Guest post: A Danish travel writer’s inspirational spots in Madrid.

Madrid can be a huge contrast for a Dane like me (Brian Schæfer), although it is less than a 3 hour flight away from Copenhagen. Firstly, there are more people in Madrid than in the entire country of Denmark. Secondly, the lifestyle is much more based on going out than staying cosy at home like in the Nordic countries. To me, this makes the capital of Spain an explosion of inspiration that can be found all around the city. From atmospheric bookshops to work-friendly cafés, as well as the streets, the squares and the parks in which to observe locals and travellers. Those happen to be the inspirational spots in Madrid.

It is all fuel for the creative mind of a travel writer, and I have been lucky to spend about two years in the Madrid on-and-off since my first visit back in 2012. Enough time to get under the skin of the city and to have a long list of favourite places to go to for an inspirational boost. Let’s observe here are a few of them…

Where are the insporational spots in Madrid downtown area?

When living in central Madrid not far from Plaza del Callao, La Ciudad Invisible quickly became my regular place to “work out”. A travel-themed café and bookshop selling both second-hand and new guide books, as well as hosting a wide range of events and talks about travelling. The welcoming staff and inspiring interior creates a well-balanced atmosphere in which its is nice to both work and hang out. I definitely recommend this café as one of the most inspirational spots in Madrid!

  • Desperate Literature

This intimate little bookshop near the Opera is a hidden gem in Madrid that is packed with literature from floor to ceiling – yet it still manages to squeeze in a wide range of small events too. From readings to micro-concerts and chess competitions. A great place to find your moments where at the inspirational spots in Madrid, as well as a mental break from the big city buzz outside its doors.

Inspirational spots in Madrid to read and write
Brian Schæfer
Inspirational spots in Madrid Retiro Park
Brian Schæfer

The inspirational spots in Madrid for the sportive people!

A mecca for walkers, hikers and climbers – and for adventurers in general. Desnivel is a bookshop dedicated to towering mountain peaks and the people who challenge them. The shop itself is highly atmospheric with its dark wood interior, its many maps and shelves packed with guidebooks and mounting climbing magazines. Aren’t these inspirational spots in Madrid alternative?

Street art & graffiti inspirational spots in Madrid.

Swinton & Grant is the place to be for lovers of Madrid urban art! This combined café, bookshop and gallery is located in the street art adorned Calle Miguel Servet and surrounded by the authencity of the Lavapies neighborhood. A dose of urbanity with a laid back vibe. Did you also know that Calle Doctor fourquet represents one of the streets with the highest number of art galleries in Madrid? Your inspirational spots in Madrid next to La Tabacalera!

The greenest inspirational spots in madrid
Brian Schæfer
Museums and inspirational spots in Madrid
Brian Schæfer
Other examples of inspirational spots in Madrid.

It is a classic stop on any good Madrid-sightseeing tour but also loved by locals – and you never go wrong with a walk through Retiro. A place to breath and think or just to watch people enjoy themselves in the sun. For a bit of writing a bench might do, and if not the modern library inside the park is free to use.

Besides the Retiro park, Madrid Río is one of my favourite walks & inspirational spots in Madrid – especially from the historic Puente de Toledo and down to Matadero, where the former slaughterhouses are now fostering creative life instead of death. The perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Markets are often great places to soak up the local atmosphere – and while El Rastro is the most famous flee market in Madrid, I found my favourite in Mercado de Motores. A high quality, non-touristy market set between the old trains at the city’s railway museum, and a brilliant mix of artisan products, trendy desgin and second hand gems. It is such an inspiring place to spend time in the second weekend of each month.

Few cities in Europe has as beautiful a city hall as Madrid. A majestic palace which is an architectural attraction itself, as well as being the backdrop of some of the biggest events in the capital – from the Three Kings parade to Championship celebrations! But it is highly inspiring behind the faccade too with plenty of decorative features, colourful lounge areas, restaurants and bars – not to mention the spectacular view from the top of the tower.

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