Madrid is a great choice for those who look for cultural attractions and there are plenty of activities to do on a budget. world-class sights including parks, churches and art galleries remain free in Madrid and we’ve made a list for you to explore next time you visit Madrid.
1. Casa de Lope de Vega
Lope de Vega was one of the greatest playwrights, poets and novelists of Spanish literature, although it is relatively unknown outside the Spanish-speaking world. The house where he lived, wrote and – scandalously – lived with his mistress before his death in 1635 is packed with memorabilia related to his life and work. You can book a free guided tour in advance, via phone or e-mail.
2. El Rastro
El Rastro has become Madrid’s Sunday flea market. Here you can see a mix of antiques, vintage T-shirts and old records sit beside new clothes and souvenirs. Although the items have price tags, the experience of perusing is free.
3. Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida
If you want to see Francisco de Goya’s work in its original setting, we’re going to let you in on a little secret: the southern chapel of Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida is one of the few places where you can see Goya’s original work. Did you know that you can find the remains of Goya himself in the chapel? (bar his head, which mysteriously went missing when his remains were transferred from their original burial site in France)
4. Iglesia de San Jerónimo
Iglesia de San Jerónimo is situated on the site of a former monastery, in the shadow of Museo del Plato and it is dating back to the early 16th century. The original monastery was damaged in the early 1800s during the Peninsular War, and then restored half a century later, during the reign of Isabel II. The remains of the former cloisters are now part of the Museo del Prado.
5. Museo del Prado
You have to visit Museo del Prado if you want to see the world’s best-known pieces of art, such as Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas, which depicts the Spanish royal family from a unique (and, at the time, revolutionary) perspective. If you visit the museum from 6 pm to 8 pm, Monday to Saturday, the entrance is free.
6. Museo de Historia
The Museo de Historia houses a fine collection of paintings and artefacts outlining the history of Madrid. The highlights include Goya’s Allegory of the City of Madrid, which lampoons the occupying French rulers of 19th century Madrid and subsequent fractious political climate, as well as an incredibly detailed model of the city as it looked in 1830.
7. Iglesia de San Ginés
San Ginés is one of Madrid’s oldest churches and it exists in one form or another since at least the 14th century. The structure of the church was built in 1645 but mostly rebuilt after a fire in 1824. The church has inside some excellent works of Spanish art, such as El Greco’s Expulsion of the Moneychangers from the Temple (1614).
Visit Madrid every time you can and enrich your general knowledge with cultural attractions that you can explore freely or on a low budget.