A Family Guide to Madrid by Beatriz Millán
Mooching about in a new city is one of life's great pleasures. Following your nose and seeing where you end up is fun but it's handy to have a bit of insider knowledge, especially when you have the kids in tow. We asked Spanish blogger and mum of two, Beatriz Millán, to give us her top tips for a family day out in Madrid.
Madrid is a great city to explore with kids. It's nice and flat so walking around with a buggy is easy or you can rent bikes if your kids are older. The public transport network is also easy to use and free for kids under four. The first thing to do is visit the Tourist Information Centre in the Plaza Mayor. They have loads of information and ideas for great things to do and child friendly places to visit.
We begin here in the Barrio de las Letras, a great place to wander around as it's mostly pedestrianised. Our family friendly route starts at the Caixa Forum Museum (Paseo del Prado, 36) where you can always find interesting exhibitions for kids to get in touch with art plus great workshops for little ones.
We visited “Impresionistas y Modernos” and also played with magnets trying to make our own still life composition at its “Caixa Forum Kids” room.
The shop is also great to find curious objects, toys and lots of wonderful books.
If you like books, one of our family's favourite places to visit is nearby so next head to Espacio Kalandraka (C/ Santa Maria, 16). The shop belongs to the Spanish publishing house, Kalandraka, and has a fantastic selection of books. At the weekends they run free story telling sessions and my girls love it!
The best place to stop for refreshment in this neighbourhood is the Meet In Cafe (C/Huertas, 33) where you can get fresh smoothies, natural juices and homemade cookies. It's usually quiet and they have colouring books to keep the kids entertained.
If you have presents to buy for friends back home or just for a special treat take the kids to the Kamchatka Magic Toys (Calle San Agustín, 18) It's the most wonderful toy shop and the owners, Nathalie and Ray, will make you and your kids feel right at home. They even have a Brio train and a marble circuit to play inside.
Very near by you’ll find a beautiful, historical place perfect for a little rest, especially on very warm summer days. The gardens of Casa Museo de Lope de Vega (Calle Cervantes, 11) are open and free to visit. You can sit on their benches, enjoy the fresh air, and take beautiful pictures.
I haven't yet met a kid who doesn't love pizza, right? And PizzaMasCalzone (C/ Cervantes, 1) is a fantastic place to have one. Their pizzas are homemade in the stone oven and totally delicious. Also try their caprese salad but skip the dessert because you will want to have some room in your tummy for when you pass by Ricci (C/ Huertas, 9), a brilliant ice cream shop with some amazing flavours to try. That should be the icing on the cake (or the ice cream on the cone) to your family stroll around my neighbourhood. Have fun! x Beatriz
For a map of the route taken click Here
Words by Beatriz Milan http://www.beatrizmillan.com
All pictures were taken by Julia Puig http://www.juliapuig.com
Both girls were dressed by NICOQO http://nicoqo.com/eu/en/
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