Regardless of your budget, it is practically impossible to be bored in Madrid; aside from being Spain’s artistic and cultural capital, Madrid has an amazing variety of free things to do. Wondering where to start? With many museums, parks, churches and squares to choose from, we’ve compiled a guide to the best of them.
Many of Madrid’s world-class museums are always free, or free on certains days and times.
The following museums are always free:
- National Archaeological Museum: Treasures from throughout the ages
- CaixaForum Madrid: Contemporary art museum for temporary exhibits
- Debod Temple: An ancient Egyptian temple in Madrid
- San Isidro Museum: The history of Madrid
- Art Museum for the Blind: The art exhibits are made to be touched
- Public Art Museum: A small urban sculpture park
- Book Museum: The treasures of Spain’s national archives
- Coin Museum: Coins and stamps at the Spanish mint’s museum
And these museums are free during certain days and times, primarily on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings:
- Prado Museum: Madrid’s premier art museum
- Reina Sofía Museum: Contemporary art and Picasso’s Guernica
- Clothing Museum: Historical costume
- Museum of the Americas: Historical and cultural treasures of Spain’s former empire
- Sorolla Museum: The life and work of Spain’s Impressionist painter
Parks and Gardens
Madrid has plenty of green spaces for strolling, relaxing and admiring nature.
- Retiro Park: Madrid’s favorite park, and for good reason
- Campo del Moro Gardens: Romantic gardens in the shadow of the Royal Palace
- Casa de Campo: A wild urban park with hiking trails
- Ramón Ortiz Rose Garden: A pretty garden during summer rose season
- El Capricho Park: A somewhat romantic green refuge off the beaten track
Madrid’s churches are rich in history and artistic treasures.
- San Isidro Church: A 16th-century church that houses the remains of Madrid’s beloved Saint Isidore the Laborer
- Basilica of San Francisco El Grande: A large 18th-century church with lots of art
- Almudena Cathedral: Madrid’s modern cathedral devoted to the city’s patron saint
- Old Saint Peter’s: An historic 14th-century church
People-watching in the historic public squares is a unique Madrid experience. And if the weather is nice, you will see cafes set up tables there.
- Plaza Mayor: Madrid’s largest, most historic and most picturesque square
- Plaza de Oriente: A romantic square in front of the Royal Palace
- Puerta del Sol: The center of Spain
- Plaza de Santa Ana: Large, historic and full of life during the evening
- Plaza de Chueca: A fashionable meeting spot
- Plaza del Dos de Mayo: A lively neighborhood square in a unique neighborhood