Madrid Tourism

The extravagant night of Madrid

Madrid is one of the most complete tourist cities with options for different kinds of public which satisfy all types of needs both during the day and at night. Precisely in the evening, the city offers the typical outings to well-known restaurants and conventional discos. However, there is also a hidden side which has varied attractions in which the kitsch style prevails. It is important to know how to find them.

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The kitsch style works under the motto “more is more”, that is to say, the opposite to minimalism. There is a predominance of colors and shapes with many outstanding elements. It is an extravagant style which includes bubble gum pink, apple green, red and sky blue as standards. But not everything has to do with aesthetics; kitsch is also connected with ways of enjoying without prejudice and inhibitions. It just seeks absolute fun with the company of other people.

Uñas Chung Lee

One of the trendiest discos of the best possible level in Madrid is Uñas Chung Lee. This place is located in 38 Hilarión Eslava Street in Moncloa zone. Here, everything is enhanced with the Asian continent and its customers enjoy a crazy night transporting themselves to an Eastern country. Among its offers, there is a nail spa with fluorescent make up and a manicure service, shows inspired by the Eastern culture, a Korean karaoke and the Manicure Experience. These are just some of its attractions. Once inside, there are more surprises. The origin of the name comes from the artist Chung Lee whose characteristic phrase is “The best nails are painted at 3 AM.”

Destellos

Destellos is the name of one of the kitschiest pubs which can be found in Madrid. It is in 99 Galileo Street. The decoration exemplifies this style perfectly well: it is very heterogeneous with still life paintings which mix all kinds of elements like lemons, oranges and theatrical masks. In the middle of the dance floor, there is a golden horse. In this place, pop music sounds with the best Spanish hits. People can enjoy beer and try delicious tapas like vinegar anchovies, tuna with peppers or sweets and conguitos. Here, it is very common to come across many artists because Sala Galileo is very close to this disco. After introducing themselves, they tend to relax and drink something.

Medias Puri

In number 1 of the Tirso de Molina square, a clandestine shop can be found with a capacity for a thousand people. It is called Medias Puri and it is gaining popularity increasingly in Madrid’s night. It has three dance floors. The first one is Sala Central which offers live performances and local dj’s presentations. The second is known as Sala Negra with exclusive music of the 1980s. Finally, Apotheka  dance floor which is a mistery and it can only be known by visiting people.

Medias Puri is open on Fridays, Saturdays and on the eve of the end of the year’s celebrations. As regards dancing, there are salsa, techno music, rock indie, among others. Chevi Muraday, who obtained the Dance National Prize in 2006, is in charge of the dance show. Felype de Lima, winner of the Max Prize in 2015 for the best costume design, deals with the clothing.

Medias Puri has two curiosities: the first one is that in it, people can buy socks of all kinds of colors. The second is that the promotion of the place is carried out by Lets Go, the same producer of the shows managed by Uñas Chung Lee.

Mauna Loa

This is a historic place in the night of Madrid, and it is more than 45 years old. Many generations have gone to this place. Its main attraction is its Hawaiian volcanos. As its name suggests, it is about cocktails with the Hawaiian style which are served on volcanos that emit smoke and can be shared among many people. Also, they offer other drinks and food of the same style. Pineapple and coconut prevail in Mauna Loa. To meet this place of three floors with a tropical environment, you have to go to Santa Ana’s Square number 13.

Programme of Accessible Guided Visits

Madrid is full of guided visits and tours around the city as a way of making its history known for tourists. However, one of the doubts which generally arises is if disabled people can participate in these visits. The answer is yes, and not only that: Madrid designed a special programme for differently abled people.

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The programme of guided visits for people with different abilities and their attendants will be carried out between July and September of 2019. Within the programme, four different options are included, which are centered on the most important subjects of the historical center of Madrid, like for example Barrio de las Letras in the tour Miguel de Cervantes. In addition, a tour is done in homage to women of greater relevance in the history of the city.

This tour provides the company of professional guides during the whole visit, from the beginning to the end, without exception. The programme schedule is from Thrusdays to Sundays, in Spanish and with a maximum of twenty people per group. The duration is of two hours approximately and it is worth mentioning that four of the options are free.

To participate in these visits, it is necessary to sign in in advance. The enrollment can be done in two ways: sending an e-mail or face-to-face in Centro de Turismo Plaza Mayor.

El Madrid de Cervantes

The first tour is related to one of the most important writers in the Spanish history. It starts in Plaza Mayor, and then it continues visiting the surrounding streets. Then, you arrive at Barrio de las Letras, where the author of Don Quijote de La Mancha and other great writers of the Golden Century lived and died. During the tour, you will see taverns, churches and other interesting places. The visit is carried out on Sundays at 10 am and it lasts for two hours.

Historical Madrid

This tour starts in Plaza Mayor and finishes in Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales. Through this visit, different types of historic buildings of the city are seen like for example traditional shops, palaces, theaters, churches, mesons and nunneries. It is an ideal tour to know the history of the city. You can participate on Thursdays at 6 pm and it lasts for two hours.

Monumental Madrid

This tour revolves around the most remarkable monuments of the city, and it also focuses on how the Bourbons dynasty altered the buildings and streets. From Plaza Mayor to Plaza Cánovas del Castillo, different fonts, palaces and gardens can be observed, in addition to the historical monuments, museums and libraries. The visit is programmed for Fridays at 6 pm.

Outstanding women in the history of Madrid

This visit is specially destined to those women who had an important role in the history of Madrid. Through a tour around the city, there are different representative places where these women lived and spent most of their lives. This visit can be made on Saturdays at 10 am.

For more information, visit this page: https://www.esmadrid.com/visitas-guiadas-por-madrid

Alternative touristic attractions in Madrid

Madrid is an amazing city for tourism. It has beautiful landscapes, historic monuments, and structures which were declared a world heritage site. Options are almost infinite, that is why it is impossible to get bored in Madrid, even if people go more than once. Nonetheless, there are places and sites of great touristic value which go unnoticed, as if they were hidden.

They are alternative tours and visits in the city which have a great cultural and touristic value. Madrid offers a wide range of options for tourists, even for locals who do not know all the secrets of the city.

Temple of Debod

It is an Egyptian temple originated in 2nd century after Christ and it is currently found in Parque del Cuartel de la Montaña, an area which is close to Plaza de España. This monument was donated to Spain by the Egyptian government to avoid its flooding during the building of the Asuán dam.

Temple of Debod

The building of the temple was carried out by Adikalamani king, which ended up being a chapel dedicated to the Amón and Isis gods. A few years later, kings of the Ptolemaic dynasty built new stays next to the original building. Finally, when Egypt was incorporated to the Roman Empire, the emperors Augustus and Tiberius finished building and decorating the temple.

When Nubia converted to Christianism, in the 6th century, the temple was abandoned. When the dam was built during the 20th century, the Egyptians decided to give the building to Madrid. In order to do so, it was carried stone by stone and reconstructed in the same way. It was finished in 1972, the year which it was opened to the public. Inside it, many audiovisual materials are displayed, together with videos and models, to show the details of its decorations and meaning.

Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida

This historical place was built in honor to San Antonio de Padua, by order of Carlos IV. It was built by Francisco de Fontana and it has a central space with a big dome which is illuminated with a lantern. However, this monument achieved greater importance because of the historical ensemble made by Goya in the 18th century.

In 1905, the building was declared a National Monument while in 1928, it was decided to build an identical temple by its side to preserve the original as Museo de Goya. It has always been a priority to preserve this place. Precisely, the original temple serves to keep the painter’s remains since 1919.

Parque El Capricho de la Alameda de Osuna

This green space belongs to the artistic-natural heritage of the city. It is located in Alameda de Osuna and it is highlighted for its beauty and for being little known. It was created in 1784, by María Josefa de la Soledad Alonso Pimentel duchess. The most prestigious gardeners of the period worked there and it was visited by well-known figures.  However, with the death of the duchess, the park began to decline until it was almost forgotten. In 1974, the Council of Madrid bought this green space and started its restoration which was finished in 1999. The park recovered its beauty and has a high level of botany, sculpture and art. Inside it, pavilions and chapels can be found as well as fonts, plazas and the dukes’ palaces.

The garden has three different styles: firstly, the French garden, which extends from the west of the garden. Secondly, the Italian garden, located in the lowest and oldest part of the place. Finally, the English landscape, which extends along the park.

 El Ángel Caído

Madrid City can claim that it is the only one which has a monument to the devil. More precisely, it is about a statue which represents the moment in which the fallen angel was expelled from Eden.

The font is found in Parque de El Retiro, and it was acquired by the Council of Madrid, which ordered a pedestal design from the architect Francisco Jareño. The original work is from Ricardo Bellver. The font was inaugurated in 1885 and it is located 666 meters above the sea level.

Búnkeres de la Guerra Civil

Parque del Oeste has a surface close to 100 hectares. In one of its zones, more precisely in an area located between Seneca Avenue and Paseo de Ruperto Chapí, elements of the dark past of Spain are found. There, three bunkers for machine guns used during the Civil War can be found. During those times, twenty bunkers were built, but only three remain.

Panteón de Hombres Ilustres

In the cloister of Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Atocha, Panteón de Hombres Ilustres is found, a place where politicians and personalities of the 19th century remain buried.

The historic architecture and the funerary sculpture, two of the most present elements at the end of the 19th century, are found in this building. Renowned sculptors were in charge of building the graves for those important figures of the Spanish political and military history. Some of the most distinguished names which rest inside this place are: Palafox, Canalejas, Ríos Rosas and Cánovas, among others.

Botín

The oldest restaurant in Madrid, it is located in Cuchilleros street in the heart of Madrid. This place was founded in 1725 by a French cook called Jean Botín, together with his wife of Asturian origin. It is recognized as the oldest restaurant in the world in the Guiness World records.

Currently, this restaurant is administered by the fourth generation of the González family who are the successors of the founding family. The environment of the original inn is kept up until today since it is reflected in its wood-fire oven which was used at the moment it was founded, almost 200 years ago. The restaurant is an enormous place; it covers the four floors of the building.

Unusual libraries in Madrid

After a long and noisy day in the city, finding and visiting a library is an experience that every visitor should have. The calm and relaxing atmosphere of a library cannot be compared to anything. Luckily, in Madrid, there is a great variety of them.

In libraries, people cannot only enjoy reading but also other activities like cafeteria, wine tasting, reading club, art exhibition, among others. Even though technology keeps on advancing and is part of daily life, reading from books is still one of the richest and most relaxing activities. Let’s take a look at the most peculiar libraries you can find in Madrid.

Main libraries

In the huge variety of available libraries, there are four which are the most outstanding and popular:

  • “Tipos infames”: is located in San Joaquín, 3. It is characterized by its mixture of books and wines. Every day, it has an assembled audience either for a book’s presentation or for a wine tasting, cultural exhibition, workshop, etc. It specializes in independent literary narrative which turned this library in one of the biggest literary meeting places of the city.
  • “La Central”: this library is located in Postigo de San Martin, 8. Its most distinguishing characteristic is connected to its building: it is a beautiful house-palace of three floors which contains a cafeteria and restaurant called “El Bistró”. Its wooden stairs and decorated yard give this mansion an old library distinctive touch. Its philosophy is to keep reading as a means of attaining essential culture. It also has local and international bibliography. Finally, it includes an event schedule and courses destined to encourage reading.
  • “Arrebato Libros”: is a traditional library with a strong focus on buying and selling books. It is located in La Palma, 21. It has literary latest updates and headings of its own publishing house. It is inclined towards poetry and it organizes the festival called “POETAS” which will be carried out on October 12.
  • “Cervantes y Compañía”: is a nice library, in Pez, 27, Metro Noviciado. It has a wide variety of books and it has a peculiar characteristic: its basement is designed in such a way that it can host literary birthdays, writers’ presentations, courses, and workshops. It is a cultural place within the same library but it cannot be seen from the outside. It has a kind of “hidden function” only known for those who come inside the library.

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 Libraries for children

The great number of libraries in Madrid enables the possibility of a variety of options in the sense that each person can find one which matches his/her own interests. For those parents with children who want to share a cultural moment in family, there are four libraries. First, “Tres Rosas Amarillas” is full of “pop up” and foldout books, Chinese shadows, and cardboard theaters. It is meant mainly for little children. Secondly, “Ciento volando” specializes in children and young people since it has storytellers and workshops specially designed for this audience on the ground floor. While children enjoy reading, adults can have a coffee on the upper floor and they can also enjoy a book; all kinds of publics are welcome. Third, “La Mar de Letras” is an entertaining space designed to encourage children’s creativity with storytellers and workshops. Finally, “El Dragón Lector” is a passionate library with children’s literature, activities like songs, storytelling, and poetry in both, Spanish and English. A characteristic which distinguishes it from other libraries is that writers and illustrators are given a prize which is called “Premio Editorial”, “Dragón Ilustrado” and “Pequeño Dragón”.

Social libraries

Nowadays, social movements are very important and affect every aspect of society. That is why it isn’t strange that there are libraries with a strong social presence focused on a particular social issue. Within this category, the most popular are:

  • “Librería de Mujeres: located in San Cristóbal, 17. As its name suggests, it is a place dedicated especially to spread women’s literature together with its feminist reasoning and ideology. In addition, conferences are also organized with feminist activists and thinkers, theater, workshops, poetry recitations, among others. Crafts made by women can be bought.
  • “Traficantes de Sueños”: is located in Duque de Alba, 13. Besides working as a library, is a space for screening, presentations and different workshops related to social movements. It specializes in the essay and politico-cultural narrative.
  • Tuuulibrería: is about a library which focuses on solidarity and it works under the motto “Tu decides el valor de los libros” (You decide on the book’s prize). It was created with the idea of preventing book’s destruction and encouraging reading in the lower sectors of society which not always have access to first hand books. This library encourages all people to donate books they don’t read anymore.

Language libraries

Madrid is a city which receives people from all over the world. For that reason, it has libraries which have texts in different languages. “Pasajes” is an international library of great reputation. In the year 2016, it was awarded by Financial Times and Sello de Calidad de Librerías as one of the best 5 multilingual libraries of the world. It has more than 70.000 books which are ideal for those who love languages. “Desperate Literature” is a trilingual library which mixes Anglo-Saxon, Francophone, and Latin American literature. Its owners also have libraries in Santorini and Brooklyn. This place proposes an intercultural exchange: texts are published in a bilingual magazine and events and literary awards are celebrated.

Definitely, the literary offer in Madrid is very extensive. For book fans or visitors who want to relax after a day of tourism, literature is available along the city.

Madrid: a city with world-class sports

Madrid is a city in which sports are present at all times. It has a great variety of disciplines and first class tournaments are held there. This makes the city even more attractive for sports fans and tourists in general. Great sportsmen get together every year at Madrid to take part in prestigious sport competitions. Let’s see some of them.

 

Football

Football is one of the most popular sports in the world, and the city of Madrid is lucky to have two of the best teams of the whole planet: the Real Madrid and the Atlético Madrid. This does not happen very often, so it is nice to go visit the city to get to know both teams.

The Real Madrid is one the most famous ones in the whole world. It has won more matches than anyone else in history, and without doubt it is one of the most popular ones. They are Stadium is the place in which the play most of their matches, and it’s called Santiago Bernabeu. Such a stadium was opened in 1947 and today has capacity for 81.044 fans. In addition, it has 245 VIP seats and four restaurants inside of it (La Esquina, Puerta 57, Real Café Bernabéu y Zen Market). If you happen to be at the city at the same time that Real Madrid’s match is taking place during the Spanish league or the UEFa Champions League, you should enjoy this world-class spectacle which any football fan should see.

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In case you cannot attend a match, then you might want to experience the Bernabéu tour. It is a visit guided by professionals which takes visitors so that they can get to know every part of this wonderful stadium. Some of these sections are the presidential box, from where the authorities sit down to watch the match, the football pitch, the seat in which the trainer sits and even the changing room in which the players prepare for the event.  To finish with this, people can enter the Club’s museum, in which they will be able to appreciate every trophy they have ever won, and thousands of other objects such as t-shirts, balls, pictures and other important documents. In addition, there are interactive screens with audiovisual content such as the room that features the Best Club in history and another one called “Sensaciones Real Madrid”. By visiting these places you will truly get to know the history of the team.

As regards the team Atlético Matrid, we all know it is the eternal rival of Real Madrid. In the last few years, the former has taken their play to the next level. Today, they are quite known as quality players. Together with that came some structural changes. For example, they left their traditional stadium, Vicente Calderón, and moved to another one: Wanda Metropolitano. This one is quite new in comparison, and is very comfortable and safe. It is a very 21st century stadium. 67,000 people fit in there. Thanks to the technology “Phillips Arena Experience”, it is capable of delivering a nice spectacle. It has more than 330 projectors that give more than 16 million colors. That is why this stadium is used to host big sport events and even musical concerts. Indeed, this 2019 it will host the final match of the UEFA Champions League, the most important tournament in the continent.

atletico-madrid

This team usually takes places in three tournaments every year: the Spanish league, the Copa del Rey, and the Champions League. That is why fans will surely have the chance to see those matches live. In turn, there is also the possibility of going on a guide tour along the stadium. The Wanda Metropolitano Tour takes their visitors to meet different zones, like the locker rooms, the pressroom, and the mixed zone. They are also allowed to go to the pitch using the same tunnel that the players use. Lastly, they can visit the club’s museum, where they can see all the trophies, titles and many valuable objects that they own, like historical t-shirts.

 

Tenis

Not everything is about football in Madrid. The city also hosts one of the most important tennis tournaments as well: The Mutua Madrid Open, that is part of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000, together with other 8 world-class competitions. This one has been taking place since the year 2002 in the Caja Mágica, a place built by the French architect Dominique Perrault. The best female and male tennis players get together every May at the city to play this tournament, which is very useful for other slike Roland Gaarros, the most important one of the year. Another opportunity to enjoy great tennis and see top-notch players in action.

Another of the most prestigious tournaments will also take place in Madrid this year. The International  Tennis Federation (ITF) chose it as the host of the new phase of the Davis Cup, both in 2019 and in 2020. This competition has 118 years of history, and it is played in teams. It will take place in November, and 18 of the best teams in the world will be present. They will be divided up in 6 groups of 3 teams each. Every tennis fan will be paying attention to this great sporting event!

 

Basketball

Basketball is also very important in the city of Madrid. Some of the teams that take part in the same category of the ACB are Real Madrid, Estudiantes y Fuenlabrada. In addition, Real Madrid also plays in the Euro liga, an European competition in which the most reputable teams play. The local matches are played in the modern stadium WiZinkCenter. This is a place wholly dedicated to sports and shows, and it’s also very modern in terms of technological advances. This year, it will host the Supercopa Endesa, a trophy that 4 teams will try to win: the champions of the ACB League, the ones of the Copa del Rey, the local team and the one that classifies the best in European competitions.

Enjoy Contemporary Art when Visiting Madrid

Known as a place of notable culture and history, Madrid is a great way to experience art. However, the way you are going to experience it and the epochs you are going to explore can completely reshape your travel and overall impression of the city. In this article, we are going to recommend you places where you can discover contemporary art in Madrid.

As always, renting an apartment in the center of Madrid is a very convenient way to begin your journey as all of these places will be near your accommodation in Madrid, or easily reachable with public transport.

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Image source: https://pixabay.com/photos/exhibition-art-gallery-gallery-arts-362163/

 

Madrid galleries

We will start with art galleries on a journey of exploring contemporary art in Madrid.

Mad is Mad

This gallery is advertised as offering a new gallery concept, an ideal setting for exploring contemporary art in Madrid. It features an original setting inspired by the cosmopolitan spirit of the city including contemporary creations of the notable Spanish talents. The gallery is located in Chueca district of Madrid, a lively neighborhood typical of bohemian and artistic atmosphere. Works featured as parts of the exhibitions include different types of artwork such as photography, paintings, drawings, etc.

Location: Pelayo 48, 28004 Madrid
Hours: Between Tuesday and Saturday, the gallery is open between 5 and 9 pm.
Website: https://www.madismad.com/

 

Travesí­a Cuatro

This gallery was founded in 2003 by Silvia Ortiz and Inés López-Quesada with the idea to promote contemporary art. The gallery features both national and international artists, but this is also the place where you can find artworks form Latin America. This is how the gallery brings a combination of multicultural diversity and expands the influence art has beyond the borders of one country.

Location: Calle San Mateo 16, 28004 Madrid
Hours: From 11 am until 7 pm every day from Tuesday to Friday. The gallery is open between 11 am and 2:30 pm on Saturdays and it is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Website: http://travesiacuatro.com/eng/

 

Sabrina Amrani Gallery

Cultural diversity brings that special touch to art, as it allows artists to combine different styles, heritage and inspiration that is transferred into their work. That is also the case in this gallery, founded by a French woman of Algerian origin.

Location: Madera, 23, 28004 Madrid and Sallaberry, 52, 28019 Madrid
Hours: Between Tuesday and Friday from 11 am until 7 pm. On Saturdays, the art gallery in Madera street is open from 11 am until 2:30 pm, while the other one opens at 11 am and closes at 7 pm on Saturdays.

Website: http://www.sabrinaamrani.com/the-gallery/

 

Elba Benítez

Featuring contemporary artistic production with sculptures, photography, paintings, site-specific installations, and even performances, their mission is to offer different artistic expressions, especially in the form of interaction and experience exchange.

Location: Elba Benítez Gallery, San Lorenzo 11 28004 Madrid
Hours: The gallery is open between Tuesday and Saturday, from 11 am until 7 pm.
Website: http://www.elbabenitez.com/

 

Heinrich Ehrhardt

This gallery is founded with the idea to bring close the German style of art and introduce German artists to the Madrid audience. Even though it was founded in Madrid in 1980, the gallery was moved to Frankfurt in 1985. There, it was focused on projects with numerous artists, but it was not until 1998 when the Madrid audience got the enjoy their offer and exhibits featuring many emerging artists.

Location: San Lorenzo 11, 280004 Madrid
Hours: The gallery is open between 11 am and 7 pm, between Tuesday and Friday. On Saturdays, it is open between 11 am and 2 pm
Website: http://www.heinrichehrhardt.com/

 

Rafael Pérez Hernando

What started out is a small basement in the center of Madrid as a project that brought together those enthusiastic about contemporary art, turned into a notable gallery in Madrid. It puts emerging artists in the spotlight. They want to highlight the importance and brilliance of contemporary art and how it represents the modern world.

Location: Calle Orellana, 18, 28004 Madrid
Hours: From Monday to Friday the gallery is open between 10 am and 2 pm, and then again in the afternoon between 5 pm and 8:30 pm. On Saturdays, it is open between 11 am and 2 pm. The gallery is closed on Mondays, as well as during the month of August.
Website: http://www.rphart.net/

 

Museum of Contemporary Art

There are a lot of museums in Madrid you can visit. If you enjoy this form of art, you will actually discover that Madrid is a sort of a museum hub. Country’s rich cultural heritage and the fact that some of the greatest masters of art were in fact from Spain, provides an impressive collection of artworks the country so proudly displays in the museums all around the city.

When it comes to contemporary art, art galleries are very popular among those interested. Still, another recommended location for anyone who is interested in contemporary art is The Museum of Contemporary Art (in Spanish Museo de Arte Contemporáneo). It is one of the new museums in Madrid, and it was established in 2001. The museum was opened with two major goals in mind:

Create a forum which will continually offer an opportunity for cultural and exhibitions programs of contemporary art.

Complement the other museums and general offer the city of Madrid is so known for.

Both of these goals contribute to one overall goal, i.e. the promotion of contemporary culture to both domestic and foreign viewers.

Located in the historic barracks of the Conde Duque building, the museum offers two floors with over 22000 square feet of exhibition space. Currently, over 200 works are included in its offer featuring collections of paintings, photography, sculpture, etc.

Location: Calle Conde Duque, 9 28015
Hours: Between Tuesday and Saturday the museum is open between 10 am and 2 pm and again between 5:30 pm and 9 pm. On Sundays or during public holidays, this museum is open between 10:30 am and 2 pm.

 

Art Madrid – Contemporary Art Fair

Unlike other exhibitions and galleries we have mentioned here, which allow you to explore contemporary culture at almost any moment, there is an art related event, which takes place once a year. So in case you happen to be visiting at that time, this could be a perfect way to explore the city of Madrid and learn about its culture and modern art.

Art Madrid is an annual contemporary art fair. The event has a global character and brings together the artists and those who are fond of art within a global, multicultural event that above all promotes art. In the modern age, when technology has such a great impact on our lives and art is starting to take different, more digital forms, it is important that events like these do exist, and that they manage to gather people who are genuinely interested in art and able to recognize its significance.

Here’s a quick recap of this years’ event to figure out what you can expect from this event.

Art Madrid was organized from February 27th to March 3rd, 2019 in the Galería de Cristal of CentroCentro Cibeles. It gathered 50 galleries from 15 countries and almost 200 artists who were able to present their artistic vision to the audience. Besides its general program, the fair features other programs, solo/shows, and projects that enable them to support emerging artists. It is an amazing way to support the community and to help those who are still struggling to create a name for themselves. The program which was open for the public included meeting with the artist, workshops, debates, etc.

Website: https://www.art-madrid.com/en

 

Apertura Madrid Gallery Weekend

This is an annual celebration of art and culture organized by ARTE Madrid. It takes place in September and more than 40 contemporary art galleries simultaneously take part in the event. The weekend devoted to art takes place night and day, and the complete program includes a lot of activities organized by museums and art galleries. The event attracts collectors, experts and curators from all over the world as it features notable artists, as well as emerging artists, from the local scene.

It is a multicultural event that brings you closer to contemporary art and enables an opportunity to discover the world through the artworks of contemporary artists. Special programs, guided and private tours are also available, parties as well as special events organized by individual galleries.

 

What to expect from contemporary art in Madrid

Although the most prevalent form of art in Madrid is the art from the past, and artworks that have incorporated different artistic styles that have developed over the centuries, there are a lot of initiatives to promote and support contemporary art in Madrid. In fact, it is very important to continue to create art in a country that has given the famous creations of masters such as Picasso, Dali, Miro, Goya, etc. Thinking this way and working on establishing art in the life of Madrid is a necessary step to ensure that this rich cultural heritage lives on and that the city continues to be one of the most recognizable capitals of culture in the world.

Different Museums in Madrid

Different Museums in Madrid

 

Madrid is a city known for its museums. Chances are, there is no person who has visited Madrid without going to at least one of its famous museums, such as the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofia Museum, etc. While these are probably the most popular museums and ones that most travelers visit, the city has a lot of smaller museums scattered around. Different themes of these museums provide a level of uniqueness and a chance to see a different side of Madrid.

Here are 8 Madrid museums worth visiting during your stay in Madrid.

 

La Casita Museo de Ratón Pérez

This museum is a very interesting place to visit, especially if you travel with kids. If you have heard of a Tooth Fairy, a magical being that visits children and gives them a coin for every milk tooth they lose, then the story of a mouse Alfonso is something you can relate. Ratoncito Pérez is a little mouse, a character created in the 19th century by Friar Luis Coloma. Friar Luis Coloma was paid to create a story about a character that visits children and leaves them present every time they lose a tooth. The mouse lives with his family in a box of biscuits. The box is kept in a confectioner’s warehouse near the Royal Place. Therefore, the story gives a glimpse of royal life and it has deeper historical background than the life of a little mouse.

When you visit the museum, you can visit a place where the mouse lives with this family. Along the way, you will learn about Spanish history and historical documents that are also featured in the museum. It is an exciting journey of discovery and growing up, which will both educate and entertain the kids.

It is a small museum, but you will be joined with a storyteller who will tell you more about the story and engage the little ones into a story of a famous little mouse.

Location: Calle del Arenal, 8 1ª planta, 28013 Madrid

Website: http://www.casamuseoratonperez.es/

 

Wax Museum

Wax museums are very popular nowadays, especially as the museums started including figures of famous celebrities and people known globally. Travelers love “meeting” their idols and taking photos, even if that person is made of wax. Also, it completely fascinating to see how they are able to recreate people with such attention to details and replicate every little frown on people’s face.

Madrid Wax Museum (Museo de Cera) contains more than 450 wax figures of influential people from history such as Felipe VI, Carlos V, Pablo Picasso, Miguel de Cervantes, to contemporary influential people such as Sofia Vergara, Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, etc.

The museum also has exhibitions sections devoted to different epochs which replicate more than people’s appearance. There you can explore the setting typical for that time period while learning a lot about history.

On the ground floor, you will find sections devoted to Roman Empire, Visigoths, and even the Habsburgs. You will also be able to visit the scene about the third of May by Goya. Conquests of Latin America are also featured in some exhibitions, but you can also find a literary cafe, exhibitions featuring classing writers, and scientists.

When it comes to modern history, a lot of celebrities are included, as well as influentials from politics, sport, and even the business world. There is a fantasy corner with fictional characters that are brought to life through the exhibitions. Finally, a horror train takes you on a journey inspired by classics such as Dungeons, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, etc.

Location: Pª de Recoletos 41, 28004, Madrid

Website: http://www.museoceramadrid.com/

 

Madrid Zoo Aquarium

If you love animals, visiting the Madrid Zoo would be a perfect choice. Not only will you enjoy seeing a large variety of animals with 500 different species, but you will enjoy the 22 hectares of open space with setting adapted to replicate the animals’ natural habitat.

Aquarium collects an extensive collection of species that complete the offer of the whole zoo. It is shaped like a glass pyramid, visible from the entire park. It consists of two floors with large tunnels going around taking you on an adventure. It is a fantastic scenery to visit.

Animals such as sea turtles, loggerhead turtles, knife fish, seahorse, and many marine plants are available in the aquarium. As you step furthermore, you will get to see the beauties of the ocean world with coral reefs, sandy beds, submarine plains and other mysteries that hide in the bottoms of the ocean. Some of the species in the aquarium are endangered, which makes them even more precious examples of the aquarium. Of course, the frightening creature that both terrifies and fascinates the visitors, the shark can also be found in the aquarium.

Location: Casa de Campo, s/n, 28011 Madrid, Spain

Website: https://www.zoomadrid.com/en/in-the-zoo/aquarium

 

Madrid Planetarium

Learning about space and history at the same time has never been easier. Madrid Planetarium offers this unique blend of future and past, a combination of technology and imaginations, designed to engage visitors, to encourage curiosity and explain the ideas that have always stirred mystery. It is an institution with decades of experience with the best experts creating the exhibitions and guiding the tours for the travelers.

There are multiple exhibitions. Not only can you learn a lot from them, but you can get acquainted with the world of science and technology. Currently, there is an interesting exhibition to visit called “Climate Change: Understanding to Survive” which is designed to raise awareness of the climate changes, how they have been affecting the life and nature, and how we can make things better.

Having in mind that the institution is focused on education, there is a period of the day which is reserved for the school visits. In this sense, this museum does not have regular working hours, so it is best to check their online schedule and organize your visit accordingly.

Location: Avenida Del Planetario, 1628045

Website: http://planetmad.es/

 

Museo del Traje

When visiting museums people are used to seeing paintings, sculptures and similar artworks. But if you decide to visit the Museo del Traje, you will mostly see clothes and costumes. It is a museum devoted to fashion that has been a part of people’s lives for centuries. It is actually very interesting to see how designs have changed, how materials and colors had an influence on the way people dressed. The impressive collection of this museum gathers items from the Middle Ages to contemporary times. In total, the museum includes a collection of over 160.000 items. Besides clothes and costumes, the museum also contains the documents relevant to the fashion industry.

The collection contains some remarkable items of clothing from the past, which is very interesting to see, even if you are not into fashion. As the collection moves forward, you can see popular designs that have marked contemporary times. Such is, for example, a famous black dress designed by Hubert de Givenchy for Audrey Hepburn to wear in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. You can also discover the designs of famous Spanish and international designers including Pedro Rodriguez, Christian Dior, Paco Rabanne, etc.

Location: Avenida Juan de Herrera, 2, 28040 Madrid

Website: http://www.culturaydeporte.gob.es/mtraje/inicio.html

 

Museo del Aire

Here is another a little bit different museum you can visit in Madrid. It is the museum devoted to aviation. Its impressive collection of 150 aircrafts takes you on the journey of going back to history as you watch their design and features change with each new decade the brought new technology, ideas, and procedures invested into the process of creating them. Many of the planes and helicopters you get to see as a part of the collection have been used by the Spanish Air Force. Also included in the collection are hundreds of miniature aircraft models. You will also get to see uniforms, engines, weapons and many other objects related to aviation.

If you get a guided tour, you will be taken on a walk around 7 hangars containing the aircrafts and the equipment. You will learn about flight instruments, the way they have been used, the importance of all the items for aviation and astronautics. Also, you could learn interesting anecdotes about the planes you see in the museum when they were used and what their purpose was.

Location: Highway A-5, kilometer 10.800, 28024 Madrid

Website: http://www.ejercitodelaire.mde.es/EA/museodelaire/index.html

 

Museo del Ferrocarril

The Museo del Ferrocarril (Railway museum) has one of the largest collection devoted to railroads in Europe. Delicias Railway Station is no longer used, so the building is turned into a museum. The collection contains 6300 pieces relevant to railroad development in Spain. Most relevant items are rail vehicles, steam locomotives, and they have an outstanding place in the collection. Other pieces in the museum collection include devices used for communication, uniforms, watches, lampwork, etc.

Visiting this museum is like going on the ride with a time machine. You will get to see the authentic settings of the railway used in different epochs, and the most impressive is to see the beginnings of railway traffic and how everything looked like back then. The building itself is a fantastic place dating back to the end of the 19th century. It is more than the railway station. At the time, it was the third central headquarters of a railway company in Madrid. The regular operation, reception, delivery, passenger services, arrivals and departures, all of that was handled through the facilities designed as a part of the railway station. The station was completely closed in 1971, but it remained an important piece of cultural heritage.

Location: Paseo de las Delicias, 61, 28045 Madrid

Website: http://www.museodelferrocarril.org/index.asp

 

The Robot Museum

While the previous two museums take you to journey to the past, here is a museum that will take you towards the future. Inspired by the discoveries so far and the potential the technology has, you will definitely start imaging the world of the future. It is a new museum, opened in 2013. It has a large collection of robots, in fact, they say it is the largest collection in Europe. A variety of robots from the previous decades, as well as contemporary designs,  are included in the collection of the museum. Visiting this museum is entertaining, educational and inspiring, all at the same time. There are guided tours which also include live demonstrations.

Location: CalleAlberto Aguilera, 1, 28015 Madrid

Website: https://www.therobotmuseum.eu/es/inicio/

Hidden Corners of Madrid Cultural Heritage

There are so many ways to experience Madrid. That is one of the beauties of traveling. You get to see new places and meet different cultures in your own unique way. Your own perception and experience is what defines your trip and helps you find out more about the place you are visiting. As you are looking at the map and deciding what to visit, think about how you can organize your visit to create a personalized experience with landmarks that enable you to learn more about the cultural heritage of the Spanish capital.

Apartamentos-Hidden-Corners

We would like to help you discover hidden corners of Madrid cultural heritage by suggesting interesting places to visit. Sites such as the Plaza Mayor and the Prado Museum are undoubtedly must-see places in Madrid. They are famous landmarks no one should miss, but the city actually has many other not-so-known sites that enable you to immerse into the local culture and explore its rich heritage.

 

The Auditorium of Universidad Complutense

As the museum with long history and tradition, Complutense has been an important part of Madrid life. The auditorium is a building that has been on the list of Spanish properties of cultural interest since 1980.

 

Casita del Príncipe (El Escorial)

Translated as the House of Prince, this is the place designed under the heavy influence of neoclassicism. It was a private residence of the heir to the Spanish throne, and it was constructed in the 1770s. Besides the impressive architecture, the landmark also has an amazing garden, but perhaps the most famous feature is the Sala de Porcelana, located on the upper floor of the residence, with a collection of jasperware.

 

Puente de Segovia

The Puente de Segovia is another landmark you should explore during your visit. It has been built during the late 1580s over the Manzanares river in Madrid.

 

Puente de Toledo

This bridge is another site worth seeing as its baroque style make it a true representative of Madrid’s architecture from the first half of the 18th century. Due to wonderfully arranged lights, visiting this bridge in the evening or at night is a real spectacle.

 

The Temple of Debod

This building is an ancient Egyptian monument located near the Parque del Oeste in Madrid. The building, which is now a famous historical monument is actually a gift from Egypt to Spain during the 1960s. It is indeed an impressive experience to visit such a landmark that represents an entirely different culture. The temple itself dates back to the beginning of the 2nd century.

 

Palacio de Velázquez

Palacio de Velázquez or the Velázquez Palace is located in El Retiro Park in Madrid. It is an exhibition hall which is now used as an art and crafts gallery. The building itself is listed as Spanish property of cultural interest. It is one of few surviving buildings that were constructed in this area, alongside the Palacio de Cristal, which is a far more famous landmark in El Retiro Park.

 

Terrazas del Manzanares

This archaeological zone is worth the visit as the place which holds more than a hundred of archaeological and paleontological sites. Its cultural value is undeniable because these sites provide a perfect glimpse into Madrid’s ancient times and cultural heritage each epoch has left. The area is located on the banks of the Manzanares River.

 

Puerta de Toledo

This site used to have such an important role in the city life. It was one of the entrances into the city. Furthermore, it was one of the last city gates to be built, which is why it dates to the first half of the 19th century. The name has been chosen as the gate allows access to the city center through Toledo Streets after crossing the Toledo bridge.

 

The Bank of Spain

The building of the Bank of Spain is an impressive, eclectic architecture construction that has a central location, facing some of the most essential Madrid landmarks including the Plaza de Cibeles, the Paseo del Prado, the Calle de Alcala, etc. It has a chamfer clock on the top as well as the coat of arms on the north facade.

 

Teatro de la Zarzuela

The theatre dates back to the 19th century, but it endured several closings and reconstructions since it was first opened. Teatro de la Zarzuela is the most famous theatre in Madrid dedicated to Spanish lyric.

 

Teatro Real

Opera house in Madrid is located at the Plaza de Oriente, and it represents a landmark worth visiting both for the interior and the exterior. Its construction lasted for most of the first part of the 19th century. Several reconstructions, including the most recent one in the 1990s, were done to bring out the original design and highlight the cultural value of such a construction and predominant neoclassicism and eclecticism styles in architecture.

 

The Church of Our Lady of Montserrat

Church of Our Lady of Montserrat is a Catholic church in Baroque style. Its construction was completed in the 18th century, and it represents a landmark which may not be as popular but certainly is an important piece of Spanish cultural life. Intricate details on the main facade and breath-taking interior of the church are features that make it a valuable site in both religious and cultural sense.

 

The Collegiate Church of San Isidro

Another religious monument that represents a cultural heritage in the life of Madrid is the Collegiate church of San Isidro, built in the 17th century. It is one of the most representative buildings of the time heavily influenced by the Baroque style and following models from Rome with a single ship, lateral chapels, and other details that adorn the church interior. Since several major renovations took place during the centuries, the church interior also shows the influence of Neoclassical style, mainly with the altarpiece, even though the goal was to keep the original design as much as possible.

 

The Museum of Romanticism

Madrid has a lot of museum, and you will probably end up visiting at least one of them. However, the Museum of Romanticism is unlikely to cross your mind as a place to visit, as it is one of those hidden corners that belong to the cultural heritage of Madrid. Romanticism is an artistic and literary movement introduced at the beginning of the 19the century, and this museum brings you the spirit and the creativity of this particular period through its collection which includes housing items, furniture, decorative objects, paintings, and textiles. It also has a miniature collection with more than 250 pieces.

 

The Palace of Liria

Constructed in the 18th century, the Palace of Liria is said to be the largest private residence in Madrid along with its gardens. It is one of the most famous mansions in the Madrid aristocracy. It also includes an art collection, which you can see during organized visits and tours.

 

Campo del Moro

Campo del Moro is a historic garden located in Madrid. The construction was finished in the late 19th century, and it occupies about twenty hectares of the property from the Royal Palace to the Paseo de la Virgen del Puerto. The main character is the steep slope, which makes a landscape with ups and downs. Having in mind the time since the creation of this garden was an idea to the actual construction, this landscape perfectly reflects how the planning circulated until the final design was turned into reality. The garden has a rectangular shape and several entrance doors.

 

The Fuentecilla

The Fuentecilla is a small monumental fountain located at the crossroads of two streets, the street of Arganzuela and the Toledo Street. It was designed as a quadrangular pilaster with the sculptures of a bear and a griffin. Other ornaments are also included, as well as a representation of a lion, which symbolizes the Spanish monarchy.

 

Casa Museo Lope de Vega

This historic home dates back to the 17th century. Spanish playwright and poet spent last 20 years of his life in this house. Its interior is carefully displayed so that many things from his time are preserved. Guided tours are available, which allow you to experience the recreated atmosphere of the house and the period in which he lived. Besides his life, this tour also shows you the way people lived in Madrid during the late 17th century. This is informative and interesting for the visitors and a perfect way to experience the culture of the time.

 

Parque de El Capricho

This park represents one of the natural heritage of Madrid. It is not a popular park, but it is one of the most beautiful ones in Madrid. It contains artistic wealth with numerous statues, temples, fountains, and small squares. The natural life includes a vast variety of spices, that shape the landscape of the garden. What is unusual about this park is the fact that there is a civil war shelter, 15 meters underground, which was built in the 1930s. Since the garden is a bit secluded, it was a strategic location to place this shelter here.

 

Museo del Traje

Museo del Traje is a museum devoted to fashion and costumes. Its impressive collection includes over 160 000 pieces of clothing and documents. These range from the Middle Ages to contemporary fashion and thus provide insights into how historical and cultural changes reflected in style throughout the centuries. It is certainly an exciting place to visit if you are curious to see how Spanish fashion has evolved and changed over the course of history. The museum is located in a delightful setting with the building that is surrounded by a beautiful courtyard with monuments and glass pavilions.

 

Hopefully, you did get to learn about some new hidden corners of the cultural heritage of Madrid. This should help you plan your visit and go beyond usual routes. Explore something more of Madrid and try out new hidden places you are not likely to find in popular guides. You would be surprised as to how these hidden gems can teach you about Spanish culture and historical events that shaped the city life. Ultimately, you get to experience the city of Madrid in an entirely new and unique way.

The Cultural Offer in Madrid

Over the years, we have been helping travelers from all over the world experience Madrid in a better, more comfortable way. As a renowned provider of apartments in Madrid, we have the first-hand experience of how travelers see the city and the challenges they might face once they first arrive. Wanting to help all travelers who first arrive in Madrid, we have started our series of guides, which have featured Madrid Travel Guide, Madrid Gastronomic Guide, as well as Madrid City Guide.

The next guide we want to share with you is a cultural guide. Here, you will find the landmarks that hold an exceptional value in the cultural life of the city, making it easier for you to choose the ones to visit.

 

Museums in Madrid

One of the things Madrid is mostly recognizable for are the museums. The city has a lot of museums you can visit, but most travelers choose to start with these.

 

The Prado Museum

With the finest works of European art and the pieces from the Spanish Royal Collection, this museum offers one of the largest collections and is the most visited museum in Spain.

Location: Paseo del Prado

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The Prado Museum in Madrid

The Reina Sofia Museum

This is a national museum that features collections of the most renowned Spanish artists together with an impressive art library.

Location: Calle Santa Isabel, 52

 

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Mainly based on the artworks from the privately-owned collection, this museum features contemporary art from Europe and America.

Location: Paseo del Prado, 8

 

The Museum of America

Spanish colonization of the continent has an important part in the country’s cultural heritage, hence the collection that features items brought from the American content during that period.

Location: Avenida de Los Reyes Católicos, 6

 

The Naval Museum

Offering a glimpse into the history of the Spanish Navy, the Naval Museum is a place that focuses on sharing historical heritage while educating the visitors.

Location: Paseo Prado 5

 

The Royal Palace of Madrid

Even though it is an architectural site you want to visit and admire its exterior, the Royal Palace actually features an indoor museum with beautiful design, luxurious furniture, and decorations that originate from the Spanish royals.

Location: Calle Bailen

 

The best way to plan your visit to one of these museums is to check out the website and find out the opening hours, entrance fee, and if the museum offers guided tours. Most of the museums offer free entrance on a particular day or period of the day, which is a great option to explore cultural offer in Madrid even if you are traveling on a budget.

If you want to find out more Madrid museums worth visiting, take a look at this article: Museums to Visit in Madrid.

 

Historical sights

 

Numerous historical sights are scattered around the center of Madrid, highlighting the cultural value of the past. Different epochs have left a trace that cannot be erased. The traces of everyday life, court life, as well as a general spirit of the time can be seen in those sights. Regardless if we talk about artistic expression, amazing craftsmanship or style, the cultural value of these sights is priceless.

 

Basilica de San Francisco El Grande

Built in the Neoclassical style, this Roman Catholic basilica is a representative of a style rich with murals and paintings. It is known to have the largest Christian dome except for the dome in Rome, which makes it quite extraordinary construction. It is built in the 18th century, with several restorations over the past few centuries.

Location: Calle San Buenaventura, 1

 

Palacio de Cibeles

This architectural sight is a part of the modern Spanish culture, being first opened in 1919. It has become an important monument and a part of city life, now serving as the seat of the Madrid City Council. It also offers a modern art exhibition inside the palace.

Location: Plaza Cibeles 1

 

The Neptune Fountain

Representing a blend of the religion and history, the Neptune Fountain is a part of the cultural heritage that still plays an important part in the life of the locals. It was built in the 18th century in honor of Neptune, God of the sea.

Location: Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo, s/n

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The Neptune Fountain in Madrid

The House Museum of Lope de Vega

The house of the well-known Spanish writer Lope de Vega is another part of the cultural offer in Madrid. The house is from the 16th century, and it now serves as a museum. The house is located in the part of the city which is known as Literary Quarter in Madrid. The guided tours are available for free but should be scheduled in advance.

Location: Calle Cervantes, 11

 

The Convent of Las Descalzas Reales

Translated as the Monastery of the Royal Barefooted, this sight is a royal monastery from the 16th century. Today it houses a museum with rarities such as artworks, portraits of the royal children, relics, tapestries, etc.

Location: Plaza de las Descalzas

 

Temple of Debod

The reason why this temple is a part of historical sights is precisely the fact that it represents the crossover between different cultures. With its distinguishable design, the Temple of Debod is not a landmark typical of the Spanish culture. In fact, it was a gift from Egypt, so the style is something unique for Madrid’s landscape. It is a remarkable piece of architecture that combines religious motives with the ancient Egyptian style.

Location: Calle Ferraz, 1

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Temple of Debod at sunset

The Espacio

Designed as a display of the 21st architecture, the Espacio is a unique building that brings modern architecture to the spotlight. It combines the artistic style of the interior with the exhibition of the technology and its rapid development throughout the 20th century.

Location: CalleFuencarral, 3

 

The National Library of Spain

Not only is it the largest library in Spain, but it is also one of the largest libraries in the world with over 26 million items. These primarily include books, as well as other items such as manuscripts music, newspaper, etc. This makes the collection an endless source of information that has been gathered throughout the centuries. This way the cultural value of the past is preserved for the generations to come which can fully explore the life of the past hidden inside printed books. Exhibitions and guided tours are part of the activities available in the library.

Location: Paseo de Recoletos, 20-22

 

Estación de Chamberí

It is no accident that a metro stop is on the list of cultural activities. In fact, the metro ride taking you to Estación de Chamberí will prove to be an amazing cultural experience. The historic metro station from the early 1920s with its platform 0 has been closed since 1966. Now, it offers a historic experience with original ceramics, billboards and the furniture, that will take you back in time to see the origin of the Madrid Metro.

Location: Plaza de Chamberí, s/n

 

World Heritage Sights

A lot of World Heritage Sites are located in Spain, acknowledging the cultural and historical value of those sites. Three of them are located in Madrid area.

Monastery and Site of the Escorial

Its cultural value lies in the fact that it has been a residence of the royal family. Constructed in the 16th century, the Monastery and the site were meant to highlight the role of Spain and its culture.

Location: Av Juan de Borbón y Battemberg, s/n

 

Aranjuez Cultural Landscape

Another remnant of the royal life that has become a part of cultural heritage is the area around the Royal Palace of Aranjuez. The design of the Aranjuez Cultural Landscape spread throughout three centuries, but it represents an exclusive insight into the royal life. It introduces some innovative horticultural ideas, which have been opened to public in the 19th century.

Location: Aranjuez, a part of the Community of Madrid

 

University and Historic Precinct of Alcalá de Henares

The University of Alcalá was founded as a type of planned university city, a concept that has later been accepted as a model for universities in Europe and America. It was introduced in the 15th century in the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes, perhaps the most famous person to bring Spanish literature to the global popularity.

Location: Plaza de San Diego, s/n

 

Other cultural activities

 

While the monuments and sights represent the most important part of the cultural offer in Madrid, you can find many other activities that will help you get to know the culture and the life of the locals. Make sure you check out the events scheduled in Madrid for the period during which you will be visiting and choose the ones to attend. Here are a couple of suggestions:

 

Gastorfestival

Organized for the ninth time in 2018, Gastrofestival Madrid is a perfect choice for all the gastronomy enthusiasts and those looking to explore the local cuisine in the original setting. A series of events supporting this festival includes food and wine tastings, lectures, discussions, workshops, guided tours, culinary training, etc. Numerous restaurants all over the city join this event offering these activities. Gastroculture is a part of the festival where the local museums also take part in the event. Exhibitions of the old kitchens, tastings of hot chocolate and other traditional Spanish dishes, as well as photography exhibitions are also part of the program that brings food and culture together for this festival.

 

Flamenco

It is impossible to talk about Madrid’s cultural offer without mentioning flamenco, the dance that has been identified with the nation with a good reason. Followed by the folkloric music from the Southern Spain, the style of flamenco impresses the people worldwide. Its popularity has grown tremendously, to the point that it is taught in many countries around the world. However, watching flamenco in Madrid is certainly an experience you will never forget. Not only does the dance and music represent a perfect blend of tradition, but the entire setting provides an immersive experience.

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Flamenco dance originated in Spain

Madrid Carnival

One of the most cheerful events, highly anticipated by the locals, Madrid Carnival is an event that brings together tradition, cultural heritage, and cultural life. The activities during the Carnival include fancy dress completion, music band performances and competition, colorful costumes worn by the participants, etc. The grand parade is the highlight of the Carnival. It starts from the Retiro Park and ends at the Plaza de Cibeles. The festival is organized in February with the cultural program that lasts five days.

 

Regardless of the time you choose to visit Madrid, you will find a lot of cultural activities in the city.

Tips for Traveling to Madrid

Most tourist arriving in Madrid for the first time are not sure what to expect. They have gone through all of the trouble of getting to the city, but one might become overwhelmed rather quickly, as there is so much to know about the city and so many things to see. If you want to learn a thing or two about how things work in Madrid, what to expect and what not to expect, you should keep reading this article. The tips about Madrid will surely make your traveling more enjoyable, and you will come prepared.

 

1. Knowing about transportation options can be quite handy

There are several ways to get to your destination in Madrid, and knowing some basic things about your transportation options will surely be handy. The Madrid Metro connects all of the central areas, and it is color coded so one can easily follow each route. Public buses are also commonly used for reaching destinations, but metro is known to be the quickest way, especially for longer routes.

Here are the options commonly used by tourists:

  • Single metro ticket – It costs €1.50 (5 stations) and €2 (10 or more stations). It is available at ticket offices or specialized machine located in front of each station.
  • Single bus ticket – It costs €1.50, bought at the driver.
  • Combined single ticket – It can be used for both types of transport around Madrid area, and it costs €3.
  • Metrobus card – It can be used for both metro and bus. It costs €12.20 and it can be used for ten journeys.
  • Tourist pass – Available for one, two, three, five or seven days, this ticket allows the unlimited number of rides using metro, bus, and train. Depending on the number of days, the card costs between €8.40 to €70.80.

For more information about tickets and ticket prices, it is best to check the official Madrid Metro website: https://www.metromadrid.es/es/index.html

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2. Book accommodation to get better rates

Madrid is a popular destination, so the rates are always higher during the peak season which lasts between May and October as well as during holiday season in winter. This means that the rest of the year is the best period to find cheap accommodation in Madrid. If you are on a budget, still, you want to make the most out of your travel, and you are looking for ways to keep the spending to a minimum when traveling, this is what you need to have in mind. Also, it is sometimes cheaper if you book accommodation in advance. Obviously, you cannot always plan everything too much in advance, but if there is a possibility to schedule the accommodation months before you are supposed to travel, it is best you do so.

 

3. Rent an apartment in Madrid for a more comfortable stay

We all know there are plenty of accommodation opportunities in a city such as Madrid. A diverse city such as the Spanish capital also offers quite a selection of different accommodation types, which can be suitable for many travelers. However, apartments in Madrid have been proven to be a perfect choice for various types of travelers, mainly because apartments provide a very comfortable stay. It does not mean that apartments are more expensive than other types of accommodation because they are comfortable. On the contrary, you can find a lot of cheap apartments in Madrid, so you will never have to compromise on the quality of the accommodation.

 

4. Mealtimes and what you should know about food

Unlike in some countries, where you can expect breakfast to be a big meal, Spaniards are known to have lunch as their main meal. This means that you can expect light breakfast to be served when eating out, while lunch will include quite a large portion. Typically, lunch is served between 1 pm and 4 pm, which is a bit later than some people are used to. Since you will probably end up eating a lighter breakfast, you might want to grab a quick snack before lunchtime. Dinner is also served rather late, usually after 8 pm or 9 pm.

Additional things to know about eating in Madrid:

  • Siesta – Generally known as the nap time, siesta might be unfamiliar custom to foreigners, but what it means is that most restaurants and cafes are closed between 5 pm and 8 pm. Sometimes other establishments, such as shops might be closed during the daily siesta time.
  • Tapa – This term is used for small appetizers usually served with wine in Madrid’s restaurants, taverns, and bars. Some people do not want to eat much in the evening and want a light dinner instead. If that is the case, eating tapas with drinks would be enough without the need to go out for a full-sized meal.
  • The menu of the day – Some restaurants offer a menu of the day during the workdays for lunch, most often between 1 pm and 4 pm. It is usually posted outside the restaurant. It is a great option if you want a good deal and to eat out at reduced prices. The menu of the day commonly consists of two plates, appetizer or soup, and the main dish. This menu often includes bread, desserts and even a glass of wine or beer, which makes it a great selection when eating out. The prices may be different from restaurant to restaurant, but what is safe to say is that the menu of the day is the most affordable option for eating lunch in the restaurant. It is much cheaper to order this menu than to order each of the items individually.

 

5. Tipping is not expected

Tips are not included in the price of meals and drinks, but they are not always expected, like in some countries. However, if you plan on eating again in the same restaurant, you could leave a tip.

 

6. Buy in supermarkets to save some money

You can buy a lot of things in the supermarket, such as bread, cheese, desserts, fruits and vegetables, wine, etc. Basically, everything you need to have a good meal is available in the supermarkets, and it is much cheaper. Having in mind that it is the capital city, there are supermarkets open even on Sundays, as well as during the night, which means that there is always an option to prepare your meals instead of eating out. This is a great option if you are staying in an apartment in Madrid. In the Madrid apartment you will have a kitchen where you can easily prepare meals. Additionally, if the budget is tight, this is an amazing way to reduce your costs. Instead of eating out all the time, try some home-made meals instead.

 

7. Try to learn some basic Spanish phrases

To be honest, no one really expects you to learn Spanish just for that one travel to Madrid. However, it is recommended that you still learn at least a couple of basic Spanish phrases. Knowing these phrases will save you so much time and effort when finding your way around the city. Use the internet while planning the trip and check out the commonly used phrases for travelers. Spanish is relatively easy to read, but you can always use an online tool to read the text out for you so you can repeat and practice. Do not worry if your pronunciation is not perfect. The important thing is that you can understand some Spanish and you can respond.

 

8. Things to know about sales tax refund

Sales tax is called IVA in Spanish. Non-EU residents are eligible for a tax refund if the purchase was at least 90 Euros in one store. To be able to claim the sales tax refund, you should look for stores that have a tax free sign. Then, during your purchase, you will receive an invoice which includes the price and the tax. You will need the invoice(s) and a refund form filled out, which you will then drop at the airport at places specially assigned to accept these forms. The refund will be paid to your credit card, usually up to two months after you have submitted the forms.

 

9. Visit museums when they are free

Visiting museums is one of the highlights when traveling to Madrid. It is impossible to visit the city without visiting at least one of them but can be costly. This is why it is worth knowing that each museum has one day or a period of the day when they offer free entrance. Simply choose the museum you want to visit, go to its website and check under entrance fees. This tip for traveling to Madrid can help you save money but still enjoy the beautiful masterpieces that are part of the collections featured in the local museum.

 

10. Exchanging money in Madrid

The best solution is to bring Euros when arriving in Madrid. Alternatively, you can use your credit card to pay for things or take cash from an ATM. In this case, you will face the lowest exchange rates. If you choose to go to a bank or an exchange office, you will usually pay higher rates when exchanging money to Euros.

 

11. Tap water is a safe choice

Unlike many other large cities, tap water in Madrid is completely safe to drink. You can still choose to buy bottled water, but there is not much of a difference, apart from that you will save a lot if you drink tap water.

 

12. Free tours and sightseeing

This trend of free tours is growing in popularity around the European cities, and Madrid is no exception. The best place to look for tours (including the free ones) is the internet. You can see the exact schedule and location from which the tour starts so that you can plan your sightseeing of Madrid accordingly. Most often you can get a city map at a tourist office or at reception, which allows you to plan the sightseeing on your own. Planning this way has so many perks. When you plan individual sightseeing, you get to plan at your own pace, enabling you to see everything you want and to spend any amount of time you want exploring different sights.

 

13. Driving around Madrid

Although driving your own car offers so many perks and it is generally very convenient, the reason why most tourists choose against it is the fact that parking is quite expensive. Some accommodation providers might offer free parking when staying with them, but this is not a general rule, so you might end up paying a lot of money for parking if you want to spend time in Madrid and have a car while you are there.

 

14. Health and travel insurance

All the EU citizens are entitled to free or discounted treatments in state hospitals. You will need to have European Health Insurance Card to be entitled to the treatment. Even so, you can still use your travel insurance if you have got one.

 

15. Explore Madrid on foot

Finally, make sure you spend plenty of time walking around Madrid. You will come across beautiful historic places as the central area has historically been the place from which the city evolved. And if you choose an apartment in Madrid as your accommodation for this travel, walking around Madrid’s central area will be quite convenient. That is the main benefit of apartments in Madrid. All of the most important landmarks, best restaurants, and bars, everything is within walking distance when you stay in the city center.