Atop the Bellas Artes, one of the best views in Madrid. Photo: Azoteca
There is no better place to be at sunset than sipping a cocktail on one of Madrid's ultra-chic roof bars. Here's our pick of the very best.
Some boast open air pools, others are perfectly designed to capture the elusive summer breeze on stifling hot nights in the capital. There's only one place to be this summer, and it's high above the city streets.
Where: Calle Imperial 9, Madrid (Sol/La Latina)
Vibe: Don´t let the fact it is on top of a hostel put you off, HAT is the hippest rooftop bar in Madrid, where the waiters are tattooed and your cocktails come in jam jars. Nestled on a side street just off the Plaza Mayor, the recently opened roof terrace is beautifully designed and has a good choice of tapas and cocktails. It's one of the smaller terraces on our list which actually adds to its charm, making it cosy and intimate.
View: More enclosed than some of the other rooftops, one side of the terrace looks out over La Latina, home to Madrids best tapas bars and the famous tapas street, Cava Baja, as well as the impressive domes of the barrio's churches.
Where: Calle de Augusto Figueroa, 24 (Chueca)
Vibe: This roof terrace has the added bonus of being located on the top floor of one of Madrids best gourmet indoor markets, so you can enjoy some delicious bites before kicking back with a drink on the roof. With a mix of low, comfy chairs and sofas and high tables and stools, this roof terrace has a chilled vibe that is perfect for an afternoon tipple or an early evening drink. Plus the drinks are reasonable. Win-win!
View: The narrow streets of Chueca, one of Madrids coolest neighbourhoods and home to the citys thriving gay scene.
Where: Plaza de Santa Ana 14 (Sol/Las Letras)
Vibe: One of Madrids most exclusive terraces, The Roof is achingly hip with low lighting, waitresses who resemble supermodels and a strict door policy. If you want to feel a cut above the rest, see and be seen and sample some of the capitals most expensive cocktails, The Roof is the place for you.
View: The hotel is on Plaza Santa Ana, one of Madrids most beautiful squares, opposite the Teatro Real, or Royal Theatre.
Where: Alcalá 42/Marqués de Casa Riera, 2 (Banco de España)
Vibe: It costs €3 to go up to this cultural institutions rooftop bar to take in the view, so why not hang around and enjoy a drink while stepping back in time as you gaze out over surely one of Madrids most breathtaking views.
View: One of the most iconic views in Madrid, gaze over Madrids Gran Vía, its famous Metropolis sign and the beautiful Beaux Arts and Art Deco rooftops, this is our pick for the rooftop bar view in Madrid.
Where: Calle del Marqués de Casa Riera 4 (Banco de España)
Vibe: This hidden away gem is for where those in the know head when the queues for the neighbouring terrace at Bellas Artes are stretching out the door and down the street. No entrance fee and far less crowded, the view may not be as impressive as those next door, but the likelihood of finding a corner to snuggle in as the sun goes down more than makes up for it.
View: True, you can't see much of the Gran Via and it's iconic skyline from here but instead enjoy wide vistas of the Palacio Cibeles and the green of the Retiro park beyond and the jumble of the picturesque terracotta rooftops of the Barrio de las Letras stretching to the south.
Where: The Vincci Hotel Mint, Gran Via, 10
Vibe: This intimate rooftop on the Gran Via has a chilled out beach vibe where cocktails are served from a vintage-style food truck.
View: It doesn't have sweeping views but it does provide glimpses of the iconic architecture of the Gran Via.
Where: Just across the Gran Via at number 11 is the rooftop bar and terrace atop the Iberostar Las Letras Hotel.
Vibe: Wood panelling, designer chairs, this is a place filled with beautiful people drinking elegant cocktails to cool sounds. The restaurant has a good lunch option as well as a great place for sunset drinks and a light supper.
VIews: It's not as high as the Bellas Artes but provides views of Gran Via rooftops and vistas towards Cibeles and beyond.
Where: Gran Via 80 next to Plaza España
Vibe: An urban garden laid out over a large terrace with views across the city, this place attracts couples looking for a romantic dinner to groups of stylish partygoers. A resident DJ and cocktails makes it an equally good place to start or end a Madrid evening.
Views: Located on the 14th floor of a building on the Plaza España end of the Gran Via, this is a great place for sunset watchers, offering unparalleled views across the Casa de Campo and a 360 degree panorama over the city.
Where: Calle Montera 37 (Between Sol and Gran Via metro)
Vibe: This secret roof garden reached through a designer leatherware store just footsteps away from Sol is a real hidden gem and a great place for brunch or to recharge your batteries between some retail therapy.
Views: It doesnt have spectacular views but is a calm leafy oasis above the busy shopping streets below
Where: Plaza Vázquez de Mella, 12 (Chueca)
Vibe: If youre looking for luxury then Hotel Oscar, with its white floor cushions and Bauhaus style, is most definitely for you. Recline among some of Madrids most fashionable by the rooftop pool in this urban oasis, right in the heart of the city.
Views: Excellent views over the rooftops of Gran Vía, including the iconic Telefonica building, which when it was built, in 1929 was one of Europes first skyscrapers.
Where: Plaza de la Cebada, 11 (La Latina)
Vibe: El Viajero is the perfect place to enjoy a few nibbles and one of their specialities: a mojito among the laid back atmosphere and very green (the place is covered in plants) background.
View: The rooftops of La Latina are some of Madrids oldest and most beautiful, from El Viajero you can watch the sun go down over the domes of the churches of San Francisco and San Andreas, definitely one of our top picks for the best rooftop views in the city.
Where: Cuesta San Vicente 16 (Opera)
Vibe: A secret rooftop overlooking some of Madrids most famous sites and named after the famous Sabatini gardens. Sit back and relax on the terraces oval sofas and enjoy some tapas and drinks as you take in the incredible view.
View: Gaze out over the Royal Palace, the Sabatini gardens and the stunning Egyptian Debod Temple.
Where: Carrera de San Jerónimo, 34 (Sol/Las Letras)
Vibe: Located at the top of the five star, art deco-inspired Hotel Urban, the roof terrace is elegant and the perfect option for a stylish summer evening cocktail.
View: Located right at the centre of the city, close to the Spanish parliament and a stones throw from Sol, soak up the views of Madrids beating heart.
Where: Plaza Callao, 2. Ninth floor.
The vibe: The Gourmet Experience at the top of El Corte Ingles (one of Spains most famous department stores) is a great place to stop for a coffee or drink if youre hitting the shops on Gran Vía. With a variety of stalls, all selling delicious bites, you are bound to find something to tickle your taste buds.
The view: Marvel at one of Madrids most iconic views: the capitol building with its giant Schweppes sign. Located just off the Gran Vía, you get a birds eye view of some of the most impressive early 20th century architecture in Spain.
Where: Calle de la Luna, 2 (Gran Via, Santo Domingo)
The vibe: This rooftop has quickly become one of the hipped to be seen in Madrid. Lounge in the hammocks in the Ibiza-style chillout zone which boasts an infinity pool and cocktail bar atop fake grass.
The view: Stunning views across Madrid with the bustling Gran Via to the south and the winding streets of Chueca and Malasaña stretching out below. There is a restaurant downstairs, as well as a hotel, a shopping area, a gym and a theater.
Mirador Madrid at Centro Centro
Photo: Pablo Andrés Rivero / Flickr
Where: Plaza de Cibeles 1 (Banco de España)
The vibe: Have a drink atop one of Madrid's most iconic buildings. What used to be the Post Office is now the City Hall complete with exhibition space and a "Refugees Welcome" banner boldly hanging across the facade.
The view: This terrace boasts one of the best views of the city, rivalling that of the nearby Bellas Artes. Gaze over a vista stretching up the Castallana to the north taking in the Cibeles fountain below and across to the impressive Banco de España.
This is an updated version of list written by Jessica Jones and first published in 2015.
Catalan regional election to be held on February 14, court confirms
Convicted leaders of the 2017 secession attempt in Catalonia who are serving time in regional prisons walked out on Friday after the Catalan government granted them a more open regime. Approval of the tercer grado, which allows prisoners to spend only nights in prison, coincided with the start of an election campaign in Spain’s northeastern region.
Also on Friday, the High Court of Catalonia (TSJC) confirmed that an upcoming regional election will take place on February 14, not on May 30, ending weeks of uncertainty over the date of the polls.
The Catalan government had sought to postpone the original date on the grounds that the coronavirus crisis would make it difficult for many people to vote while staying safe. Critics said the date change was politically motivated and unlawful.
The TSJC court had provisionally upheld an appeal against the change, and on Friday it confirmed this decision, which could still be challenged before the Supreme Court but would not alter the election date.
The separatist leaders on a more flexible regime will now be able to take part in their own parties’ campaign events if they wish to.
Dolors Bassa, who was a Cabinet member at the time of the unilateral independence declaration of October 2017, was the first of the group to walk out of prison on Friday. After leaving the women’s facility of Puig de les Basses in Figueres (Girona) at around 8.45am, she urged sympathizers to go vote on February 14 “to win again.”
At 10.30am, Lledoners prison in Barcelona released Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, leaders of two civil society groups convicted of participating in the breakaway attempt, and the former Cabinet members Oriol Junqueras, Raül Romeva, Jordi Turull, Joaquim Forn and Josep Rull. The group emerged carrying a sign calling for “amnesty.” The only member of the group to remain in prison is former Catalan parliament speaker Carme Forcadell, who is still awaiting a decision.
All nine were convicted of sedition and misuse of public funds by Spain’s Supreme Court and are serving sentences ranging from nine to 13 years. The Catalan government granted them tercer grado status once before last year, but the move was struck down by the Supreme Court in December and the group returned to prison. However, eligibility for this regime undergoes review every six months, and the regional executive, which is headed by a separatist coalition, has again granted them this status.
Prosecutors are planning to appeal the decision, but the timing of legal procedures means that the separatist leaders will be on daytime prison leave for much of the election campaign, if not all of it. While none of them are running as candidates, their presence could help energize pro-independence voters. Inversely, if they were sent back to prison it would provide fuel to the movement’s claims of political repression.
Secessionists are also framing the legal tussle over the election date as further proof of alleged meddling in Catalonia’s political and institutional life.
In a rare agreement between separatist and conservative parties, the postponement to May had been backed by all political groups in the regional parliament except for the Catalan Socialists (PSC) – the Catalan branch of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) – who had insisted on preserving the February date.
Salvador Illa, the Spanish health minister until this week, has stepped down to run for the regional premiership with the PSC, and a recent poll by the state-funded Center for Sociological Studies (CIS) research center suggested the possibility of a technical tie between the PSC and the Catalan Republican Left (ERC), one of the two partners in the Catalan government coalition.
Both ERC and its partner Together for Catalonia believe that the PSOE is behind the legal challenge to the May postponement, and that the real reason is a desire to make the most of the impact on public opinion from the news that the high-profile Illa will be the Socialist nominee to lead the region.
But a more recent poll by the Catalan government’s Center for Opinion Studies (CEO) shows ERC winning on February 14 with 34 to 35 seats in the regional parliament, followed by Together for Catalonia with 32 to 34. This would ensure the separatist bloc’s absolute majority in the 135-strong house with 51.2% of the vote.
The election will seek to bring stability to a government that’s been under an acting leader, Pere Aragonés, ever since September, when the Spanish Supreme Court upheld an 18-month ban from public office against Quim Torra in connection with violations of institutional neutrality during an earlier election campaign.
After Catalans go to the polls, Spaniards are expecting a two-year period of rest in a country that has been through four national elections, a European vote, regional and municipal polls, and two no-confidence motions in parliament since 2015.
Madrid, Basque Country, Valencia announce new coronavirus restrictions
The relentless advance of the coronavirus in Spain is leading some regional governments to introduce even more severe restrictions on mobility. Madrid, the Basque Country and the Valencia region on Friday announced new measures that will go into effect soon.
In Madrid, the deputy public health chief Antonio Zapatero announced more perimetral lockdowns, now affecting 56 basic health zones and 25 municipalities that are home to 24% of the region’s residents but account for 30% of all coronavirus cases.
The director general of the Public Health agency, Elena Andradas, said that nine basic health zones – administrative areas that do not necessarily coincide with neighborhoods or districts – and six municipalities have a 14-day cumulative number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants above 1,000 and will be subject “to special restrictions on mobility.” The decision expands on the list of health zones and municipalities that came under mobility restrictions last week.
The new affected municipalities are Cercedilla, Navacerrada, Collado Villalba, Rivas-Vaciamadrid, Los Molinos, Quijorna, Serranillos del Valle and Colmenar de Oreja. The new affected health zones are Las Ciudades, in Getafe; as well as La Rivota, Ramón y Cajal, Doctor Trueta and Pedro Laín Entralgo, in Alcorcón.
Additionally, the overnight curfew will begin at 10pm and businesses must close by 9pm, including food and drink establishments. Authorities are also banning meetings inside homes with members of other households, while the upper limit on the number of people from different households who may gather outside the home in food or drink establishments is now four, down from six.
These measures will be adopted starting on Monday, January 25 and last at least two weeks.
On a day when the number of new reported cases nationwide set a record high for the second day in a row, authorities in the Basque Country said they will seal off all of the region’s 252 municipalities beginning on Monday. Social gatherings will be reduced to four people.
The 14-day cumulative number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the region was above 500 cases on Friday, twice the figure considered an extreme risk scenario (which also takes into account other variables such as pressure on hospitals). Right now over 70% of Spain’s territory is in the extreme risk category.
The Basque city of Bilbao and 50 other locations came under a perimetral lockdown in the early hours of Friday because of their high incidence rate. After the weekend, every other city, town and village in this region of 2.2 million people will be sealed off as well. Only essential trips that can be justified will be allowed across municipal lines. This is on top of the provincial and regional lockdowns that are already in effect.
The Basque health chief, Gotzone Sagardui, said the decision was a response to the worsening epidemiological figures. “This is not the time to relax, but to act with utmost anticipation on preventive action,” she said.
The curfew starting time has not been altered, despite the Basque government’s wishes to bring it forward to 8pm from the current 10pm. The move was debated on Wednesday at a meeting of central and regional health officials but did not gain support from the central government.
Food and drink establishments must close at 8pm except in locations with an incidence rate of over 500, where they must close altogether. This is currently the case in Bilbao.
The measures will be in effect for 20 days, subject to review.
The Valencian government is preparing an “imminent” decree to forbid members of different households from meeting inside homes. Exceptions will be made for people who need to provide care, couples who don’t live under the same roof and elderly people who live by themselves and may stay with family members.
Deputy premier Mónica Oltra made the announcement on Friday following a meeting of regional government officials. Earlier this week, Valencian authorities ordered all food and drink establishments to shut down for 14 days and told retail stores to close at 6pm as the virus continues to expand in the region at “an extraordinary rate,” in the words of regional premier Ximo Puig.
The Valencia health department has started to contact neighborhood associations to get the word out that people should self-confine due to the severity of the situation, the regional daily Diario Información reported.
Rafael Ruiz, president of Alicante’s Provincial Federation of Neighborhood Associations, told this newspaper that he received a call from the district’s healthcare center: “They are asking for people to stay at home. They are scared because the situation is getting out of hand.”
All three provinces in the region – Castellón, Valencia and Alicante – are in the extreme risk scenario. The 14-day cumulative number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants has been climbing almost vertically since the end of the Christmas period, and on Friday stood above 1,000. Some Covid-19 patients are already being transferred to field hospitals as healthcare facilities struggle to deal with a tremendous surge in infections.
A home confinement cannot be legally imposed in Spain under the current emergency state approved by parliament in late October and due to expire in May. But the string of increasingly strict restrictions imposed by regional governments is coming close to a de facto lockdown.
Storm Filomena: Spain sees ‘exceptional’ snowfall
Storm Filomena has blanketed parts of Spain in heavy snow, with half of the country on red alert for more on Saturday.
Road, rail and air travel has been disrupted and interior minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said the country was facing “the most intense storm in the last 50 years”.
Madrid, one of the worst affected areas, is set to see up to 20cm (eight inches) of snow in the next 24 hours.
Further south the storm caused rivers to burst their banks.
Four deaths have been reported so far as a result of Filomena. Officials said two people had been found frozen to death – one in the town of Zarzalejo, north-west of Madrid, and the other in the eastern city of Calatayud. Two people travelling in a car were swept away by floods near the southern city of Malaga.
As snow fell on Madrid on Friday evening, a number of vehicles became stranded on a motorway near the capital.
The city’s Barajas airport has closed, along with a number of roads, and all trains to and from Madrid have been cancelled.
Firefighters were called in to assist drivers who had become stuck. In some areas the military were called in to help clear roads.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez urged people to stay at home and to follow the instructions of emergency services. King Felipe and Queen Letizia took to Twitter to urge “extreme caution against the risks of accumulation of ice and snow”.
The country’s AEMET weather agency said the snowfall was “exceptional and most likely historic”.
A number of people were seen making the most of the snowy scenery, walking through Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square.
Large parks in Madrid have since been closed as a precaution, AFP news agency reports.
One man was pictured skiing along the Gran Via, the capital’s famous shopping street.
In Cañada Real, the largest shanty town in western Europe, residents were seen creating a bonfire to keep warm.
The cold weather is set to continue beyond the weekend with temperatures in Madrid predicted to hit -12C on Thursday.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-55586751
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