5 Things To Do in Madrid When You're Broke
Madrid is one of the more affordable big cities in Europe, and it’s pretty easy to have a good time even when you’re on a budget. If you ever find yourself here, maybe as an English teacher, an exchange students, or an expat, these are some things you can do to get to know Madrid on days when you don’t really feel like splurging.
I can easily spend a day in Retiro Park, just exploring, picnicking, possibly riding a bike, or just walking around. Palacio de Cristal is absolutely free of charge and depending you when you go, you can even catch exhibits held inside. The Rose Garden is also spectacular, especially during the spring. Some days I’ve found myself just watching street performers alongside tourist children, too. Once, I’ve stumbled into a small museum while looking for a restroom. I’ve yet to wander through all of Retiro Park’s corners, but from what I’ve seen so far, I just know I’ll be coming back soon. Check out my latest Retiro Park vlog, where I attempt to be touristy under 5 Euros.
Location: Plaza de la Independencia, 7, 28001 Madrid
Museo del Prado and the Reina Sofia Museum
If you’re a fan of art like me, Madrid would be an amazing city to visit for its world-class museums, Museo del Prado and the Reina Sofia Museum. You can visit Museo del Prado for free on Tuesdays to Sundays from 6pm to 8pm, or Sundays from 5pm to 8pm; Reina Sofia Museum from Monday to Friday from 7pm to 9pm, Saturday from 2.30pm to 9pm, or Sunday from 10am to 2.30pm.
Museo del Prado: Paseo del Prado, s/n, 28014 Madrid
Reina Sofia Museum: Calle de Santa Isabel, 52, 28012 Madrid
Templo de Debod
Templo de Debod is my go-to sanctuary for when I just want to relax, be surrounded by nature, read, or perhaps even journal. It’s a fifteen-minute walk from where I live, roughly 10 minutes from Plaza de España. According to Tourism Madrid, “This is an Egyptian temple dating back to the 2nd century BC, transported to Madrid’s Cuartel de la Montaña Park. The temple was donated to Spain by the Egyptian government to save it from floods following the construction of the great Aswan Dam.”
Location: Calle Ferraz 1, 28008 Madrid
Puerta del Sol
Puerta del Sol has some of the most iconic Madrid landmarks — at least in my very amateur opinion. It has the statue of The Bear and the Strawberry Tree, the Mariblanca, and the famous Tío Pepe billboard. This is the centre (Km 0) of the radial network of Spanish roads.
Location: Plaza de la Puerta del Sol, s/n, 28013 Madrid
Fun Fact: Gran Vía was actually my laptop wallpaper the entire time I was planning to move to Spain. To me, this iconic street was instrumental to making this dream happen — manifesting it from a picture I downloaded from the internet. Months later, I would find myself strolling through the very street nonchalantly. Months later, it was just another part of my neighborhood.
Gran Vía is essentially Madrid’s Oxford Street, the go-to for all shopping-related activities — what with its gigantic Primark building and all. While it may be tempting to splurge on clothes and whatnot, if you have good self-control like I do, wandering here might be a good choice. The surrounding architecture will be more than enough to fill your visual needs. Great for a photowalk!
Location: Calle Gran Vía, Madrid