Many friends who are arriving in Madrid for World Pride are asking me some tips about what to see after, before or in the middle of the intense parties schedule. Beyond Plaza Mayor (pic below), probably the most well know place in the city, there are maaaaaaany possibilities. I will borrow some i like from a Skyscanner post. The good news is there are all in the center, a walk away one to the other.
1. Prado museum
Even if you are not a big art fan, it deserves a visit...Renowned as the world’s largest art gallery, Prado Museum was opened in 1819 and contains over 9,000 artworks. If you can, drop in on weekday afternoons before 5pm, when it is less crowded. You can sign up for free educational talks and activities at Jerónimos building 15 minutes in advance, but they are only conducted in Spanish. The Museum also holds temporary exhibitions of artworks by prestigious artists and the permanent collection boasts pieces by early Renaissance painters like Fra Angelico as well as native masters like Goya and Ribera. If you have the time, make sure to visit the nearby Thyssen, Reina Sofía and Archaeological Museums as well.
2. Tapas in La Latina
In Spain, you ask for a drink, you get a tapa. Don’t worry, it’s usually free! La Latina is a great area to find some of the best tapas in Madrid. If you're on a budget break, you can hop from bar to bar and have lunch, paying for just two or three drinks, or linger on a terrace with friends, enjoying delicious food and good conversation for hours. Try the characterful and tiny Al Vicente Copas, tucked away off Plaza de Puerta Cerrada on Calle Segovia (hint: look for the sign that says San Román).
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3. El Retiro
When you need a mental break from relentless Madrid sightseeing, a walk through El Retiro transports you to the loveliness of eighteenth century palace gardens. Head for the Crystal Palace and its surroundings, where you can sit by the pond and watch the play of light, shadow and colour, as well as the resident ducks, turtles and birds. If you’re looking for a more lively atmosphere, there are always activities, exhibitions, concerts, puppet shows, street performers and fortune tellers in other areas of the park, besides an annual Book Fair. in October. The main entrance to the park is on Plaza de la Independencia.
An old traditional market converted into a modern gastronomic experience, the mercado's greatest asset is you can taste samples of food from as little as €1, sometimes even for free, before deciding whether to buy. There’s a huge variety of food: cold meat, cheese, fruit, vegetables, sushi, seafood, chocolates, frozen yogurt, juices, sangria, wine...all deliciously tasty and fresh. It's entertainment enough just to walk around enjoying mouth-watering smells and flavours, while natural light floods the building, emphasizing the beauty of its iron and glass structure. Always full, it is nevertheless another great place for tapas, very lively and really close to Plaza Mayor.