Everyone already knows that traveling can get really expensive and to supplement costly travels sometimes you are just looking for some free activities to fill your time. Fortunately, Madrid has tons of free activities for the budget traveler that don’t sacrifice the cultural experience. Here are my 5 favorite free things to do in Madrid…
Watch the Sunset at the Temple of Debod
Sitting by an Egyptian temple and watching the sunset… in Spain. Who wouldn’t want to experience that?! The Temple of Debod is an Egyptian-style building located in Parque del Oeste, and was a gift to Spain for helping save temples along the Nile River. Not only is touring the temple free, but this really is one of the best spots to watch the sunset in Madrid.
Explore the Different Stalls at El Rastro
El Rasto is the most popular open air flea market in Madrid and is held every Sunday filling the many streets near the La Latina metro station. The market is generally open from 9 am to 3 pm and offers a huge variety of products (new and used). You could spend hours wandering through the crowded streets looking at the endless piles of clothing, jewelry, toys, and trinkets. If you do decide to spend money, don’t forget these tips for shopping at a local market.
Pro Tip: Take your smallest bag (or none at all) to El Rastro because pickpockets are on the prowl! A bigger bag = more goodies to steal. Be overly cautious of your belongings because the market is extremely crowded and confusion = easy target for theft.
Spend an Afternoon in Parque del Retiro
Looking to relax for an afternoon instead of rushing to the next tourist attraction? Then let me tell you about one of my favorite spots in Madrid… Parque del Retiro! It’s one of the largest parks in Madrid and is home to many different hidden gems that are worth finding. Whether you’re longing to take a boat ride, explore the crystal palace, or grab a spot in the shade with a good book, Parque del Retiro has something for you.
Discover the Tradition of Bullfighting
Bullfighting has been a long-time tradition in Spain and the best way to learn about its history is by heading to the free Bullfighting Museum in the Las Ventas Bullring. Bullfighting is super controversial but I believe in embracing every part of a country’s culture so I encourage everyone to learn about this aspect of Spanish culture too.
Enjoy Bird’s-Eye Views of the City at The Gourmet Experience
Head to the top floor of the nine-story El Corte Inglés at Plaza del Callao (Callao metro station) to get some of the best views of Madrid for free. The Gourmet Experience on the top floor offers a variety of different food options including tapas, deli items, desserts and more. Grab a snack and head to the outside patio for panoramic views of the city including the Royal Palace and Almudena Cathedral. Come in the evening and this is a great spot to relax with friends and watch the sunset.
Have you done any of these free things in Madrid? What are some of your favorite free activities in Madrid?