Madrid is recognized as a city with many well-known tourists destinations. Despite the city’s popularity, there are still hidden attractions, even for its inhabitants. It is a pleasure to be surprised by some of these treasures embedded in the midst of this great city that tell us a little history of Spain and give us a better understanding of its culture. It is hard to choose the top ten sites in Madrid, but we’ve tried to bring an overview of our favorite ones.
The language school TANDEM Madrid organizes visits to these places and other hidden attractions in Madrid for its students. So, if you’re planning to take a Spanish course in the city, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a varied cultural program combining sightseeing with language learning. But if you’re an occasional tourist, here are some clues you can use to visit some wonderful places in Madrid that only locals know about.
This park is a hidden gem as the site is unknown to many of Madrid’s tourists. This beautiful park was designed to express the artistic values of one of the city’s most powerful families, The Dukes of Osuna. It’s located in the district of Alameda de Osuna, near Madrid–Barajas airport, and about 30 minutes away from the noisy city center. A great place to spend a sunny day outdoors, and lie down on its wide green grass gardens and classic style monuments. Easy parking on surrounding areas and access by metro (line 5, El Capricho station). It’s open only on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Sorolla Museum represents noteworthy paintings from the artist Joaquin Sorolla. Although he painted in several styles, he is most known for his stunning Mediterranean beach scenes. All of his styles are featured in this museum, which was once the artist’s home. It’s located in Chamberi district, one of the most traditional areas in Madrid. It’s better to go there by foot or metro (line 1, Iglesias station, or line 10, Gregorio Marañón station).
Madrid Rio is known as a recreational and cultural area for the city’s locals. It was build to offer an alternative entertainment area in the south of Madrid, with frequent and varied events for people of all ages. There are also music festivals and exhibitions held in Matadero Madrid, which is a former slaughterhouse now part of Madrid Rio complex.
Tucked away on the top floor of Salvador Bachiller, this restaurant should not be missed. The site features worn iron tables, fresh flowers, and tasty native food. The restaurant offers the ultimate rooftop experience. It is a hidden oasis in the known Calle Montera in Madrid, a few meters away from the central Puerta del Sol. A good place to eat or have a drink with style and tranquility in the most hectic area of Madrid.
The Gaudeamus Café is considered one of the most charming roof-top restaurants in Madrid. The best time to experience this restaurant is when the sun is shining brightly. Students and other locals have enjoyed amazing views of the city while eating delicious food. It’s located in Lavapies district, a multicultural and vivid zone near Madrid downtown. There is a metro station nearby (Lavapies, line 3), but it’s better to visit it by foot, walking for 10 or 15 minutes from Puerta del Sol.
Once an operational train station, the Chamberi Ghost Station is now a public museum. The site presents a 20-minute film that relays the history of the Madrid Metro system and bright ads for light bulbs and mineral water. This attraction is not spectacular as the rest that you’ll find in Madrid, but it’s interesting to feel like if you were trapped in time for some minutes. It’s close to Sorolla Museum (metro line 1, Iglesias station), so you can visit both places in the same day.
Quinta de los Molinos is the home to breathtaking scenery like almond trees; therefore, the site is the perfect place to relax or walk a dog. Known for its paved walkways and dirt paths, the park is the fourth largest park in Madrid. It can be easily reached by metro (line 5, Suanzes station).
This site houses romanticism exhibits including important works by famous artists such as Leonardo Alenza and Goya. Additionally, the museum highlights Madrid’s 19th-century middle-class life through furniture, pianos, and china. A must-see attraction for art lovers and for anyone who loves the beauty of nineteenth-century style. Located in Chueca district, metro line 1, Tribunal Station.
As one of the oldest plazas in Madrid, the site is surrounded by some of the most historically significant buildings in the city. Located in the historical zone, the building once served as the town hall and prison. You might pass by this square naturally if you start wandering around the city center, but many times this square goes unnoticed by many tourists who have already planned their visit to the main monuments of the city. Only 5 minutes walking from Puerta del Sol.
This botanical garden encompasses more than 300 vegetable sculptures that display mythological creatures and wild animals. The site is ideal for a special occasion like a honeymoon. It is located about one hour driving from Madrid, but it is worth a visit if you have enough time, because the village also has old castles and beautiful landscapes that will help you to disconnect from the hurried life of the capital.
After reading this article, it might be even more difficult to choose what to visit in Madrid during your stay. In fact, there are many other “secret” places like these, that you’ll only be able to discover after many visits to the city. But if you plan your trip in advance, it’s possible to experience all the magical places the capital of Spain has to offer, as if you were living here.
Updated: May 17, 2016