Champions League Festival in Madrid

The big game is only a couple of days away so I took a look around the city to see what events are going on.

Puerta del Sol

The capital’s main square is at the very centre of Spain and will also be a hub for the Champions League Final celebrations.

The main stage in the square will host concerts throughout the weekend.

Also in Puerta del Sol, visit the iconic Real Casa de Correos building, rebranded as the Real Casa de Fútbol for the weekend, and see shirts from past Champions League Finals and the UEFA #EqualGame initiative which includes a penalty shootout competition.

I managed to get United in here somehow!

And of course, you can enjoy an overpriced pint of UEFA-approved beer by visiting the Champions Bar

Plaza Mayor

One of Madrid’s most iconic squares, Plaza Mayor has been taken over by UEFA ahead of the final, with part of the space being given over to a football pitch and a small stand, where special matches will be held throughout the weekend. It also hosted the genuine Champions League trophy when I visited on Thursday morning.

Elsewhere there are stands from UEFA sponsors including Hotels.com, Sony and everyone’s favourite, Gazprom as well as small football cages for one-on-one matches.

As it’s going to be an extremely hot weekend, do yourself a favour and cool down with some ice cream from Bicos de Xeado, which is located behind the stand of the football pitch.

Plaza de Callao

Plaza de Callao hosts the UEFA Champions League superstore.

It’s on Metro Lines 3 and 5 and is connected to Puerta del Sol by Calle Preciados.

While visiting, make sure to pop up to the top floor of El Cort Inglés to get a brilliant overhead view of Gran Vía and the rooftops of Madrid from the restaurant on the Club Gourmet floor.

Just be aware that this is a limited space and that as a result queuing times are pretty rough. I braved it on Thursday morning because I wanted to pick up a few match programmes in advance but the lines were already extremely long. Unless you’re absolutely determined to buy something, it’s probably not worth the wait.

Yours for only €25 – the official “I hope football is the winner” scarf
Giant replica match ball in Plaza de Callao

Also near Plaza de Callao is Takos Al Pastor, one of my favourite places to eat out cheaply in Madrid. A generous serving of tacos and quesadillas (plus drinks) for two rarely comes to more that €16/€17. However, you do have to wait in a long line to get in, and this weekend it may be worse than normal.

The Tacos are definitely worth the wait though!

Plaza Isabel II

It’s the final countdown!

Plaza Isabel II is at the bottom of Calle Arenal, which connects it to Puerta del Sol, and is where the official countdown clock for the final is located. And erm, that’s it.

On your way down Calle Arenal you can call into San Gines Chocolateria for a traditional Spanish snack of chocolate con churros. It’s open pretty much 24/7 so there’s no excuse not to visit! Also near the square is one of my favourite places for fast food in the city centre, Opera Pizza – where a meal deal of small pizza, chips/salad and a drink is less than €10.

Plaza Isabel II can be reached on Metro Lines 2 and 5 (the stop Opera is in the square) and by walking from Puerta del Sol. Also in the square is Madrid’s Opera House and you’re just a short walk away from…

Plaza del Oriente

Plaza de Oriente is the square right in front of the Palacio Real which is a fun touristy activity if you are looking to take a break from football. Also nearby is the Almudena Cathedral, where you can climb to the roof for more great aerial views of Madrid.

The main thing here is the giant inflatable replica trophy, which is great for the obligatory selfies.

Madrid is a great city to visit and there are plenty of things to do to ensure your visit is a memorable one – regardless of the result!

Enjoy the game!

Andrew

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