A group of local freelancers will recommend you which are the spots that you cannot miss if you are interested in Madrid experiences related to the off-the-beaten path.
Please write the following names whether you are travelling during warm summer days, or winter time. We hope that you enjoy our recommendations:
- El Rastro
- Lavapiés neighborhood
- Mercado de la Cebada
- Madrid alternative museums & artsy spots
- Spanish traditional cuisine
- Filmoteca Nacional
- El Capricho garden
- Mercado de Motores
- Madrid Rio
- Circulo de Bellas Artes
What are the Madrid experiences related to food and tapas?
Despite the Spanish food is well known because of its Paella and tapas, how many of you have ever heard of traditional dish ‘Cocido Madrileño’ or ‘Callos a la madrileña’?
1-. Hang out with your friends (or strangers) at Mercado de la Cebada
First indoors’ plan that we would like to recommend you is visiting a local food market.
They are called ‘Mercados Municipales’, and you should know that each district has its own one. It’s the place where people traditionally would do their shopping list.
One of our favourites is Mercado de la Cebada, located right next to the last point visited during our street art tour in Lavapiés. (Plaza de la Cebada, s/n)
It’s quite interesting to observe how the traditional businesses (groceries, fishmongers, butchers…) share space with street-food bars.
2-. Eat some of the best international food around Embajadores neighborhood.
What happens when people from different countries (Senegal, Bangladesh, Morocco, India…) coexist in one single district?
It’s easy! You will be able to eat amazing & delicious food from different parts of the world in just a five blocks radius.
Here’s a selection of our favourite international places to eat in Embajadores area:
- Senegalese Mafe: Dakar (Calle Amparo, 61)
- Thai Chicken: Pui Tapas (Calle José Antonio de Armona, 7)
- Indian Masala: Bombay Palace (Calle Lavapiés, 27)
- Chinese empanadas: Los tres cerditos (Paseo de las Delicias, 73)
3-. Go for a warm ‘cocido madrileño’ on any given Sunday after the famous ‘El Rastro‘ flea market.
You may have read about this Sunday’s plan in different travelling guides for Madrid experiences. Even local people will tell you that it’s worth waking up early in order to enjoy this family friendly plan.
The flea market takes place every Sunday morning (and bank holidays) at Plaza Cascorro. You can find anything you can think of:
- Collector’s sports stickers,
- Vintage clothes,
- Cheap sunglasses,
- Movie posters…
Do not miss a warm cocido, or just it’s appetizer at the bar in case there are no tables left, at Malacatin (Calle de la Ruda, 5). Probably the oldest tavern in the area serving this stew made with bones & vegetables, chickpeas and thin noodles.
4-. Eat some churros with chocolate to keep yourself warm.
One thing you can’t go wrong in with Madrid experiences is the famous treat: churros.
Now you can find churros (a fried dough stick) or its bigger version porras, in every bar first thing in the morning for breakfast.
On the other hand, if you want to treat yourself like we do (every now and then) we would recommend you to vist a chocolatería.
It’s in these paradises where you can have churros and hot chocolate to dip them in.
- Churrería Camu (Calle de las Delicias, 21)
- Maestro Churrero (Plaza de Jacinto Benavente, 2)
- Chocolatería Valor, very close to the metro Callao (Calle del Postigo de San Martín, 7)
- Chocolat Madrid, (Calle de Sta. María, 30), nexto to Antón Martín metro st.
Where to keep finding alternative cultural Madrid experiences?
You may be familiar with “The Golden Triangle of Arts”, an area within the city center where the most famous museums are located, but these are other Madrid experiences that we would like to suggest you.
- Reina Sofia,
- El Prado
- Thyssen Bornemisza
5-. Visit off the beaten cultural centers around El Prado National museum.
Paseo de Recoletos is one the most magical streets related to the Art Madrid, but you could still check less known art museums.
- Caixa Forum (Paseo del Prado, 36). Contemporary art in a building which features a vertical garden. Past exhibitions included Andy Warhol’s artworks.
- Fundación Masaveu (Calle Alcalá Galiano, 6). Street art related exhibitions at the foundation of one of the richest families in the country.
- La Neomudejar (Calle Antonio Nebrija). Avant garden center in a fomer XIX century railway warehouse. Brut art, visual art and live performances.
6-. Watch a classic movie in the National Film Library.
Are you a film fan? If you like watching movies, and especially classic international ones, there is a perfect place for you in our list of Madrid experiences.
The place is Cine Doré, or Filmoteca Nacional, and you can check their calendar here.
The building dates back to 1923 and just by itself it’s totally worth the visit. The best thing is the selection of films on display, from classics such as Citizen Kane, or Spaghetti Westerns to the selection for the National Film Awards, The Goya.
Please note that all titles are shown in their original versions, subtitled in Spanish.
7-. Go treasure hunting at Mercado de Motores or Mercado de Diseño.
Once a month there is a special event, taking place in Delicias district, where you can buy handcrafts & designs such as:
- Clothes from recycled materials
- Records & Spanish bands’ albums
- Artworks created with lost objects
Located 10 minutes away walking distance from Embajadores roundabout, Paseo Delicias is a vibrant and young area that hosts the Railway Museum.
You should also check out Mercado de Diseño, in a former slaughterhouse called Matadero Madrid, which hosts food trucks & cultural events happening simultaneously while the market is on, such as concerts and DJ sets.
Which outdoors’ Madrid experiences would we recommend to our readers?
8-. Visit El Capricho, the hidden gardens next to the Airport’s district. .
Alameda de Osuna is the neighborhood where famous Boa Mistura graffiti crew was born, but this area is better know for its beautiful Garden, El Capricho.
This Park features different classic architecture styles inside due to the hosted family, Osuna Duchess (circa XVIII AD).
Built in 1784, it was an iconic place for madrilenians back then and a hidden secret that is worth visiting out of the city centre for a couple of hours.
9. Spend an afternoon strolling around Madrid Río and ‘Matadero Madrid experiences’.
A sporty thing to do in Madrid for locals and travellers alike! Madrid Rio is a green area that goes all around the river Manzanares, in the city’s south-western bounds.
What we recommend is to take the metro system and stop at Legazpi station. Check out first Matadero Madrid cultural centre. Then you can walk along the river from this place all the way until you get to the famous Principe Pio Station.
You’ll definitely get to see it better if you rent a bike.
10-. Enjoy Madrid’s sunset and the panoramic views from ‘El Círculo de Bellas Artes’ terrace.
Our last selection for this 2020 had to involve amazing views.
The building, finished in 1919, will offer you the opportunity to see Gran Via, Cibeles’ Palace and Fountain, and other important downtown landmarks.
Last but not least, our opinion about Madrid experiences
After travelling to 37 different countries in the world with just 32 years old, I have discovered that exploring the city you are visiting in an alternative way is the best option to live the real culture. That’s why I asked my team to create a list of the best off the beaten Madrid experiences. We hope you liked it.Javier Garcia, CEO Cooltourspain