With millions of visitors every year, you’d think that the capital city of Spain would have become a gigantic amusement park by now.
And though some landmarks like Museo del Prado o Plaza del Sol, although definitely worth the detour, are extremely famous and to avoid if you are more an off-the-beaten-tracks kind of gal (or guy), all hope is not to be lost.
Sure, Madrid is the all-time competitor of Barcelona. Here is our guide to spending One Week In Barcelona.
Definitely a Madrid breakfast specialty! This treat could even be more appealing (if that’s even possible) to some after a long night out right before bed as the sun rises. Or as a nice little afternoon break or dessert. Or all of them.
Nevertheless, there are Food Tours in Madrid as well. A cool idea to get an introduction to Churros, Tapas and more.
Who said there was a time not to eat churros dipped in hot chocolate?
Your Madrid trip wouldn’t be complete without passing through Chocolatería San Ginés. This is definitely a MUST for your visit.
And the great thing about it? You can enjoy these wonderful churros at any time of the day so there’s no reason to miss it.
Long story short: Eat some churros in Madrid, they are delicious.
Visiting a new city is always a thrilling experience. But more often than not, we stay on the ground. So this is one is quite a new experience!
Being built in 1969, the Teleférico or Cable Car takes you from the north side of the city to Casa Campo.
It offers two stations. The motor station – Rosales and the tensor station – Casa de Campo. And it gives you access to stunning views of the city and a different perspective 627 and 651 meters above sea level perspectively.
So if you’re up for something different and relaxing to spend your time, ride the Cable Car. Not only do you enjoy the view of Madrid above, but you also miss the traffic in the city.
4. Flamenco at a bohemian Bar
This is one of the coolest bars in Madrid: ARTEBAR.
You will not find this place in tourist guides. I’ve searched and searched. They don’t even seem to have a current website or a Facebook page. How cool is that?
See yourself the most important flamenco show in the world at the historical Torres Bermejas tablao. Witness the remarkable performance of the Cuadro Flamenco teamed with the best singers, guitarists, clappers, and dancers of the flamenco tradition.
However, this unique part of European history led to breath-taking architecture.
From the South of Spain to Madrid. It also led to the opportunity for you to enjoy a break from the craziness of the city in the secret Hammam Al Andalus.
7. Relax at a magical palace
While this might not be the most alternative thing to see in Madrid since the park “Parque del Retiro” is considered to be Madrid’s Central Park, the Crystal Palace is still worth the detour.
The place is magical. This is one of Madrid’s perfect examples of iron architecture which was built in 1887.
Although you may visit the Crystal Palace at any time and still get the best of it, I suggest you go there at sunset. Take your time, sit back, relax, and enjoy the moment.
Insider Tip: The Cyrstal Palace is quite impressive during the Fall. Have leaves falling from the trees as your background with the autumnal lights shining through.
8. Discover a hidden Garden
It looks like it’s closed, but Palacio del Príncipe Anglona Garden is only waiting for you to push that little door and spend some time in that idyllic green area in the heart of the city.
A simple garden that encompasses a brick path flooring and low boxwood hedges. You can also find several plants that surround the garden like roses.
Head over the walls and you’ll be amazed to see the overlooking view of Segovia Street.
Located in the trendiest neighborhood of Madrid, La Latina, it is a perfect spot for you to digest all these tapas and gather energy so you can go back out there and get the party started.
Or if you have plenty of time, this is the perfect peaceful hiding place to relax, edit your Instagram photos and plan your next destination.
9. Discover the second face of Madrid
The Puerta de Alcalá might look like just another monument of a big city (and a pretty beautiful one, if you ask me) and so famous that songs have even been written about it.
At first sight, it seems like it doesn’t have its place in alternative things to do in the Madrid list.
The arch is nestled in Plaza de la Independencia (Independence Square), near one of the park entrance at El Retiro.
But, the fun fact: it is actually a two-faced monument and looks different according to where you look at it from.
It was also called “Puerta” or Gate since it once gave access to the city of Madrid in one of the five royal gates. It was later on turned into a plaza in 1989.
Legend has it that King Carlos III actually approved two different designs without realizing it, and since his advisors were scared to let him know that he had made a mistake, they decided to merge the two projects.
10. A matinee at the cinema
No dubbing available in this typical movie-theatre of 13 rooms and stain-glass windows.
It may not be the biggest theater but it is the oldest in Madrid, and don’t you worry. They always release the biggest films from Hollywood and other film festivals all year round.
In Yelmo Cines Ideal all movies are screened in their original version. And the early shows on Saturday and Sunday are cheaper. They also sell tickets at a reduced price every “Movie Wednesdays”.
11. Desperate literature
This is the place for you all bookworms roaming the streets of Madrid.
Home to the very best collection of used English books in the city, a naughty cat named Wednesday and a vintage typewriter destined to bursts of inspiration and not selfies.
They also have this awesome old-style phone where you don’t receive calls. Instead, you get to hear poems, songs or book lines from the other end.
Desperate Literature strives to be a space where good literature serves as a vehicle for dynamic cultural, linguistic and social exchange between madrileños, extranjeros, and travelers from around the world.
In this spirit, they look forward to hosting readings, meetings, gallery shows, lectures, and more.
So if you’re up for some book readings or poem recitals, here’s a good place to catch it. Plus, choose among the many books available at the store.
This says it all.
12. Café in a hidden university rooftop
Guau&Café is a hidden Café on the rooftop of an old university (Escuela Pías) and if no one had tipped you off, you wouldn’t realize it existed.
It’s quirky and beautiful. Plus, you can have a taste of Madrid’s tapas in the cafe, too. It’s both having a wonderful food trip and an amazing time with the perfect view of the city.
They also have a great variety on the menu that you’ll have a hard time deciding what to get.
The cafe is an excellent opportunity for you to escape from all the tourists and enjoy a drink in the fresh Madrid evening breeze overlooking the city.
Insider Tip: The cafe can be crowded during the summer and it might be hard to get a table whether you’re there for a beer or for lunch.
Sad update: Seems like this bar is closed 🙁
13. Art Gallery in an idyllic location
Located only 20 minutes away from downtown Madrid in the fancy neighborhood of La Florida, is the Javier Lopez Art Gallery, right at the edge of El Pardo national park.
The gallery is still only really known by some art aficionados of the Madrid art scene.
Also, the quality of the art on display will provide you with some essential insight into the work of some major contemporary artists.
Aside from this, the gallery aims to present both the famous and recognized with those emerging artists as well. Making sure that all of them represent the latest trend in contemporary art through exceptional work.
Plus, the idyllic location and futuristic building will also offer you a well-deserved breath of fresh air after the hustle and bustle of the city.
Never crowded, always clean, Capricho Park is a real oasis right in the heart of the Spanish capital.
Don’t get put off by all the restrictions to access this park: this bucolic park looks like the gardens of Eden and is the only place in the city where you will find a temple dedicated to Bacchus, the wine god.
Also, it is the only park in Madrid that is created in a Spanish romantic style an only a few numbers of people know this area.
There are three major parts of the park for you to discover. You have “Jardin à la française”, an area of fountains and statues, and an area full of flowers and plants.
19. Dark legends and tapas!
How often do you get to discover a city’s dark secret, legends, and mysteries, without spending hours researching censored volumes in a shady library?