07 Jun Madrid By Barrios: Chamartín
Madrid By Barrios: Chamartín
By: Bridget J. Bailey
Today, I would like to tell you about one of Madrid’s lesser known barrios but my absolute favorite one: Chamartín. I discovered this charming neighborhood six months after I arrived and it was completely by accident. Once I discovered this area, however, I fell in love. Some of the striking things when you walk out of the Santiago Bernabeu Metro stop are the sleek buildings, the leafy green trees that overhang the streets and of course, the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, home of the infamous Real Madrid soccer team.
Even if you are not interested in soccer, the stadium should be on your ‘must-see’ list. To Madrileños (people from Madrid) soccer or football, is close to religion. They laugh, cry, breathe and bleed it. It is not unusual for the Metro to be packed with supporters, all decked in their team’s colors. Real Madrid is, perhaps, the most well known football team in the world and boasts players like Cristiano Ronaldo. The stadium in and of itself is beautiful. If you are interested in seeing the second largest football stadium in Madrid, you can take a tour of the inside. Tickets start at 19 euros and the tour includes the dressing room, dug out area, panoramic view of the stadium, presidential box, press room, and the official store. The easiest way to get there is to take Line 10 (dark blue line) on the Metro and get off at the Santiago Bernabeu stop. From there, any of the exits will take you within walking distance of the stadium. I’m certain that after you will be chanting ‘Ale, ale, Madrid!’
If football no te interesa (does not interest you), then there are plenty of upscale restaurants and bars. One of my absolute favorites is La Vaca Argentina (The Argentine Cow). If you have never tried steak from Argentina, you have not lived. I know this seems like quite an over-the-top statement but I do not kid. You have not lived until you have tried Parilla, or Argentine grilled meat. I was fortunate enough to live in Buenos Aires, Argentina and still have mouth-watering memories of the steak. I had not found an authentic Argentinian restaurant until I stumbled across La Vaca. It isn’t the most budget friendly restaurant in Madrid but everyone needs one splurge once in awhile. Make it this place. I promise you will not regret it. Get any of the steaks or tiras, and pair it with the rich, red Malbec wine. Dip the bread in chimichurri sauce and feel the slight bite it has going down. Just writing this has me salivating and contemplating going later. You can find this amazing restaurant on Paseo de la Castellana, 214.
One of the outstanding things about Chamartín is the greenspace. If you are like me, I love to enjoy the sun and a good picnic on any given Sunday. One of my favorite parks is Parque de Berlín (Berlin Park). You can sit anywhere amongst the fountains and statues, take along some bocadillos (Spanish sandwiches), drinks and and the delicious chocolate-stuffed pastry, napolitanas. I would recommend going sometime in April, when spring is in its full glory and it isn’t too hot. Go around 1:00 or 2:00 p.m. to beat the crowds. Parque de Berlín is located Avenida Ramon y Cajal, 2.
On a final note, please check out this barrio. It has just as much to offer as the more famous neighborhoods but without the major crowds and tourist traps.
If architecture is your thing, check out The Four Towers. They are the only four major skyscrapers in Madrid and deserve a filtered photo on your Instagram. They are located along Paseo de la Castellana.