Walking in Madrid Spain is the best way to discover this capital city. The Spanish have a term for their favorite pastime, and it is called Paseo – a leisurely walk, and in Madrid it is a way of life. You will see people of all ages enjoying their evening paseo in every part of Madrid. If it works for the locals, then it works for us too. When you explore Madrid from the ground, you will get the essence of what the Madrileños, the correct name for those from Madrid, do on a day to day basis.
The city is very easy to navigate but also quite overwhelming with how much there is to see and to do.
You will find that the most popular time to Paseo, promenade or walk in Madrid, is in the cooler hours of the evening. A walk before going out for dinner at about 10 pm is de riguer.
- 0.1 You will find that the most popular time to Paseo, promenade or walk in Madrid, is in the cooler hours of the evening. A walk before going out for dinner at about 10 pm is de riguer.
- 1 Where to walk in Madrid?
- 2 Even more places to Walk in Madrid
- 3 WEEKEND WANDERLUST LINK-UP
However when you are visiting the city, all day and every day is ideal for walking in Madrid Spain. You can also choose explore the sites of Madrid on a city tour/
Where to walk in Madrid?
The obvious answer is everywhere and getting lost in the city is no big deal. The Spanish people are just so friendly that should you start to despair, they will help you. This is a guide to some of the things that you should try and see; the rest will be serendipity.
Barrios or Neighbourhoods of Madrid
There are some very exciting barrios begging to be explored, and these are just some of them. Read more here
It may well be touristy, but that is with good reason. It is very traditionally Madrid. Local people, local food, exciting architecture, and a way of life. La Latina is the oldest and one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Madrid. La Latina is an excellent place to settle down with some tapas and sangria. It is also home to some drag queens and some other interesting people, but the people watching is totally fun.
While some see Malasaña as quiet and residential, it is a totally trendy and alternative barrio. Malasaña is multicultural and just a cool place to go. Some of the best international restaurants are on San Bernardino. You will also find the international food market, and lots of bars, cafes and people watching opportunities.
Lavapiés is a neighborhood of extremes. It is the heart of multicultural Madrid Here you’ll find young and old people, resident Madrileño’s and new people to the city. This barrio has a reputation for being lively and at times a little dodgy.
Many of the traditional fiestas happen in the Rastro barrio, and it is also home to the very popular flea market on Sundays. Rastro is multicultural and very diverse. You will find stall vendors all along the streets, and people come to explore and spend an afternoon with friends. Unfortunately because of it being a magnet from everybody on a Sunday you do need to be a little more cautious with your belongings. However, it is full of fun and totally worth going to. Grab a seat and just people watch.
Chueca is primarily known as the gay district of Madrid. It’s chic, multicultural and has a great nightlife. Chueca is the city within a city, with a lot of little streets, little shops, and the hustle and bustle of ordinary life. Chueca remains a favorite barrio. Spain has been named as the most gay-friendly country by Pew Research Centre, and while Chueca may be the centre in Madrid, the Spanish reputation as an LGBT-friendly nation is all over the country and not just Madrid.
Barrio de las Letras or the Literary Quarter
This is a lovely neighborhood or barrio of twisting little roads and many opportunities to get lost. You will find Plaza Santa Ana here, and this is where the great writers of Madrid’s 16th-century Golden Age of letters, liked Cervantes lived. It is boho-chic with some excellent cafes and bars
Even more places to Walk in Madrid
The Golden Triangle of Art
There is no doubt that the golden art triangle in Madrid is worth seeing. The Museo del Prado, The Thyssen-Bornemiszo, and El Reina Sofia are must see experiences in Madrid, and when you go walking you should put these on the walking agenda.
Everybody does it. Yes, everybody promenades, paseos and walks along this busy yet very architecturally interesting street. You pass lively tapas bars, shops, and lots of people. In the mid 19th century, Madrid’s urban planners decided that a new thoroughfare was required, connecting the Calle de Alcalá with the Plaza de España and that is how Gran Via came into being.
In the midst of the crowds look for the Edificio can i buy cialis over the counter in usa Metrópolis or Metropolis building. The landmark was built between 1907 and 1911 after a design by the architects Jules & Raymond Février.
A bit further along the Gran Vía, is another landmark, the Edificio Grassy, another corner building with a small tower. It was built in 1917.
Look for the Telefónica building, a skyscraper built between 1926 and 1929 for the Spanish telecommunications company.
Plaza del Callao
The Plaza del Callao is a busy square with a lot of with people and with some fabulous art-deco buildings. The Callao Cinema Building and the Carrion Building are part of this theatre area of Madrid.
Plaza de España
The very famous Plaza Espana is at the western end of Gran Via. The plaza is spectacular with two of the tallest buildings in Madrid, the Torre de Madrid or Madrid Tower, and Edificio España, the Spain Building. The centre monument is dedicated to Spanish novelist, poet and playwright Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and includes a bronze sculpture of Don Quixote.
Plaza Santa Ana
Plaza Santa Ana has great bars and restaurants and lots of outdoor seating should you get tired and need some tapas and sangria during your Paseo.
This is one of Madrid’s most iconic plazas. The 18th century Cibeles fountain is situated here. Directly on your right is the imposing granite Banco de España, Spain’s Fort Knox.
Plaza Cánovas del Castillo has a fountain of Neptune at its center. This is at the heart of the famous Golden Art Triangle. It was also the view that we looked at each morning from our rooms at The Westin Palace, Madrid. From this plaza, you are right at the Museo del Prado, The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza , and the Reina Sofía.
Mercado de San Miguel
Mercado de San Miguel is the most famous market in Madrid, and it is as noisy, colorful and bustling as you would expect. This is a not to be missed experience if you want to watch Madrileños at work and play. Be aware that the opening hours vary. Mercado de San Miguel is open until ten p.m. Monday to Wednesday, and 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Eat at Mercado de San Miguel just as all of the locals do.
Puerta del Sol
Puerta del Sol means Gate of the Sun, is one of Madrid’s busiest squares. Look here for Oso y Madroño, which displays a statue of a bear and a madrone tree that is the symbol of Madrid. On the southern side is Kilometer Zero, the absolute center of Spain.
This was once a 15th-century marketplace and since then it has been everything from a bull fighting ring, to a place for crowning ceremonies to an executioner’s stage. This is still one of the most popular of Madrid’s plazas and is surrounded with lovely buildings and nine entrance archways. It is full of cafes and restaurants, a tourist office that is very fancy. There is a bronze statue of King Philip III on a horse in the middle of the plaza. It is also a tourist mecca, so head behind Plaza Mayor to some much more local tapas bars like Maison de la Guitarra on Cava de San Miguel.
Parque del Retiro
Retiro stands for retreat, hence the name of the park and not as I initially assumed, retired. In 1632, the palace was built by King Philips IV as a retreat for the Royal family. Now it is a people’s park and a lovely one to walk around. Parque del Retiro is favored by locals and visitors alike. There is an artificial lake, the Estanque del Retiro, where you can rent a boat. The Museo del Ejército, an army museum is the remaining section of the original palace, where only two buildings survived, the rest being destroyed during the Napoleonic Wars.
Walking in Madrid Spain is easy. These are just some of the places to explore and there are many many more.
WEEKEND WANDERLUST LINK-UP
Welcome to #WeekendWanderlust! This is where YOU get to share your latest post and help inspire all of us to follow our dreams of exploring the world one weekend at a time.
Here is how it works:
1. Complete the information below (your name, URL of your post and e-mail).
2. Ensure that you have your link added before the following Monday (link-up closes at 11:55PM Central Time).
3. Share the #WeekendWanderlust badge on your post that you link-up.
4. Comment on and Share at least THREE other linked-up posts to show some love to your fellow travelers.
5. Spread the word of #WeekendWanderlust throughout your social media.
6. Finally and most importantly – TRAVEL THE WORLD!!
As long as your post is related to travel, whether it is a review of an attraction or your experience in a destination around the world please link up with us to inspire everyone to follow their #WeekendWanderlust
I love wandering around Chueca Callao and the Gran Vía part of Madrid.
I enjoy the mixture of shops and restaurants and the general hustle and bustle.
Me too. I love seeing all of the people walking, talking and laughing.
Walking is the first thing I do when arriving in a new destination. What a great tour you’ve given us of all the barrios in Madrid. Hope you’ll get in touch before you come to Boston. I’d love to show you around!
Alison, we would love you to show us Boston. Thank you
What a lovely post! I love walking in new cities (or in my city of Boston for that matter:) and I agree that Madrid is a great place for exploring on foot. I will take note of all the neighborhood suggestions for next time we are there.
We are coming to Boston later in the year and look forward to walking around your beautiful city.
I’d love to explore Madrid on foot one day. Sounds like there’s so many wonderful places to explore.
I definitely think walking everywhere in Madrid, allows you to see that much more
The neighborhoods look so cozy Paula. My wife visited Madrid a few years ago and raved about it. I’ve not seen it but when I visit Spain I’ll have to stop by Madrid of course. Thanks for the fab photos!
Thanks Ryan, we just loved walking around all of the barrios and seeing all of the people at work and just chatting with one another.
This is a good idea – walking a city means you find more than the guide book tells you. I don’t know Spain at all – I lived in Mallorca about 12 years ago, but aside from that have only been to Almeria, time to start exploring!
I am a fan of walking because you do see amazing things and it also is a means of keeping the weight down from the excesses that travel brings.
It seems that taking a Paseo of an evening, in any one of these Barrios, would have huge people-watching potential. One of my favourite past times when visiting a city!
I am a fan of people watching so the paseo is definitely something that appeals to me also.
I also loved walking around Madrid, especially at night when it was cooler. We stayed just around the corner from Puerta del Sol and I took a photo of the bear statue, but I didn’t know the significance, so thanks. As for the marker for the city center, we couldn’t find it the first night, so had to go back again to look for it. Thanks for the great photos, lots of memories here for me.
Thanks, and we loved walking around Madrid a lot. So much to see and to do.