Madrid, the capital of Spain, is a city that has something to offer for everyone! It holds world-class museums, shopping for every budget, and a huge selection of delicious restaurants. While the city may be quite large, it has a small town vibe within each of its neighbourhoods. Madrid is the ideal place to sit back with some tapas and enjoy a nice cold beer as you take advantage of the striking heat. It is impossible to run out of things to see and discover. Regardless, we’ve gathered some must see locations within the capital for you to put on your to-do list.
Madrid’s 18th century hospital was beautifully remodelled and converted into a museum in 1992, with two panoramic glass lifts standing out in the façade. In 2005 it added an extension designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. Many of its artworks were transferred from the nearby Prado, and it’s now a treasure house of contemporary and modern art. Two of the floors are devoted to temporary exhibits, while the other two are for the permanent collection, which also covers Abstract, Pop, and Minimal Art movements. It is worth a visit for the beautiful architecture of the building and its highlight: Picasso’s Guernica.
Monday 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Wednesday-Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
8,00 € (Includes visit to Collection and temporary exhibitions)
Malasaña is the nightlife capital of downtown Madrid. Its fame hasn’t diminished at all since the 80s, when the neighbourhood’s rock and pop bars became the backdrop for the so-called Movida Madrileña. Some of these bars, like the legendary La Vía Lactea or El Penta, are still active today and remain among Madrid’s most popular. The neighbourhood’s name is in honour of Manuela Malasaña, a woman who was murdered by Napoleon’s troops during the crackdown following the May 2nd uprising in 1808. The neighbourhood revolves around the famous May 2nd Square, which is where the lively San Juan Festival is held every July 24th. There aren’t any large nightclubs here, but rather small clubs featuring local DJs and a few small music venues. The music in the bars focuses mainly on indie, rock, and even punk. In recent years, Malasaña has also become more commercial and has attracted an alternative, bohemian crowd that has complemented a large squatter population.
CELSO Y MANOLO – Calle Libertad 1, Chueca
Located in the Chueca neighbourhood, Celso y Manolo is the best place to taste some tapas. Its sophisticated décor is pure eye candy: long marble counters, bright red bowls and soft light make the bar extremely cosy. Regarding the food, they serve Spanish evergreens like ensaladilla and paella but with a modern spin in presentation. The best dish is without a doubt the chuletòn de tomate, a vegetarian dish with half a tomato served as a steak with several fruits and vegetables such as mango, avocado and papaya all seasoned with olive oil.
Open daily from 1–5pm & 7.30 pm–2am
VIA LACTEA – Velarde 18
Vía Láctea is one of Madrid nightlife’s most legendary places. It has been open since 1979 and it was the place where big names of the show and film industry met in the 80’s, like Almodóvar for example.
When it opened, it was the first of its kind in Madrid, and it became the most alternative business in the city at that time. It was the heart of the Movida Madrileña in Malasaña. Its graffiti-filled walls are run down and give it a rock and roll touch. It’s divided into four different areas so it doesn’t get too full and you’ll usually have room to move around. The clientele is a very diverse mix of thirty year olds, but you can find everything from veteran rockers to youngsters looking for music from another time.
Open daily 20:00 – 3:00
Saturday 20:00 – 3.30
MERCADO SAN ANTON – Augusto Figueroa 24
It opened very recently and it has become one of the trendier places in Madrid. It combines a traditional market with an entire floor dedicated to tasting and a terrace with a restaurant where you can eat some of the products you bought there.
One of the most original stands might be the burgers one, Hamburguesa Nostra, since it adds a gourmet touch to the usual fast food meal. One can choose from various types of meat, bread sauces and side dishes, they give it to you in a bag and you go up to the restaurant or home with it to prepare it yourself. On the last floor there’s even a terrace where you can enjoy a drink with some tapas.
Monday – Thursday 10:00 – 0:00
Friday – Sunday 10:00 – 1:30
The Plaza Mayor was built during Philip III’s reign and is a central square in Madrid. It is located only a few blocks away from another famous plaza, the Puerta del Sol. The Plaza Mayor is rectangular in shape, and is surrounded by the porches of three residential buildings with 237 balconies facing the Plaza. The Casa de la Panadería (Bakery House), serving municipal and cultural functions, dominates the Plaza Mayor. Typical of the Plaza is the fried calamari sandwich, served in many of the bars located in the square, generally alongside an ice-cold beer.
CHOCOLATERIA SAN GINES – Pasadizo San Ginés 5
You cannot visit Madrid without trying freshly baked churros con chocolate at Chocolatería San Ginés, the city’s most renowned chocolate café. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to satiate your late night chocolate cravings, San Ginés, draws celebrities and expatriates from around the world with its beautiful green and white marble decor, and of course, its creamy chocolate. Plus, the main dish is just €3.80. Besides churros con chocolate, the chocolatería offers fresh coffee and fruit drinks. Enjoy your treats on the patio or in the bright and open cafe. In 2010 they opened another chocolateria in Shibuya, Tokyo.
MUSEO DEL PRADO
Architect Juan de Villanueva designed the building that today houses the Museo Nacional del Prado in 1785. It was constructed to house the Natural History Cabinet, by orders of King Charles III. However, the building’s final purpose was the decision of the monarch’s grandson, King Ferdinand VII. The Royal Museum, soon quickly renamed the National Museum of Paintings and Sculptures and subsequently the Museo Nacional del Prado, opened to the public for the first time in November 1819. Rather than showcasing objects from all eras of art history, the Prado Museum reflects the tastes of Spanish royalty. Its main attractions are surely Las Meninas By Velazquez and The Third of May by Goya, two masterpieces of Spanish art.
From Monday to Saturday
10am – 8pm
Sundays and holidays
10am – 7pm
Collection free Access
From Monday to Saturday
6pm – 8pm
Sundays and holidays
5pm – 7pm
ANTIGUA CASA CRESPO – Divino Pastor 29
Madrid’s most famous espadrille shop has been open for more than a century and a half and is now run by the fourth generation of the family. Its fame spread far and wide in the 1970s after incorporating coloured canvas in its designs. Among the many customers of this family-style business is Queen Sofía of Spain. You cannot leave Madrid without purchasing one of these typically Spanish shoes, which are by the way extremely comfortable.
Sep-Jul: Mon-Fri 10am-1.30pm, 5pm-8.30pm.
Aug: Mon-Fri 10am-1.30pm, 5pm-8.30pm; Sat 10am-1.30pm.
Closed last 2 weeks of August
MALABABA – Santa Teresa 5
This accessories brand was born in 1997 to Ana Carrasco and her husband, Jaime Lara. Its fresh, colourful designs are renowned both in Spain and abroad, after the firm participated in several editions of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Madrid. In 2010 Malababa opened its first store, located at Lagasca 68, in the heart of Madrid, and in the following months two more stores were opened also in Madrid; the first one at Santa Teresa 5, also at the city centre, and the second one in Moraleja Green Shopping Centre. The flagship store is beautifully decorated in the style of the brand.
CAFE KINO – Calle Olivar 17
Imagine going to see an Italian movie while tasting one of the pasta dishes in the film or watching a silent movie while live musicians play ambient music: All of this is possible in this tiny but very cosy café. Since the cinema hall has only eleven seats, the atmosphere is always friendly, and it’s not uncommon to stick around after the movie to have a chat with the other moviegoers. The menu is simple but full of variety, including vegetarian options.
Monday to Thursday 10:00 – 22:00
Friday and Saturday 10:00 – 23:00
CUERVO STORE – Calle Velarde 13
Cuervo Store sells music, clothes, and all kinds of things the owners happen to like (that you’re bound to like too). There are books, jewellery, comics, art shows, live music, and basically anything that fits the spirit of the shop. With connections to the Holy Cuervo music agency, this is one of the most versatile shops in Madrid, and it’s a good example of the new wave style that’s trendy in the city these days. Even though music is their main focus, you may very well come here looking for an album and end up seeing an art show, listening to live music, and leaving the store with any sorts of goods.
SIGHTSEEING IN MADRID
The best way to move around Madrid is by metro or by bus: the fares are identical, singles is €1.50 but you can purchase a 10-trip ticket or a Metro bus for €10.20. When you arrive in different barrios (Spanish for neighbourhoods) the best way to visit them is by walking, as the city centre is rather compact.
The points of reference that you should know when getting around are as follows. Puerta del Sol, which marks the centre of the city, is surrounded by the old city with the Plaza Mayor, the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales and the Royal Palace; the Gran Via is one of Madrid’s principal roads that runs from Plaza de España to Alcala Street.
Since you’ll be visiting some of the coolest spots in Madrid, we put together a simple but fashionable outfit to help you get through the summer heat of Spain.
Meli Melo – Red serafina bag THEN:£150.00 NOW:£97.50
AM Eyewear – JJ Gordon in black THEN:£185.00 NOW:£111.00
Rachel Boston – Insect leg ring £204.00