Madrid is a big city. With a population of 3.165 million, it’s the third largest city in the European Union. Upon my arrival, Boston felt small (there’s only around 650 thousand people living there) and I loved it. For me it was more bakeries to visit, more people to talk to and more places to get lost. Also, public transportation here rocks. The metro system is one of the cleanest I’ve encountered and is super easy to navigate. Hooray for no stinky, long rides on the Boston T! The bus system is also worth learning because you can often get places faster and more directly with buses running about every fifteen minutes. Also, there’s free Wi-Fi on every public bus in Madrid. But, let’s start with metro stops. I live near the Linea 1, so here are some of my favorite stops on the light blue line.
Atocha (or Atocha Renfe)
Do you want to take a train somewhere? To the UAM? To Paris? To…anywhere? Come to the largest train station in Madrid, Atocha. It’s a convenient stop with connections to basically every Cercanías train (trains that travel further than the metro, but still relatively close to Madrid’s center.) An important train to note is the Cercanías-1 line, which takes you directly to Terminal 4 of Madrid-Barajas Airport. If you step outside of Atocha, there’s, in my opinion, not much to do. You could walk to the Prado or eat overpriced food, but that’s about it.
Sol is crowded, touristy and I always have the suspicion someone might try to pickpocket me…and I’m also still not sure how Vodafone got to sponsor a metro stop. But, with so many stores, it’s a great place to shop. The Plaza Mayor is also nearby, which you must take a moment to check out before leaving Madrid. Also, Madrid’s version of Chelsea Market, the Mercado de San Miguel is nearby. Get ready to spend some cash, though. Nothing good in the Sol area is cheap.
This stop is walking distance from Sol and has more places to shop. There’s a big El Corte Inglés, which has almost everything from electronics to chia seeds. It’s also walking distance from Callao, another great place to shop. But, that’s another metro line for another blog post.
Tribunal is probably my favorite stop on this line. It leaves you in the heart of Malasaña, a “too hip to quit” neighborhood in Madrid. It’s quieter (during the day at least, Malasaña is known for its bars) and has lots of small cafés. So, try a yayo at Casa Camacho, a cortado from one of the many cafés and a coconut-lime paleta from LOLO Polos Artesanos that tastes exactly like key lime pie. Also, go to Ojalá and order a pitcher of sangria and sit down in their makeshift beach downstairs, with REAL sand!
Disclaimer: Malasaña is super hipster
There you go, these are my favorite stops on the light blue Linea 1. To be fair, I haven’t explored every single stop. But, hey, I’ve only been here a month. There’s still lots more to explore.