Our Daily Bleg: What to Do in Madrid?

Am heading to Madrid tonight for the release of the Spanish edition of SuperFreakonomics. I will likely be in Madrid for the entire brief stay (here’s one event); I’d appreciate any good advice you may have, unlimited in scope. I’m sure we’ll see plenty of paintings and probably lots of unemployed people too; all further suggestions about what to see, learn, eat, etc., would be most appreciated. And don’t forget to send along your own blegs. (For those who don’t know: bleg = begging on a blog.)


go to the museo de jamon on paseo del prado by the ministry of agriculture (best ham and croissant sandwich all for 2 EUR) cant beat it


there are several museos de jamon, i believe. one near puerta del sol

haven't been in madrid in about 10 years.

if you want solid suggestions, thumb through a rick steeve's guide. have found them to be the most consistent and good if you have limited time - his ratings will get you to the best loc's

Simon Lynch

For some EcoGastroHistory try the oldest restaurant in the world - Restaurante Botín; cordero asado, roasted lamb. Very good. http://www.botin.es

Take at least an hour to wander around the old town around the Plaza Mayor and then go and snack in the Mercado de San Miguel http://www.mercadodesanmiguel.es/

Unless you go and hang out by an unemployment office, you won't see many signs of economic distress in the city (no-one really seems to have cottoned on here yet...).

Drop me a mail if you need anything else or would like to be invited for a beer/wine/tapas - would be the least I could do to say thanks for your books...


Definitely try an authentic churro from Chocolateria San Gines. Infinitely better than what we eat at ballparks


Flamenco show! (Warning most start at midnight)

Jonathon K.

I was in Madrid during a high school trip. I took a nap somewhere during a tour of the palace.

John S.

Take the RENFE to Barcelona.

Tito Alvarado

Stop at random bars, and enjoy a nice cold mahou with tapas to go along :-)


And where's the presentation? Can anyone go? Please, let us know.


Day (or part-day) trip to Toledo is a must! I'd also recommend the palace, the big park, and the authentic Egyptian temple.


Some ideas off the cultural track
>For tapas and vino/cañas, you might want to try Calle del Almendro. Start from Plaza Mayor (unless accompanied by a local, avoid any restaurant/bar there - tourist food at very high prices), leave over the south east corner (long way stairs), and walk cava baja until Almendro. Point finger the food and dare sorts of local wines (Ribera del Duero, Priorato, etc...)
> Have a cocktail at dusk at the terrace of the hotel in Plaza de Santa Ana (impressive views of town)
> Have a racion de croquetas de jamon at Cerveceria el Lateral, calle Fuencarral. Enjoy to look around in a quiet environment

Ryan Riley

Im sure you already know of the major museos (Prado, Reina Sofia, Thyssen, etc) so I won't mention those. Adjacent to the Prado is a massive city park that is quite beautiful and has a structure known as the crystal palace. Its set alongside a pond and occasionally hosts art exhibits. A walk down Gran Via can be enjoyable if your looking to eat or shop, its Madrid's busiest boulevard. The royal palace on the west side of the city can be fun, more importantly it has a great view of madrid's outskirts.

However, my favorite spot was the Almudena Cathedral. Not for the church itself, which is quite beautiful, but underneath it there is a Neo-Romanesque crypt that is amazing. Enjoy your stay wish I was going!


Meet some unemployed persons and reveal them the true reasons why they are jobless !

Andrew BC

I went to multiple restaurants in Madrid, including the airport McDonalds. Drink the orange juice ("zuma de naranja" I believe it's called). You will not be disappointed.

- Drew


John #7 is right: the best thing to do in Madrid is grab the AVE to Barcelona. A mere 2.5 hrs and you are in the world's most beautiful, exciting and inspiring city. Be sure to not carry anything valuable in your pockets though: this particular paradise is plagued with pickpockets. As long as you take basic precautions to keep them at bay, this is going to be one trip you surely won't regret.


Try to watch a bull run at Las Ventas, if you have the stomach. Otherwise I recomend shopping in El Corte Ingles de Nuevos Ministerios. Always something to buy there.

guy who lived in madrid

-Have tapas in Plaza Santa Ana, Lateral is good

-seconding Chocolateria San Gines

-Take a train or bus to Segovia if you have half a day to spare: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segovia


Definitely i would go to El Retiro Park in the center of the city. Enjoy the sun (maybe). I would take a walk in the Barrio de las letras in the center too. In the night ... a walk in the old Madrid (we call it "de los Austrias") go to "El Almendro" little and nice, a different place.

By the way, if you come to Toledo, you have a free guide. Enjoy the sun (maybe)

Rudiger in Jersey

The number one treasure in the country combines the Monumentalness of the Eiffel Tower, the Political Importance of the White House and the Beauty of Yosemite all wrapped into one.

It is a piece of art wtih immense state importance. It is mounted in its own stage in a bomb proof building. It is Picasso's immense painting: Guernica.

When I visited it it was separate from the Museo Del Prado in the Jardin de Retiro in its own splendid vault. It was elevated on a stage, with two inch thick bullet proof glass and flanked by paramilitary with submachine guns.

Because of separatist movements, there are people who want to harm the painting. For the audience there is no cover and the whole floor is pre sighted. If perchance there was a terrorist in the crowd everyone would be mowed down by gunfire in an instant. And your last sight would be the crying victims of Guernica. ...Not a bad last vision.



Go to El Tigre for the best (and cheapest) tapas in town. Right off of Gran Via.
Calle de las Infantas, 30
28004 Madrid, Spain