Activity breaks in Madrid
Whether it’s food, wine, culture or dazzling architecture that is luring you to Madrid this year, there’s plenty going on to have a holiday with a difference. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to learn a new skill or to satisfy an urge within you to look deeper into what makes a place so desirable? We have.
Recently we took you to France and showed you how to brush up on your language skills among native speakers on french residential courses and we also told you how to improve your cookery skills on day classes during your stay. Well, this time we want to show you some of the life enhancing skills you could learn in the stunning Spanish capital of Madrid.
We know that holidays are for relaxing and getting away from it all but if there’s a burning ambition to do any of these things, we reckon you’ll get a lot more out of it by doing them in situ. The overall experience is bound to be much more authentic and likely to have a more profound effect on you.
Recently over a glass of Rioja or two, we all shared some of our secret dreams and ambitions and learning a language seemed to be popular among the team. Most of us had dabbled with our Berlitz phrase books over the years but had never actually gone for any formal training. Everyone agreed that they came home from holidays vowing to make a bit more effort on our next holidays which made us think about actually making it part of the trip. Just think how empowering it would be to be able to converse with the locals and find your way around the city being able to say more than “Dos cervesas, por favor”.
Okay, so you won’t be fluent overnight but you’ll certainly come back speaking and understanding a bit more Spanish than you did to begin with and you could also meet some great new friends in the process.
If Spanish is your lingo of choice and you fancy combining a city break with your tuition then Madrid is an excellent starting point on your cultural education. Spanish study holidays offer courses in the heart of the city, which are held in the mornings, leaving the rest of the day free for sight-seeing and exploring the delights of Madrid.
This organisation also offer special interest course too and if Salsa is your thing then you could combine some sexy Latin moves with your verbs and nouns! Check out their website and have a look at which Spanish courses suit you best.
You can also take intensive course with International House Madrid which consists of 20 hours per week for any number of weeks, depending on your needs and level you wish to attain. Click here for details and practical information on the courses on offer.
Alternatively, if you want to enjoy learning to speak Spanish from the comfort of your own home then there are some online Spanish classes too.
So, back to Madrid and of course…the hypnotic sound of flamenco. This traditional dance dates back to the 18th century and its origins are linked to Andalusia in the south of the country, although it is celebrated and performed all over Spain and no more so than in Madrid. It is a passionate and seductive art form which uses hand clapping, dance and guitar playing to knit the complex rhythms together, culminating in a dazzling and powerful display. Many of the dancers we see in shows today have been perfecting their craft for years, often starting very young but it is possible to take beginners classes just for fun and to experience this creative and expressive form of dance. If you have a secret desire to give it a whirl then join in some of the classes in and around the city who welcome all ages and levels of ability. Check out some of the local schools and classes here.
If you want to take a lesson and combine this with a real performance you can always join in the fun at Torres Bermejas. Here you can learn some fancy footwork from the professionals in a one hour class before taking your seats and watching the action for yourself with a delicious dinner or tapas. The best of both worlds really!
Discover more on how to book this brilliant experience.
Even if you don’t want to get your dancing shoes on yourself, you can still enjoy some wonderful flamenco shows as a spectator. It’s a great night’s entertainment and you never know, it might just get you in the mood to try it. There are many venues in the city where you can take in a performance – Cafetin La Quimera is one of Madrid’s most authentic venues where you can enjoy great food as well as impressive displays of flamenco and traditional music.
And don’t miss one of Madrid’s most famous and esteemed ‘tablaos’ – the Corral de la Moreria, where some of the country’s leading dancers perform in this great venue in the heart of the Old Town.
Another great source of help and information if you want to really get to the heart of flamenco is The Flamenco Guide.
They provide private flamenco tours as well as insider knowledge on the history of flamenco, the music, the dancers, and the best places to see it in Madrid. Expert guide, Yolanda Martin will share her passion and insight with you as well as taking you to some of the most authentic performances in Madrid.
Now that we’ve got you speaking the language and dancing flamenco, you might have worked up a bit of an appetite, si? Worry not, the foods and flavours of this great city are waiting to be devoured by hungry visitors and the choice of eateries is just huge. We reckon you’ll want to try some tapas and local wines and there are some great organised excursions and tours you can join which will give you the chance to sample some of the dishes as well as learning about the produce and ingredients from your expert guide.
If you really want to learn more about Spanish cookery, you could always try out a local class where you can uncover some culinary secrets in a Madrid kitchen. Under the guidance of professional chefs, you can create traditional dishes such as paella and tapas on a four-hour lesson. Just think of how much you will impress your friends and family next time they come round for supper.
There’s never been a better time to take a holiday in Madrid with such a great choice of affordable flights and city breaks around. Why not take a look at some of our travel partners deals and start planning your trip today. If you do decide to take part in some of the activities we’ve talked about, do post on your profile and tell us all about it. Our members love to get recommendations and ideas from you and there’s nothing better than getting tips from someone who has actually been there, done it and worn the tap shoes!
(Sorry, still dreaming of that flamenco debut!)