Here in Madrid, we are lucky to host FITUR — one of Europe’s largest International Tourism Trade Fairs. FITUR attendees come from all around the world to set up their beautiful booths during this five-day event.
When is FITUR in 2018?
The 2018 FITUR dates are the 17-21 of January. The 17, 18 and 19 are industry-only days. On the weekends, local visitors crowd in to see some of the beautiful booths, tastes foods from around the world, and maybe even choose their next vacation destination.
See also: Reasons to visit FITUR in Madrid
Foodie Things to do in Madrid for FITUR Attendees
Madrid is an incredible destination, and one worth exploring after FITUR shuts its doors each evening. It’s also worth planning to stay a few extra days on either side of the tourism fair, as you can explore many of Madrid’s top sights and amazing museums in only a couple of days.
Read more: Top 10 travel tips for Madrid
But the best way to experience Madrid? Eating and drinking like a Madrileño of course! Here are our top tips for devouring Madrid like a local.
1. Warm up with a Cocido Madrileño at Taberna La Bola
FITUR takes place in January, one of the coldest months in Madrid. But instead of turning up the heat in your hotel room, venture out to try Madrid’s traditional winter stew, the Cocido Madrileño. This iconic dish consists of a rich broth, followed by heaping platters of local chickpeas and stewed meats. It’s a delicious experience, and best enjoyed with a bottle of Spanish wine.
2. Devour Madrid on a food tour
Another way to get to know Madrid’s incredible gastronomy is by taking a food tour. This way you’ll taste a variety of Madrid’s dishes (at least 10!) in a short amount of time. We’d recommend that FITUR attendees try the Ultimate Spanish Cuisine Tour for a true taste of Madrid’s most iconic dishes (including the Cocido Madrileño mentioned above!) during the day, or the popular Tapas, Taverns and History Tour (a 2-in-1 tour of Madrid’s best tapas bars and historic city center) in the evening.
3. Go Local with the Bocadillo de Calamares
If there’s no time for a tour or a Cocido, at the very least you must grab Madrid’s signature sandwich, the bocadillo de calamares. This delicious creation stuffs freshly fried calamari rings on a hearty baguette. Locals eat it plain, but mayonnaise and spicy bravas sauce make great additions. One of the most famous places in town is conveniently located in front of the Atocha train station: El Brillante.
4. Save Sunday and explore the Rastro tapas scene
If staying until Sunday, there’s no better way to spend the morning than by discovering the vibrant Rastro flea market. As Madrid’s largest flea market, you’ll find everything here from paella pans to gas masks! But the true gem of the Rastro? It’s booming tapas scene! This video shows you some of the best, and for a guided experience, check out our Madrid Rastro Tour and Tapas Crawl.
5. Impress your clients with dinner at Angelita Madrid
Our team is picky when it comes to eating in Madrid, but we all agree that the Angelita Madrid is one of the most impressive new restaurants in town! The amazing wine bar features fantastic local Spanish wines by the glass and even more by the bottle. The restaurant menu is excellent, and they also have a creative cocktail bar in the basement (get their gin and tonic for a real treat!). This is a place to impress clients– but don’t forget to make a reservation.
6. Treat yourself to Madrid’s best hot chocolate
Forget about the churros– Madrid’s rich chocolate is the true main event! And no one makes it better than Confitería El Riojano (we taste this on our Ultimate Spanish Cuisine Tour!). Everyday pastry chef Roberto melts down rich chocolate to create his masterpiece, the best hot chocolate in Madrid. It’s traditionally served with a ladyfinger biscuit (ask for the soletillas).
7. Eat at the oldest restaurant in the world
Another must-do is lunch or dinner at El Sobrino de Botín. Officially the oldest restaurant in the world (according to the Guinness Book of World Records), Botín is a hard reservation to snag, but well worth it for the incredible history and delicious roast suckling pig. Can’t get in? Try our best-selling Prado and Botín experience and check off two of Madrid’s top icons in style, with a pre-opening tour of Botín and a tour of the Prado’s most iconic pieces.
Read more: The Inside Scoop on Botín
Whatever you decide, Madrid is an incredible city to experience! Filled with delicious food and friendly people, you can’t go wrong with any of the ideas on this list. If you are headed to FITUR 2018, don’t forget to visit the city center and devour Madrid for yourself!
Lauren grew up in an Italian-American family where 3-hour meals were the norm. After 10 years in the restaurant industry, she moved to Spain where she launched her popular Spanish food blog, Spanish Sabores, and soon after led groups on the first Devour Madrid food tours.