Madrid, like its European sisters – Paris, London, Rome, Berlin, Amsterdam – does not lack in culture and entertainment offering. You’ll find here colorful fiestas, stunning architecture, excellent restaurants, really hip shops and boutiques, world-class nightlife, lovely music, sporting activities, lively performing arts scene, and more.
Being a predominantly Catholic city, Madrid has lively fiestas that draw a flock of local and foreign tourists. If you happen to visit during such occasions, make sure to participate in the festivities. These events would surely make your vacation more than worth the trip.
One of the most fascinating things about Madrid is the wonderful culture that you can see through its elaborate architecture. The city is definitely overflowing with so much history and the walls of its old building breathe as if keeping secrets of the past yet to be revealed. The baroque, renaissance and romantic architecture is a living testimony to the grandeur that Madrid has experienced.
Madrid is a city where people love to eat. But you don’t have to shell out a fortune just to sample to-die-for cuisine. All you need is the right information to find the fine Madrid dining that cannot hurt your purse. To discover the best places where you can eat at the price that will match your budget, do your research.
From the most luxurious designer’s products to the cheapest street wears and accessories, shopping is among the most enjoyable things to do in this Spanish city. Madrid nightlife is also very much full and alive always. When you get to the city you will immediately realize that people just seem to be full of energy.
Madrid is not just a place of fashion, great shops, or busy markets. The Spanish capital is also a place of sports. In fact, the city applied to host the 2012 Olympics but lost to Rio de Janeiro. Additionally, Madrid is also known for its wide varieties of music. Whether you are an avid or average music buff, you’ll definitely love jazz, opera, and flamenco.
Performing arts in Madrid is very lively that is why a typical city theater always buzzes with activities. You have so many choices of theaters in the Spanish capital that offer different shows and performances.
Madrid for Free
The good thing about going to Madrid is you can actually tour the city for free. Without spending so much on entrance fees, you will get a feel of history and culture and see how life is in the city.
Here’s a suggested route you can follow on your Madrid city adventure. You can choose to take a 90-minute tour in Madrid for free. You can also tour the city for several hours without spending so much. You only have to schedule everything in advance.
Where to Start
You could start your tour at the Plaza de Oriente and enjoy the sights you pass by. It is located near the Royal Palace and the opera house so you will certainly see these buildings during your stroll. Then you could turn south of Calle Bailen and head to the Cathedral Almudena. You could choose to make a stop and say a prayer or two at the cathedral or continue on and turn left to Calle Mayor.
Along with Calle Mayor, you will be able to spot the Casa de la Villa where the municipal government takes office. There you will see the monument of Alvaro de Bazan, the admiral responsible for planning the Armada.
Of course, you will likely pass the Plaza de la Villa too. You will also eventually get to Plaza Mayor. At the center, you will see the statue of Philip III on horseback. Plaza Mayor also usually hosts several bullfights, soccer games and markets so there are plenty of events to see there.
After Plaza Mayor
When you feel it’s time to move on, go back to Calle Mayor and continue your stroll to Puerta del Sol. Then you can take Calle Alcala to continue on to find Plaza Cibeles. There you will see the Palace of Communication and the Casa de America all around you. The Army building is also near you and the Banco de España as well. You might also want to wander into the gardens.
Now it’s time to turn right to Paseo del Prado. Just keep going until you get to Atocha and wander into the Palm Gardens near the train station. Hopefully, it’s just in time for lunch. Rest a bit and get the lunch of your choice.
Wait until 2:30 pm and head to the Reina Sofia Museum when admission is free at this time. Explore the whole museum and get a taste of history and culture around the museum for an hour or two.
After that, if you’re still up for it you can choose to walk along Paseo del Prado again until you reach the Archaeological Museum. If it’s a Sunday, the Prado Museum is also free. You can make time to see the world-class European artwork there too.
You could also take some time to stroll or relax at Retiro Park. You would certainly love the gardens and the whole landscape of the park. The structures in the park are also something you would have to see. There’s also a book fair on Sundays. Free concerts are also held near the Calle de Alcala entrance of the park.
So you can really have a fun-filled day in the city for free. You get a chance to see what it feels like to be in Madrid and you will definitely have something to remember and talk about when you go back home.
The city of Madrid is brimming with exquisite artistic creations and a rich cultural heritage. So don’t be surprised if you can find several Madrid cultural centers in and around the city.
Cultural centers in Madrid are not just places for art expositions. These arts and culture centers can also teach everything about the deep artistic traditions of the Spanish people. You can also get valuable art lessons through the workshops conducted by Spanish artists.
So while you are in Spain, you should visit the following centers so you can get a taste of classical and contemporary Spanish art and culture.
The Circle of Fine Arts
The Circle of Fine Arts, which is officially known as Circulo de Bellas Artes (Address: Calle Alcala 42/ Phone: 91-360-54-00) is the oldest cultural center in Madrid. You can watch a movie here, attend art expositions, see art galleries, and enjoy the calm ambiance of its café.
You can also enjoy the rich literary traditions of Madrid by visiting Circulo’s library. Most of Madrid’s big art events are hosted by Circulo so a visit to this cultural center will be a wonderful experience.
You can find the Circulo at Calle Alcala. The majestic building of the cultural center sits between Puerta del Sol and Plaza de Cibeles.
Matadero Madrid Cultural Center
Matadero (Address: Paseo de la Chopera 14/ Phone: 91-517-73-09) is one of the newest Madrid cultural centers. You can enjoy contemporary Spanish art in this newly established cultural center.
The Matadero cultural center was a former slaughterhouse. Today, you can enjoy its sprawling spaces where you can find facilities for filmmakers, visual artists, digital artists, galleries, and places for fashion designers.
The Islamic Cultural Center (Address: Salvador de Madriaga 4/ Phone: 91-326-26-10)
Madrid has a proud heritage mainly influenced by Islamic culture. That is why you can find the biggest Islamic cultural institution in Madrid which is the Islamic Cultural Center.
When you visit the Islamic center, you will be able to enjoy its rich collection of medieval and contemporary art on display in its museum. You can also learn the rich influence of the East on Spain by reading the great book collections of the center’s library.
You can also attend symposia, language lessons, and cultural lessons that are hosted by the center regularly.
You will certainly have a great time visiting Madrid cultural centers. Madrid is very proud of its cultural heritage and you can learn a lot from its rich traditions through its lavish Madrid cultural centers and institutions.
Performing arts in Madrid is very lively that is why a typical Madrid theater is always buzzing with activities. You have so many choices of theaters in Madrid that can offer different shows and performances.
Insider Tips to Madrid Theater
If you want to discover great cultural presentations, shows, and events, all you have to do is to pick up a copy of the publication Guia Del Ocio. This publication is available in all newsstands in the city. All the upcoming performances are listed in Guia Del Ocio.
Ticket prices range from as low as 4 Euros for ordinary shows to as high as 50 Euros for international and special performances. If you want to get a discount, try watching the shows on Wednesdays or during matinee performances on Sundays. You will get as much as 50% ticket discounts watching theater performance on Wednesday and Sundays.
If you do not want to get your ticket at the theater boxes, your hotel concierge can get one for you. However, your theater tickets would be more expensive because the concierges will charge a markup for the tickets.
If you fail to get a ticket at the box because they were sold out already, just contact the Localidades Galicia at Plaza Del Carmen 1. This is a major ticketing office for Madrid’s theater performances, bullfights, and other events. The tickets, however, will have a considerable markup.
Mainstream and Alternative Theaters
Madrid theater groups come in two varieties: the mainstream theater which offers classical and contemporary shows and plays. The alternative theater groups, on the other hand, offer unorthodox and esoteric performances.
If you have children with you while in Madrid, you can watch children’s plays at the Sala la Bicicleta at Casa de Campo. If you want to watch a free performance, you can wait for a presentation in one of Madrid’s churches.
English Language Theaters
Almost all theater shows in Madrid are in Spanish. So you might need to brush up on your Spanish skills to enjoy the performances. However, the Guia Del Ocio always has a listing for English-language plays.
You can also follow the performances of Madrid Players. This is a Madrid theater group composed of American, English, and Spanish troupes. Its shows and performances are also listed in the Guía Del Ocio so you can easily follow this troupe when you visit Madrid. The Madrid Players normally mount their performances in one of the alternative theaters of the city.
Here are some theaters to visit in the city:
- La Escalera de Jacob (Address: CalleLavapies 9/ Phone: 64-942-32-54)
- Teatro Lara (Address: Corredera Baja de San Pablo 15/Phone: 91-523-90-27)
- Teatro Alfil (Address: Calle del Pez 10/Phone: 91-521-45-41)
You will love Madrid if you are a movie buff. Cinema literally dots the city especially in the downtown area such as the Gran Via, Glorieta de Bilbao, and Plaza de España.
Some cinemas in Madrid have remodeled theater houses so you will enjoy the classical ambiance in these movie houses. The majority of movie theaters, however, are new structures with large projection screens and state of the art surround audio systems.
To find accurate movie listings in Madrid, simply buy a daily newspaper to see updated movie schedules and special screenings. There are online movie listings but sometimes websites of movie houses are not updated so you might not get accurate schedules.
When you are in Madrid, always check the movie houses on Fridays to see new film releases. Films are released on Fridays and screenings will last only for one week.
Madrid Cinema Schedules
You can watch movies in Madrid starting from 4 o’clock in the afternoon until 10 in the evening. These are for weekday movie schedules. On weekends, you can catch a final screening that will usually start at 12 midnight.
You will be able to watch 4 screenings every day but on Saturdays and Sundays you can stay in movie houses until the wee hours of the morning. If there are special screenings and festivals, Madrid cinemas usually start earlier than their normal schedules.
You can enjoy watching movies in Madrid because the tickets are reasonably priced. On a typical day, you can buy movie tickets for as low as 6 Euros. However, you can still get ticket discounts during the viewer’s day in Madrid.
Usually, the viewer’s day falls on Wednesdays. So keep your schedules open during this day of the week because you can get as much as 50% ticket discounts from movie houses. During special holidays in Madrid, you can also enjoy considerably cheaper ticket prices.
Where to Get Your Tickets
The best thing you can do is to buy your tickets at movie houses which have automated ticketing machines. However, you can buy a ticket over the phone or through online ticketing which would be more convenient but could be a little expensive. Almost all movie houses in Madrid can offer virtual tickets for you.
Madrid is a perfect place for movie lovers. You can enjoy watching films in classical or modern Madrid movie theaters every day at a very reasonable price.
Some of the famous cinemas in the city are:
- Golem (Address: Martin de Los Heros 14/Phone: 91-559-38-36)
- Cine Dore (Filmoteca) (Address: Santa Isabel 3/ Phone: 91-369-11-25)
- Cines Verdi (Address: Bravo Murillo 28/Phone: 91-447-39-30)
Madrid is also known as a place for all music lovers because of the wide variety of music that you can listen to here. Examples of Madrid music that you will surely enjoy whether you are an avid or average music lover include jazz, opera, and flamenco. Doesn’t sound interesting? If you think these things excite you to visit this city, you may read on the following information provided below where you can locate for the best spots to listen to these types of music.
Jazz Music in Madrid
Jazz is one type of music that you can commonly hear in Madrid—both in bars and clubs. Here, you can witness the performances of legendary and amateur performers to play such a tune. It is even certain that even if you are not really an aficionado of jazz lover, once you listen to this music being played here in Madrid it’s impossible that you are not going to experience a magnificent entertainment.
If you want to listen to jazz during your stay here in Madrid, you may come to Las Huertas where you can find both jazz and blues. This place is an outstanding street at night and is packed with people; so, you are sure to enjoy it. You can easily locate this place if ever since it is very central.
Opera Music in Madrid
Opera is another prided Madrid music that’s why Opera fans love this place. If you haven’t experience to witness opera yet; then, it’s awesome for you to catch your maiden opera experience in this city. There are three main operas that you can go to in this place and one of which is Teatro de la Zarzuela.
Opera here in Madrid will amaze you—that’s for certain. One reason is because of their unique type of opera known as zarzuela. Also, take note, opera shows here change regularly so you have to verify directly at the theater or through a tourist information service the current flow of opera shows.
Flamenco Music in Madrid
Madrid now is already synonymous with flamenco. When you watch a flamenco presentation in this city, you can expect to see the biggest artists as well who are also attracted to watch this presentation. Apart from bars, you can also catch flamenco performance during festivals here in Madrid.
Many of these flamenco presentations are surprisingly amazing. The common comment you can hear from people who have just watched flamenco is their spontaneity. If you want to prove this, you can come to Chinitas; this is a venue that presents flamenco for the entire days of the week except during Sunday.
Nightlife in the capital
Madrid nightlife is very much full and alive always. When you get to Madrid you will immediately realize that people just seem to be full of energy. There are lots of people on the streets and in hangouts having a good time every day. You would be amazed that everyone will have something to do even the young ones. Even children are admitted to some bars, pubs, cafeterias, and restaurants.
Whether you are just about to go to a bar or a pub or just came from such establishments, you’ll probably want to get something to eat. In Madrid, it would be easy to find a cafeteria to serve you and your family or friends. These are actually bars that serve mid-evening to late dinners. You can order sandwiches to traditional tapas.
If you want to drink beer or wine, the bars are your destination. Again, the tapas are usually their specialty so you might as well order some while drinking. You should try the traditional way of pairing beer with tapas. Most bars are open till morning so you can drink all you can.
There will be more drinking for you when you head to the pubs. You should try the copas. It is generally a gin tonic concoction of whiskey and coke. In some pubs, it could also be rum and lemon or vodka and orange.
If you want to go to a more intimate setting, you should go to the pubs where seats are generally comfortable and there is generally dimmer lighting. Music is usually played in the background or through a live band. Pubs are also open till morning so you can definitely enjoy more time there too.
If you want some air while enjoying wine, beer or copas the Terrazas are good alternatives for pubs. You can meet up with your yuppie’s pals and enjoy some loud music there till early morning as well.
If you want to go dancing and enjoy some drinks as well, you should visit some of the disco-pubs in Madrid. Beers and copas are also served in these establishments until 6 or 7 in the morning.
Unlike the disco-pubs, you will be charged with an entrance fee when you go to discotecas. However, you should be aware of the dress codes in these places before heading there. If you are into dancing going to discotecas will certainly be so much fun. Among the popular discotecas are Palacio Gaviria, Joy Eslava, and Empire in Paseo de Recoletos.
Other Madrid Nightlife Hangouts
If you have teens with you, they can certainly go and hang out in discotecas light. These establishments are open at 7 in the evening and they close at ten just in time for your teens to go home and have some rest.
Of course, Madrid nightlife would not be complete without the theater and the concerts. You can check the schedule in advance so you can watch some of the shows while in Madrid too.
Shopping in Madrid
From the most luxurious designer’s products to the cheapest street wears and accessories, Madrid shopping is among the most enjoyable thing to do in this Spanish city.
Madrid Shopping for Fashion
Not only in Spain or Europe, but Madrid is a known fashion city in the whole world. Famous brands are easily accessible in this city. Even simple day-to-day wears can be found here.
Puerta del Sol is one of the famous places for fashion shopping. This features world-class Spanish brands like Pull&Bear, Stradivarius, and Bershka.
Salamanca is another famous shopping area in Madrid. This is home to famous shops of famous brands like Hugo Boss, Versace, and Chanel.
Madrid Shopping for Books
Madrid boasts its many book shops that can cater to both the local and international bookworms.
Try going to the Feria del Libro Antiguo y de Occasion if you want to find rare and old books. This occasion starts from May during the Paseo de Recoletos.
Great but cheap second-hand Spanish books can be easily found in Cuesta De Moyano. This store is located just beside the Botanical Gardens and opens every day.
Finding new and even second-hand books of different languages will never be a tiring task if you go to the Calle Isaac Parel or the Calle Fernando el Catolico. These places are near the campuses and universities.
Madrid Shopping for Arts and Antiques
Madrid is undoubtedly one of the most historical places. Though already modern, this city is still retaining its essential culture and history.
Better be at the El Rastro, Madrid’s most popular flea market. This is held on Sundays between the Ronda de Toledo and Calle de Los Embajadores.
You can also try the Rastrillo de Tetuan, which is a smaller version of the El Rastro. But this is held in the Calle Marquez de Viana.
Be at the Carrera de San Jeronimo if you want to buy some crafts at one of the densest concentrations of different antiques and art studios.
Madrid Shopping Tips Worth to Remember
Pick free info shopping. This has a good map helpful for tourists interested to shop around Madrid.
Meanwhile, other shops in Madrid are generally open on Mondays through Saturdays from 10 am to 8 pm. But they also have their lunch breaks from 2 pm to 5 pm. Expect smaller establishments to be closed during Sundays.
Hunt for stores marked with “liquidacion,” “traspaso,” and “rebajas.” This means they are in the sale!
Some Madrid shops usually charge added fees for shipping depending on the product’s shape and size.
Be aware also of the added 16 percent VAT. This is usually not included in the price tag. But you can always refund the VAT. See www.globalrefund.com for more information.
Pickpockets are also rampant in Madrid, especially at the El Rastro. Keep an eye on all your belongings and bring only enough cash for shopping.
Shop, shop, shop—you can almost go crazy with Madrid shopping. Keep your sanity with all these helpful tips and you will surely enjoy your Madrid shopping experience.
Choices of Fitness in Madrid Is Never Limited
Are you a health and fitness freak? If yes, you don’t have to worry that you will stop your daily routine of exercise just because you are traveling and visiting Madrid.
Madrid fitness is one of the favorite past times of locals and tourists alike. This is the main reason why there is no shortage of choices when it comes to health and fitness. You can choose from different gyms, spas, yoga classes, and others.
There are various fitness gyms in Madrid that offer services to international guests. A well-known international gym called Fitness First has several branches across Madrid. They are open from 8 AM to 23 PM on weekdays. However, they have different schedules on Saturday and Sunday. The schedule allows you to do your usual tourist activities like touring around museums, shopping and dining out and then working out later in the night.
They have different fitness programs from weights, personal training, group classes, spinning, and others. You can check their programs and see what fits according to your preferences may it be working out alone or with a group. They also have useful amenities such as solarium to keep your tan.
Would you be staying in Madrid for a few days and would prefer a cheaper rate gym? There are gyms scattered all over Madrid that offer daily rates as low as 10 euro. The usual classes offered are aerobic, body-pump, step, maintenance, combat and karate. They also have special amenities such as Jacuzzi and sauna. You can also choose a fitness gym that offers chilling out like a massage, restaurant, and café.
Fitness Centers in Hotels
The hotel where you are currently staying might have fitness centers. This is quite convenient especially when you come from a very rigorous tour. Some hotels also offer health and beauty centers like a relaxing massage or sauna.
There is a directory online that offers yoga classes for English speaking people so there is no need to worry. There are different modalities that will suit you, may it be a drop-in basis, fixed times or an open plan. These classes also cater to different styles and levels. So whatever level you are, there is always a group for you.
There are many choices for tourists like you when it comes to fitness in Madrid. All you have to do is check your hotel or your local area. This information is also available online.
Madrid is not just a place of fashion, great shops or busy markets. You may not know it but Madrid is also a place of sports.
Madrid sports are among the most sought after in this Spanish city. In fact, Madrid has applied to host the 2012 Olympics.
Many Madrid sports can surely take your breath away with the simple cheering only. But enjoying these sports events should be partnered with enough knowledge.
Madrid is soccer’s number one fan. If you like soccer too, then visiting this city is not a mistake.
Join almost 300,000 soccer fans from all over Spain and other countries during the weekends to watch the Primera Division, also known as the First Division. This happens from September to May.
The Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid will surely make you feel the adrenaline rush. Better purchase your tickets in advance if you will watch any of these two major soccer teams since tickets are usually sold out early. You can buy tickets from the clubs or other registered ticket stores.
Never purchase your ticket from Puerta del Sol in the Calle de la Victoria because tickets here are sold more expensive.
You can take the Santiago Bernabeu to get to the Real Madrid club. Ride for the Pirámides metro station to get to the Atlético Madrid.
Baloncesto: Madrid Basketball
Second, to the most famous Madrid sports is basketball. Do you want to watch how Spanish people dunk that ball to the ring? Just choose among the common basketball venues.
Watch basketball at the Palacio de Deportes is located in the Calles Jorge Juan. You can also watch at the Polideportivo Magariños in the Paseo de la Castellana. Deportiva Real Madrid is also a great choice if you’re near the Calle Serrano.
La Tauromaquia: Madrid Bullfighting
Madrid is known as the international capital of bullfighting. And if you love seeing bulls being tortured to death, better be at the Plaza de Toros Monumental de Las Ventas. You will be given the chance to join 23,000 spectators of this Madrid sports.
The ticket price for this event depends on the seat you want. The cheapest is in the Sol seat. But this is the most inconvenient also.
The most expensive but most convenient seats are in the Sombre seats.
You can purchase La Tauromaquia tickets from the different ticket offices located in the Calle de la Victoria. Make sure to reserve tickets in advance or you might be left with the Sol seats only.
Summer is the best bullfighting season. A game happens every Sunday afternoon. But the most important bullfighting event begins in the middle of May.
These are just three of the Madrid sports you can enjoy while visiting the Spanish city. You might also enjoy watching horse racing, basque ball games, athletics, dog racing, motor racing, skiing, fishing, and hunting in Madrid.
Just name your favorite sports and Madrid sports surely have something to give you.
The century-old tradition of bullfighting has gained a reputation not just in Spain but around the world. Its popularity along with its rules has become so defined from the moment of its establishment at the end of the 18th century. With this, Madrid continues to live with this tradition and provide more performances or the so-called ritual of tauromachy.
The Madrid Bullring is the Best
Madrid’s bullring is the finest and it is also the most frequented bullring of the city capital. If you want to watch Madrid bullfight, it is best to make it from the start of March to the last days of October. FYI, Madrid bullfights are held on Sunday, certain days of the week and of course during Madrid festivals namely San Isidro, La Paloma, and Dos de Mayo among others.
If you enjoy bullfights on Fridays, you can go to Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas and avail of the discounts given in the months of July and August. And you can definitely go wild and crazy if you will savor your first experience of watching Madrid bullfight, with the intense passion you will see from the locals and Madrileños.
The Famous Plaza de Toros de las Ventas for Your Bullfight Pleasure
In 1932, Plaza de Toros de las Ventas, which can sustain 25,000 spectators was established. Its style was inspired by mozárabe or Moorish blood influence in Spain and from then on it has become the most vital bullring in Madrid, especially to every bullfight fan.
And if you want to go deeper into exploring and learning more about bullfighting you can take a tour in the illustrious Museo Taurino which offers wide-ranging information and other stuff on bullfighting or anything about toro. You will be amazed by some attractions like paraphernalia, bullfight dresses, paintings, sculptures, and many more that depict bullfighting.
If you are a real traveler and adventurer, Madrid bullfight should be on top of your list if you want to have a good time in Spain. Or if you want to get convinced about the real importance of going to Madrid bullfight, our advice is: don’t go to Madrid if you don’t have plans of visiting Las Ventas to watch a bullfight.
Plaza de Toros de las Ventas:
c/ Alcalá 237
Metro stops: Las Ventas (line 2 or 5)
Bus lines: 12, 21, 38, 53, 106, 110, 146
The Bullfight Match
For the game, there are three bullfighters who will face six bulls. Each bullfighter or commonly known as matador has to face to bulls one at a time. The match, which is divided into three parts called tercios are the following:
1. The provoking of the picador so that the matador with the cloak can start the fight
2. The second tercio is about the placing of three pairs of banderillas or adorned colored sticks on the bull
3. The tercio is the most exciting part which is when matador kills the bull with a sword
The winner of the bullfight will be awarded ears and tail of the bull and of course the loud applause from the crowd which can go crazy at any point in the game.