4th July 2016

Ryanair Stories: Mission to Madrid

Fun, sun, and lots of places to play, Madrid offers tonnes of things to do for families.  We should know – we’re a family of five who love to travel.  One of our biggest challenges, however, is how to see the city sights while holding the tiny attention of our children for more than five minutes.



Olav and Karyn family1


Through trial and error (lots of trial and lots of error) we came up with a way to bring a bit of education, adventure, and lots of fun into our city travels.  The following is our tried and tested Mission to Madrid tour. Give it a go by visiting the locations, and enjoy.  An easy itinerary for you, lots of fun for them.

You will need: A metro pass, some good walking shoes and a smartphone or camera.


 The Mission


The mission is based on a story about one of Madrid’s most iconic landmarks, The Bear and the Strawberry Tree. For the purpose of the adventure, you need to pretend the bear has run away from Madrid. It seems he prefers the countryside, where he can eat all the strawberries he wants. Your job is to convince the bear to come back home.

Here’s how you’ll do it:  Locate the bear’s five best friends in Madrid.  Take a picture of each to remind the bear of how much he’ll be missed. Once complete, you can convince the bear to return.


Location 1: Mrs. Cibeles



In the city centre you’ll find Plaza de Cibeles.  There stands the monument of Cibeles Fountain, representing the Greek goddess of nature and fertility.  This statue is surrounded by many of Madrid’s coolest buildings including Banco de España (the bank where Spain keeps all of its money) and City Hall (where the Mayor of Madrid lives).  Mrs. Cibeles used to let the bear ride in her chariot when he was a cub.


Good to know:  The fountain is popular with Real Madrid soccer fans. If you’re in Madrid when Real Madrid wins a big game like La Liga, La Copa Del Rey or the Champions’ League, there’ll be huge celebrations here.

How to get there: The square is located at the intersection of Paseo del Prado, Paseo de Recoletos, and Calle de Alcalá. Metro stop: Banco de Espana


Location 2: Mr. Columbus


Next we are on our way to visit the famous explorer and adventurer, Christopher Columbus.  Columbus discovered the Americas in 1492 and you can find him standing tall in the square that was named after him: Plaza Colon.  Take your picture and see if you can include the giant Spanish flag in the background.  The bear loves his country of Spain and all the stories Mr. Columbus tells him about his adventures.

Good to know: The wax museum is very close. Take a short break to see some of your favorite characters here.  (Paseo de Recoletos, 41)

How to get there: Colón is located next to the streets of Serrano, Goya and Jorge Juan.  Metro stop: Colon or Serrano


Location 3: Miss Julia

Madrid is filled with statues of everyday people but our mission is to find Julia.  Julia was a student just like most of us and lived a long time ago.  Back then she had to dress up like a boy to go to school.  Take a picture with Julia and get ready for our next mission!

Good to know:  You are now in the Malasaña area, which is a fun place with lots of little shops and cafes.  If you’re feeling a bit hungry, check out the homemade popsicles nearby at Lolo Polos (C/ Espíritu Santo, 16),

How to get there: Take a bus, metro or taxi to the street of Pez 42. Metro stop: Novociado



Location 4: King Alfonso


A photo posted by @jaskeeprolling on

This will be your trickiest mission yet.  Head over to one of the largest and most popular parks of Madrid, Retiro Park, located in the center of the city.  Follow the tree-lined paths to a large artificial lake.  On the other side you will find a monument to King Alfonso XII.  The King really liked himself and had this statue built in his honor.  Take one of the small boats for rent on the lake so you can get the best angle for your picture.  The Bear loves the park and plays here every weekend.  He will surely miss it.

Good to know: Retiro Park is filled with tonnes of playgrounds for kids, street performers and even ducks to feed.  Hang out for a while and enjoy. But afterwards get ready for our fifth and final location.

How to get there: Although there are many entrances to the park, the main gates are located near Puerta de Alcalá.  Metro stop: Retiro

Location 5: Queen Isabel


A photo posted by Taylor Morganti (@tjmorganti) on


There’s nothing that says Welcome Home (Bienvendios a Casa) like churros y chocolate.  Everyday the bear would visit Queen Isabel’s house at the Royal Palace for teatime.  Queen Isabel always served the best churros.

Good to know:  Just up the road from the Royal Palace is one of the most famous spots for churros and chocolate.  Try out the yummy snack for breakfast at Chocolatería San Ginés (Pasadizo de San Ginés, 5)

How to get there:  The Palace gates are located on Bailén Street, 6. Metro stop: Opera





Let the kids know you’ve sent the bear all five pictures.  Tell them that although he enjoyed his strawberries in the countryside, he really missed Mrs. Cibeles’ chariot rides, Mr. Columbus’ stories, playtime with Julia, boat rides in Retiro park and churros with Queen Isabel.  The bear has returned back to his Strawberry Tree in Plaza del Sol.  Go and check him out.

Good to know:  Plaza del Sol is one of the busiest places in Madrid and where all the Spanish roads begin (Km 0). Take your last picture and head over to nearby Plaza Mayor  to celebrate!

How to get there:  The closest metro stop to Plaza del Sol is Sol


Accepting this Madrid Mission? Tag your photos with #Ryanairstories  for the chance to appear on our Instagram feed

Karyn Gorman and Olav Adami

Karyn Gorman and Olav Adami

As international journalists, Karyn Gorman and Olav Adami have travelled to over a hundred countries. They live between Spain and Belgium with their four children. Karyn is a children’s book author with seven published titles.


  • Nancy Mattox

    I love this article! What a great tip on how to pull the children into the adventure. Also…great tips on where to go and what to see. I’m inspired and ready to book my trip!

    5th July 2016 at 6:11 pm
  • Nancy Mattox

    Fantastic! What a great plan for parents and kids. Plus it shows anyone some great places to visit in Madrid. Great article! Thanks for the tips! I’m ready to book my flight!

    5th July 2016 at 10:03 pm
  • Cora

    Amazing! My boy is 8 years old and it’s easier now to travel and enjoy some sightseeing together but transforming this trip into a “fantastic journey” is something that he will enjoy immensely! Great idea! Thank you!

    1st December 2016 at 4:06 pm
  • Martin

    Plaza de Cibeles – Sculpted in purple-colored marble by Francisco Gutiérrez and Roberto Michel in 1780, the fountain once served as a source of domestic water for nearby houses.

    31st March 2017 at 12:13 pm

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