Madrid on a Budget

Tue, Feb 7, 2012


Located in the centre of Spain, the city of Madrid is known for its many museums, parks and selection of tapas. There are many attractions that visitors on a budget will be able to visit during their stay in Madrid.


The city’s three main museums, the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofia Museum and the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum form the Golden Triangle of Museums. The permanent collections of these museums are free during the afternoons and visitors will be able to explore art pieces, art collections and sculptures.


The city is known for its food and its nightlife. Tapas are typical appetizers served with a caña in most bars, and even when they are not free, they are known for their affordable prices. Some of the most popular tapas are aceitunas olives, jamón ibérico ham and huevos rotos con jamón, a dish that consists of eggs and cured ham served on fries.

Some of the local food chains known for their tapas are the Cien Montaditos and La Sureña, which can be found across the city. In both places visitors will be able to join the locals for a bucket filled with beers and some tapas before heading to a bar in one of the party districts. Most bars and clubs are located in the centric Huertas, in the traditional La Latina and in the trendy Malasaña districts.

Historic city center

Madrid is a city that can be explored on foot and using the affordable metro system that connects the city to the airport and other smaller towns. The historic city center is located near the Plaza de Sol, a central square where visitors can see the city’s symbol, the statue of bear climbing up a madroño tree. Nearby is the Plaza Mayor, with small shops and terrazas on the square. A short walk through the narrow streets of the Madrid that was built during the Hapsburg reign leads to the Almudena Cathedral and the Royal Palace. Visitors will be able to enjoy tours around some of the palace’s 2000 rooms, which are decorated with art masterpieces and antique furniture. The Palace’s gardens, the Jardines de Sabatini, are filled with fountains and sculptures, and concerts and other events are organized there.

A short walk away from the city center is the Plaza de España. This central plaza is a popular meeting point and is known for its large Don Quixote and Sancho Panza statue and fountain. The Gran Via street is one of the nearby streets and is filled with local shops, international brands and many cafeterías and restaurants where to enjoy a Menú del Día meal and a very typical café con leche. The Menú del Día option is offered by most restaurants at lunch, and includes a starter course, a main dish, dessert and a drink for the price of around 12€ per person.


The Retiro Park is located near the city’s three main museums. This park stretches from the central Atocha station that connects the city to Barcelona, Malaga and Sevilla to the chic Serrano area, filled with boutique shops and small traditional cafeterías. The park has many paths lined with fountains and plants, and in the middle of the park there is a large lake where visitors will be able to rent boats. Another main park is the Casa de Campo. The Teleférico is a cable car that offers rides from the Moncloa district to the center of the park. Some of the park’s main attractions are the Parque de Atracciones theme park and the Zoo.

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