Best Free Things to Do in Madrid This Summer

Enjoy some free activities this summer in Madrid | © Madrid Destino Cultura Turismo y Negocio
Enjoy some free activities this summer in Madrid | © Madrid Destino Cultura Turismo y Negocio
Photo of Lori Zaino
31 May 2017

If you’re spending the summer in Madrid, there are plenty of activities to enjoy – even for free. Although it can get pretty hot, there’s lots to do outdoors and if the strong Spanish sunshine becomes too much, you can always retreat indoors to the air conditioning. For those on a budget, here are the best free activities to do in Madrid this summer.

Enjoy the parks

An early morning walk in one of Madrid’s many parks is a great way to enjoy the outdoors before the temperature soars. Lose yourself in the green tree canopies at the Retiro Park until you eventually reach the lake. Then, stroll by the glittering Palacio de Cristal, made almost entirely of glass. If it’s escape from the city you’re seeking, hike along one of the many trails at the Casa de Campo and have a picnic after while admiring the giant lake and fountain.

The lake and Alfonso XII monument at the Retiro Park | © Carlos Delgado/Wikipedia

Take an air conditioned break at a museum

Many of Madrid’s museums offer free days and times. Check the info below to see which one fits your schedule:

Museo del Prado: Free from Monday to Saturday 6:00pm to 8:00pm and on Sundays and holidays from 5:00pm to 7:00pm.

Museo Nacional Centro del Reina Sofia: Free on Monday and Wednesday to Saturday from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. Free on Sundays from 1:30pm to 7:00pm and free all day on April 18, May 18 and October 12.

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza: Free on Mondays between noon and 4:00pm.

Cool off at Madrid Río

Madrid’s newly renovated riverside area features one of the few spots in the city where you can cool off for free. Called ‘the beach’, even though there’s no sand, you can relax in a grassy area with fountains to wade in. It’s perfect for children, families or anyone who needs a splash or two to cool down.

Madrid Río, Puente de Toledo, 28019 Madrid, Spain

The ‘beach’ play area at Madrid Rio| © Madrid Destino Cultura Turismo y Negocio

Celebrate with the locals

August is when the La Latina area celebrates the famous Verbena de la Paloma festival. Although you’ll have to pay to eat, drink and shop, walking around and checking out all the chaos is completely free of charge.

Watch a sunset

Madrid has a variety of spots to watch an awe-inspiring sunset, so head over to one of them and BYOB of course. Some of the very best views are from the Egyptian Templo de Debod, where you can catch a great view of Madrid’s Palacio Real and Almundena Cathedral. The Parque Cerro Tio Pio also has excellent panoramic views from one of the seven hills located in the park.

The Templo de Debod at sunset | © Rubén Nadador /Flickr

Check out the El Rastro flea market on Sundays

Walking Madrid’s most famous flea market, El Rastro, on Sunday mornings is the best way to window shop. Although you won’t actually be peeking in any shop windows, you can check out all the wares the market stalls have to offer. Apart from any shopping purchases you decide to make, you can spend several hours enjoying, exploring and people watching entirely for free.

A DIY literary walking tour

Visiting all of Madrid’s most famous literary spots like the Museo Lope de Vega or the building where Federico Garcia Lorca once lived is an educational and fun free activity. Be sure to make your last stop the National Library of Spain, where you can stop in to cool off in the AC after a morning of walking outside.

The facade of Madrid's Biblioteca Nacional | © Jean-Pierre Dalbéra / WikiCommons

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