This blog post was originally posted on November 14, 2016 and was updated October 3, 2018.
It’s the calm before the holiday storm.
Before you know it, Madrid will be all decked out for Christmas and Reyes. We love the festive winter atmosphere in the city, but the last few days of autumn are a time worth taking advantage of as well. As the crisp air and clouds blanket the city, it’s the perfect time of year to tuck into favorite fall foods and get off the beaten path. If you’ll be in Madrid in November, you’ve made a good choice—let us show you the best ways to make the most of the month!
Enjoy Madrid’s traditional stew
There’s no better way to warm up after a chilly morning of sightseeing than by digging into a hearty, delicious plate of cocido madrileño. You’ll find the traditional chickpea-based stew on tables across Madrid year-round, but we particularly love it in winter. The best part? Although the general idea is the same across the board, no two cocido recipes are exactly alike. We guess you’ll just have to eat your way around some of the city’s best restaurants to try and find your favorite! Our vote goes to Taberna La Bola (Calle de la Bola, 5).
Insider’s Tip: Here in Spain, lunch is the main meal of the day. Spaniards eat late, generally between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Embrace the Spanish way with a big lunch to power you through an afternoon of sightseeing.
Take a day trip
We love Madrid, but sometimes a smaller, quainter town is calling our name for a quick escape. Head beyond the capital and discover what else the region has to offer far from the busy city streets of Madrid. Toledo is always a good choice, as is the San Lorenzo de El Escorial Monastery, which is particularly beautiful in the fall. If you don’t have access to a car, it’s easy to get there from Madrid on public transport. Just take bus #661 or #664 from the Intercambiador de Moncloa and get off at the San Lorenzo de El Escorial bus station. In just about an hour, you’ll be marveling at the idyllic UNESCO World Heritage site!
Visit Bernabeu Stadium, home of Real Madrid
The iconic Real Madrid soccer team has won the hearts of generations of madrileños. Even if you don’t consider yourself much of a sports fan, it’s still worth touring the team’s massive stadium in order to understand this cherished aspect of local culture. Tour Bernabeu takes you deep into the heart of the stadium, where you’ll see the team’s decades of history come to life before your eyes. You’ll also get exclusive access to the locker room, press room, presidential box and tunnel. The tour ends with the chance to step out onto the field itself, walking in the footsteps of legends.
Price: 25 euros per adult; 18 euros per youth under 14
Marvel at Madrid’s Egyptian temple
Still can’t believe that Madrid really does have it all? The Temple of Debod will clear up any doubt. After all, how many other European capitals can claim a real, authentic Ancient Egyptian temple? The Egyptian government gave the temple to Spain as a gift, and it was moved here from Egypt brick by brick. With views straight off of a postcard of the Casa de Campo park and its fall foliage, it’s one of the most beautiful spots here in Madrid in November.
Explore the local market
Fall means that market stalls all over Madrid are overflowing with fresh, colorful produce! One of our favorite things to do in Madrid in November is to spend a lazy, relaxed morning simply wandering the stalls of a vibrant local market, people-watching and sampling products from the proud vendors. Eating like a local has never been so fun!
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Alex’s first taste of Spain was Basque Country, and it was love at first sip…of txakoli! Too obsessed with tapas to even consider returning to the States, Alex moved to Madrid and continued exploring Spain. Read more about her travels and expat adventures on her blog: Backpacking Brunette.