Where to go / Spain / Madrid
In addition to its famous museums, busy streets dotted with all kinds of shops, restaurants with world cuisine and unbeatable nightlife, Madrid will surprise you with its tranquil historic spots that charm everyone walking by. Here you’ll find traditional family-run, century-old bars where friends meet up for a drink, every style of neighbourhood and cultural centres that offer up an alternative type of tourism. Madrid’s authenticity is hard to beat. It is welcoming and diverse. Madrid is, without a doubt, one of Europe’s most interesting cities.
Culture and leisure at any time
Anyone in search of culture will find some of the most important museums in the world, such as the Prado, Reina Sofía or Thyssen. But we must not forget smaller options, full of charm, such as the Sorolla Museum or cultural centres like the Matadero or Conde Duque, which are continuously offering innovative exhibitions, concerts, guided tours, etc.
Walking around Madrid means coming across iconic spots such as the stunning Royal Palace, the Plaza Mayor with 400 years of history, the buzzing Puerta del Sol, the famous Gran Vía full of shops, or the four tallest towers in Spain. Each neighbourhood offers a different experience: La Latina is ideal for tapas, Las Letras has the perfect combination of literature and fine dining… But Madrid also means relaxing in enormous green spaces such as the Retiro Park (which together with the Paseo del Prado boulevard have been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List), and other lesser-known but equally charming parks like El Capricho.
Capital of food, fashion and nightlife
When it’s time to eat, Madrid has many different options, each more appealing than the last. On the one hand, traditional bars where you can discover exactly what castizo means and why tapas are so much fun. On the other hand, there are its cutting-edge restaurants like DiverXO and traditional markets that have been turned into new gourmet spaces, such as San Miguel, which has become a true gastronomic shrine. In Madrid, the time is always ripe to enjoy an animated, urban atmosphere. For example, the increasingly famous weekend brunches in enclosed glass terraces, courtyards, rooftops, etc.
Fashionistas will find all options: luxury shops on the Golden Mile, vintage establishments in areas such as Fuencarral, new designer markets like the Mercado de Motores, and craft workshops and bookshops over 100 years old. At dusk, some of the city’s viewpoints will surprise you with unique sunsets, at the Temple of Debod or the rooftop bar of the Círculo de Bellas Artes, for example. And at the end of the day… nightlife in Madrid is legendary with live music, all kinds of ambiences, music until the sun comes up… Madrid has its own beauty. Madrid stimulates and inspires. Madrid. You have to experience it.
Madrid Halal Travel Guide
Madrid is a great halal destination for a holiday, business trip or a city break. It has plenty of Muslim-friendly services that take into consideration their necessities regarding food and other actions that are not allowed by the Muslim religion.
A whole range of culinary options
With regard to food, you’ll be pleased to know that Spain, and therefore Madrid as well, is famous for its healthy Mediterranean diet, that has been inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO. This food includes loads of recipes based around vegetables and fish and the visitors will not have a problem finding such dishes in the restaurants. The Spanish cuisine is closely related to Arab cuisine and includes many dishes that can be considered halal.
Those looking for 100% halal food, will be able to find it in different restaurants. For example, the Madrid’s Asador de Aranda has halal menus as an alternative to their meat dishes.
Close to the Islamic Cultural Centre you can find the Alzahra restaurant famous for its authentic Arab cuisine. Outside Las Ventas bullring is Shukran City Ventas, a restaurant specialising in Mediterranean cuisine with a strong Lebanese influence, offering a fusion between both cultures. In the heart of Chueca you will find Mune Madrid, a restaurant that brings Lebanese gastronomy to locals and tourists alike in Madrid.
Fans of Lebanese food can find more options in La Moraleja with the Lebanese haute cuisine restaurant, Du Liban, and in the Lavapiés district, Habibi and Beirut stand out.
There are also numerous vegetarian restaurants and many restaurants offering food from Muslim countries like Morocco, Bangladesh, Senegal, Jordan, Lebanon or Iran that can be adapted to halal needs. A few examples? Basmati, Fairuz, Omar, Al Mounia, Awtar, Bistoon, La Libanesa, Alquds, El Jeque, Solidere, Alfanus or Nômadâ Madrid.
Madrid has several hotels offering halal cuisine, prayer mats, praying rooms and indications to direction of Mecca .
One of the hotels that has all of those services is Hyatt Regency Hesperia Madrid, one of the most famous halal-friendly hotels in the city and that is a safe bet for the Muslim life-style.
You can find plenty of these services in Eurostars of Madrid and in the InterContinental. If we exclusively regard the cuisine, another good option is the Restaurante M29 in the heart of Paseo de la Castellana that belongs to the Hotel Miguel Ángel. Their exclusive halal menu offers dishes like roast sea-bass, vegetable wok with warm tarragon muslin or spring chicken thigh and couscous with nuts.
Religious services at the airports and mosques
In the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport there are two mosques situated in the public area of the exits to terminals T2 and T4. Halal meals are also served in the Aena VIP lounges.
Once you are in the city, you can visit the Centro Cultural Islámico, also known as the M-30 Mosque, a 6-story religious center frequented by thousands of Muslims. Around it there are plenty of libraries, tea-shops, butcher’s, hair salons and Arab supermarkets with halal products.
Another option is to visit the Abu Bakr Mosque, known as the Central Mosque in Madrid, in the Tetuán neighbourhood, the oldest in the city. Consult the religious services in Madrid.
Religious celebrations and events
During Ramadan, some institutions, like Casa Árabe and the Instituto Halal, organize activities like the Noches de Ramadán festival with a special program celebrating this sacred month of the Muslim calendar. Exhibitions, tales for adults, children’s workshops and concerts are the most common activities. It is a great moment to get to know what halal means for the Islamic community.
Official Halal Certificate
The Halal Institute is in charge of this certification for products and services that comply with the requirements ordered by the Islamic law. Even though it is mainly associated with the food production, lately it has been given to beauty products, baby food producers, air-line catering, non-alcoholic beers, hotels, etc. The following links provide more information about the Halal Certificates and Halal-friendly establishments: Halal Institute Certificate, Halal-friendly and Halal Institute-certified establishments and Halal Guide.
Day-trips from Madrid
To get to know the Arab heritage of Madrid, that was founded by Emir Mohammad I of Cordoba in the 9th century, one of the best options is to go to Casa Árabe and attend some of their lectures, exhibitions or film screenings or to sign up for one of their guided tours that take you to discover the origins of the city in the Mohammad I Park close to the Almudena Cathedral, in the Plaza de Oriente or the San Isidro Museum.
Also if you wish to make a day-trip from Madrid, a great option is to contact the Nur & Duha Travels agency (with Halal Certification of the Halal Institute of Spain), that offers packages and services that are Muslim-friendly and regard the halal ethics. For example, you can book a trip from Madrid to Toledo to get to know its Cristo de la Luz Mosque, Plaza de Zocodover, the Alcázar…
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