We know Madrid as a welcoming, bustling and cosmopolitan city; an administrative and financial hub; a capital of the performing arts and large museums; a city with districts full of character, such as Chueca, the Latin Quarter and Malasaña, or history, such as Los Austrias and Las Letras.
With all this in mind, it’s easy to think that when we visit Madrid, it will leave a mark on us; fill us with enriching experiences; allow us to disconnect, smile, share, etc. Any time is good to visit the city, but we always recommend knowing what ‘treasures’ can be enjoyed, some at any time and others from now until the end of the year.
You can choose from painting, photography, sculpture and so on in a wide variety of exhibitions that we recommend seeing. Here are the details of some of them:
- Picasso and Cubism, at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, until 13th December.
- Munch: Archetype, also at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, until 17th January.
- Kandinsky: A Retrospective, at the CentroCentro Palacio de Cibeles, until 28th February.
- Transparent Art, at the National Prado Museum, until 10th January.
- The classical Art of Max Bill, at the Juan March Foundation, until 17th January.
- Bonnard, at the Mapfre Foundation, until 10th January.
- Women of Rome, at Caixaforum, until 14th February.
- Perceptions: Man and Woman in the History of Photography, at the Canal Foundation, until 5th January.
Tapas and dining
Traditional, avant-garde and creative cuisine to suit all budgets and tastes, in all popular areas of Madrid and for all occasions. The possibilities are infinite, but let us tell you about some of the most popular places to whet your appetite:
- Markets: for outstanding tapas, from the most well-known market, San Miguel, with its excellent quality products and striking architectural design, to the most alternative market, Ribera, in the middle of the Rastro district of Madrid. In the heart of Chueca, we find San Antón Market, where you can have a few beers on the top floor whilst getting a good view of the activity of the market itself.
- Platea Madrid, the former Carlos III cinema, has become one of the most popular places to eat. Restaurants offering Spanish and international cuisine, some of which have Michelin stars, are spread over five floors.
- Traditional bars: Madrid-style tripe; Spanish potato omelette; squid; pig’s ear; croquettes; prawns, etc. Traditional tapas in the most authentic atmosphere. You can enjoy this in places such as Lhardy, Casa Labra (in the Puerta del Sol), Casa del Abuelo, El Anciano Rey de los Vinos (in front of the Palacio Real) and la Bodega de la Ardosa. All of these are more than a hundred years old.
Shopping has become one of the most popular tourist activities in recent years and Madrid has an almost endless variety to offer lovers of this ‘other art’. If we start with the most authentic, we can’t forget Rastro (in the Latin Quarter), which is more than four centuries old, and where every Sunday morning, you can enjoy the best and most bustling market atmosphere and buy the most unimaginable things.
Very different customers can be found in the district of Salamanca, where the glamour of the catwalk spills into all the streets thanks to its large fashion and jewellery design companies. Even if this doesn’t suit your budget, it’s well worth visiting as an ‘observer’.
The retro and vintage alternative can be found, for example, in the district of Malasaña, where traces of the ‘Movida Madrileña’ in the 80s are evident in most shops. It’s a very busy area, where shops that pay tribute to the past sit alongside those that reflect current trends.
Night time in Madrid
They say ‘different strokes for different folks’; one of the distinguishing features of Madrid nightlife is multiculturalism. If we start with Lavapiés, with its original basements from centuries past, you can combine drinks with performances as varied as monologues, theatre and music. For flamenco lovers, we recommend visiting El Candela. Other places to experience the nightlife in this area are El Juglar and La Escalera de Jabob.
One of the most well-known areas for Madrid nightlife in recent years is the district of Las Letras. There you can have a nice evening listening to jazz in the Café Central, with a daily programme from 9 pm. La Fídula and Populart are other places for soul or blues lovers.
Rock, Spanish pop and commercial music in a young atmosphere can be found in the nightclubs and discos of the Princesa area. And those who prefer more exclusive and luxury nightlife must go to certain places in the district of Salamanca, such as the Serrano 41 disco.
With all these options, how can you resist visiting Madrid?