. Try the typical sobaos and quesadas, two traditional desserts.
  • Ethnography Museum (Museo Etnografico de Cantabria Casa Velarde), Calle de los Heroes dos de Mayo, Muriedas, Camargo (5 ml/8 km from Santander).  from Jul until Sep Tue to Sat 10AM to 1PM, 4 to 7PM, Sun 11AM to 2PM, from October to June Tue to Sat 10AM to 1PM, 4 to 6PM, Sun 11AM to 2PMHistorical 17th-century building, birthplace of Spanish artillery captain Pedro Velarde y Santillan, antiquities and period furnishings, kitchen utensils, paintings.
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Malasana-Chueca Coronavirus (COVID-19) Madrid Travel Report

Wolfgang Holzem

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Malasaña and Chueca, as well as Conde Duque and Salesas, are neighbourhoods in northern central Madrid.

Understand

Malasaña used to be a not-so-privileged residential neighbourhood. Starting from the 1980s Movida madrileña period, however, it has been populated by the city’s young, creative, hip and artsy crowds. By day, it is a paradise for those shopping for second-hand or street fashion, artisan craftwork and young designers’ stuff. At night, the pavements are occupied by tables of bars and restaurants as well as people just spending time with friends.

Conde Duque is a smaller neighbourhood directly to the west of Malasaña. Its character is pretty similar, perhaps a little quieter. Located near the university campus, its population is quite young and studentish, too. It is named after the Conde-Duque (i.e. “Count-Duke”) barracks, an 18th-century former military compound-turned-cultural centre.

Chueca has a similar background like Malasaña (maybe a tad more bourgeois), but has built its reputation as Madrid’s gay district. Of course, that does not mean that straight people were not welcome. Indeed, most restaurants, hostels and nightlife venues cater to a general public, not a specifically gay one. Apart from that, this area has a high concentration of antique shops.

Salesas is the small neighbourhood inbetween Chueca and the posh Salamanca district.

The official name of the admistrative barrio that contains Chueca and Salesas neighbourhoods, is Justicia as the Supreme Court of Spain and the Court of Accounts are seated here. The Spanish Ministry of Justice is in nearby Calle de San Bernardo.

Get in

Image of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideChueca and Malasaña are just 1–2 km north of the central Puerta del Sol square and 3 km north of Atocha (Madrid’s main station for intercity trains). They can be reached with several metro lines. Stations Gran Vía (lines 1, 5), Tribunal (1, 10) and Bilbao (1, 4) are located along Calle Fuencarral that is right inbetween both districts. Noviciado (2) is between Malasaña and Conde Duque, and Chueca (5) of course in the middle of the eponymous district. San Bernardo (2, 4) and Alonso Martínez (4, 5, 10) are near the northern tip of Malasaña and Chueca, respectively. Plaza de España (3, 10) and Ventura Rodriguez (3) are on the western rim of Conde Duque, Colón (4) at the northeastern corner of Salesas.

What to see and do

  • Museo de Historia de Madrid (Museum of History of Madrid), C. Fuencarral, 78 ,   Tu-Su 10:00-20:00This museum is dedicated to the history of Madrid from 1561 to present. Much of the history is explained by referencing exhibited paintings depicting people or events from the time, so it is also an art museum. Several maps and models (including two large ones in the basement) show how Madrid grew since the 16th century. All exhibits are explained in both English and Spanish. Free.
  • Plaza del Dos de MayoCentral square of the Malasaña neighbourhood. It was named after the 2 May uprising of 1808 against the Napoleonic occupation of Spain. A monument in its centre honours the leaders of the uprising who were executed. The monument is Malasaña’s symbolic landmark that is pictured on Malasaña postcards, on the label of Malasaña beer and other local merchandise.
  • Palacio Longoria (Longoria Palace), Calle Fernando VI, 6 / Calle Pelayo (metro Alonso Martínez). Exceptionally ornamental art nouveau building, erected 1902–03 for the banker and politician Javier González Longoria. It was designed by the Catalan architect Jose Grasses Riera and is considered to be one of the most important and beautiful examples of Spanish modernismo. Today, it houses the Spanish society of authors and editors. It can only be visited from the outside, but you may cast a glance at the entrance hall and staircase.

What to do

  • Cuartel del Conde-DuqueC/ Conde Duque, 11.  Box office: Tu-Sa 17:30-20:30; exhibits: Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00 17:30-21:00, Su and holidays 10:30-14:00This former military building now not only serves as a venue for musical, dance, and theatrical performances but also hosts contemporary art exhibits. Tickets for performances are also sold online.

Buy

  • 1 Calle Fuencarral (between metro stations Gran Vía and Tribunal). The high street that is right inbetween Malasaña and Chueca, is the main shopping and promenading route in this part of Madrid. The 500-metre long strip between Gran Vía and Calle Hernán Cortés is closed to motorised traffic which makes it ideal to stroll along. Fuencarral itself is mostly lined by branches of well-known international fashion, cosmetics and accessory chains. Have a look into the side streets on either side if you are looking for something more individual.
  • Mercado de FuencarralC/ Fuencarral, 45Centrally located shopping centre.
  • Time CapsuleC/ Belén, 7 (Chueca). Tiny, high-quality antique shop. The friendly owner is well aware of the worth of her hand-picked gems, so do not expect a bargain! Current offers are published on the shop’s website and instagram.
  • Flamingo Vintage KiloC/ Espíritu Santo, 1.   Monday – Saturday 11:00-21:00Great assortment of vintage fashion that is sold by weight.

Eat

  • Mercado de San IldefonsoCalle de Fuencarral, 57Su-W noon–midnight, F Sa noon–1AMStreetfood market on Fuencarral street, right in the middle of the Malasaña-Chueca area. 15 different stalls offer arepas (cornmeal griddlecake), brochetas (skewer), tacostapas, ham, meats, wine, beer etc. Between late-May and early-June an international street food festival is celebrated.

Budget

  • Antigua HueveríaC/ San Vicente Ferrer, 32 (Malasaña).  Tu-Th 20:00-23:00, F 20:00-24:00, Sa 13:00-24:00, Su 13:00-16:00The very best huevos rotos (‘broken eggs’) and croquetas. Cheap, beautiful and delicious! The chicken-adorned tiled front dates from the 19th century. Mains €8-14.
  • Cervecería 100 Montaditosmultiple locationsDailyPopular nationwide chain that offers 100 different types of montaditos (small sandwiches). Great place to go for a cheap drink and bite to eat.
  • Home Burger BarC/ Espíritu Santo, 12 (Malasaña).  M-Th 13:30-16:00 20:30-24:00, F Sa and holidays 13:30-17:00 20:30-24:00, Su 13:30-17:00 20:30-23:00THE place for serious hamburgers. Americans will feel at home!
  • Home Burger BarC/ Silva, 25 (Gran Vía).  M-Th 13:30-16:00 20:30-24:00, F Sa and holidays 13:30-17:00 20:30-24:00, Su 13:30-17:00 20:30-23:00A second branch of the same concept.
  • Tapería de MalasañaCalle Corredera Alta de San Pablo 8.  08:00-02:00Taperia with lunch room out the back. Reviews mixed about the tapas but great place for lunch; they do a great Cocido Madrileño and the house wine is more than acceptable (although served somewhat cold). Menu del dia €11.

Mid-range

  • La Cocina del Desierto (Al-Jaima), C/ Barbieri, 1 (Metro: Chueca).  Daily 13:30-16:00 21:00-24:00This dark, cave-like Moroccan restaurant has some of the best North African food in the city. The seating is at low Moroccan-style tables and the calm, mellow atmosphere makes you feel like you’re far from the bustling center of Chueca.
  • Lamucca de PezPlaza de Carlos Cambronero, 4 (Metro: Noviciado) ,   Su-W 13:00-01:30, Th 13:00-02:00, F Sa 13:00-02:30Nice designer restaurant popular within the 20s-30s crowd. Good music, cool people, even better food and cocktails. The kitchen opens in the afternoon.
  • La Panza es Primero (Cocina Mex-Mex), C/ Libertad, 33 (Metro: Chueca) ,   Daily 13:00-01:00This is a small, usually crowded, friendly Mexican restaurant with good food and drinks at reasonable prices. Sample some of their tacos and super-cheesy chilaquiles.
  • Restaurante La BarracaC/ Reina, 29 ,   Daily 13:30-16:15 20:00-23:45Recommended for paella if a more authentic experience is sought. €40+, €50 (meal for 2 with drinks).
  • Restaurante SiamC/ San Bernardino, 6 (Metro: Plaza España or San Bernardino).  Daily 12:00-16:00 20:00-24:00Beautifully-decorated with a tranquil atmosphere, the food is reasonable and offers a pleasant departure from Spanish fare, if so desired. Most mains between €8 and €12.

Drink

As becomes a real hipster quarter, Malasaña boasts its own, eponymous brand of craft beer that can be bought in local delis.

Tapas bars

  • El TigreCalle de las Infantas, 30 (Metro: Gran Vía / Chueca).  Su-Th 12:00-01:30, F Sa 12:00-02:00Probably the most well-known tapas bar in Madrid, a must do. Don’t get frightened by how crowded the bar is and go in anyway. This is one of the most lively places in the city! Get beers, big glasses of wine or un mini de mojito and get free big plates of tapas every time you order. Very affordable.

Cafés

  • Café ComercialGlorieta de Bilbao, 7 (Metro: Bilbao). Opened in the 1880s, this is the oldest cafe in Madrid, and has been run by the same family since the early 1900s. There’s a modern internet café upstairs, but the downstairs remains traditional.
  • Pastelería La DuquesitaCalle Fernando VI, 2 (metro Alsonso Martínez).  Monday to Friday 8.30AM-8.30PM, Sa 9.30AM-8.30PM, Su 10AM-8.30PMLong-standing confectionery (established 1914), offering excellent tartlets that are not only delicious but also look picture-perfect. They are also sold to take away. Tartlets 5–6 € a piece.
  • Café GijónPaseo Recoletos, 21 (Metro: Banco de España or Colon). A historic literary cafe. The outdoor terraza is nice in the summer. 
  • Café Restaurant El Espejo (El Pabellón de El Espejo), Paseo de Recoletos, 31 (Metro: Colon).  Daily 09:00-01:00 (café); daily 13:00-24:00 (restaurant)Opened in 1978, but looks much older. Has two divisions: a more casual café and a restaurant. Good food and very crowded during lunchtime. Café: €14-15 (midweek set menu), €19-20 (weekend set menu); Restaurant: set menu €11-17.
  • Libertad 8Libertad 8 is an iconic coffee shop and bar located on Libertad del barrio de Chueca, in Madrid. Opened as a coffee shop in 1975, ever since then it’s served as a stage for artists and singer-songwriters (known as cantautores). It’s become one of the most important spaces for songwriters, with frequent concerts by Pedro Guerra, Rosana, Ismael Serrano, Luis Pastor, Tontxu, Andrés Suárez, Lichis, Carlos Chaouen, or Kiko Tovar.

Bars

  • AreiaC/ Horteleza, 96 (Metro: Chueca).  Monday to Friday 16:00-03:00, Sa Su 14:00-03:00Very cool chill out bar decorated with deep colours in a Moroccan style. Dark and inviting. The seating includes cushions on the floor, traditional tables and chairs, or if you’re lucky, grab the four poster bed at the back. Drinks: €7 before 22:00 and €8 after 22:00.
  • La Via LacteaC/ Velarde 18 (Malasaña, Metro: Tribunal).  Su-Th 20:00-03:00, F Sa 20:00-03:30A swingin’ bar where you can twist the night away with local hipsters.

Clubs

  • DemodeCalle Ballesta (At the back of Gran Via, closest metro may be Tribunal/Gran Via). From 00:00 to 04:00AMCool electronic sounds for 20s-30s. Free.
  • El Junco Jazz ClubPza. Santa Bárbara 10 (Metro: Alonso Martínez). From 23:00 to 05:30AM weekdays, to 06:00AM weekendsSmallish venue, starts the night with live jazz, later on morphs into relaxed night club. Not cheap (once inside, beer still €5.50, mixed drink €8.50), so attracts older crowd than others nearby. €6 with beer, €9 with mixed drink.

Where to stay in Madrid/Malasaña-Chueca

Budget

  • Hostal Jemasaca-Palma61Calle de la Palma 61 (metro: Noviciado) ,   Breakfast (coffee + pastry + juice) is included in price and it’s served in a cafe near hostel. The nearest metro station is Noviciado. The room includes own bathroom and TV. Quiet and clean basic hostel. Double room: about 50e/night.
  • Hostal San MartinCalle Concepción Arenal 4 (Metro: Callao).  Small, clean guest-house on the 4th floor. Ideally located just meters from Gran Via, with great staff and free wi-fi. All rooms have sink & shower, but most share bathrooms. Singles: €30-36; Doubles: €42-48.
  • Hostal MH FuencarralCalle Fuencarral 10 3º (Metro: Gran Via).  Centrally located, all rooms include bathroom, TV, free wi-fi, air conditioning, central heating, laundry and baggage storage facilities. Rooms with kitchen, washing machine and fridge are also available. Single: From €30.
  • Hostal VisaC/ Pérez Galdós, 7 (metro: Chueca).  Simple, clean and secure. Central location close to Gran Via. Friendly staff. Single €30+.
  • Hostal AsunciónPlaza Santa Bárbara, 8, 2º D (Metro: Alonso Martínez) ,   Check-in: 13:00 to 00:00, check-out: 11:00Simple but clean, on 2nd floor of building. Staff speak excellent English, very friendly. Reception open 6:00 to 00:00, but no curfew, guests get access code to front door. Good free WiFi. Doubles €55.
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Benalmadena Coronavirus (COVID-19) Costa del Sol Travel Report

Wolfgang Holzem

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Benalmádena is a large town on the Spanish Costa del Sol. It consists of three parts; Benalmádena Pueblo, Arroyo de la Miel and Benalmádena Costa. The most worth visiting of these is Benalmádena Costa with its long stretch of sunny beaches, a lively nightlife and excellent cuisine.

It is located roughly 15 km south west of Malaga and merges with Torremolinos lies just north east of it along the coast.

Understand

The Benalmadena coast (Spanish: Benalmàdena Costa) is the southernmost portion of Benalmádena, this is the strip along the Mediterranean Sea. There are many hotels, bars, and of course beaches, and the Puerto Marina is here. The Puerto Marina is an open-air shopping mall, marina, and on-the-water (literally) condominium complex. Don’t expect to find many people here when there’s daylight, but after 22.00 the crowds appear. Next door to the shopping portion which surrounds the harbor, there is a complex containing Benalmádena’s nightclubs. Arroyo de la Miel is the central section of the municipality. and is the home to many Britons, and its main street is lined with British pubs. English speakers will be at home here, but you will also have ample opportunity to practice your Castillian, or even more specifically, your Andaluz.

Get in

Fly to Benalmádena

The closest airport is Malaga airport , which is along the coast, just a few minutes by train or car. You can get a taxi from outside terminal 2 where there is a taxi rank. A taxi from Malaga Airport to Benalmádenatown centre is around €29

Travel by train to Benalmádena

Benalmadena can be reached by the frequent, inexpensive, and comfortable air conditioned trains which run along the coast from Malaga to Fuengirola, with a station at Malaga Airport. The station at Benalmadena is in Arroyo de la Miel, with taxis and buses to take you to all parts of the town.

Travel by bus to Benalmádena

Benalmadena is integrated in Malaga Metropolitan Transport Consortium. The following bus routes:

Route Service Timetable Map
M-110 Malaga-Benalmádena Costa Timetable Map
M-112 Málaga-Mijas Timetable Map
M-115 Málaga-Benalmádena Costa (Directo) Timetable Map
M-116 Benalmádena-Teatinos (October-June) Timetable Map
M-120 Torremolinos-Fuengirola Timetable Map
M-121 Torremolinos-Benalmádena-Mijas Timetable Map
M-123 Churriana-Torremolinos-Benalmádena Costa Timetable Map
M-124 Carola-Torremolinos Timetable Map
M-125 Torremolinos-Patronato Timetable Map
M-126 Benalmádena-Torremolinos Timetable Map
M-320 Málaga-Marbella Timetable Map

Get around

Image of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideThere is a local bus service, the Orange buses, which costs €1.1 per person per journey operating within the town limits. It runs up to Benalmadena Pueblo via Arroyo de la Miel starting from both ends of the coastal road. Times are posted on the Orange Bus Stops. The Portillo buses, green and cream, run along to coast from Malaga right down to Estapona and from Benalmadena to Malaga or Fuengirola costs €1.2 per person. Taxis cost €5.5 per trip within the town limits during the week and 8 on Sundays; they can take up to 4 people. This place is hilly with several roads having the Cardiac Hill nickname so buses and taxis can be a valuable health aid.

Sightseeing in Benalmádena

  • Benalmadena Marina. The inner part is surrounded by shops, cafes, bars and apartments and is nice to walk around.
  • Butterfly ZooAvda. Retamar, Benalmadena Pueblo (adjacent to the Buddhist Temple). 10.00-18.00 approxThis recently opened attraction features a great variety of butterflies from different continents. From Torremolinos, Benalmadena Costa and Arroyo take the bus that goes to Mijas (every half hour during the day) and alight at Estupa which is just beyond the village of Benalmadena Pueblo. The Buddhist Temple is easy to spot. By car, Exit 217 on the autovia and head towards Benalmadena Pueblo. €11.50.

What to do in Benalmádena

  • Boat trips. Some of these include dolphin watching.
  • Cable car to top of mountain. An excellent trip. You can get there on the Sightseeing Tour Bus which tours the town on a one hour round trip and you can get on and off at any place. Get off at Tivoli World for the cable car trip to the top and then if you’re up for it, a short steep walk to the peak of the mountain where the views are beautiful. The Birds of Prey exhibition on the mountain is inclusive with the cable car price (13 euro) and is a fascinating show with eagles, vultures and owls showing off their skills.
  • Segway toursPuerto Deportivo de Benalmadena.  10AM till 7PM€35.
  • Tivoli World – Theme park near the centre of town.
  • Costa Party Catamarans operate luxury sailing catamarans and their English speaking crews are fabulous. The best boat trip, takes place daily from 10-00AM, out to sea looking for wild dolphins.

Where to eat in Benalmádena

  • The Atrium – a fine restaurant located on Avenida de al Constitución, where a nice meal will cost 10-15€ per person. There is a wide variety of dishes, and excellent recipes. It is spacious, having rejected the Spanish tendency to cram as much as possible into the smallest space. You will feel as though you’re dining in England or the United States, but the recipes bring the best of Spanish raw materials to your table prepared as nouveau cuisine.

Drink

The Harpenny Bridge is a great bar to watch football. As you guessed, it is an Irish pub and they do amazing variety of whiskeys and spirits. They also are one of the only bars around allowed to sell black vodka.

Also Monkey Business, (in front of Hotel Riviera). A great place for drinks and fun. The food is great and bar staff are Irish so there’s always great craic.

  • Picassos Show BarPlaza de Ibensa, local 14, Benalmadena Costa (Beneath Eduardo’s Restaurant.).  Picasso’s will be serving drinks and there will be a free nightly raffle. Drinks are exceptionally low priced for this type of luxury venue.
  • Robbo’s BarAvenida De Bonanza10am-2amFriendly family bar, good food (best of British) served all day, good selection of drinks at affordable prices, pool table and sun terrace, quiz nights Tu-Th Sa from about 10pm. Cheap prices.

Where to stay in Benalmádena

There are many lodging options in Benalmádena.

  • Hotel Benalmadena BeachAv. Antonio Machado, 43.
  • Holiday World Resort.
  • Flatotel costa del sol.
  • Hotel Bali Benalmadena.
  • Holiday Village hotel.
  • Holiday palace hotel.
  • Apartamentos Good Places.
  • Hydros Hotel.
  • Hostal SolymielAvda. Blas Infante, 14 29631, Arroyo de la Miel Málaga 29631, Arroyo de la Miel Málaga.
  • Apartamentos Don GustavoAvda. Antonio Machado, 60 Benalmádena Costa, 29630 Malaga, España Benalmádena Costa, 29630 Malaga, España.
  • Hotel Las ArenasAv de Antonio Machado, 122 29630 Benalmádena Costa Málaga 29630 Benalmádena Costa Málaga.
  • Apartahotel Ms AlayAvda Alay s/n 29630 Benalmádena – Málaga 29630 Benalmádena – Málaga.
  • Best TritónAvda. Antonio Machado 29 29630, Benalmádena Benalmádena.
  • Best BenalmádenaAvda. del Sol, s/n – Ctra. Cádiz Km 220 29630, Benalmádena Benalmádena.
  • Best SirocoC/ Carril del Siroco, s/n 29630, Benalmádena Benalmádena.
  • Polynesia Hotel.
  • Vincci Aleysa SpaAv. Antonio Machado, 57 29630. Benalmádena, Malaga Benalmádena.

Stay safe in Benalmádena

  • Xanit Hospital which is a privately run hospital is located in Benalmadena should the need arise.

Go next

Tours are available from almost everywhere in Benalmádena and lots go to Malaga, Marbella, Ronda, Estepona, Algeciras, Cadiz, Sevilla and Gibraltar (UK).

Be aware that if you decide to go to Gibraltar, you will need a passport or ID to get in. Some countries may require visas, although uncommon.

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