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Make motorhome magic in Madrid

There is no city more alive than Madrid. It’s a worthy destination for a motorhome adventure. Every corner you turn uncovers a spot that draws in tourists and locals alike.

Madrid Barajas Airport is the main hub for air travel from Spain to the rest of the world. Numerous international flights arrive here from North America, Australasia, Europe and Asia. A short subway journey will get you into the centre of Madrid, where you can experience authentic Spanish culture.

Due to Madrid's central location, you can easily explore the whole country from this city.  Some of the must-see cities include Barcelona, Granada, Jerez, Sevilla and Malaga.

An artistic city

Hit the pavement and familiarise yourself with the city on Gran Via. This 1km-long street runs from the Metropolis Building to Plaza de España. Take your time and enjoy the  beautiful boutiques and bars along the strip. If you get lost, there is an iconic meeting point for tourists. ‘The Bear and the Strawberry Tree’ sculpture is in the centre of the Puerta del Sol, which is in the heart of Madrid. The Art Triangle is another compulsory stop for any visitor to the city. The Museo del Prado, Reina Sofía and Thyssen-Bornemisza are the three places that make up this triangle on the Paseo del Prado.

Where to stay

Camping Osuna is an ideal place to enjoy your campervan trip in the capital of Spain. The idyllic surroundings of the park and geographical location make it the perfect base for a Madrid holiday. It is the only campground located within the city limits.

Bungalows Camping Alpha Madrid is a cheap option on the outskirts of the city. They have a small pool and terrace and a shop where you can stock up. The airport is close too.

Camping El Escorial is a large holiday site. It has a supermarket and a summer opening swimming pool with good sports facilities.

Camping Soto del Castilla is 50km from Madrid and is very quiet and well kept on the banks of a river. This camping ground is moderately priced.

In addition to the official campsites, there are a number of other options for sleeping wild in rural Andalucía. National parks often have refugios or mountain shelters – basic accommodation with limited cooking and washing facilities. Free camping areas can also be found in and near some national parks.

Events in Madrid

Die-hard football fans will want to check out the Plaza de Cibeles, where Real Madrid fans celebrate their team’s regular victories. But the real football icon is Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, where you can take a tour if you can’t get a ticket for a game.

Experimental seaweed lollipops: Where to eat in Madrid

Biblioteca was once the library of the Duke of Santo Mauro, and the scholarly ambience is a perfect way to enjoy an intimate meal. There are more than 200 wines and an extensive cocktail list, but it’s the breakfast that is most impressive.

Feast on experimental gastronomy at its best at La Terraza Del Casino. The innovative menu includes the signature dish Kellogg’s paella, of Rice Krispies, shrimp heads and vanilla-flavoured mashed potatoes. Get a taste for Catalonian cuisine at Sergi Arola Gastro. Within three years of opening, the restaurant gained two Michelin stars and the menu changes monthly, with classical dishes. There is such thing as a free lunch at El Tigre. Order a beer or a cider and marvel at the free tapas – patatas bravas, jamón serrano, Spanish omelette. Each plate varies with each round of drinks. Zombie Bar has tasty burgers and sandwiches and ultra tempting cocktails. Plus the decor is nothing but rad. It’s also vegetarian- and vegan-friendly.

Madrid has two essential traditional dishes. ‘Cocido’ is a stew that is typical of Madrid’s fare, and there are thousands of ways to prepare it. Some of the best  can be found at Lhardy, with one of the oldest recipes in Madrid. La Bola and Malacatín also have delicious versions.
El Brillante café, opposite Atocha station, is aptly named and serves calamari sandwiches – the second must-try dish of Madrid. Bars like Postas and Ideal also offer these sandwiches, filled with tender breaded calamari.

The best things to do in Madrid

The Madrid skyline is one of the most memorable in Spain, so clamber up the stairs to the rooftop terrace at the Círculo de Bellas Artes. They have a huge patio and refreshing beer while you watch the whole city disappear as the sun sets. Casa de Campo is five times bigger than New York’s Central Park. It’s home to a funfair, Madrid Zoo, a youth hostel, sports facilities and more than a few spaces for concerts and events, including Madrid Arena.

If you have to be savvy with the sights you visit, these are the three essential spots you cannot miss.

       1. Plaza Mayor, where you can relax with an expensive cup of coffee while you people watch. The equestrian statue of Felipe III is in the centre of the square too.

       2. The Puerta de Alcalá is an ancient neoclassical-style gateway to Madrid. It’s best seen at dusk, when lights shine on its arches.

       3. The Royal Palace, next to the Catedral de la Almudena, is the official residence of the Spanish royal family.

Load up the camper and take some day trips out of the city to explore the surroundings:

  • The gardens of La Granja de San Ildefonso, a royal palace formerly used as a summer residence by the Spanish monarchs, is a real treat.

  • The former capital of Spain, Toledo has retained its medieval charm, with its city walls and winding streets.

  • The twin charms of Segovia's fairytale castle and Roman aqueduct make Segovia an essential day trip from Madrid.

  • Visit the immense San Lorenzo del Escorial Monastery, about 45km from town. The monastery and kings’ crypt (where the majority of Spain’s kings for the past 400 years are buried) are a nice alternative to tourist-heavy Segovia and Toledo.

  • Windmills and saffron – two of Spain's most famous sights can be found in Consuegra.

Weather forecast in Madrid

Summer is hot and dry, while snow is sporadic during winter. The best months to visit are from April through until May and during September and October. These months are mild, and while there’s often rain, the heat is bearable and camping will be more pleasant.

Where to hire a camper

Barcelona is the home of the small campers and pop-top VW California campers. So, if you plan to do more of Spain than Madrid, it might be smarter to hire a van from there. Barcelona is only a day trip away.
McRent’s philosophy is ‘Fair – Easy – Safe’. With partnerships all over Europe, McRent is one of the most well-respected names in the campervan hire industry. They promise a dream holiday, and with such a wide range of motorhome rentals on offer, you can see why.

Pure Motorhomes Spain pride themselves on luxury vehicles at cost-effective prices. You will find them on the Motorhome Republic search engine, so you know they will do everything they can to deliver a quality service.

Autocaravan Express’ depot is located at San Sebastian de los Reyes, around 19km from Madrid Barajas Airport, but only a couple of kilometres from the city. Open six days a week, Autocaravan Express has an outstanding reputation.

Big Sky Motorhomes have been in the business since 1985, with depots across the country and free transportation from the airport. This free of charge service is a fine example of Big Sky’s professionalism and customer service ethic. 

Handy hints for camping in the capital

  • Book early to get the best deals.

  • Parking in the city area is not a good idea. To avoid it, try parking around the parks at the airport, near the Camping Osuna campsite. You can then take the Metro to the city. 

  • Convenience stores in small towns or in campsites are often much more expensive than supermarkets. By stocking up at supermarkets when you pass them, you can save a lot of money.

  • For Wi-Fi try a local library – it is usually free.