I don't know if it is because I mostly fly American Airlines, and therefore often take flights with Iberia that have long layovers in Madrid. Whatever the reason, I don't really mind. The airport has easy access to the city, so there is no reason why you can't take the opportunity to do a little shopping, see a few sites, and enjoy some delicious food. And that is exactly what I did over my most recent 9 hour layover. As this is probably my 6th or 7th time in the city, I know my favorite place to visit is the Prado, where I normal end up spending a few hours then wandering to a bar to get tapas in the neighborhood. But this time I tried a new strategy, I opted to visit places I've never been to before. So I did a tiny bit of research and found some shops, restaurants, and one tourist spot that I wanted to see. First up, the Mercado de San Fernando, what used to be a local farmer's market that had fallen on some economic hardships, has been taken over in the past few years by young restauranteurs who wanted to try out their ideas. What came out of it, is the perfect place to try local wines, port, vermouth, tapas, and sample all sorts of Spanish cuisines. I didn't see many tourists here, it was mostly families enjoying a nice Sunday afternoon out in their neighborhood. So I stopped and snacked and drank at a few of the stands, then wandered the neighborhood to check out the graffiti.
Next up was the concept store, El Paracaidista, where everything could be purchased online or using a QR code. Some of the inventory was available for pickup in store, others would be shipped directly to your home. Shopping has never been so easy, or so fashionable. The store had a bar and two restaurants. I ended up popping by the rooftop restaurant, Parq for cocktails and lunch (Spanish influenced Japanese food. Try the Salmon with Apple Sauce, really delicious).
Last stop, was the Temple of DeBod, which is an Egyptian temple that had been removed from Egypt and donated to the city of Madrid in the 70s. It's in a park not far from the palace, and is a lovely spot to walk around and enjoy a touch of nature in the bustling city.
I think I had a perfect day in Madrid, not bad for a 9 hour layover.