Madrid has been capital of Spain for well over five centuries and now takes pride of place as the third of Europe’s biggest cities. Understandably then, with those kind of stats behind it, you’ll be unsurprised to learn just how many things there are to see and do in a city as diverse, cosmopolitan and interesting as Madrid. But here are five particularly cool things to do, for the more uninitiated among you interested in planning your next Spanish sojourn.
El Rastro is a large open-air market that takes place every Sunday in Madrid’s La Latina neighbourhood. This is the spot to head to if looking to pick up interesting bargains, antiques and other arts and crafts or otherwise simply to soak up the surrounding atmosphere and people watch a while. Perhaps the best thing about El Rastro though is hopping in and out of the many tapas bars that fringe the market, stopping for a glass of wine at each to make jostling with the crowds all that more tolerable and exciting.
Situated a couple minutes walk from Embajadores metro, Casa Encendida is a building owned by the city’s arts council that has a rotating exhibition space that is free to visit. Inside you can also check out the great cafe and cakes on offer as well as take the elevator up to the rooftop terrace where in the summer there are free film screenings as well as an extensive library to while away a few hours in kicking back with a good book.
Close to Indian foodie paradise Lavapies, La Tabacalera is one of those underground spots that mostly only locals to the city know about and very few tourists venture. A collaborative art and culture space, daily workshops run out of the space with live music and indoor markets regular events happening within the old tobacco factory also. Conjoined is a large gallery space with curated exhibitions that change seasonally and often feature world renown photographic works and more.
Templo de Debod
Madrid’s Temple de Debod is a bit of a strange site but nonetheless interesting. Modelled on an Ancient Egyptian temple, Debod is a water feature, park, meeting spot and exercise centre all-in-one. A popular place for yoga, pilates, martial arts and social meetings, sunset at Debod is always a pretty special occasion that should be savoured at least once while in the city. Situated on a hill you can also see the city from an elevated viewpoint, looking out over Caza de Condal and beyond.
Madrid Food Tours
Running for a few years, Madrid Food Tours were started by long-term expat and Spain blogger Lauren Aloise and have grown massively popular. A tapas tour with a difference, Madrid Foor Tours take you to local spots you’d most likely have missed travelling on your own, allowing you to familiarise yourself with the best of Madrid cuisine and meet other cool people while you’re at it.
Madrid has lots of cool and interesting things to see and do and is up there with other major European cities in terms of the excitement and intrigue it offers. Whatever you decide to spend your time doing, Madrid is full of surprises.