The 10 Best Experiences in Madrid

Get to know Madrid via a variety of cultural experiences
Get to know Madrid via a variety of cultural experiences | © benedek / iStock
Photo of Clayton Mory Schuster
11 February 2020

Uncover the beauty of Madrid by taking part in these cultural experiences, giving you insight into the Spanish capital and all that it has to offer. From dancing to cooking, discover Madrid with Culture Trip’s list of the best experiences.

Art and culture experiences in Madrid

Flamenco show at Café Ziryab

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Flamenco On Black
© Santi Nunez / Stocksy

Discover the passion of flamenco on your visit to the capital. From the swift movements of the dancers’ gyrating bodies to the slap of the twanging guitars, this 80-minute extravaganza brings the sweeping scope of the traditional dance to life. Set in the charming Café Ziryab, the show comes with a complimentary drink and tapas is also available.

Salsa lovers’ dancing experience

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Man and woman dancing salsa
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Spanish culture is intertwined with salsa – one of the world’s most intimate dances. This experience is for all abilities, novices and experts, as your host leads the group from one venue to the next, highlighting the most popular dance clubs and nightlife hangouts in Madrid. While no drinks are included in the ticket price, each location has an on-site cash bar to purchase refreshments. The host will remain nearby on each dance floor to show you around the venue and to teach you a few new moves along the way.

Opera and zarzuela show and dinner

Restaurant, Spanish, $$$
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Duet between a male and female vocalist live on stage
© track5 / iStock

This three-hour evening at La Castafiore treats diners to a meal and a musical show in the heart of Madrid. Here, you’ll enjoy traditional Spanish cuisine, including omelettes and baby eels with clams, and a host of drink options (beer, wine, coffee, sodas) as the waitstaff belt out operatic songs and traditional zarzuela musical-comedy numbers. Prepare to be put on the spot, as the show includes a lot of audience interaction that brings dinner guests into the performance.

Extreme sports and adventure days in Madrid

Hot-air balloon, city tour and Iberian food tasting in Segovia

Natural Feature
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Alcázar de Segovia, Sunrise.
© Fernando Fernandez Oruna / iStock

Discover the ancient city of Segovia, located approximately one hour from central Madrid. Begin the day with a one-hour hot-air balloon tour of the Iberian countryside. The flight offers unrivalled views of the Roman-built aqueduct, the city’s Gothic cathedral (the first such structure in Spain) and the Alcázar Real Fortress. Commemorate your aerial journey with a champagne breakfast. Next, embark on a minibus tour around Segovia, getting up-close views of the aqueduct, cathedral and fortress. Finish off your day with a traditional Iberian feast of cochinillo segoviano (suckling pig) before heading back to Madrid.

Treasure hunt experience

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Madrid, bear statue at Sol square
© raspu / Getty Images

Compete against friends and family in a fun treasure hunt on the streets of Madrid. The itinerary begins at the famed Puerta del Sol, where you’ll meet your guide and get to grips with the game. The first riddle is nearby and takes your group on a journey that leads to local sights, points of interest and even a couple of bars – the ticket price includes a beer or wine at each of the two bar destinations.

Caving in Madrid National Park

Archaeological site
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Photographing caves
© pura vida / iStock

Including hotel pickup, this experience takes you one hour outside of Madrid to The Witch’s Cave. The tour includes a 30-metre (100-foot) descent from the walkable entrance to three floors of tunnels, chambers and various wall formations. But fear not, your guides provide safety instruction, as well as all the equipment necessary to comfortably enjoy the caving experience. Prepare to get a little dirty, since conditions inside the cave can be wet.

Cookery classes in Madrid

Two-and-a-half-hour tapas cooking class

Restaurant, Spanish
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Spanish Tortilla With Potato
© Marti Sans / Stocksy

This foodie experience allows visitors to sample and learn how to recreate 10 tapas-style dishes from traditional recipes spanning the whole of Spain. These traditional dishes include gilda (skewers of pepper and anchovy) from the Basque Country and pan tumaca (bruschetta) from Catalonia. The guided cooking session is a great chance to enjoy an authentic meal paired with bold Spanish wines.

Half-day Spanish cooking course

Restaurant, Spanish
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Paella With Seafood
© Mosuno / Stocksy

If two and a half hours of instruction would leave you wanting, this half-day intensive Spanish cooking course will slake your need for knowledge. This four-hour intensive class has multiple starting times for your convenience. Those who partake in the morning class will begin their gastronomical experience in Madrid by heading out to a local market to pick up the freshest and most vibrant ingredients available. The class is conveniently located in Madrid’s historic centre and is ideal for pairing with light sightseeing either before or after the session. Drinks are offered with each meal, and guests leave with a recipe booklet to continue their cooking journey at home.

Here’s what else you can do in Madrid

Five-hour pub crawl

Pub, Spanish
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Shooter toast
© urbazon / iStock

One of the most difficult parts of visiting a new city is deciding which places to go and which places to skip. This five-hour late-night pub crawl takes away the guesswork and offers an itinerary of the best bars and clubs in the Spanish capital. Join a crowd of like-minded partygoers embarking into the night for revelry and a lifetime of memories. Your ticket includes skip-the-line access to each club, as well as drink discounts and a free shot at each bar.

Horse riding and polo

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Polo Players
© Cultura / Getty Images

The sport of polo has wide appeal across the world and, with this experience, can be learned and possibly mastered in the middle of your Spanish holiday. This activity begins with a tour of the Los Mariachis Polo Club, just outside Madrid, after which the expert polo players assess your skill level. Lessons in tricks and tips for the game follow before you are placed on a real horse and allowed to participate in a full-on polo match.

These recommendations were updated on February 11, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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