Madrid is a city that offers a wealth of culture, history, and entertainment. Whether its your first-time visiting Madrid or your a seasoned traveller, there’s always something new to discover in this vibrant metropolis.
InSpain.news offers a snapshot at just 8 of the most interesting and unusual things to do when visiting Madrid
Visit the Prado Museum (Museo Nacional del Prado)
The Prado is one of the world’s most famous art museums and boasts an extensive collection of European art from the 12th to 19th centuries. The museum was founded in 1819 and opened to the public in 1819. Its collection includes approximately 8,200 paintings, 4,800 prints and drawings, and 1,000 sculptures. Furthermore, it is particularly strong in works by Spanish artists such as Diego Velázquez, Francisco Goya, and El Greco, as well as works by other European masters such as Rembrandt, Rubens, and Bosch. Some of the most famous works in the museum’s collection include Velázquez’s “Las Meninas,” Goya’s “The Third of May 1808,” and Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights.”
Current exhibitions on display at the Prado museum include;
Explore the Royal Palace of Madrid
Although this 18th-century palace is the official residence of the Spanish royal family, most of it is open to the public. The palace was built on the site of a former castle that was destroyed by fire. It was designed by the Italian architect Filippo Juvarra and later modified by other architects, including Francisco Sabatini. Furthermore, it is one of the largest royal palaces in Europe, with over 3,000 rooms, including royal chambers, reception rooms, chapels, and galleries. It is also home to an impressive collection of artwork, including works by Spanish and other European artists such as Francisco de Goya, Caravaggio, and Velázquez. Highlights include the Throne Room and the Royal Armor
The palace is also beautiful outside and is surrounded by stunning gardens, including the Sabatini Gardens, which were designed in the 1930s and feature geometric patterns and fountains.
Take a stroll through Retiro Park
Retiro Park, also known as Parque del Buen Retiro, is a vast public park in the heart of Madrid. It is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. In 2019, it underwent a major makeover which included several renovations and improvements.
One of the most significant changes made to the park was the removal of the traffic that used to run through it. This has therefore made the park a more pedestrian-friendly space. The park now also features new landscaping, including new gardens, trees, and lawns.
Other improvements include the restoration of several historical buildings within the park, such as the Casa de Vacas and the Palacio de Cristal. The park’s lake has also been restored, and visitors can now rent boats to sail on the lake.
Overall, the renovation of Retiro Park has made it an even more beautiful and enjoyable place for both tourists and locals to visit. The park is now an even more peaceful oasis in the heart of Madrid, and it continues to be one of the city’s most popular attractions.
Highlights include the Crystal Palace and the boating lake.
Eat tapas in La Latina
Eating tapas in La Latina neighbourhood of Madrid is a special experience because it is considered the birthplace of tapas culture in the city. This barrio is known for its narrow streets and bustling atmosphere, which is perfect for bar-hopping and trying out different types of tapas.
In La Latina, you can find a wide variety of tapas, from traditional dishes like patatas bravas (spicy potatoes) and tortilla española (Spanish omelet) to more modern and innovative tapas.
One of the best ways to experience tapas culture in La Latina is to go on a tapas crawl, also known as a “ruta de tapas.” This involves going from one bar to another and trying a different tapa in each place, along with a drink. It’s a fun and social way to eat.
Furthermore, La Latina is also known for its lively nightlife, so after you’ve finished your tapas crawl, you can continue the party at one of the many bars or clubs in the district. All in all, eating tapas in La Latina is a must-do experience for anyone visiting Madrid, and it’s a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture.
Visit the Egyptian temple of Debod
This ancient temple was a gift from Egypt to Spain in the 1960s and is now located in a park near the Royal Palace.
The Temple of Debod was dismantled and relocated to Madrid, Spain in the 1960s. The temple was originally built in the 2nd century BC in the village of Debod, which is now part of Egypt, and it was dedicated to the gods Amun and Isis.
It was donated to Spain by the Egyptian government in 1968 as a gesture of thanks for Spain’s help in saving several other Egyptian temples that were threatened by floods during the construction of the Aswan Dam. The temple was dismantled and transported to Madrid, where it was reconstructed in the Parque del Oeste, a public park in the heart of the city. It opened to the pubic in 1972.
The Temple of Debod is now one of Madrid’s most popular tourist attractions. Visitors can explore the temple’s interior, which includes several rooms decorated with hieroglyphics depicting ancient Egyptian gods and pharaohs. There is also a courtyard and a terrace with fantastic views of the city.
One of the unique features of the Temple of Debod is that it is one of the few ancient Egyptian temples that can be seen outside of Egypt. The temple’s relocation and reconstruction in Madrid was a complex and expensive project, but it has allowed visitors to experience and appreciate this ancient masterpiece without having to travel to Egypt.
Watch a flamenco show in Lavapies
This multicultural neighbourhood is a great place to experience authentic flamenco, Spain’s traditional dance form. Many bars and clubs offer live performances.
In Lavapies, you can find flamenco shows that incorporate elements of African, South American, and Caribbean music and dance, which gives the performances a unique and multicultural flavour. The area is also home to a diverse community of immigrants, artists, and bohemians, which has helped to create a lively and creative atmosphere that is perfect for flamenco performances.
Lavapies is also known for its small, intimate venues where you can see flamenco shows up close and personal. Unlike larger venues, these offer a more immersive experience, allowing you to feel the energy and emotion of the performers as they dance and sing.
Visit the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
Soccer is a religion in Spain, and the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium is home to Real Madrid, one of the world’s most famous soccer teams.
Also in Madrid is Atlético Madrid, the second most successful football club in Madrid after Real Madrid. Atletico plays its home matches at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
Rayo Vallecano is a smaller football club based in the Vallecas neighbourhood of Madrid. However, although not as famous as the other two, the club has a passionate following nonetheless. The club’s home matches are played at the Estadio de Vallecas.
All three Madrid clubs are in the top 10 of the current La Liga table holding 2nd, 3rd, and 8th positions respectively.
Shop at El Rastro flea market
This massive open-air market takes place every Sunday in the historic La Latina neighbourhood. It attracts thousands of visitors from all over the city and beyond.
The market is known for its eclectic mix of vendors, who sell a wide variety of items, including clothing, jewelry, antiques, books, music, and more. It is also a great place to find unique souvenirs and gifts, as well as to experience the lively atmosphere of the city.
El Rastro is a great place to explore and discover new and interesting things, and it is also a great place to practice your bargaining skills. Most vendors are willing to negotiate prices, so it’s always a good idea to haggle a bit if you find something you like.
Madrid is a city that offers a wealth of experiences for all types of travellers. Whether you’re interested in art, history, or culture, there’s always something new to discover when visiting Madrid.
A little further afield
And if that wasn´t enough for you, the picturesque medieval city of Toledo is just a short train ride from Madrid and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Highlights include the Toledo Cathedral and the Alcazar fortress.