Our intern Michelle went back to Germany right before Christmas, but she left a bit of wisdom behind her. These are her MUST visit places in Madrid.
1. Bici Madrid Rental
My number one recommendation for Madrid is renting a bike from BiciMadrid to explore the city. At one of the many stations throughout the city, you can pick up a card which you can charge up with rental money.
Throughout Madrid there are stations where you can pick up and drop off the bike, making it easy to cruise around and stop at a museum or any other tourist attraction. I highly recommend exploring Retiro park by bike – it is so big and you can see everything.
If you want to go for a longer tour, you absolutely must explore the huge public park Casa de Campo. This park has a beautiful lake where you can watch the sunset on a bench after a long bike tour.
Also, there is an app where you can check all the bike rental drop-off and pick-up stations. !Ojo! Don’t use the bus or taxi lane, this can earn you an expensive ticket. Besides that, it is fairly easy to ride through the streets as it has an electric motor with three different speed levels – the first time you try it out, it feels like you’re driving a motorbike! 🙂
2. Secondhand Shops in Malasaña
After I moved from Berlin to Madrid, I started missing secondhand shops and street art neighborhoods. Luckily, you’ll find both in the Malasaña neighborhood (super close to Inhispania). The main street for secondhand shops is Calle Velarde, but you’ll also find several second-hand shops on Calle Corredera Alta de San Pablo.
In this area you’ll discover tiny, beautiful streets covered in street art.
Don’t leave this neighborhood without eating a Creamies ice cream! I love sweets, cakes, ice cream… and I highly recommend their bubble waffle at Calle Corredera Alta de San Pablo 30. Instead of a waffle with ice cream, you can also choose the cookies or donut options with ice cream. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect trip to Malasaña?!
3. Sand places
It is very unusual to find a restaurant or a bar with sand, so that’s why I am amazed by these two places I discovered in Madrid: Ojalá and Areia.
Ojalá (Calle de San Andrés) is a restaurant in Malasaña with a beautiful basement area where you can drink cocktails (or a tea during the winter time). The floor is covered in sand and its wooden chairs with plenty of pillows reminds you of being on a beach holiday.
If you are looking for a fancy bar, I recommend Areia (Calle Hortaleza). Throughout the summer, this place is covered in sand. All the décor is set up like a beach bar and a DJ plays good lounge music. In the back of the bar you will even find a bed with pillows where you can relax and drink your cocktails.
4. La Latina: Mercado de la Cebada and El Campo de Cebada
If you are looking for inexpensive, fresh seafood, you should go check out the food market in La Latina. It can get quite busy there, but I’ll give you my top-secret advice: get your seafood (and a bottle of white wine) to go and walk to the backside of the market. You’ll find a big public space called El Campo de la Cebada. It’s full of young, creative people hanging out while doing all kinds of activities and sports. You can play football, ride a longboard and chat with friends. In the summer, it is a venue for concerts and events so it usually gets very crowded.
5. Renoir Cines Princesa
I love this theater because it shows a lot of movies in their original languages with Spanish subtitles. If you plan to stay in Madrid for a long time, and you find yourself missing the original English language movie theater experience, this is your movie theater. !Ojo! In Spain, movies start at the exact time the website indicates – in Germany movies start about 20 minutes later because of the previews. Ironic, because you can be late to everything else in Spain!
You can buy the tickets in advance online, so you just need to get there earlier if you want to buy popcorn. If you remember how I feel about sweets, it is not difficult for you to guess if I arrived early before every movie to buy popcorn and candy 🙂