Apart from visiting the Retiro Park and the Prado Museum, trying a squid sandwich, or ticking off a list of indie cultural attractions, there are lots of other things that you can do in Madrid, things that few guides will tell you about. The suggestions we have for you will add just a bit more spice to your visit to the Spanish capital. Ready to discover them all?
1. Visit an abandoned station
Close by the Sorolla Museum you'll find Andén 0 (Platform 0), on Plaza de Chamberí. This is the old metro station, where you can visit what was formerly the Chamberí stop, the Nave de Motores de Pacífico power plant and the ticket hall of the old Pacífico station. Take a trip back in time to 1919 via this beautifully preserved part of the Madrid Metro. The station has been closed since 1966, but you can still see the tiles, advertising posters and walls which have been restored to return it to its former glory. A trip back in time where you’ll discover some of the city’s many underground secrets. And best of all, entrance is free of charge.
2. Take a walk in a 14-hectare park
This is the Parque de El Capricho in the Alameda de Osasuna district. Created on the instructions of the Duchess of Osuna, it was built in 1784. In its heyday, it was a place where everyone who was anyone used to meet up. Today it’s there waiting to welcome you. Why not plan a restful day out, perhaps have a picnic, and relax in the romantic atmosphere of the park. Marvel at its trees and plants, the Duke and Duchess's Palace and the park's architectural follies. The space is divided into three sections, each with its own distinctive style: the French parterre, the English landscape garden and the Italian giardino. There you'll find the best features, the Casino de Baile, the Temple of Bacchus and the Labyrinth. The hidden secret is a bunker that was built during the Spanish Civil War. Visits are possible, as long as you book in advance. The park lies almost on the outskirts of the city - very close to the airport - but is easily reached by public transport. The views of Madrid if offers are incredible.
You'll find this unusual market in the middle of the Lavapiés district. Here you'll see everything from traditional stalls (butchers, greengrocers, etc.) to stalls selling top quality Spanish and international food products. The last Sunday of the month is a great time to visit, as this is when lovers of swing music meet up to dance in the central courtyard of the market itself. And it's really close to El Rastro as well, so afterwards you can browse the stalls of this famous flea market.
4. One of the best views of Madrid
This is the one from the Cerro del Tío Pío (Puente de Vallecas), a set of seven little hills popularly known as Las Siete Tetas - "The Seven Boobs". Here you can take a long walk until sunset, when the whole of the city of Madrid is bathed in light.
5. Discover the hidden Arab city walls
The wall was built during the emirate of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Rahman between 850 and 866 and was reinforced in the tenth century by Caliph Abd al-Rahman III. In its time it had a perimeter of around 4 hectares, but today little remains. When you visit the Cathedral of Santa María la Real de la Almudena, take a walk through Emir Mohamed I park for wonderful views of the cathedral crypt, and discover a stretch of some 120 metres of the wall that’s a part of the city's history.