8 Awesome Alternative Things to Do in Madrid

Alternative attractions in Madrid

A lot of websites will show you the best general attractions to visit in Madrid – Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Retiro, The Royal Palace, and so on. But if you have time for more, or if you simply want to dig deeper into the city, where do you go? Find some inspiration here!

Madrid is a cool city – especially if you like culture and nightlife. But it can offer almost everything, so all types of travelers can enjoy the city in one way or another.

If you want to avoid the main attractions in Madrid and prefer discovering the small things that are popular among the locals, you’ve landed on the right page.

Watch the sunset at Templo de Debod

Templo de Debod is a fairly popular attraction in Madrid. It is an ancient Egyptian temple that was given to Spain in the 1970s where it was completely rebuilt – and now it’s standing for everyone to see in the capital.

With a location in the western part of Madrid, you can easily watch the sunset here. It’s very romantic, and the lightning is perfect. You can combine a visit to Templo de Debod with a few hours of shopping in Centro Comercial Príncipe Pío which isn’t far away.

See the Chamberí Ghost Station

The metro system in Madrid is over a hundred years old. While most stations has been renovated throughout the years, you still have the opportunity to see a classic station – and it’s even free.

The Chamberí station has been abandoned for years and is no longer in use. Metro trains are still passing by, although not stopping. Therefore, Chamberí is now known as a ghost station. The remains of it have been restored, and it is now a great alternative attraction in Madrid that we highly recommend.

How to find the station: Go to Plaza de Chamberí. It is not far from the stations Bilbao and Iglesia. Only a few persons are admitted inside at a time, so there can easily be long lines – just so you know!

Sit down in Parque del Oeste

Parque del Oeste is one of the most central parks in Madrid. Unlike the Retiro Park, it is not overly crowded, and there are many good reasons to do a picnic here.

This park is very hilly, and you will also notice people exercising here. Dog walking is common, so you will often see people simply strolling by.

Just like at Templo de Debod, you can also watch the sunset here. In fact, Parque del Oeste might be the best park to visit if you want to do a late afternoon picnic. There are not a lot of buildings blocking the view to the west, and the sky can get really orange by the end of the evening.

A bonus: From Parque del Oeste, you can take the Teleférico to Casa de Campo, a great experience in its own right.

Party in Teatro Kapital

As one of the largest nightlife venues in all of Europe, you should definitely visit Teatro Kapital if you are into partying.

It’s basically a nightclub with seven different floors, each representing a different style of music. So even though over 3,000 people visit the club every night, there will still be plenty of space.

The entry fee is higher than in most club, but it typically includes one free drink. While there isn’t any super strict dresscode, you are expected to look decently to get in. The majority of people visiting Teatro Kapital are in their 20s and 30s. You will see locals as well as expats and travelers.

Spend a night out in Malasaña

Talking about nightlife – if you are into partying, you should also take a night out in Malasaña. It might, however, be a lot different than a night out in Teatro Kapital.

Malasaña is the hipster neighborhood in Madrid and it is famous for its many unique bars and clubs. Most are relatively small and they put a focus on the environment. There will be no better area to go for drinks. Going out in Malasaña is also a great way to find friends. While La Latina is the traditional area for the classic nightlife, Malasaña is the innovative and alternative place to go. Here you will find all the special bars with drinks and snacks you might have never tried before.

Watch a movie in Yelmo Cine Ideal

It’s difficult to find cinemas in Spain where the international movies aren’t dubbed. The Spanish people like to dub everything, so movies in English will almost always be shown with Spanish speech.

One of the central cinemas in Madrid that shows movies in their original language is Yelmo Cine Ideal, just a bit south of Puerta del Sol.

It’s a great cinema with good service and well-tasting snacks. They show all the newest and most popular movies – along with some special picks here and there. There are plenty of seats, so even though it is a popular cinema, you can easily buy your ticket right before the movie starts. The exception is on Wednesday, when all tickets are sold at half price – be sure to book your ticket early on Wednesdays. That can be done online in advance.

Visit Museo del Ferrocarril

Located just southeast of the Delicias station, which isn’t far from Atocha, you can visit Museo del Ferrocarril. Here, you will find one of Europe’s greatest collections of trains. Not only can you see old trains: There are all kinds of historic railway materials along with photos and videos that educate visitors on classic train travel. If you want a great experience while visiting Museo del Ferrocarril, try eating in the café which has been made inside a 1930s carriage.

It costs 6 euros to get in on weekdays, but students and senior citizens can get in for a lower price. During the weekend, the entry price is just 3 euros. It’s one of the best alternative attractions in Madrid, especially considering the low price.

Day trip to Aranjuez

Most travelers do day trips to cities such as Toledo and Segovia. While this is still highly recommended, you can also take the opportunity to visit Aranjuez.

From Madrid’s Atocha station – and from several other stations in the city – you can take the Renfe Cercanías directly to Aranjuez, and it doesn’t take long.

When you arrive there, check out the royal palace (free entry for EU citizens on Mondays) and the royal gardens. If you have more time, see the bullfighting arena and get a drink in one of the many local bars. Since trains are running all day long, it’s an easy day trip that will keep you occupied for a handful of hours.

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