Traveling Madrid on a Budget
Madrid is one of Spain’s largest cities. Located in the center of the peninsula, the city is known for its many museums, parks and tapas bars.
There are hostels and cheap hotels for budget conscious travelers, and visitors can explore the city’s architecture by walking around the city center.
Madrid is a city known for its museums. The three main art museums are the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofia Museum and the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum. These three museums form the Golden Triangle of Museums, located in the city center near the Atocha train station. The museums are free during certain days. A short walk away visitors will find the Palacio de Comunicaciones, a large white building known for its facade and the nearby Cibeles fountain.
Tapas and Raciones
Food is another way to explore a city, and Madrid is a city known for its food. A visit to Spain means tasting the country’s many versions of tapas and tinto de verano, wine with fruits. There are bars and restaurants that offer authentic local dishes for those on a budget. Tapas are appetizers that are usually served with a caña, a beer, at no cost. A typical tapas crawl means enjoying a drink with its tapa at one place and then moving on to the next one for more tapas and drinks. Typical tapas include bread with local cheeses and cured hams, olives, croquetas fried dough rolls and slices of tortilla de patata, a potato omelet. The raciones are larger versions of tapas that are usually shared between each group. Huevos rotos is a dish of fried eggs served with fries and jamón ham. Fried squid and chorizo served in clay platters are other raciones that can be found in the city.
There are many tapas bars in the city. The most visited bars are located in the La Latina district, near the city center. Most bars in this district are located on the Cava Baja street, and after a filling tapas dinner visitors can party until dawn in one of the nearby bars and clubs. The trendy district of Malasaña, with its lounges and organic shops, can be slightly pricier, and the nearby Chueca gay district offers many bars, restaurants and discos that can be adapted to any budget. The centric Barrio de las Letras is known for cheap bars, not so cheap clubs and ethnic restaurants.
Madrid’s public transport system connects the city to the airport and the nearby historic towns. A bus costs 1.50€ per trip and a subway ticket is around 2€ per trip. If visitors want to explore the town of Segovia, known for its ancient aqueduct, a roundtrip costs 15€. The town of El Escorial, located to the north of the city, can be reached by regional train for less than 12€ roundtrip.
The Palace and Plazas
The historic city center can be explored on foot. The Plaza de Sol square, where the city’s symbol of a bear and a madroño tree is located, is where the stately Town Hall is located. A short walk leads to the Plaza Mayor, a square filled with terraces and some stalls. The Royal Palace is just steps away, where visitors can explore fifty out of the palace’s more than two thousand rooms. Next to the palace is the Almudena Cathedral, that leads to a park that has a large Egyptian temple.
There are many gardens and parks in Madrid. The main park is the Retiro Park. Those who visit Madrid will be able to enjoy the many activities the park has to offer, including amateur concerts, picnic areas and jugglers. In the center of the park there is a large pond where locals and visitors can rent boats.