Check out these things on your next trip to Madrid

Are you planning a trip to the Spanish capital? Great, because we have 15 ideas you may find useful when planning a more original stay. Yes, the traditional “tour” is fine; visit the Museo del Prado, admire the clock of Puerta del Sol and wander the Golden Mile. However, we recommend that you take note of the following tips to have a beyond conventional experience and to deeply enjoy the city everyone falls in love with.

1. Go on the rooftop of Círculo de Bellas Artes

View of Madrid from the rooftop of the restaurant TartanTartan restaurant on the rooftop of the Círculo de Bellas Artes
Enjoy the views and order something at the restaurant , el Tartan. Feel free to visit the exhibitions taking place at the Círculo de Bellas Artes. Going at sunset is highly recommended but the rooftop is equally impressive during a sunny day, perfect to sunbathe and chill on the hammocks, or in evening, to enjoy the city lights.

2. Go to the Mercado de Motores on the second weekend of every month

mercado-motoresFlea Market “Mercado de Motores” in the Museo del Ferrocarril
Open from 11 to 20h (remember; only the second weekend of every month). We found this great flea market in the Madrid Railway Museum in Delicias, among railroad cars of the nineteenth century and locomotives. The market offers restored furniture, vintage clothing and the possibility to munch on “tapas” and to enjoy a concert. Admission is free.

3. Eat a sandwich of fried calamari in Plaza Mayor

plaza-mayorPlaza Mayor is the best place to enjoy a fried calamari sandwich
For locals it is a classic, a must they feel like doing something typical even if they don’t do it very often. For tourists it may not sound familiar but nothing screams more Madrid then to buy a fried calamari sandwich and eat it in Plaza Mayor. If you are still hungry, you can go to the famous Mercado de San Miguel, near the Plaza, a more glamorous option.

4. Go photograph the temple of Debod at sunset

templo-debodStunning sunset at the Egyptian Temple of Debod
This temple is one of the wonders of the capital, unknown to many of the Spaniards. It is a gift that the Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser donated to Spain in the 60s for their participation in Unesco’s campaign to save the sanctuaries in Nubia. We recommend going at sunset, when the view is breathtaking!

5. Grab a beer in the neighborhood La Latina on a Sunday afternoon

latinaTerraces in the neighborhood of La Latina, the perfect Sunday itinerary
Whether or not you stayed up all night the day before you can’t refuse a beer and some tapas on Sunday in “La Latina”. In this unique areas of the capital every Sunday people of all ages and backgrounds come together to prepare themselves in the best way for the week ahead. As typical as the fried calamari sandwich, you will not know it for sure unless you are from Madrid. This amazing environment is worth experiencing without forgetting to discover the many bars in the area.

6. Eat a “napolitana” at La Mallorquina

mlallorquina1Enjoy the delights at la Mallorquina
It seems that everything is about eating in Madrid and well, yes, in a way it is. In Spain, the food is delicious and very important for its inhabitants. La Mallorquina is an awesome bakery in Madrid, opened in the late nineteenth century, its “napolitana” (chocolate-filled pastry) is heavenly!

7. Spend your Sunday in “el Rastro”

rastroEl Rastro, a flea market where you will find everything!
From the station Embajadores or Puerta de Toledo, you can access to “El Rastro”, the largest flea market in the capital. Worth a visit not only for the countless items that can be found but also for its atmosphere. Get up early on Sunday to stroll around “el Rastro”, find great deals from vendors and … guess what?! Exactly, try out the tapas in neighborhood.

8. The neighborhood of Lavapiés

View of the terrace of café GauCafé Gau, in the heart of Lavapiés, is a must-see place
This neighborhood is not very touristy, but is authentic and for this reason worth visiting. We recommend you to go to the restaurant Gau; you will appreciate its charming terrace and good cuisine. Before leaving Lavapiés remember the following recommendation:

9. Visit La Tabacalera to get to know its culture and discover its street art

la-tabacaleraLa Tabacalera, cultural centre, is a landmark of Madrid!
La Tabacalera is a space that promotes free culture. Open to proposals from all citizens, this cultural space advocates collaboration and equal opportunities for everyone who wants to develop an artistic project.

10. Watch a soccer match

futttbolGo to one of the locals Stadiums in Madrid and feel the excitement of the fans

Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid? Whichever your team, or if you like Barca, you have to go at least once in your life to the stadium of one of these two teams, if you don’t like soccer just to it to release the tension. Don’t forget to grab some “pipas” (sunflower seeds), a typical snack food in Spain.

11. Buy pastry from the cloistered nuns at the wonderful Monastery “Las Descalzas Reales”

monasterioThe monastery of las Descalzas Reales, in the centre of Madrid, is unknown to many
After the excess of beers and tapas, we recommend you to visit and enjoy the tranquility of this monastery in the heart of Madrid. Many locals are unaware of its existence but it is worth visiting.

12. Go to the fountain of the Fallen Angel in the park “el Retiro”

palacio-de-cristal-retiroThe Crystal Palace, a treasure among trees
Located 666 meters latitude above sea level. The Fallen Angel, along with the statue of Lucifer in Italy, is one of the only monuments in the world dedicated to the devil. Beside esotericism, the Park El Ritiro is a must-see. Two recommendation: take a ride on the boat in the pond and do not be lazy and look for the Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace)!

13. Discover Platea, a space that combines gastronomy and leisure

Restaurant Platea MadridIn the Plaza de Colón, this former theater has been refurbished to provide entertainment and good cuisine at the same time
With several culinary offerings by combining different restaurant, among which you can find 6 Michelin stars. Furthermore, Platea also features a wide range of cultural entertainment

14. Try your luck in the new Casino of the central Calle Gran Vía

casinoPlace your bets!
Have fun at the new casino of Gran Vía! While you are there, take a cocktail in Chicote, the oldest cocktail bar of Spain. Many celebrities like Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Sophia Loren stopped here. You can feel the glamour!

15. Go to a musical in Calle Gran Vía

Views from the Gourmet Club in Calle Gran Via in MadridThe main street of Madrid hosts numerous theaters which offer plays and musicals
Probably the musical offer in Madrid is the very best you can find. Do not forget to reserve your tickets ahead of time. The Lion King, Les Miserables … you can’t miss this opportunity. Madrid is a city with many cultural opportunities you need to take advantage of during your stay. And of course, there can’t be a recommendation that does not involve eating. Visit Gourment floor in the mall El Corte Inglés de Callao, probably the best view of Madrid.

The last recommendation is to visit our web site of home exchanges GuestToGuest. We already have over 80,000 members willing to organize exchanges completely for free. So if you are planning a trip to Madrid, please create an account, save money on accommodation costs and spend the rest of your budget on some other things like the 15 that we just have proposed you in this post.

What do think about these recommendations? Would you add something else? Have you already been to Madrid and you want to share your experience? Feel free to let us know at!

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Lucía Castro
Spanish community manager of HomeExchange. Born and raised in Madrid. I have studied Advertising, Public Relation and Business between Madrid and Seoul. I am currently leaving in Paris. I love traveling and discovering new cultures and lifestyles.