Madrid is better than Barcelona.
Yes I said it… but why do you ask? The authentic culture, the beauty in architecture, the not so modernized city, and best of all: the people.
When you get off the airport you automatically feel you are in another country (because who travels to feel like you never left). You’ll see different Spanish architecture spread throughout the city (no set time frame, because they kept building rather than tearing the city down), the people will explain to you all about the city and the history behind every name or scene. The food is absolutely amazing, with the best paella and croquettes, and the refreshing cerveza or tinto de verano. Museums are every where, local bars and restaurants behind every corner, and if you try to speak to someone in English, they are happy to help!
Local shops outweigh the ‘name brand’ shops you’ll see in modernized cities, which you will end up always finding the best little spots to eat at. They take their time no matter what they are doing! Breakfast, lunch, the mid afternoon drinks, or even just hanging with friends, they take their time and enjoy the company! Which you can’t find that in the busy tourist spot of Barcelona.
Trying to save money? Well count Barcelona out. It is so cheap in Madrid, that you can get beers and glasses of wine for less than 2 euros, and don’t worry about tapas, because those come with your meal! They aren’t the small ‘one bite’ tapas either… it is enough to fill you up!
Love for Madrid over Barcelona, stems from knowing they take pride in their country. When you head to Barcelona, no sign of Spanish (and if you speak it they will get mad), they make sure you know they are not Spaniards, and their architecture stems only from Gaudi. Yes, Gaudi’s architecture is beautiful, but that is all there is in Barcelona. You see more tourist traps in Barcelona, see more upset people, not willing to help, not as much love for visitors in their city. The complete opposite of Madrid.
Madrid has the sense of belonging, that once you arrive, you will never want to leave. Your heart will ache when you have to leave, and the first place you’ll want to go back to when you can is Madrid. If this hasn’t convinced you…. then maybe the 300 days of sunshine a year will.