Have you ever used the free Skyscanner app? I can’t lie, it’s pretty addictive. I open it up on my iPhone at least once a day to see where I can fly for cheap. Simply set your home airport and choose “Everywhere” as the city, then clear the dates so the app will pull up the cheapest fares going anywhere on any date.
Lately I’ve been seeing round-trip fares for under $100 to Myrtle Beach, SC, St. Augustine, FL, Charlotte and Cleveland from the Washington, DC area. Sure, those cities would be fun to visit on my own or with kids but then I saw it…round-trip from Baltimore to Madrid for $16.
Before you jump to download the free app, Skyscanner ultimately could not find the round-trip flight on British Airways (I also looked for the $16 flight on the British Airways website). It’s okay though, the dates would have been tough to manage anyway. But ah, Madrid. If it had worked out, here are five things I would have done with my kids in Madrid.
1. Relax in Plaza Mayor. A popular tourist square, Plaza Mayor is a huge open space that’s ideal for taking in the architecture of the plaza buildings or enjoying a meal at one of the open-air cafes. Several statues also adorn the square. Wander about enjoying various street performers and vendors that entertain throughout the day and night.
2. Listen to Mariachi Bands at Puerta del Sol. Meaning “Gate of the Sun,” Puerta del Sol is one of the most well-known spots in Madrid. Just a short walk from Plaza Mayor, go for the famous clock tower, the Kilometre Zero marker, various statues, restaurants and shops, and of course, mariachi bands. It’s a must to listen to the musical sounds as you take in the scenery.
3. Eat Churros. Sure, you can get churros everywhere, even Costco, but there’s surely something different about churros in Spain. Even better, chocolate-dipped churros. Oh. Yes. So pay a visit to Chocolateria San Gines. As a bonus, this delightful shop is open 24 hours a day, so you can get your churro fix any time of day or night.
4. Tour the Royal Palace. I’m always up for a good royal palace tour, so the place to go in Madrid is Palacio Real. Tours set off throughout the day of this 2,000 room place. Fortunately, not all rooms are included on the tour, but you and your kids will be able to see some of the most ornate and impressive rooms, like the royal banquet hall.
5. Take Pictures of the Kids with El Oso y el Madrono. You can’t escape Madrid without taking in the El Oso y el Madrono (The Bear and the Strawberry Tree) sculpture. At the center of Puerta del Sol, you won’t be able to miss it (it’s also four meters tall). Most tourists take pictures with the bear, so don’t shy away. Snap a pic and move on to enjoy the rest of Madrid.