Things for a solo traveller to do around Madrid
I am heading to Madrid for a month and would like some suggestions of places to go/eat/drink/see. I’m 20 and travelling solo so would welcome some suggestions of things to enjoy around Madrid where I could meet new people. I am staying in the Arganzuela area, so any local places would be great.
Hi Rose, I’m not sure what kind of accommodation you’ll have in Arganzuela but to meet other travellers you might consider spending a couple of nights in a hostel. Maybe U Hostels? Their (free) daily tours would be a good way to get chatting with new people. If you’re feeling brave, you might also take yourself on a tapas bar crawl?! The studenty Malasaña area (near U Hostels, for what it’s worth) would be a good bet.
As Arganzuela is fairly close to the city centre you have lots of options. I agree with what Neil said above and a tapas bar crawl would be a very good place to start. You have to be brave though!
The tapas bars on the small streets around Plaza Mayor are always good for food and drink and a good spot to meet people.
On the ‘to see’ front I would recommend spending a day or two out in Toledo on the south side of Madrid. It is a very nice and well preserved historic town. Its well worth a visit. Around the city centre Im sure you will see them anyway but some of the art museums and Parque del Retiro are beautiful.
(you didn’t say when you are going but if you are there in late August/September definitely go to Tomatina near Valencia. Brilliant)
If you need any more info on Madrid, I wrote a bit of my top 5 things to see in the city on my website
I hope this helps
I’m close to your age and travelled to Madrid alone last year and loved it. Here are a few things worth seeing:
Mercado de San Miguel: So lovely! I loved the bustling atmosphere. Great ready-to-eat food too.
El Rastro (Sunday Flea Market): Spectacular people watching and cool antique finds too. Weekly on Sunday mornings.
El Museo de arte Thyssen-Bornemisza: I am not a huge art/ museum enthusiast, but I really enjoyed wandering this museum. The Prado is often held to much higher esteem, but I wanted to see something other than cherubs and Jesus. The Thyssen-Bornemisza provides a really enjoyable, modern alternative for an afternoon stroll.
As far as day/ weekend trips, I went to Segovia and Salamanca and really enjoyed both of them. Look them up and see what you think!
I’m from Madrid and can tell you that you are going to have one of the best months of your life
First of all, just warning you that in July will be hot, very hot so important remember to get some sun protection, sun glasses and a hat. The best of the city will come up at night
Apart from visting the big sights I’d recommend enjoying breakfast and dinner in a terrace. That would be the time when you can get not that hight temperatures. A nice orange juice with olive oil and tomato toasts will make a good start
One of my favourites Museums is Museo Reina Sofia. It’s in La Latina area, also close to Lavapiés and El Rastro (the Sunday flea market) with plenty of bars, restaurants and cafes. On this area if you want to explore and go to non tourists places you can look for the La Tabacalera and La Casa Encendida. Both are cultural establishments in which you can go for free or non very expensive alternative exhibitions, gigs/ DJ lives (specially in the roof terrace of La Casa Encendida), plays, etc.
As Neil mentioned Malasaña area is one of my favourites, surrounded by traditional spanish vibes, strees, nice bars, clubs, shops. Close to areas like Chueca (guy area with plenty of terraces and also a nice food market less busy than Mercado de San Miguel called Mercado de San Antón, it has a bar on the terrace). Around that area I’d recommend the following:
- Playa del 2 de Mayo (Cafe Pepe Botella)/ Pizzeria Maravillas
- Almudayna (c/Espiritu Santo)
- Plaza de las Comendadoras (Cafe de las Comendadoras/ Cafe Moderno)
A must I’d say a stroll around Gran Vía, Callao, Plaza Mayor (try ‘Bocadillo de Calamares’ = squid sandwich with a fresh beer, preferably madrileñan beer Mahou). El Retiro, stunnning park close to museums like El Prado or Tyssen.
As day trips I’d recommend visit places like Alcalá de Henares (the historical centre is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites and food is great) and La Pedriza, this is one of the more exceptional areas of the mountain range. It is located on the south slope of the Cuerda Larga, in the municipal area of Manzanares el Real and there is a river where you can swim if gets too hot. I’ve done it and it’s not dangerous at all. Both Alcalá de henares and La Pedriza are around 30 minutes by car/ 1h by bus. Small towns like Aubree said (Toledo, Segovia and particularly the student town of Salamanca) are also pretty and interesting to explore.
If you are also interested to go to lido that’s no problem, you’ll find public swimming pools all around (search for ‘Piscinas Municipales’).
Enjoy!!! (if you want me to give you more names of restaurants, bars, etc just let me know I’d be happy to help)