If you’re going to be spending any length of time in Madrid, you can be certain of one thing: anyone and everyone who can come and visit you will. After all, if you’re friends and family members know they can stay somewhere for free, as opposed to paying for accommodation, you could go just about anywhere and some would still follow. Of everyone who would even consider coming to see you, however, it’s by far your parents who are most likely to do so — free accommodation or not! Although their visit will certainly be welcome, chances are your folks may not be interested in enjoying the same places and activities in Madrid as you, which leads to the inevitable question: what do I do with them while they’re here? Here are some ideas.
Some plans in Madrid for your family
The Museo Sorolla
Most likely you’ve already thought about taking your parents to one of Madrid’s world-famous museums. After all, tourists from all over the world visit the Prado, the Thyssen and the Reina Sofía. Museums in droves all throughout the year; they are definitely must-sees for anyone visiting the capital. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that your folks are probably more interested in being with you than spending hours viewing the extensive Velázquez or Goya collections or Guernica. Unless your parents are art enthusiasts, the Prado Museum may likely seem like an endless labyrinth of paintings from the Dark Ages to them. In the same way, Dalí or Picasso may be too abstract for their liking, as well. Solution? Take them to the Museo Sorolla. Located north of the city center on Paseo General Martínez Campos, the Museo Sorolla houses the works of the original Pintor de la luz (Painter of Light), Joaquín Sorolla Bastida. Occupying what was the painter’s family residence, the museum exhibits his works, as well as the studio he used to create them. As it’s short and sweet, the Museo Sorolla is to everyone’s liking.
The Botanical Garden
Another crowd-pleaser, and thus, perfect for visiting parents is the Real Jardín Botánico, or Botanical Garden. Close to Atocha Station and adjacent to Retiro Park, the gardens are centrally-located and easy to get to. Initially conceived by King Fernando VI in 1755, the garden was originally located on the banks of the Manzanares River in the area now known as Puerta del Hierro. Later, in 1781, King Carlos III moved it to its current location on the Paseo del Prado. Today the Real Jardín Botánico has over 6.000 living species, most of which are indigenous to the Mediterranean or areas with a similar climate, such as California, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, and the south of Australia. Other species that require different climatic conditions are cultivated in the greenhouse. Madrid’s botanical garden, being relatively small and meticulously designed is an excellent place to spend an hour enjoying nature.
Travelling close to Madrid
If you’re parents have never been to Spain before, they almost certainly want to visit a picturesque town or city near the capital. Located approximately 100 kilometers from Madrid, Segovia is a small city with a great deal of charm. Despite a small population of only around 55.000 inhabitants, it boasts a number of interesting buildings and monuments, and as a result was named as aWorld Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985. The most emblematic structure of the city is without a doubt the Roman aqueduct, which was constructed at some point during the first or second centuries. Other structures worth visiting are the famous Alcázar and the Catedral de Santa María. In addition to architecture, the city also boasts excellent gastronomy, known chiefly for its specialty, cochinillo or suckling pig. Segovia is easily reached by high speed train from Madrid, taking only a mere half hour to get there.
Now You’re Ready
So, when your parents decide to come visit you while you’re here in Madrid, instead of racking your brains for where to take them, now you have some wonderful options to choose from!