For all those travellers hitting the streets of Madrid on a shoestring budget, we’ve put together our favourite things to do in Spain’s capital for free!
Seeing the sights in Madrid doesn’t have to cost a pretty penny. From the beautiful Retiro Park to the city’s resident rotund Spiderman there’s always something to see or do when the money’s run out.
1. Atocha Railway Station
Image by Ross G Strachan flickr.com
It might sound odd to visit a railway station during your time in this magnificent city, but of course this is not your typical terminus. Opened in 1992 this transportation hub is also home to around 260 tropical species of plant and of course the famous turtles. Over the last two decades the pond in the botanical gardens within the station has become the adopted home of over 250 terrapins – when was the last time you saw a reptile on your daily commute?
2. Retiro Park
Image by Teo Ruiz flickr.com
A favourite with locals and visitors alike, ‘Parque del Buen Retiro’ is Madrid’s best known public park. With everything from pavement painters and jugglers to street musicians and fortune tellers turning their trade through this 320 acre royal park, it’s the perfect place for an afternoon stroll. Make sure you enjoy the artificial lake at the northern entrance and the stunning rose garden with its remarkable statues – including one dedicated to Satan!
3. Puerta del Sol
Image by Oriol Salvador flickr.com
On the east side of the Puerta del Sol is Madrid’s famous ‘Statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree’ – and it’s exactly what it says on the tin. This 22 ton statue stands 13 feet above its granite pedestal, and is a must see for visitors to the city. The statue was commissioned in the 1960s to represent the main heraldic symbols of the city and Spain with a monument – the perfect photo opportunity to remember your visit.
4. The Prado Museum
Image by Alan & Flora Botting flickr.com
Perhaps Madrid’s top cultural highlight, the Prado Museum is one of the greatest art galleries in the world. Head on down to El Padeo del Prado to feast your eyes upon works by European masters like Rubens, Goya, Bosch and Velásquez – and the best part? It’s free.
5. Spiderman Gordo
Image by fmpgoh flickr.com
Some may think that the highlight of a visit to Plaza Mayor would be the stunning symmetry of its grand arcades, and although it is beautiful, the architecture has nothing on our favourite resident performer. The stuff of urban legend, Spiderman Gordo or ‘the fat Spiderman’ spends his days entertaining tourists with his self-deprecating acts – you’d have to be as mad as him not to pay the square a visit and see for yourself…