Hey guys! Today’s post is about things I think anyone should definitely do as a foreign exchange student in Madrid. These things also apply to people on sabbatical or a long vacation too. (Or even anyone who just wants to find cool things to do!) So, I’ve decided to break it into a few sections for you guys so that you can pick the area that interests you most and skip ahead, although I would love it if you read the whole thing. I’m going to be talking to you about Tours in Madrid, Food of Madrid, and Cultural Activities in Madrid. (Plus, a bonus section if you stick around!) With that being said, let’s dive right in!
Tours in Madrid
The first tour I want to tell you about is the, “Barco Solar,” tour. It’s a tourist cruise of, “El Retiro” lake in the lovely, “Buen Retiro” park on a solar-powered boat! This tour is great for students, not only because of the beautiful scenery we all love in the park, but because it only costs 2€ per passenger! Great for a student on a budget. The next tour you should consider is the Madrid Night Walking Tour. This is a guided historical tour of Madrid, which is cool enough by itself, that’s made cooler (literally and figuratively) by the unique perspective of seeing the city at night. You’ll be taken to the Royal Palace, Gran Via, and Plaza Mayor. Three places rich in history and activities. At the end, there is also an optional Flamenco dance to be viewed, which is a wonderful slice of Spanish culture. This tour has varying prices (based on which travel site you book from), so I’ll have a couple links below that I’ve found for you guys. The final tour I want to talk to you about is the Pub Crawl. That’s right. I said Pub Crawl. This tour happens EVERY night (meeting at 10:30pm by the bear statue in “Puerta Del Sol”) and gets you into several bars for free, as well as getting you discounts on booze! I highly recommend this one if you want to get to know the nightlife side of Madrid. They have 3 package levels each with added benefits as you go up, they’re 10, 16, and 23€ respectively.
Food of Madrid
Next up, there are some key foods that need to be tried whilst in Madrid! The first thing, and perhaps most famous, is the, “Bocadillo de Calamares,” at the, “Plaza Mayor.” These are calamari sandwiches that are definitely popular among the Madridleños! Next, is, “Cocido Madridleño,” at, “Taberna La Bola.” This restaurant was founded in 1870 and has been owned by the same family since! They cook the “Cocido Madridleño,” the traditional way, using oak charcoal, giving you a delightfully authentic and unique taste. Finally, we’ve got Churros at, “San Ginés.” This is one of the oldest chocolaterias in Madrid, and they’ve earned their spot in the hearts of many. (Pro Tip: They’re open late, so go try these Churros after a night out!)
Cultural Activities in Madrid
Now we get into our final section, the vast and colorful culture of Madrid. I could honestly write a whole article on all of the different cultural activities to be a part of in Madrid, and maybe I will in the future, but today I’ve narrowed it down to just a few to talk about. (I am going to break them up a bit for easier reading though.)
Street Markets. Experience some of the many street markets in Madrid for all you’re grocery shopping needs! This is the way many locals shop so it’s a good way to get a taste of the culture! “Mercado de la Paz,” is one such street market that has been serving the locals for over 130 years. You can find this street market at the following address: Centro Comercial La Paz, Calle de Ayala, 28, 28001 Madrid, Spain. Definitely go check it out!
Flamenco. The Flamenco. Passion, zest, and a whole lot of sexy! This is a dance that we all know and love as one of Spain’s wonderful and unique artforms. I encourage you to see a performance or two during your stay in Madrid. Some of the places you can go are, “Corral de la Morería,” (the oldest flamenco location) “Cardamomo,” (located in, “Puerta del Sol,” and one of the largest Flamenco venues in Madrid), or, “Café de Chinitas,” (located near, “Gran Vía,” and a beautiful venue to experience the Flamenco).
August Fiestas. The last thing I’d like to talk to you guys about are some of the, “Fiestas,” held in August. This happens for two weeks in August (2-15 this year) and is full of several open-air festivities to take part in all across some of Madrid’s oldest streets. Some such, “Fiestas,” include; “San Cayetano festival,” “San Lorenzo,” and, “La Paloma.”
So, that’s all I’ve got for you guys today! Let me know if you think I missed out on something important to experience in Madrid, I definitely know that there’s a lot to cover out there! I’d like to thank you guys so much for giving my article a read and I sincerely hope it has provided you some value. Have a good stay in Madrid!
Oh yeah! I promised my dedicated readers some bonuses, didn’t I? Well, don’t say I don’t deliver! One of my honorable mentions is the “Madrid Xanadu Mall.” This is a glorious adventure you can go on for multiple days. I know what you’re thinking, “Sure, Josh, I like the mall. But that’s not what I want my Madrid experience to be based around… Why would I spend multiple days here?” Well I’ll tell you! The, “Madrid Xanadu,” is not only a mall with over 250 retail stores and outlets as well as more than 30 restaurants, cafes, and bars, (I know, huge right?) it’s also got an Indoor Snow Track, Ziplining, an Aquarium and more! This place is definitely worth a visit or two. Next up, I’d like to tell you guys to go out and find a Language Exchange Meetup! This is a wonderful way to meet new people as well as learn the language and help others learn yours. I wrote an entire article dedicated to this so go check it out! Finally, I think everyone should pay a visit to, “Kilometre 0.” This is the center of all 6 major roads in Spain, so it’s just a cool location you can say you’ve visited. It’s located in, “Puerta del Sol,” and marked by a plaque that reads, “Kilometre 0”. Tons of people walk over this every day, not realizing that they are standing in the geographical centre of Spain!