Malasaña is, as far as I'm aware, the hip zone of Madrid. Did I really just use the word 'hip'? I'm fairly certain no one hip would ever use the word 'hip'. Oh well.
It's incredibly colourful, which I loved, and full of quirky cafes-cum-bars and little independent shops.
Cupcakeries, vintage shops and cocktail bars all make for an area beloved of Madrid's cool young people. Malasaña came particularly to life at night (as one might expect in Spain) and the vibe was abso buzzing. I loved it.
Absolutely huge and incredibly beautiful, I could not recommend exploring Retiro Park more. Considering its size, however, I suggest you do as we did and hire bikes - it's just 2€ for an hour and there's a docking station right by one of the main entrances, conveniently.
Be warned though: we had numerous issues actually getting the bikes out - you need your passport number for some reason - but once we had them it was great. Particularly fun was that the bikes are electric, which you can turn on and off.
Most of the time we cycled as normal, but when the terrain got even slightly uphill, on went the electric and smoothly we cruised. It was most leisurely and extremely enjoyable - who wants to physically exert themselves on holiday? Not this gal.
The bikes allowed us to cover so much more ground than we'd have been able to on foot. Witness the pretty crystal palace, complete with turtles.
Probably the most famous part of the park, however, is the lake. I'd been out boating on my first visit to Madrid but I was still mad keen to go again, as it's so pretty.
It's also super cheap in comparison to doing the same in London so yay Madrid!
Yeah, it turns out rowing is not my forte - I'm not cut out for physical labour tbh - so luckily Holly was happy to take the lead.
We sipped sangria and soaked up the sun. It was dreamy.
And that, amigos, is the end of my Madrid highlights. It's such a fantastic city though and I'm rather jealous of my sister (and brother for that matter) having lived there for nine months. I mean to be fair my year abroad was also awesome, but still.
What are your thoughts on Madrid? Let me know!