NEW FAVOURITE CITY KLAXON! Madrid is classy, sexy, and so very Spanish. I went on a last-minute trip with zero expectations and left with a full-blown obsession. If you go (and you should), then I'd suggest that you...
...Look at some art. The galleries in Madrid are world-class. Start at Del Prado, and don't miss Picasso's Guernica - and a host of fantastic contemporary exhibitions - at the Reina Sofia. Check both in one day, walking through the lush Jardín Botánico en route.
...Stroll through Retiro, the city's magnificent public park.
...Have dinner at Sala de Despiece. Bar seating only, no reservations, a clinical, cutting room interior. Sounds pretentious, but we ate some of the best food of our lives there. Don't miss the grilled octopus with chimmichurri or the razor clams with toasted garlic raspberry powder (!) Owner Javier Bonet is spearheading Madrid's new food movement - check out his other spot Muta down the road - currently a Brazilian fast food bar, that's designed to break down and evolve every few months - and the soon-to-open dining school next door.
...Browse a local market. Skip touristy San Miguel in favour of the traditional Mercado San Martin. Alternatively, try the hipsterfied Mercado de San Miguel, or the brand Mercado Barcelo - two of the new wave of updated mercados that are popping up around the city.
...Eat a leisurely Sunday lunch of paella amid Madrid's well-heeled families at Restaurante Filandon.
...Drink a pint-sized Gin & Tonic with fresh juniper berries at lively cocktail bar, Corazón.
...Stay at the shiny n' new Urso Hotel & Spa Madrid. Absurdly comfortable beds, and a super luxurious spa.
...Check out the fleamarkets. The vast El Rastro is held on Sundays - a bit touristy, but the 3,500 stalls make it worth fighting your way through the crowds.
...Listen to some flamenco. The sexiest music...ever? If you make it to Madrid, catch a tablao at La Quimera. And if you can't make it to Madrid, channel the spirit with this Lola Flores video (thanks to Tyson for putting me on).