This list of places to visit in Madrid will delight tourists since the capital of Spain offers a cultural and historical richness worthy of the largest European capitals.
If you are wondering,What to do today in Madrid for free? you have arrived at the ideal place.
Despite the fact that Madrid is one of the largest and most visited cities in Europe, the Spanish capital is a relatively cheap city compared to other European capitals such as Rome, London or Paris.
Fortunately, there are many free activities, exhibitions and events throughout the year. Not to mention the museums and monuments that offer free entry options. Actually there are many options free things to do in Madrid.
I have made a summary of free things to do in Madrid to help you explore the city in the most economical way possible.
Keep reading to discover the best plans to enjoy Madrid free or at very cheap prices! 😉
Ultimate Guide: Free things to do in Madrid
The best free museums in Madrid
Free entrance to the Prado Museum
The Prado Museum houses one of the best painting collections in the world that was compiled by the Spanish kings throughout the centuries.
This museum houses not only works by the best Spanish painters such as Diego de Velázquez, Francisco de Goya and Murillo, but also works by great European artists such as Rubens, Rembrandt and Van Gogh.
But there is one painting that stands out above the rest, «Las Meninasby Diego Velazquez. This 17- has become a true icon of Spanish culture that you will not want to miss.
In total, the Prado Museum exhibits more than 1,000 works. Therefore, visiting the entire museum in one day can really be an impossible task. We recommend that you prioritize which painters or styles you want to see, otherwise you will end up mentally exhausted.
MY LOCAL COUNCIL If you are not sure how to organize your visit to the Prado Museum, we recommend that you take a free map at the entrance.
This map shows the most important masterpieces (50 works in total) and how to get to them. In this way, it will take you about 2 hours to visit the most important works of the Prado Museum.
During the free entry period You can only visit the permanent exhibition. For temporary exhibitions it is necessary to buy the ticket. Here we have the first option of what to do today in Madrid for free.
-Price: The entrance price to the Prado Museum is 15 euros.
-The entrance is free to the Prado Museum Madrid: You can enjoy one of the best art galleries in the world totally free every day since from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Sunday: from 5 to 7 p.m.).
We recommend arriving about 40 minutes early to queue. (Admission is free at any time for children and young people under 18 years of age).
-Address: Paseo del Prado s/n
-Nearest metro station: Bank of Spain (line 2)
What to do today in Madrid for free – The Prado Museum offers free admission every day during the last two opening hours. There is only one small drawback, the queues to enter are very long, so we recommend that you arrive 30-40 minutes before.
Watch this interesting video of a Madrid Tour:
Free entrance to the Reina Sofía Museum
As for modern art, in Madrid you can enjoy great museums and art galleries. However, the mecca for contemporary art in Madrid is the Reina Sofía Museum, which is considered one of the Europe's best modern art museums.
The Museum includes works by renowned artists such as Joan Miró, Juan Gris, Picasso or Henry Moore. But undoubtedly the most famous work is «guernica» (Pablo Picasso) depicting the bombing of the Basque city of Guernica in 1936.
The Reina Sofía Museum also houses a large collection of Salvador Dalí's most famous paintings, such as "The Great Masturbator" and "Young Woman in a Window."
Although the bulk of Francisco de Goya's work is exhibited in the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofía Museum also contains a series of interesting engravings that are essential to better understand Goya («Whims" and "The disasters of war«).
-Free entrance to the Reina Sofia Madrid Museum: Admission is free for visitors every day from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Sunday: 1:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.).
-Nearest metro station: Art Station (line 1)
-Address: Calle de Santa Isabel, 52
What to do today in Madrid for free - Reina Sofia Museum. This museum will delight lovers of modern art.
Thyssen Bornemisza Museum
Madrid has the privilege of hosting one of the best private art collections in the world thanks to the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum. Inaugurated in 1992, this museum came to complement the fantastic collection of the Museo del Prado.
The art collection of this museum is owned by the Thyssen family, a wealthy family of German businessmen.
In this museum you can admire more than 1,000 works of art from different periods ranging from the 14's to the late 20's with special attention to the great European painters such as Jan van Eyck, Rembrandt and Monet.
The location of the museum cannot be better, since it is very close to the Prado Museum. These two museums, together with the Reina Sofía Museum, make up what is popularly known as the «Art Triangle» (The Golden Triangle of Art).
-Price: The entrance to the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum costs 12 euros.
-Free admission Thyssen Madrid Museum: Monday from 12:00 to 16:00.
-Nearest metro station: Bank of Spain (line 2)
-Address: Paseo del Prado, 8
Visit the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid with all the best art from the Western world. A collection of paintings that would make you cry with joy. One piece of advice: start on the top floor and work your way down to modern times.#thyssen-bornemisza #madrid #oil painting #irishart pic.twitter.com/sWrqDFhyyP
– Paul D'Arcy (@2PaulDArcy) February 19, 2020
Free entrance to the National Archaeological Museum
We continue with the free museums Madrid and with free things to do in Madrid. If you are a history buff like us, you won't want to miss this fantastic museum.
Our country is located between Africa and Europe and its coasts are bathed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Given this strategic position, the Iberian Peninsula has been inhabited by countless civilizations: Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, Muslims, Jews, Christians, etc.
All of them left their legacy, making Spain a true melting pot of cultures.
The 4 floors of the National Archaeological Museum offer an exciting journey through the history of Spainfrom the Iberian civilization (before the arrival of the Romans) to the modern age.
The areas of the museum dedicated to the Muslim era and the Roman legacy in Spain are especially interesting.
Don't expect a depressing and boring museum. The National Archaeological Museum of Madrid offers a truly interactive experience. There are explanatory videos and replicas of objects that you can see up close, even touch them. Your children will love it!
Undoubtedly, the jewel in the crown of this museum is «The Lady of Elche«, a funerary sculpture of more than 2000 years old that belonged to the Iberian civilization. This mysterious sculpture, perfectly preserved, has become an icon of Spanish culture.
–Rachel Morris (@MoMarcoPolo) May 17, 2020
Another of the most visited pieces in the museum is the «Treasure of Guarrazar«, a collection of gold crowns and crosses adorned with sapphires, pearls and precious stones.
This treasure belonged to the Visigothic kings Recceswinth and Suintila (7th century) and was saved from looting by the Muslims thanks to the fact that it was hidden by a Visigothic cleric.
MY LOCAL COUNCIL Do not leave the museum without visiting the reproduction of the Cueva de Altamira. This cave is located in Cantabria (northern Spain) and its cave paintings (images in ocher and charcoal of handprints, bison and horses) date back more than 35,000 years!
According to experts, the cave paintings of Altamira are among the best preserved in the world. Of course, the original cave is much bigger, but the reproduction from Madrid is amazing and allows you to admire the most important paintings.
-Price The entrance to the museum costs 3 euros.
-Free entrance to the National Archaeological Museum Madrid: Saturday from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
-Nearest metro station Colon (line 4)
-Address: Serrano Street, 13
What to do today in Madrid for free – If you visit the National Archaeological Museum, do not miss the mysterious Lady of Elche.
House of Lope de Vega, what to do today in Madrid for free
In the 16th and 17th centuries, the cultural development of Spain reached a level never imagined; Literary production was prolific, Spanish universities were among the best in Europe, and Spanish scientific advances surprised the world.
The admiration of the European nobility and aristocracy was evident; they even imitated the Spanish way of dressing and devoured the works of Spanish authors.
For example, the French philosopher and historian Hippolyte Taine said "There was a peak moment in the history of humanity, Spain, between the 16th and 17th centuries«.
If there is a person who represents this period of cultural splendor, it is the great Lope de Vega. For many non-Spanish speakers, Lope de Vega is completely unknown.
However, he was the most important author of his time (17th century). In fact, he is still considered one of the greatest literary geniuses in history.
In total, it is estimated that Lope de Vega wrote some 1,500 works, among which are legendary works such as «The dog in the manger«, «fuenteovejuna" either "The Knight of Olmdeo«.
If you are interested in learning more about Lope de Vega, you can visit his original house located in the heart of Madrid. Lope de Vega lived here for 25 years until his death in 1635.
Inside the house you will discover countless details about his daily life, his private rooms and even the beautiful patio where Lope de Vega would relax and seek inspiration for his works. An essential visit for all lovers of culture and literature.
Important! To visit the interior of Lope de Vega's house it is necessary to book in advance (visits available in Spanish, English, Italian and French).
Write an email to [email protected] and reserve your places. If you do not book in advance, you can only visit the patio.
-Address: Calle de Cervantes, 11
-Nearest metro station: Sun (lines 1, 2 and 3)
-Price: Free entrance
-Opening hours:Monday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. / Monday closed
Free things to do in Madrid – The City Council offers an interesting free guided tour that allows us to get to know one of the most important figures in universal literature in depth.
Museum of the Americas
Unfortunately, this is one of the lesser known museums in Madrid. But don't worry, in our desire to reveal the hidden (and free) jewels of Madrid we have included this wonderful museum.
As its name suggests, the Museum of the Americas houses a fantastic collection of archaeological pieces from the American continent. What a surprise 😊! But, in my humble opinion, the part dedicated to American ethnography (the science that studies and describes the different cultures of a place) is simply incredible.
In total, the Museum of the Americas houses some 25,000 pieces.
The collection spans from prehistory to modern times. The part dedicated to pre-Columbian art (Mayas, Incas, Aztecs, etc.) and the colonial period is especially interesting and well documented.
Among all the pieces, the Quimbayas Treasure-composed of 123 gold objects and found in Colombia- is truly amazing. Due to its exceptional artistic quality, this treasure is considered one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the history of America.
Another piece that you should not miss is the «Stele of Madrid» (7th century), which was part of a throne of a Mayan king and was found in the remains of a palace in Chiapas (Mexico).
-Address: Av. de los Reyes Católicos, 6
-Nearest metro station: Moncloa (lines 3 and 6)
-Museum of the Americas Free admission: Thursday from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
-Free entry at any time: Under 18 and over 65.
Free things to do in Madrid – Wolf head made by the Tlingit (indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest coast of North America)
The history of this museum is closely linked to Enrique de Aguilera y Gamboa (Marqués de Cerralbo), one of the most interesting characters in Madrid during the 19to century.
Enrique de Aguilera y Gamboa (1845-1922) was passionate about history and archaeology, and during his long life he traveled halfway around the world collecting objects and pieces of great value.
Over the years, the Marquis of Cerralbo accumulated a unique and fascinating collection in his palace in the center of Madrid (paintings, armor, rare and ancient coins, busts of Roman emperors, etc.).
Shortly before he died, in 1922, he decided to donate his entire collection to the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid.
Visiting this museum always makes me feel wonderful and excited. It's like time travel. The palace is preserved exactly as it was at the end of the 19th century, including the original furniture (lamps, curtains, desks, etc.).
As if that were not enough, all its prized and valuable antiques and paintings are intact. Perhaps even the spirit of the marquis is still in the palace, smiling as tourists enjoy his marvelous collection.
Some of the most important pieces in the museum are the Portrait of a Knight (Tintoretto), The Immaculate Conception (Francisco de Zurbarán) and the Portrait of Felipe V of Spain, (Miguel Jacinto Meléndez).
-Address: Ventura Rodriguez Street, 17
-Nearest metro station: Plaza de España (lines 2, 3, 10) / Ventura Rodríguez (line 3)
-Free admission Cerralbo Madrid Museum: Saturdays from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Free things to do in Madrid – Magnificent interiors of the Palace of the Marqués de Cerralbo
Free tour of Madrid (Old City)
Free tours are always a great way to discover a city and delve into its history and traditions.
Madrid is a big city (more than 3 million inhabitants) and its historic center is large. Therefore, I recommend dividing the city into zones to make it manageable.
Specifically, I recommend that you start with the Old City, which includes an imaginary triangle formed by the Puerta del Sol square, the Royal Palace and Gran Vía street.
Within this imaginary triangle you will find emblematic places of Madrid such as the Plaza Mayor, the Mercado de San Miguel, the Almudena Cathedral or the statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree (symbol of the city)
As proof of our passion and effort to improve, we have received more than 1,000 opinions on Tripadvisor, Facebook and Google
Unlike other tour companies that have expanded in different cities and even countries, OgoTours is a local 100% business.
We are proud of our city and we want to offer you an authentic local experience in Madrid.
In addition, we also collaborate with other small local businesses (taverns, craft shops, local producers, etc.) that help preserve the essence and traditions of the city.
join our Free tour in Madrid and discover the capital of Spain in a different way (history, architecture, legends, interesting historical facts and much more) BOOK NOW! Every day at 10:45 a.m. at Puerta del Sol (Equestrian Statue of King Carlos III).
-Price: Option to pay what you want
-Duration of the visit: 2.5 hours
-Address: Puerta del Sol square (equestrian statue of King Carlos III). Look for the green umbrella of OGOTOURS
Free things to do in Madrid – Our free walking tour is a great introduction to the city
Free entrance monuments in Madrid
Free entry to the Royal Palace of Madrid
Madrid is a monumental city in many ways: museums, elegant theaters, wide boulevards, imposing buildings. And probably the best example of this is the Royal Palace.
Madrid can boast of having the largest Royal Palace in Western Europe and one of the largest in the world (135,000 square meters and more than 3,000 rooms!!).
Without a doubt, its huge rooms, its sumptuous decoration and its overwhelming luxury make the Royal Palace a must-see in Spain.
Imagine visiting the same estancias from which the Kings of Spain ruled territories ranging from America to the Philippine Islands and from North Africa to Milan or the Netherlands.
I am not exaggerating when I say that this palace was one of the most important buildings in the West for almost 200 years.
The palace was built in the 18th century by order of King Philip V. But this place was not chosen by chance: here is the old fortress built by Muslims in the 9th century.
Construction took 17 years, a very surprising amount of time for that time considering the size of the palace.
– Channel 5 (@canal5_tv) April 26, 2017
Do the Kings of Spain live in this palace? Currently, the Kings of Spain only use the Royal Palace for official acts and receptions. The Kings of Spain reside in the Palacio de la Zarzuela, which is located on the outskirts of Madrid and whose access is restricted.
During your visit to the Royal Palace, pay special attention to the wonderful clocks that decorate the rooms. According to experts, the Royal Palace houses one of the best watch collections in the world.
The visit to the palace includes the armory, where weapons and armor from different eras are exhibited.
-Free entrance to the Royal Palace Madrid: If you are a citizen of the European Union or a Latin American country, you can visit the Royal Palace for free from Monday to Thursday from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (from April 1 to September 30) and from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 00 (from October 1 to March 31). Ticket price for other countries: €10.
MY LOCAL COUNCIL It is very important to arrive at least 35-40 minutes early to avoid wasting precious vacation time in the queue
-Nearest metro station: Opera (lines 2, 5 and R)
-Address: Calle de Bailén s/n
What to do today in Madrid for free – The Royal Palace is the second largest functioning palace in Europe (135,000 square meters)
El Pardo, Official Residence of Franco, what to do today in Madrid for free
El Pardo Palace was built during the 16to to house the Spanish royalty when they came to this area of Madrid to hunt. Over the years, this palace became the winter residence of kings.
However, this palace is popular among the Spanish because it was chosen by the dictator Francisco Franco as his official residence for 36 years.
The visit to this palace is very interesting because you can see the dictator's private rooms, such as his office, his bedroom, etc.
-Free entrance: Wednesday and Thursday from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (October to March) and 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (April to September); Free entry for citizens of the European Union and Latin America.
-How to get to El Pardo Palace: Buses from the Moncloa multimodal station (line 601)
-Address: Calle de Manuel Alonso, s/n El Pardo (Madrid)
Free things to do in Madrid – Franco's Private Room (El Pardo Palace)
Royal Monastery of El Escorial free entrance
I must confess, as a lover of history, that this is one of my favorite places in Spain. This place has always been very special to me. In my opinion it is one of the best free things to do in Madrid.
The great work of King Felipe II was undoubtedly the Monastery of El Escorial (16 ). Felipe II conceived this immense monastery as a religion and knowledge center as it housed some of the best libraries in Europe.
At the same time, the monastery served as Pantheon of the Spanish royal family. Except for Felipe V and Fernando VI, all the kings of Spain have been buried in this monastery, and their tombs can be visited today.
What to do today in Madrid? El Escorial Monastery | The construction of this impressive complex lasted approximately 20 years and includes the residence of the kings, a basilica, a monastery and a library | Image credits: Wikipedia CC
The monastery includes an impressive basilica whose dome rises 95 meters from the ground, a pharaonic work for its time.
Thousands of workers were involved in the construction of the monastery, along with hundreds of oxen that transported the stone from the quarries to the monastery.
The place chosen by Felipe II himself to build the Monastery of El Escorial was not chosen at random; Felipe II was a man who thought deeply about every decision.
According to legend, one of the gates to hell is located in this place. Felipe II, aware of this legend, decided to build the monastery here to cover this infernal portal.
-Price: The entrance price is 10 euros.
-Free entrance: The Monastery of El Escorial offers free entrance On Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (from October to March) and from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (from April to September) for citizens of the European Union and Latin America.
How to get to the Royal Monastery of El Escorial from Madrid? The monastery is located in a small town north of Madrid (El Escorial), 60 km from Madrid.
Fortunately, there are commuter trains (line C3) that connect the city center with El Escorial. From the Atocha station it takes approximately 1.5 hours to get to El Escorial.
-Address: Avenida Juan de Borbón y Battemberg (60 kilometers from the city center)
Free things to do in Madrid – Despite being outside the city, this wonderful monastery is worth a visit | Image credits: Wikipedia (CC)
In front of the Royal Palace you can discover one of the most modern cathedrals in the world.
The Almudena Cathedral was inaugurated in 1993 by Pope John Paul II. Despite its short existence, the Almudena Cathedral has experienced historic moments such as the wedding of Prince Felipe (current King Felipe VI) or the state funeral of Adolfo Suárez (first Spanish president after the Franco dictatorship).
By the way, during the royal wedding (May 2004) it was pouring with rain. At least, there is an old saying that goes "wet girlfriend, lucky girlfriend«, which means that if it rains during a wedding, the marriage will be happy.
As you can imagine, the interior of the cathedral is completely different from other European cathedrals.
The role of modern technology is evident when you visit the building; the colorful stained glass windows were designed in 2004, or you can find TV screens and Wi-Fi points throughout the building. Even so, it is a beautiful and interesting church that is well worth a visit.
We also highly recommend you to visit the beautiful cathedral crypt (neo-Romanesque) which is situated just below the cathedral.
IMPORTANT! Why doesn't Madrid have an old cathedral like so many other European cities? I'm glad you ask that question 😊.
Everything happens for a reason in life. Until the end of the 19th century, the city of Madrid belonged to the Diocese of Toledo. That is to say, the cathedral of Madrid was always the cathedral of Toledo.
It was in 1885 when the Diocese of Madrid was created and the construction of the Almudena Cathedral began. Yes, if you do the math, from 1885 to 1993, it took more than 100 years to build the Almudena Cathedral!!!
-Address: Calle de Bailén, 10
-Nearest metro station: Opera (lines 2 and 5)
-Free entrance to the Almudena Madrid Cathedral: Admission is free (1€ optional donation) | If you want to visit the dome and the cathedral museum it costs €7.
-Opening hours of the Almudena Cathedral:
-September to June: 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
-July and August: from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Things to do for free in Madrid – The elegant Almudena Cathedral is located opposite the Royal Palace, creating an unparalleled monumental ensemble
Panoramic views in Madrid
Beautiful sunset and views over Madrid: Temple of Debod. What to do today in Madrid for free
Can you imagine visiting an Ancient Egyptian temple in the heart of the Spanish capital? It's strange, right? But yes, Madrid always surprises visitors with hidden gems like this one.
Many people don't know it, but in Madrid you can visit a authentic egyptian temple for free. The temple was a gift from the Egyptian Government to Spain in Franco's times (1969) and was dismantled stone by stone and sent from Alexandria to Valencia.
Once in Valencia, several trucks transported the stones to Madrid, where the temple was rebuilt.
According to experts, it is difficult to determine the exact date of its construction, although it is estimated that this temple was built approximately 2,200 years ago, which makes it the oldest construction in Madrid 😊
The Temple of Debod is an Egyptian temple located in the center of Madrid. It is interesting to visit, but most people go there to enjoy the impressive views at sunset, something that cannot be missed while in Madrid #Madrid! pic.twitter.com/uCoPiDBxVu
– Becky (@itsjustbecks_) November 22, 2019
Inside the Temple of Debod there is a small exhibition on Ancient Egypt (mythology, history, etc.) and admission is completely free.
As the temple is on top of a hill, you can enjoy fantastic panoramic views of Madrid, including the Royal Palace, the Cathedral and the Casa de Campo.
Many locals and tourists visit the Temple of Debod in the late afternoon to enjoy the most outstanding sunset in Madrid.
-Price: Visiting the Temple of Debod is free
-Opening hours: From Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (closed Monday)
-Nearest metro station: Plaza España (lines 2, 3 and 10)
-Address: Ferraz Street, 1
Moncloa Lighthouse Lookout Tower
This tower, inaugurated in 1992, offers what are undoubtedly the best views of the entire city. A panoramic elevator will take you to the top of the tower, 90 meters (295 feet) Tall. From up here, you can see the whole city.
Some panels offer explanations about the most important buildings on the Madrid skyline. On a clear day, you can even see the El Escorial Monastery, which is located more than 60 kilometers from the center of Madrid. The visit lasts 30 minutes.
-Nearest metro station: Moncloa (lines 3 and 6)
-Address Avenue of Memory, 2
What to do today in Madrid for free? – The Moncloa Lighthouse offers the best panoramic views of the city
360 degree panoramic views Madrid
The Palacio de Cibeles hides a pleasant surprise. If you go up to the eighth floor you will find a fantastic viewpoint where you can enjoy the best views of the city center: The Plaza de Cibeles, the Bank of Spain, the Gran Vía, the Paseo de Recoletos, the Torres Colón, the Retiro Park, etc.
This majestic building was inaugurated in 1919 as the Post Office and became a symbol of progress and prosperity for the city. Spain did not participate in the First World War and many politicians, intellectuals and businessmen (with their fortunes) took refuge in Madrid.
-Nearest metro station: Bank of Spain (line 2)
-Address: Square cibeles
The best views of Madrid from the Gran Vía
You cannot leave Madrid without seeing Avenida Gran Vía. This avenue dazzles visitors with its elegant buildings, the lights of advertisements, its theaters and its streets full of people 24 hours a day.
Hemingway said that the Gran Vía was a fusion of Broadway and Fifth Avenue in NY.
But if the Gran Vía is fascinating at ground level, wait until you see it from above. In Plaza de Callao, you can go up to the ninth floor of the El Corte Inglés department store. From up here, you can see incredible views of the most famous street in Madrid. There is also a small terrace where you can have some tapas or a coffee while enjoying the wonderful views.
El Corte Inglés is the largest department store chain in Spain. When Amazon did not exist, El Corte Inglés was the place where Spaniards did all their shopping (clothes, appliances, music, books, etc.).
-Opening hours From Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. / Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
-Nearest metro station: Callao (lines 3 and 5) and Sol (lines 1, 2 and 3)
-Address: Callao Square, 2
Free things to do in Madrid – Incredible views of Gran Vía from the ninth floor of the El Corte Inglés department store
Panoramic views from the "Park of the 7 Breasts"
Truth be told, there aren't many places in Madrid to enjoy panoramic views for free. But let me tell you our secret to enjoy wonderful panoramic views of Madrid without spending a penny.
«Park of the 7 Boobs«, (literally Parque de las 7 Tetas) is not well known by tourists. Maybe it's because this park is outside the historic center.
To be honest, this park does not offer the best panoramic views of Madrid, but believe me, it is worth it, especially if you are in Madrid for 3 or 4 days. In fact, from here you can take some of the best photos of the Madrid skyline.
This park is located in Vallecas, a traditionally working-class neighborhood. By metro it takes approximately 20 minutes from the historic center. Panoramic views of Madrid include the old town, the skyscrapers of the financial center and even the mountains that surround Madrid.
Surely you are thinking why this park is called Parque de los 7 Pechos, right? Too easy. This park has 7 hills that do look like breasts 😊. The Spanish have a great imagination.
HOME TIP! I recommend visiting the park before dark. This part of the city is not especially dangerous, but it is rare to see tourists. When night falls, beggars, the homeless, junkies and "strange people" abound. During the day, there is no problem.
-Address: Benjamin Palencia Street, 1
-Nearest metro station: Buenos Aires (line 1)
-Opening hours: Open every day of the year (free admission)
Urban art in the streets of Madrid
Are you interested in discovering the urban art of Madrid? Street artists have been leaving their mark on the streets of the city and today they earn the admiration of those who contemplate their works.
Many of the proposals of these young creators, developed in unusual spaces, have remained forever in the collective imagination.
These hipster, urban-themed paintings and graffiti are now in search of many, now in vogue and sometimes appearing without any pretense of becoming permanent.
Currently, many of the expressions of street art in Madrid are the product of festivals or initiatives that allow young people to legally develop their creativity.
The themes that are dealt with in urban (and "rebel") art are the environment, migration, politics, gender violence, multiculturalism and other issues of a contemporary social nature.
These are some of the milestones and proposals offered by this Urban art guide Madrid, a benchmark website in the world of street art.
Urban art tours in Madrid by Cooltourspain were created to promote alternative tourism, in a sustainable and responsible way. Your guided tours, on foot or by bike, are offered with a ratio of 13-15 people maximum per guide, maintaining at all times a proven quality from start to finish. In addition, your contribution will help the local artistic community and the neighborhood business. We will help you discover Madrid in a unique and different way!
This Madrid company also offers a Graffiti guided tour in Madrid in French, its team of professionals offers a unique experience in the Spanish capital.
You can also take an urban art tour with the guides of cooltourspain in English.
Hidden gems in Madrid
Bunker from the Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) is always a taboo subject among the Spanish. However, there seems to be a natural curiosity about that bloody period.
In 1937 Spain was in the midst of a horrible civil war. Madrid, besieged by Franco's troops, was being bombed and supplies were cut off.
Faced with this agonizing situation, the High Command of the Republican Army (the anti-Franco side), which was installed in a building in the center of Madrid, decided to move its headquarters to a secret location on the outskirts.
The place chosen was the park of El Capricho, where a huge bunker It was built fifteen meters underground to avoid being discovered by Francoist planes. The total area of the bunker was 2,000 square meters.
Experts consider the bunker to be one of the best-preserved 20th-century military buildings in Europe. Despite the reconstruction works, the essence of the building has remained intact.
When you're inside, you can almost feel the sound of the soldiers' boots, the screams and the explosions around the bunker.
However, visiting this bunker has a small drawback, access is limited (10 people maximum). Therefore, it is important to book online well in advance.
Unfortunately, the guided tours are only available in Spanish. Despite this, the visit is worth it, since the underground walls and tunnels transport us to another era and speak for themselves.
How to get to El Capricho Park?
From the city center you can easily get there by public transport. Take metro line 5 and get off at El Capricho station.
-Address: Paseo de la Alameda de Osuna, 25
-Price: Free entrance
-Website for reservations: https://www.reservaspatrimonio.es/242-visita-guiada-el-bunker-del-capricho
What to do today in Madrid for free – During this guided tour, visitors can discover the different rooms of an authentic bunker built during the Spanish Civil War | Image credits: Wikipedia CC
«Anden 0 Chamberí», The ghost metro station
Imagine a subway station abandoned more than 50 years ago; faded billboards, rickety and rusty turnstiles, old metro ticket machines, etc.
Time suddenly stopped here. Even the bins contain subway tickets from the 1960s. It could certainly be the perfect setting for a horror movie.
The Chamberí station was inaugurated in 1919, but the local authorities were forced to close it in 1966. Since then, this metro station has been completely abandoned, preserving all the original elements of the time.
In 2006 the city council had the brilliant idea to turn this abandoned metro station into a museum. Undoubtedly, a very interesting visit to discover the evolution of the Madrid metro in the mid-20th century (50s and 60s).
-Address: Plaza Chamberí s/n
-Nearest metro station: Church (line 1)
-Opening hours: Free admission until full capacity is reached / Thursday: from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. / Last access allowed 30 minutes before closing.
Fronton Beti Jai (Basque Ball)
Have you ever heard of Basque pelota? Basically, it could be defined as a variety of court sport that is played with a ball using the hand, a racket or a basket.
At present, this traditional sport is almost in danger of extinction in Spain, except in the region of the Basque Country (Northern Spain).
However, at the end of 19to and early 20 centuries, Basque pelota was tremendously popular in Madrid to the point that great «pediments» (sports venue to play Basque pelota) were built in the center of the city.
At the end of the 19th century, Basque pelota was exclusively popular among the Basque community based in Madrid.
However, at this time Madrid's high society (including Queen Elizabeth II) frequented the north of Spain, especially San Sebastián (Basque Country) during their summer vacations, where the passion for Basque Pelota was great.
In this way, Madrid's high society discovered Basque Pelota and brought a taste for this sport to the capital of Spain. Soon after, Basque Pelota became a popular sport in Madrid.
In this context, in 1894 the "Frontón Beti Jai" ("always party" in Basque) was inaugurated, with capacity for more than 4,000 spectators.
What to do today in Madrid for free – Beti Jai pediment at the beginning of the 20th century | Image credits: Elpais.com
The Beti Jai Fronton was a truly spectacular iron frame building, with wooden stairs and beautiful frescoes decorating the ceilings.
Of course, football already existed, but it was not yet a mass sport. Bullfights and Basque pelota were the favorite forms of entertainment for both the popular classes and Madrid's high society.
Unfortunately, in 1919 the Beti Jai Fronton was abandoned. Even during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) it was used as a prison to imprison government dissidents.
In 2011 the building was declared an "Asset of Cultural Interest" and was acquired by the Government of Madrid in 2015. Fortunately, the building has been faithfully rebuilt and perfectly recreates its original appearance.
Currently, the City Council organizes free guided tours in which visitors can learn about the history of this wonderful building.
IMPORTANT! It is mandatory to book in advance https://www.reservaspatrimonio.es/239-visita-guiada-el-fronton-beti-jai
– The golden age of pediments in Madrid
The golden age of Basque Pelota in Madrid took place in two phases: 1892-1895 and 1920-1940.
During the first half of the 1890s, the popularity of Basque pelota reached levels never before imagined in Madrid. During these years, large frontons were designed: Frontón Madrileño (1891), Jai Alai (1891), Fiesta Alegre (1892), Euskal Jai (1893), or Beti Jai (1894).
These pediments had all the comforts one would expect from a luxury theater and some of them could hold more than 5,000 spectators.
At the same time, professional players became acclaimed sports stars and fans bet huge sums of money during matches, which aroused certain misgivings in the most conservative sectors of Madrid society.
Between 1895 and 1920 interest in this sport in Madrid decreased significantly. During this period, many pediments were sold and transformed into theaters, cinemas or even hospitals.
However, between 1920 and 1940 Basque pelota experienced a second golden age. Once again, fans filled the frontons. The new fever for this sport forced the construction of new frontons such as the Nuevo Jai Alai (1922), or the Recoletos Fronton (1936).
In the early 1950s, the passion for Basque pelota in Madrid faded. Competition from new sports, especially soccer, ended up making Basque Pelota disappear in Madrid.
If you want to delve into Basque Pelota in Madrid, we recommend a sensational book called Frontones Madrileños (author: Ignacio Ramos). Unfortunately, the book is only available in Spanish.
Fronton Beti Jai Useful Information:
-Address: Calle del Marqués de Riscal 7
-Nearest metro station: Alonso Martínez (line 4) / Rubén Darío (line 5) / Alonso Martínez (line 10)
Free things to do in Madrid – Beti Jai Fronton after the renovation works | Image credits: elindependiente.com
The tomb of Francisco de Goya
In the Hermitage of San Antonio de la Florida (northwest area of the city) rest the mortal remains of one of the greatest artists that have ever existed, Francisco de Goya.
What many people do not know is that Goya himself painted in 1798 the marvelous frescoes that decorate the hermitage where he is buried today.
In 1808 Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Spain and the War of Independence broke out. After the war and fearful of the absolutist policy of King Ferdinand VI, Goya went to Bordeaux (France) where he died in 1828.
However, Goya's mortal remains hide a mystery. A few years after his death, his grave in France was desecrated by someone to steal Goya's skull.
Since then, despite numerous investigations, the whereabouts of Goya's head remains an unsolved mystery. Some believe that it could have been stolen by scientists to study it. The point is that no one knows where Goya's skull is. 😳
In 1889 Goya's remains (without the skull) were finally transferred from France to Madrid thanks to the efforts of King Alfonso XII.
– Nina Finbow (@NinaFinbow) January 17, 2016
At the beginning of the 20th century, the frescoes of the Hermitage of San Antonio de la Florida -painted by Goya- began to show signs of deterioration due to the smoke from the candles used during religious masses.
For this reason, in 1925 an exact replica of the hermitage was built 50 meters away. In this way, the authorities managed to preserve the original hermitage, which is now a museum; the replica of the hermitage is intended for religious worship.
-Address: Roundabout San Antonio de Florida, 5
-Nearest metro station: Príncipe Pío (lines 6, 10 and R)
-Price: Free entrance
-Opening hours: From Tuesday to Friday: from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. / Saturdays and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (closed on Mondays).
What to do today in Madrid for free – Ceiling frescoes painted by Francisco de Goya (San Antonio de la Florida Hermitage). Undoubtedly, one of the most unknown works by the Spanish artist | Image credits: Wikipedia CC
Pantheon of Illustrious Men
The Pantheon of Illustrious Men in Madrid is largely unknown to many tourists. Surprisingly, not even many people from Madrid visit this place.
The Pantheon of Illustrious Men was built at the end of the 19th century to house the mortal remains of important political and military figures: Cánovas del Castillo, José Canalejas, Eduardo Dato and Ríos Rosas. In total, 11 famous people from the 19th and 20th centuries who changed the course of history in Spain.
So, if you are interested in the modern history of Spain, this is one of those hidden gems that you have to discover.
IMPORTANT! Francisco Franco, probably the most influential political figure of the Spanish 20th century, is not buried here. Franco is buried in the Mingorrubio cemetery (located 20 kilometers from the city center).
Each illustrious person has a truly spectacular funerary monument made of white marble. In my humble opinion, the most interesting funerary monuments are dedicated to:
- Sagasta (President of the Government between 1871-1872). This funerary monument was made by Mariano Benlliure, probably the best Spanish sculptor of all time.
- José Canalejas (President of the Spanish Government between 1910-1912).
- Cánovas del Castillo (President of the Spanish Government between 1874-1875).
(José Canalejas and Cánovas del Castillo were assassinated by anarchists).
-Address: Calle Julian Gayarre 3
-Nearest metro station: Atocha Renfe (line 1)
-Price: free entry
-Opening hours: From Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. / Sun and holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Free things to do in Madrid – Pantheon of Illustrious Men | Image credits: Wikipedia CC
My perfect plan for a Sunday morning in Madrid is to have a coffee with churros in a bar near where I live, take the metro and spend the whole morning in the Rastro looking for some bargains.
El Rastro, or simply «the trail«, as the locals call it, was created more than 250 years ago. Since then, every Sunday morning, dozens and dozens of merchants have set up shop to sell their products.
According to estimates, there are about 3,000 stalls, making it one of the largest markets in Europe.
The Flea Marlet Trail: What to find?
What fascinates me the most about this market is that you never know what you are going to find.
Like Portobello Market in London or Waterlooplein in Amsterdam, at El Rastro you can find literally anything: out-of-print books, old toys, 19 or just trinkets.
As a book and history lover, one of my favorite parts of the market is the area between street of the ram and Carlos Arniches streetwhere you will find old and second-hand books.
MY LOCAL COUNCIL After an exciting morning of shopping, I am always hungry. I recommend that you visit some of the traditional bars near the trailas Amadeo House-famous in Madrid for its snails with tomato sauce- or Santurce Bar-known for its delicious Cantabrian sardines-.
-Address: La Latina neighborhood
Nearest metro station: La Latina (line 5)
-Opening hours: Sundays and holidays. Opening hours are approximate, as each stall owner is authorized to sell whenever they want between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Free things to do in Madrid – El Rastro is one of our favorite places to spend a Sunday morning
The small town of Torrejón de Ardoz (30 kilometers from the center of Madrid) is home to one of the most amazing parks in all of Spain: Parque Europa. Can you imagine visiting the Eiffel Tower, the Atomium (Brussels icon), a Greek theater or the Belém Tower on the same day and without leaving Madrid? It is perfectly possible 😊
This 233,000 square meter park has 14 replicas of the most important attractions in Europe!! The London Bridge, the Brandenburg Gate, the Trevi Fountain and many others.
These replicas are made with great detail and level of realism. Even the park has an original part of the Berlin Wall, donated by the German capital.
As if all this were not enough to spend an incredible day, the park has large green spaces, a children's area, a skating rink and much more. In short, this park has everything to spend a fun day.
How to get to Europa Park?
There are two ways to get to Parque Europa (30 kilometers from the city center):
-Bus (line 224-A) from Avenida América station. The bus will drop you off at Parque Catalunya, very close to Parque Europa.
-Cercanías train (line C2) from Atocha station. Once in Torrejón de Ardoz, you will have to take a city bus (L1 or L2) to get to Parque Europa.
-Price: free entrance
-June, July and August: from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. / Friday and Saturday: from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
-April, May and October: from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. / Friday and Saturday: from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
-November, December, January, February and March: from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. / Friday and Saturday: from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Personally, this is one of my favorite things to do when visiting a new city. Traditional markets are like small temples that preserve the flavor of tradition and popular wisdom. In other words, when you visit a traditional market you can learn a lot about the city and its inhabitants.
Historically, Madrid has boasted of the quality of its markets. In the markets of the capital, the best products from other Spanish regions are sold every day: fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, even fish.
Yes, fish! Despite the fact that the coast is far away, fresh fish arrives in Madrid every morning (the average annual consumption of fish per inhabitant in Madrid is one of the highest in Europe).
Unfortunately, new purchasing behaviors, competition from large stores and the fast pace of life are causing the disappearance of traditional markets in much of Spain. But don't despair, there are still some old survivors in Madrid that are still frequented by locals.
Not far from the city center, we recommend that you visit the «Market of Santa Maria de la Cabeza» (near the Atocha train station), and the spectacular «Market of Wonders» (near the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium).
The traditional markets of Spain have changed a lot in recent decades, but there are some elements that remain unchanged, such as vendors shouting their prices, colorful stalls or the smell of fresh fish. I love it!
MY LOCAL COUNCIL Try to visit these markets during the week. So you can enjoy the atmosphere, talk with the vendors and appreciate in detail the wonderful stalls. On Saturdays the markets are packed with locals (closed on Sundays).
-Market of Santa María de la Cabeza:
- Address: Paseo de Santa María de la Cabeza, 41 /
- Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) / Sunday closed
- Nearest metro station: Palos de la Frontera (line 3)
-Market of Wonders:
- Address: Calle de Bravo Murillo, 122 /
- Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
- Nearest metro station: Alvarado (line 1)
Park and Green Spaces
Madrid has the privilege of being the capital with the most trees in Europe, and the second in the world, only surpassed by Tokyo (Japan). In total, there are more than 300,000 trees planted throughout the city. A good part of these trees is concentrated in the following parks
-Park of the Whim
The Retiro Park, a natural paradise in the middle of the big city
As a Madrileño, Parque del Retiro is my favorite place in Madrid. The beauty of its gardens and trees, the funny squirrels or the romantic pond always comfort me, especially in autumn, when the Retiro Park is extremely beautiful.
I still fondly remember living near this park for a few years and coming here almost every day.
It may not be as internationally popular as Central Park in New York or Hyde Park in London, but believe me, this park is a must-see in Madrid.
These beautiful gardens were designed in the 17th century for the kings of Spain, who spent long periods of time in the nearby Buen Retiro Palace (now destroyed). However, in the mid-19th century it became a public park.
MY LOCAL COUNCIL
Today El Retiro is tremendously popular with both locals and tourists (approximately 8 million visitors a year!). Therefore, I always recommend visiting El Retiro during the week, especially in the morning when the locals are working.
During the weekend it is almost impossible to walk in the park or find a place to sit.
Free things to do in Madrid – A trip to Madrid is not complete without a visit to the iconic Parque del Retiro
The most popular areas of the Retiro park are:
The pond: This artificial pond or pond It was designed in the year 17 by King Felipe IV, who liked to recreate epic naval battles in the pond.
In addition to its recreational functions, the pond also serves as a water reservoir to supply the many fountains in the park. On one of the banks of the pond is the majestic monument to King Alfonso XII, built in the early 1920s.to century.
The Crystal Palace: This beautiful building was built at the end of 19 as part of an exhibition about the Philippines (a former Spanish colony) that was held in Madrid.
The purpose of this building was to serve as a greenhouse where visitors could admire the plants and flowers brought for the exhibition. Currently, the Palacio de Cristal has been converted into a room where works of art from the Reina Sofía Museum of Modern Art are exhibited.
Monument to the Fallen Angel: Madrid is a peculiar city, and proof of this is that the world's first sculpture dedicated to the devil was built here. The sculpture, made of bronze, shows the devil writhing while a snake coils around his legs. Coincidence or not, this fountain is located at an official height of 666 meters above sea level.
In addition to the many tourists and locals who enjoy the park each day, the Retiro Park is also home to a fair number of squirrels, ducks, and peacocks that are used to tourists and are relatively easy to spot. Without a doubt, it is one of our favorite free things to do in Madrid.
-Opening hours: From October to March (from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.) and from April to September (from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m.)
-Nearest metro station:Withdrawal (line 2)
-Address: Independence Square, 7
Trust me, it's one of the best hidden gems to explore in Madrid!
These beautiful gardens, unknown to most tourists visiting Madrid, were designed by the Dukes of Osuna at the end of the 18th century.
Here they created a little paradise away from the city where private parties were held for Madrid's high society (writers, painters, deputies, members of royalty, etc.). Many people don't know it, but the Duchess of Osuna was an important patron of the great Spanish painter Francisco de Goya.
During the 19th century, the Parque del Capricho deteriorated and was finally acquired by the Government of Madrid, which rehabilitated it and opened it to the public at the end of the 20th century.
The botanical wealth is truly incredible, with more than 40 different species (oak, pine, cypress, yew, cedar, etc.). In addition, the park has a very interesting architectural heritage: hermitages, temples, fountains and even the palace where the dukes lived.
But perhaps the park's best kept secret is an air raid shelter built during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), which was used by the Popular Front army.
The only drawback of this park is that it is located far from the historical center.
To be more exact, the Parque del Capricho is located in the eastern part of Madrid, not far from the airport, so you will have to use public transport.
But that's not a problem at all, public transport in Madrid works great!
- Free entrance
- Animals are not permitted
- Eating is not allowed in the park
- Bicycles cannot access the park
-Nearest metro station: El Capricho (line 5)
-Parque del Capricho opening hours: Parque del Capricho opens on weekends and holidays. From October 1 to March 31: Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. / From April 1st to September 30th: Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
-Address: Paseo de la Alameda de Osuna 26-32
The history of this beautiful park, located in the heart of Madrid, dates back to the Middle Ages. When the Muslims besieged Madrid in the 12th century, they set up their camp in this area of the city, hence its peculiar name, «Field of the Moor» (The Field of the Moor).
When Madrid became the capital of Spain (1561), the Spanish royal family settled in the Royal Palace and made the Casa de Campo their private hunting ground.
King Felipe II, one of the most important kings in the history of Spain, even ordered in the 16th century to bring elephants, dromedaries, rhinos, lions, ostriches, etc. from Africa. These animals lived in the park and delighted Madrid's high society.
In the 20th century, the park ceased to belong to the royal family. Faced with this situation, the Madrid government turned the Casa de Campo into a public park open to all Madrid residents.
If you like to be in contact with nature, you will not be disappointed. There are dozens of different tree species: pines, poplars, oaks, heather, etc., as well as a good number of animal species, such as ducks, squirrels, owls, foxes, etc.
There is even a pond where you can fish for carp. Important! Only return fishing is allowed.
Unfortunately, a small cliff separates the palace from the gardens. Given this situation, visitors cannot directly access the gardens from the palace. Yes I agree. It's a real pity...
The entrance to the gardens is located at the west end of the gardens (about a 30-minute walk from the Royal Palace). Of course, kings and distinguished guests did not have to go that far.
There is a tunnel that connects the Royal Palace directly with the gardens. Currently, this tunnel is inaccessible to tourists. Cross your fingers that one day it will be possible to visit this tunnel 😊
-Nearest metro station: Casa de Campo (lines 5 and 10)
-Address: Puerta del Ángel Promenade, 1
Things to do in Madrid – Views of the historic center from the Casa de Campo | Image credits: Wikipedia CC
Although it may seem incredible today, not many years ago there was one of the busiest and most congested ring roads in the capital in this part of the city.
However, in the late 1920sto the local government decided to redirect the ring road underground and turn the area into an urban park with fountains, bike paths, children's areas, etc.
The Manzanares River runs parallel to the Madrid Río Park. Well, maybe we are exaggerating a bit because the Manzanares River is famous for its low flow, almost dry all year. Normally, we people from Madrid make jokes about the ridiculous flow of the river
If you like cycling, Madrid Río is the ideal place. The park has several kilometers of bike lanes. In addition, the park is part of the so-called «Green belt«, thirty kilometers of bike lanes that run through a large part of the Community of Madrid.
Don't miss the futuristic bridge designed by Perrault, which has become one of the city's icons.
-Nearest metro station: Puerta del Ángel (line 6), Marqués de Vadillo (line 5)
-Opening hours: 24/7
What to do today for free in Madrid – Madrid Río and the popular Puente de la Arganduela, designed by Perrault | Image credits: Wikipedia CC
These beautiful gardens are ideal to take a break and recharge your batteries after a long day visiting the city. In addition, it offers wonderful views of the north façade of the Royal Palace, especially at sunset. Without a doubt, it is one of my favorite corners of the city in spring.
Formerly this place was occupied by the stables of the Royal Palace, which were designed in the 18th century by Francesco Sabatini. In 1931 Spain became a Republic and the government decided to expropriate the palace complex.
So the government demolished the old stables to build these beautiful gardens. As a tribute, the gardens were named after Sabatini (the architect who had built the old stables in the 18th century).
The central part of the gardens is occupied by a pond which is surrounded by a maze of geometrically shaped hedges.
The gardens are also beautifully decorated with fountains and statues of different kings related to the Spanish monarchy.
Each of these limestone statues are over 300 years old and were originally intended to decorate the cornice of the Royal Palace, though they were never placed there.
Are you a history buff? Among all the statues in the gardens, there are two especially important: Isabel and Fernando (the Catholic Monarchs), founders of the modern Spanish State.
-Address: Dance street 2
-Nearest metro station: Opera (lines 2 and 5)
-Price: Free entrance
-Opening hours of the Sabatini Gardens:
- October-April: Monday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- May-September: Monday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
What to do today for free in Madrid – Jardines de Sabatini and the Royal Palace | Image credits: Wikipedia CC
El Matadero (The old slaughterhouse in Madrid)
Madrid was one of the pioneer cities in Europe in the transformation of old industrial sites into cultural zones and green spaces. A good example of this is "The slaughterhouse«, the old slaughterhouse in Madrid.
For much of the 20th century, this huge complex (48 buildings) housed the municipal slaughterhouse; here the animals were slaughtered, stored and distributed throughout the city.
This enormous industrial complex included cutting rooms, shops, offices, a chapel, housing for the workers, and even its own railway that connected the different buildings.
At the end of the 20th century, the Madrid government moved the city's slaughterhouse to mercamadridwhich is much more modern and located on the outskirts of the city. Therefore, the huge old slaughterhouse was abandoned.
Madrid is a city focused on culture, so the local government decided to carry out a complete renovation of the old slaughterhouse and turn it into a Contemporary Art Center.
In other words, where before animals were slaughtered, there are now photography exhibitions, fashion shows, concerts and all kinds of cultural activities (local artists, literature, design, urbanism, etc.). Without a doubt, this place is an essential experience for lovers of modern art.
-Address: Legazpi Square, 8
-Nearest metro station: Legazpi (lines 3 and 6)
-Free admission: Every day from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
changing of the guard
On the first Wednesday of each month, the wonderful Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place at the Royal Palace.
In total, more than 400 soldiers and guards on horseback, cannons, carriages, music bands, etc. Are you going to miss the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful event?
Currently, the Changing of the Guard is held once a month, but during the reign of Alfonso XII (19 ) this ceremony was held every day. Without a doubt, the kings took the protocol very seriously 😊
Where does the Changing of the Guard take place?
This ceremony takes place at the Royal Palace (Plaza de Armas) at 12 noon and lasts approximately 1 hour.
During the ceremony, interesting explanations are offered about the history of the Royal Guard, the uniforms, the weapons, etc. Unfortunately, these explanations are only in Spanish. Therefore, if you do not speak Spanish there is little point in attending the entire ceremony.
In this case, we recommend that you only attend the Parade of the Royal Guard, our favorite part of the ceremony. If you strategically position yourself shortly after 12:30 on Calle Bailén, you'll have a front row spot to watch the parade.
By the way, at the end of the ceremony, the Music Band of the Royal Guard offers a free concert in which they play military marches, popular Spanish songs and even soundtracks from films such as Star Wars, Police Academy, etc. 😂
-Address: Royal Palace
-Nearest metro station: Opera (lines 2 and 5)
-Price: Free entrance
-Schedule: First Wednesday of each month (except July, August and September and when weather conditions prevent it from being held).
What to do today for free in Madrid – Changing of the guard | Image credits: Luis Kelly (Flickr) CC
Canal Foundation (Exhibition Halls)
As I have said before, Madrid is a pioneering city in the conversion of commercial or industrial buildings into cultural spaces, and the Channel Foundation is a great example.
This cultural center was built in 2004 thanks to the Canal de Isabel II (public company responsible for the public water supply and wastewater collection of the city of Madrid), which converted part of the water storage facilities into an exhibition center called Channel Foundation.
Actually, converting industrial buildings into cultural spaces is something very common for Canal de Isabel II, which already has several cultural centers and theaters in the city.
The building complex includes a huge water tank (40 meters high) built in 1939, offices of the Madrid Water and Sewerage Department, green spaces, an auditorium and two exhibition halls (Castellana Room 214 and Room Mateo Inurria 2) where all kinds of art exhibitions are held: photography, sculpture, painting, etc.
Since 2004, this cultural center has hosted numerous exhibitions. Some of the most important have been the Terracotta Army (2005), Treasures of World Cultures (2009), Auschwitz (2018) or Game On, The History of Video Games (2019).
-Address: Paseo de la Castellana, 214
-Nearest metro station: Plaza de Castilla (lines 1, 9 and 10)
-Price: free admission (some exhibitions are not free)
- Sala Castellana 214: Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. / Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. / Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Room Mateo Inurria 2: Monday to Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. / Wednesday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
A walk through La Latina
Few neighborhoods in the city preserve the traditional spirit and essence of Madrid like La Latina does.
This charming neighborhood amazes tourists with its picturesque mid-rise buildings (4-5 floors) with beautiful balconies, baroque churches and small theaters. This traditional atmosphere is called in Madrid «castizo«.
Due to the city's tourism boom in the last 10 years, lifelong residents of La Latina (mostly older people) mix with tourists and young people, who come to La Latina for a nice walk or to drink a "cane» (beer) in one of the many bars located in this area. To tell the truth, the bars are one of the best reasons to visit this neighborhood of Madrid; La Latina is full of small bars, restaurants, traditional taverns and terrace bars.
advice for #Madrid.
If you are staying somewhere in Madrid, make sure it is the La Latina neighborhood.
The food, the bars, the bustle... It has no rival. 😍
– Michaela (@HeyImMichaela) October 27, 2019
Some of our favorite bars in La Latina are «Crazy Juana«, who prepares one of the best Spanish tortillas in Madrid and «Amadeo House«, very popular for its snails in sauce.
On Sundays and public holidays, La Latina hosts the popular Market of the trail (one of the largest markets in Europe). From 9 in the morning until about 5 in the evening, the streets of the neighborhood are flooded with locals and tourists in search of a bargain.
-Nearest metro station: La Latina (line 5)
-To do? Stroll through its picturesque streets, enjoy the local atmosphere and eat «caps«. Two of the most visited places in the neighborhood are the Mercado de Abastos de Cebada and the Church of San Francisco el Grande.
Atocha train station and tropical garden
I can safely say that Madrid has one of the most incredible train stations in Europe.
I love traveling by train and, since I was a child, the Atocha station has always been one of my favorite places in Madrid; I like to see the passengers with their suitcases, the public address announcements, the smell of coffee from the cafeterias or the screens that indicate the train schedules.
The Atocha station in Madrid is made up of 5 zones linked together:
- The old train station of the 19th century
- He Surroundings andenes (commuter trains)
- The new train terminal
- a spacious hall
- a subway station
This makes the Atocha station the largest railway hub in Spain, with more than 100 million passengers a year!
Specifically, I would like to talk about my favorite area of Atocha, the old 19th century train station.
Original Atocha train station from the 19th century
When the Spanish Government inaugurated the new train terminal, the old train station was completely abandoned.
Instead of demolishing it, the government decided to preserve the spectacular iron, brick and ceramic structure and design a spectacular tropical garden (4,000 square meters) full of plants and trees from different parts of the world (America, Asia and Australia).
The extreme climate of Madrid (little rainfall, cold winters and very hot summers) is not the best for these tropical species. For this reason, a complex system of water sprinklers was installed to increase humidity and lower temperatures during the soporific heat of summers in Madrid.
You will surely enjoy this place in Madrid. Throughout the tropical garden you will find benches for travelers and visitors to sit, shops, cafes and restaurants.
-Address: Roundabout of Carlos V s/n (Atocha Renfe metro)
-Opening hours:from 5:30 to 22:20
What to do today in Madrid for free – Atocha Station (Botanical Garden)
Few things are as typical of Madrid as a delicious calamari sandwich or fried calamari sandwich. Throughout the city, far and wide, you'll find signs for bars offering calamari sandwichesbut the best are without a doubt in the neighborhood of the Main Square. In particular, we recommend three bars where you can enjoy an authentic calamari sandwich:
- The Ideal: Calle Buttoneras, 4
- The Bell: Calle Buttoneras, 6
- Rúa House: Ciudad Rodrigo Street, 3
-Price: The price of a calamari sandwich is around 3 euros, a reasonable price for something in the center of the city. It is precisely its affordable price that attracts the hundreds of customers who queue up every day.
Now you no longer have an excuse to enjoy Madrid, whatever your budget.
If you are interested What to do today in Barcelona for free you can check this link.
I am sorry that this content has not been useful to you!
Let me improve this content!
Tell me, how can I improve this content?
I am a passionate traveler with an innate desire to discover the world. To date, I have had the privilege of visiting 31 countries and most of them have left an indelible mark.
During my travels, I have gained valuable knowledge on how to travel efficiently. I have perfected itinerary planning, accommodation selection, and making the most of each experience. I am proud to share my tips and tricks with you so that you can enjoy hassle-free and unforgettable trips.
On this blog, you'll find a carefully curated selection of destinations, practical tips, and honest reviews of hotels and tourist attractions. My goal is to inspire you and provide you with useful resources so that you can plan your own adventures with confidence and peace of mind.
May travel fill you with joy and open you up to new possibilities!