Featured image by dziambel
Visiting a city that is rich in culture and history like Madrid can be costly, but as tourists we want to soak up as much of the culture and vibrancy of the city as we can before we hop back on a plane to our lives back home.
It can be difficult to plan a city break on a budget, but did you know that with a little research you can experience the city of Madrid without spending a single Euro?!
Here we’ll give you a few ideas and tips of how you can fill your Madrid break to the brim with the very best of Spanish culture – for free! That way you can save costs for the rest of your time in Spain, or put the money towards day trips to amazing close by regions like Salamanca.
Madrid Sightseeing: 4 Things to do in Madrid for Free
Remember to invest in travel insurance, even if you’re worried about your medical history. Most insurers will consider pre-existing medical conditions, and some may even include them in your cover free of charge. Take a look at Safetrip travel insurance for pre-existing conditions.
Photo credit: dziambel
Parque del Buen Retiro
Madrid has many well-known parks, but the one on this list is its most famous: Parque del Buen Retiro is loved by locals and visitors alike, and it’s easy to see why.
This is one of the largest parks of the city of Madrid, and belonged to the Spanish Monarchy until the late 19th century, before becoming a public park. There is a boating lake, as well as many famous sculptures and stunning monuments.
Parque del Buen Retiro is the perfect place to enjoy Madrid’s beautiful weather. If you’re visiting in Summer, keep a look out for concerts that take place in the park. It’s also a great place to enjoy a picnic, people watch, and mingle with the locals.
As a city of culture, art and history, it’s no wonder that Madrid is home to some of the world’s most famous museums. While the city is practically bursting at the seams with museums and galleries, two in particular stand above the rest: Reina Sofia Museum and the Prado Museum.
From cultural events that happen throughout the year to stunning collections by world famous artists, there’s something for everyone at these hives of culture. And how do we get in for free? Simply go at the right time.
The Prado Museum
The Prado Museum is the main Spanish national art museum, and is widely considered to have one of the world’s finest collections of European art, dating from the 12th century to the early 20th century. This is considered to be the single best collection of Spanish art.
The collection currently comprises around 8,200 drawings, 7,600 paintings, 4,800 prints, and 1,000 sculptures, in addition to a large number of other works of art and historic documents.
The free admission period is from Monday to Saturday, 6pm-8pm, and on Sundays from 5pm to 7pm. These times may change at the museum’s discretion. You can check the most up to date admission times here.
Reina Sofia Museum
The Museo Reina Sofía, is Spain’s national museum of 20th-century art. The museum was officially inaugurated on September 10, 1992, and is named for Queen Sofía. It is located near the Atocha train and metro stations, at the southern end of the so-called Golden Triangle of Art.
The museum is mainly dedicated to Spanish art. Highlights include excellent collections of Spain’s two greatest 20th-century masters, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. Certainly, the most famous masterpiece in the museum is Picasso’s painting Guernica.
The free admission period is offered to the public Monday – Saturday (excluding Tuesday) from 7pm to 9pm, and Sunday from 1.30 pm to 7 pm. These times may change at the museum’s discretion. Check the most up to date admission times here.
Head to the Royal Palace
Feel like Royalty for the afternoon with a trip to the Palacio. With over 2,800 rooms, Madrid’s royal palace is the biggest palace in the whole of Europe!
This is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, though is only used for state formalities these days. King Felipe VI and the Royal Family do not reside in the palace, choosing instead the more modest Palace of Zarzuela on the outskirts of Madrid.
A walk around this breath-taking building is a wonderful treat, and totally free. It’s 10 € to actually enter, though they have free admission on May 18 for International Museum day, and if you’re a European Citizen, you can get in for free from Monday to Thursday from 16 to 18 h. (October to March) and 18 to 20 h. (April to September). Check more admission details here.
Also known as Madrid’s Bullfighting Museum. This controversial sport and tradition is a part of Madrid’s heritage, and its history is worth exploring. If the idea of watching a bullfight isn’t your thing then the museum is the place to go for those who are curious about the sport.
From matador costumes to famous paintings, you can also see other curious objects such as rapiers and funnels, monteras, “moñas”, scissors, canes or banderillas, which are part of the history of bullfighting.
The museum is located in the Patio de Caballos. Admission is of course, free!
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