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Full Disclosure: I am currently working with Hipmunk.com and other travel writers to work on an exciting new city guide project. I am being paid to write these articles, but it will help me bring a large guide section to our website, which i’ve been wanting to do since the beginning. So double win!
The capital and largest city of Spain, Madrid, is a wonderful place to explore Spanish culture and festivities that you may not have experienced before, such as running with the bulls. While not the most expensive city in Europe, it certainly isn’t the cheapest either. So if you need a few ideas for cheap things to do, you’ve come to the right place!
Museo Nacional del Prado:
The Museo Nacional del Prado is the main national art museum in Spain, and it’s located in the center of Madrid. The exhibitions feature some of the best that Europe has to offer as far as paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings, as well as the decorative arts. If you go to the museum’s website, they have an awesome online gallery, so you can see what pieces they have before you go. It’s a cool tool for finding what items you want to see the most if you’ll be limited on time once you’re there.
Templo de Debod:
This temple is actually an ancient Egyptian temple that was dismantled and brought to Madrid. The temple was originally located near the cataracts of the Nile and was a dedication to the goddess known as Isis in 200 B.C., but it was taken down and rebuilt between 1970 and 1972. If you would like to take a virtual tour of the Templo de Debod, you can do that on their website. Just a fair warning: It’s in Spanish, but that shouldn’t interfere with your tour.
An abandoned railway in the metropolitan area of Madrid, Anden 0 provides an exciting opportunity to see history up close. During the beginning of the 20th century, this railway was an important part of the everyday lives of many citizens and the entire structure of Madrid itself. On this tour, you’ll be able to go underground and see the railway, as well as check out a former power station in the Pacifico Engine Shed. If you’re interested in learning about the history of the city, this should be high on your list. For cheap hotels in Madrid, the area around Anden 0 is a great place to look.
El Parque del Buen Retiro:
Retiro Park was once a royal park and belonged to King Philip IV. Believe it or not, the park used to be outside of the city walls, but Madrid has since engulfed its 320 acres. The park opened to the public in 1868 and features a gorgeous lake, many sculptures, and plenty of shade for you to lay a blanket under and read a good book. There are also the Palacio de Cristal and the Monument to Alfonso XII to see if you’re in the mood for exploring.
Madrid’s Royal Palace:
Known as the Palacio Real de Madrid in Spanish, this palace was built in 1734. It belongs to the Spanish Royal Family and is used as their official residence. Inside, you will find masterpieces that include paintings, sculptures, textiles, armor, and all sorts of things from the time it was built like watches and carriages.
With lush gardens and a rich history, Madrid is the perfect city to sit back and relax in as the boats go by.