Picnic in parks: locals and tourists alike flock to Madrid’s public parks to enjoy the year-round sunny days. You can’t miss Retiro Park, a massive former royal garden that now has a boating lake, fountains, and 400-year-old trees. Lesser known is El Cerro del Tío Pío, made up of seven hills that offer panoramic views of the city.
Visit the ‘Golden Triangle’ of museums: the Prado, the Reina Sofía, and theThyssen-Bornemisza draw huge crowds every year to see famous works of art, including Spanish masters Velázquez, El Greco, and Goya, as well as Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica.
Catch a flamenco show: though Madrid is not the home of flamenco, it is one of the art form’s hotspots. Visit one of the city’s many tablaos or flamenco clubs to be swept away by dancing, clapping, strumming, and singing.
Tuck into some tapas: the city’s tapas culture is so strong that ir a tapear is an activity unto itself. Head to La Latina neighbourhood and do tapas the local way – hitting up multiple spots along Calle Cava Baja and sampling the best dishes each place has to offer.
Get into the ring: despite the controversy, bullfighting is alive and well in Madrid. Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas in the city centre is the main bullring. Check out its museum for bullfighting artwork and memorabilia.
Tour Bernabéu Stadium: Madridistas will love a self-guided tour of the Real Madrid stadium. You can walk down the players’ tunnel onto the pitch, check out the dressing room, and even catch a glimpse of the trophies in the Presidential Box.
From animals to art: discover contemporary art at Matadero Madrid, the city’s former slaughterhouse that has been transformed into a centre for the visual and performing arts.
Find peace in the city centre: visit the Convent of Las Descalzas Reales, hidden behind the El Corte Inglés department store, where a small community of cloistered nuns still lives. Dating back to the 16th Century, the convent’s history of housing noblewomen has given it an impressive art collection.
Party all night: Madrileños don’t have dinner until 10pm, so nightlife continues until dawn. Have a glass of cava or sangria at a bar and then head to a nightclub to dance. There’s something for everyone, from laid-back jazz nights to wild techno raves.
Toledo, the medieval ‘city of three cultures,’ is only 30 minutes south by train. Known for its rich Jewish, Muslim, and Christian heritage, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site packed full of architectural monuments, making it irresistible for history buffs.
If you’re looking for nature and fresh air, head north to the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range to enjoy hiking, swimming and skiing.
For a unique museum experience, visit the Typhlological Museum, managed by the National Organisation of the Blind. Described as ‘a museum to see and touch,’ it houses displays of architectural models, work by visually-impaired artists, and manuscripts in Braille and other accessible writing systems. The museum caters to the visually-impaired, so exhibits include audio descriptions, relief maps, large-print writing, and other helpful tools.