When you’re a tourist in any city, you should undoubtedly be Livin’ la Vida Loca. Eat at the best resultants, drink in the coolest bars, chill in the most beautiful parks and basically, do as the locals would do. You shouldn’t be there to visit the same places you would back home, instead, try to do something different to experience the real city. This is no truer than in Madrid, where you have the opportunity to taste some of Spain’s most delicious cuisine and get a genuine sense of the Spanish culture.

Even though it’s Spain’s capital city, Madrid sometimes gets overlooked by the incredible architecture and lively nightlife of Barcelona, but if you want an unforgettable Spanish encounter, then believe us when we say this town has got it all. There’s the Palacio Real, Plaza Mayor, Retiro Park, and even the Bernabéu, Real Madrid’s impressive stadium. There’s a lot to do, but here’s how you can maximize your time in the gorgeous metropolis that is Madrid.

Attend a language exchange and meet some locals


Couchsurfing is a fantastic way to get a sense of what it’s like to live in Madrid, but if you already have accommodation and are perhaps staying here for a week or more, then is a fantastic website to visit. There are dozens of groups in cities all over the world, but for Madrid, there’s this group for a language exchange. In an informal and friendly environment, locals love to help you with your Spanish, and if you speak a language they want to practice in (often English or French), then everybody wins. Have some drinks and get to know some natives through language exchanges.

Capture the city not just through photos, but videos and words too

Whilst we might be enjoying the moment and taking everything in when we see a city, a week from today you might have forgotten a thing or two! The name of a cool bartender you met, a delicious beer from a local brewery, or simply the sounds of the city as you make your way from A to B. It’s often those little things we forget that we kick ourselves for once we’ve gone, but it doesn’t have to be that way! We all take photos when we visit a city, of course, but a moment frozen in time doesn’t always reflect the true nature of life. Across YouTube, there are thousands of short videos that document the funny and unforgettable occasions traveler’s had when visiting a place for the first time. Film the people you meet and the places you see, and edit it all into a nice little clip for YouTube.


If your cinematography skills leave much to be desired or you don’t like bothering people with a camera, then you could always capture your Madrid adventures through words. Like the explorers of old, write down what happened to you each day and fill your readers in on what it’s like to live in Madrid while it’s present in your mind. Even if you don’t write with the intention of other people reading it, it’s nice for yourself to capture little details you may well fail to recall the next day. Short Facebook posts are fine, but a lot of serious travelers choose to create a blog as a way to document their lives. By all means, take photos, but you’ll discover that looking over videos and notes will take your mind back to that time, long after you’ve left.

Go off the beaten track with regards to cafes, bars and restaurants


Sure, it’s sometimes fun to see what English food tastes like when abroad, but if you’ve only got a few nights in Madrid, then it doesn’t look good to rave to your friends about the incredible pint of London Pride and bangers ‘n’ mash you had while here. Find out what the fuss is about surrounding churros at local restaurants. Learn why places like El Pimiento Verde and La Taberna el Mollete are so highly regarded from Spaniards living in Madrid. It’s only by discovering those little places on side streets and hidden locations that you can truly feel like you experienced genuine Spanish cuisine.

Check out the music scene


Although Mad Cool is perhaps Madrid’s biggest music festival, there are other ways to get your musical fix when staying here. Since 1979, El Sol remains a popular venue for local Spanish acts to perform at, constantly drawing huge crowds awaiting the ‘next big thing.’ There are sometimes club nights with DJ sets, but if you want a true taste of the massive diversity within Spanish music, then it’s hard to go past El Sol for a great night out. If your appetite for the Spanish music scene hasn’t been quelled, then some other fantastic places to check out in Madrid include Costello Club, Galileo Galilei, and El Junco.

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