Drive      Fly      Stay      Login    Signup



What are the 3 best ways to experience Madrid culture?

Hi all,

My mom and I are going to Spain in July to celebrate my graduation (finally!) and the first stop on our trip is Madrid. We are already planning on visiting the Puerta del Sol, Plaza de España, the Parliament, Cibeles Fountain, Calle Alcala, Paseo de Castellana, and of course the Prado Museum. Are there any other places you would recommend such as unique cafes or flea markets where we would really be able to immerse ourselves in the local culture?



12 Answers

top answer by
Oliver from Madrid

Oh man am I excited for you. Good start so far. I spent two years in Madrid and am obsessed, so here goes:

Buenas y Dulces in Plaza del Dos de Mayo: Rosa has the best pastries and is a sweetheart. Tell her Amir says Hello. This is also a beautiful, lively, and historic plaza in the middle of Malasaña, an awesome neighborhood.

Mercado de San Antón Calle de Augusto Figueroa, 24 28004 Madrid, Spain. I know people keep mentioning San Miguel - but this market is much better, in my opinion, and less touristic, though smaller.

Casa de Granada Calle del Doctor Cortezo, 17 6º planta 28012 Madrid, Spain  is a cool residential-building rooftop bar/restaurant. Great views from it's pigeon-cage balcony. Ring the doorbell.

La Gabinoteca 40.438815,-3.694603 - to eat delicious modern tapas. Bourdain-visited medium-priced amazingly delicious restaurant. If you can afford it, try it. Do it.

El Rastro (famous Sunday morning flea market) El Rastro, Calle Ribera de Curtidores, Madrid, Spain - follow it up with people-watching and tapas in La Latina afterwards.

Also, just walk around the neighborhoods of Malasaña, Lavapiés, La Latina, and Anton Martin. You won't be disappointed by all the amazing little bars, restaurants, and cafes you'll stumble upon.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Buenas y Dulces (restaurant)
  2. Plaza del Dos de Mayo (attraction)
  3. Malasaña (neighborhood)
  4. Mercado de San Antón (attraction)
  5. Casa de Granada (restaurant)
  6. La Gabinoteca (attraction)
  7. El Rastro (attraction)
  8. La Latina (attraction)
  9. Lavapiés (neighborhood)
  10. La Latina (neighborhood)
  11. Anton Martin (neighborhood)
9 thankscomments (1)

answered first by
Rabih from Lebanon

Hi Claire, 

First of all i wish u a safe pleasant and happy time in Madrid.  

What you planned is awesome but u have to go enjoy the amazing atmosphere of "Mercado de San Miguel" where they serve all types of Spanish food and wines. Its next to mayor plaza and in front of it u can have a "segway tour" for 45minutes during day just in front of mercado san miguel. If u love pastry u can eat in Pastelería El Riojano which located on the road between Puerta del Sol and mayor plaza where they serve the best pastry in the world and its known since decades and usually they serve the palace with their pastry : the spanish Palace and Spanish Royal Family :)

Don't forget also to visit the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu of Real Madrid. Even if u don't like football u will enjoy it and enjoy the history of this club. 
If u want to make shopping u have the Gran Vía , its a minutes away of the Puerta del Sol area and the mall El Corte Inglés

Don't Forget Mercado de San Miguel.

Good luck 

Enjoy ;)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Mercado de San Miguel (restaurant)
  2. Pastelería El Riojano (restaurant)
  3. Puerta del Sol (attraction)
  4. Estadio Santiago Bernabéu (attraction)
  5. El Corte Inglés (attraction)
  6. Gran Vía (attraction)
6 thanks

answered by
Jeff from Portland

Hi Claire, you guys are going to have a great time. I would recommend checking out Flamenco for sure at Casa Patas. It is a great place to go see some of the best Flamenco singers/dancers in Spain.

For food and drinks head down Calle Cava Baja and check out the tapas bars. Two of my favorite are Taberna Txakolina and Taberna Tempranillo

I really liked the Royal Palace of Madrid

The number one market in Madrid is Mercado de San Miguel. It is amazing, right next to Plaza Mayor. The Mercado is a great place to spend an afternoon tasting different foods and wine/beers. 

El Corte Inglés is Madrid's answer to Harrods and there are 5 of them in the city all specializing in different things. It is a great place to go shopping and if you show them your passport you get 10% discount on most items in the store. 

If you have an extra meal check out StreetXO is one of the best places you can eat in Madrid at a reasonable price. It is David Munoz's (of DiverXO fame) answer to street food but seriously elevated. I cant recommend this place enough. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Mercado de San Miguel (restaurant)
  2. Plaza Mayor (attraction)
  3. El Corte Inglés (attraction)
  4. Casa Patas (attraction)
  5. Calle Cava Baja (attraction)
  6. Taberna Txakolina (attraction)
  7. StreetXO (restaurant)
  8. DiverXO (restaurant)
  9. Taberna Tempranillo (restaurant)
  10. Royal Palace of Madrid (attraction)
5 thanks

answered by
Rocio from Costa Rica

Hello Claire!! Not much to add but to visit Chocolateria San Gines where you must try the very unique "churros and chocolate".  I would also add Parque del Retiro, one of the largest parks in Madrid where you will find beautiful grounds and neat places like the Palacio de Cristal. A row boat on the lake is a must!!! You cant say that you visited Madrid if you dont go to a flamenco show. I highly recommend Tablao Villa Rosa where you can watch the show while enjoying an unique dinner, sangría and tapas!!

I am sure you will enjoy the visit. I love Madrid!!!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Chocolateria San Gines (restaurant)
  2. Parque del Retiro (attraction)
  3. Palacio de Cristal (attraction)
  4. Tablao Villa Rosa (restaurant)
5 thanks

answered by
Isabele from Ibiza

Hi Claire, Madrid is an exciting city, here you can find too many thinks to do. If you come to Madrid you need to eat "tortilla de patata" and "huevos rotos" you can find both in La Latina (you can't lost it) all the places you said is ok, well Puerta del Sol just is like a square, from there you can walk for Calle Mayor until arrive in Plaza Mayor (but don't eat there it's so expensive) from Plaza Mayor you can ask for La Latina and go walking, it's a nice place to visit because is where madrileños goes. Another nice place is Malasaña, with different kind o coffes and shops, if you visit the page you can find leisure and gastronomy tips. Also there's Calle de Serrano, the most famous and luxury street from Madrid, it's close from Castellana. Best places like a madrileño: La Latina, Malasaña and Calle De Las Huertas (in Lope de Vega and Cervantes street you can visit their home and there are so many places to eat spanish food). I hope you enjoy it!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Puerta del Sol (attraction)
  2. Plaza Mayor (attraction)
  3. La Latina (attraction)
  4. Calle Mayor (attraction)
  5. Calle de Serrano (attraction)
  6. Castellana (attraction)
  7. Calle De Las Huertas (attraction)
  8. Malasaña (neighborhood)
5 thanks

answered by
María from Madrid

Another option is to visit the Royal Palace of Madrid and the Palacio Real y Catedral de la Almudena, they are great. 

You should also go to Mercado de San Miguel, an old food and drinks market where you can buy an icecream or some spanish food, the prices are a little bit higher than in another places but you should visit it.

If you want to experiment the local culture you should go to La Latina quarter, there are small theaters and local and charming restaurants.

I hope you enjoy your trip and congratulations for your graduation! :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Palacio Real y Catedral de la Almudena (attraction)
  2. Mercado de San Miguel (restaurant)
  3. La Latina (neighborhood)
  4. Royal Palace of Madrid (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Claire from Fort Worth, Texas

Be sure to have a meal at Botín.  Founded in 1725 it is the oldest restaurant (still running) in the world.  The menu features  Castilian style roast suckling pig, lamb, goat and chicken.  There are various vegetable sides, which vary with the season.  Food is very good; strolling musicians; beautiful old rambling building.  Near Plaza Mayor.

If you can, get a tour of the Royal Tapestry Factory; it is a very neat tour.   We went there when it was substituted for the Royal Palace and we were glad.  

One of the cool things about Madrid is the ease of getting around on the subway and bus systems.  We used them a lot.  I would not try to drive in Madrid for any amount of money.  We enjoyed wandering the Retiro  and Plaza Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor   

Numerous day trips are available from various Turismo companies.  Our favorite was Toledo ; we also went to Ávila  Segovia . 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Botín (restaurant)
  2. Royal Tapestry Factory (attraction)
  3. Retiro (attraction)
  4. Plaza Puerta del Sol (attraction)
  5. Plaza Mayor (attraction)
  6. Toledo (city)
  7. Ávila (attraction)
  8. Segovia (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Oscar from Madrid

Hi Claire, there are other museums worth visiting such as Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza (all very close to Museo del Prado). Additionally, there is a district called Chueca full of cafes, fashion shops and artists. Nice place to walk around. I hope you enjoy your visit to Madrid.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (attraction)
  2. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza (attraction)
  3. Museo del Prado (attraction)
  4. Chueca (metro area)
1 thanks

answered by
Dave from Houston

Our favorite attraction in Madrid is the Royal Palace of Madrid

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Madrid (city)
  2. Royal Palace of Madrid (attraction)

answered by
Pau from Madrid

Hi Claire, the places you mention are very touristic, and I don't know how much of the local mood they can convey. Personally I fall in love with Madrid at Matadero MadridCasa de CampoLavapiés. Walking along the Manzanares river (Madrid Rio) you can reach them, leaving back the crowded city center, and probably getting a better sense of the local culture.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Matadero Madrid (attraction)
  2. Casa de Campo (attraction)
  3. Lavapiés (neighborhood)
  4. Madrid Rio (attraction)

answered by
Janelle from Charleston

The best way to immerse yourselves in local culture is to do a tapas crawl.  Start after dark (NO ONE eats dinner before dark in Madrid!).  Find a tapas bar near your hotel, go in and have a glass of wine and a few nibbles, and ask locals at the bar for recommendations on other tapas bars in the area.  After you're done with the first bar head over to the second and repeat the procedure, and keep bar hopping until you're stuffed.  Madrid is a city where tourists and locals are always mingling with each other, even in the city centre and tourist-friendly areas such as the Paseo del Prado.  Most of the workers at the MUSEO NACIONAL DEL PRADO, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía go out for tapas and a drink or two after their shift ends, so there are plenty of places in the area that cater to locals.  Taberna Tempranillo and La Casa del Abuelo are my personal favourites.  Avoid tapas bars or restaurants that post menus in languages other than Spanish - this is a sure indication that the joint caters mainly to tourists and is likely to have mediocre food at inflated prices. 

The second best way to experience Madrileno culture is to catch a match.  Unfortunately, July is off-season :-(  If you're OK with bullfighting (remember: it's a beloved cultural institution, and when in Rome...) going to Las Ventas is a great way to experience local life.  Make sure you buy a "sombra" (shade) ticket (costs a bit more) or you'll get fried.

The Lavapiés and El Rastro flea markets are great places to mingle with working class Madrilenos and shop for trinkets.  They're safe, but a basic command of Spanish is helpful and watch out for pickpockets.   

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Paseo del Prado (attraction)
  2. MUSEO NACIONAL DEL PRADO (attraction)
  3. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza (attraction)
  4. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (attraction)
  5. Taberna Tempranillo (restaurant)
  6. La Casa del Abuelo (restaurant)
  7. Las Ventas (attraction)
  8. Lavapiés (neighborhood)
  9. El Rastro (attraction)

answered by
Ariel from Los Angeles, California

Hi from Spain,   yes you might enjoy the Royal Palace & upscale Salamanca District.  Then day trips to UNESCO sights like Toledo or Segovia are unforgettable.  saludos, Ari

© 2019   ·   View: Full | Mobile

Follow us:        
Questions   ·   Destinations   ·   Drive   ·   Fly   ·   Airports   ·   Stay   ·   Search

Login   ·   FAQ   ·   About   ·   Feedback   ·   Privacy   ·   Terms