Madrid has been the capital city of Spain since the early 1560s. The country’s biggest city, it occupies a terrific location in heart of the Iberian Peninsula.
Madrid might be one of the pricier cities in Spain, but it is totally possible to have a fantastic time without spending a single euro and whilst maintaining a healthy travel budget. There are plenty of low-cost and free things to do in Madrid for money-conscious travellers.
Here are some of the best free things to in Madrid:
Stroll through Parque del Buen Retiro
A beautiful royal retreat for several centuries, the lovely Parque del Buen Retiro (often referred to as Retiro Park) is now open to everyone. The expansive park has large stretches of well-manicured grass where you can sit and soak up the vibe or enjoy a picnic. Wander around and you will notice that there are many interesting sculptures and monuments throughout the grounds. The boating lake is particularly eye-catching, and provides a terrific spot to relax on a warm and sunny summer’s day. Head here in the summer and you may even be lucky enough to be able to enjoy one of the park’s free outdoor concerts or performances. The park is also home to interesting museums and galleries.
Enjoy Art at the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
Spain’s national museum of modern art, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia is often shortened to simply the Sofia. Home to a world-class collection of attractive and thought-provoking contemporary artwork, there is an admission fee to enjoy the museum. However, if you time your trip for between 7 pm and 9pm on weekday evenings (Monday through to Friday), you can enjoy the museums varied pieces for absolutely free!
Wander along Gran Via
An attractive and lively part of the city, Gran Via boasts an interesting selection of architecture. Inspired by the landmarks and buildings of the dazzling city of New York, there are many fantastic photo opportunities. Stretching from Plaza de Espana to the striking Metropolis Building, Gran Via is definitely one of Madrid’s must-sees.
Pray at Basilica de San Francisco el Grande
A large and multi-tiered church, the gorgeous Basilica de San Francisco el Grande is situated between Madrid’s palace and Puerta de Toledo. Impressive both inside and out, the church’s grounds once housed a sacred monastery.
Watch the Changing of the Guard
Head to Palacio Real de Madrid and you can watch the Royal Guards as they change over their shifts. Whilst you can see the stern guards outside the palace at all times, Wednesday mornings are the best time to visit – but make sure you get there early to get a great spot! Drawing large crowds, there is a ceremony full of traditions and pomp each Wednesday at 11 am. Lasting until 2 pm, foot soldiers change positions every half an hour, with mounted soldiers switching every hour. The proceedings are accompanied by a beating drum. For an even bigger treat, watch the ceremony on the first Wednesday of each month (with the exception of July, August, and September), when 400 soldiers and 100 horses perform in a grand ceremony, complete with beautiful music and the rhythmic sound of drums.
Visit Templo de Debod, a monument from Egypt, visit clubs such as the interesting Passenger and Tupperware to party the night away with no cover charge, relax in the pretty Parque Juan Carlos I, check out the art at the Prado Museum for free between 6 pm and 8 pm on Tuesdays to Saturdays and between 5 pm and 8 pm on Sundays, visit Anden 0, and more!