Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
The Queen Sofía Art Centre is a world famous modern art museum featuring a diverse collection of 20th century Spanish art, from Picasso to Solana. It is located in Madrid, near the Atocha train and metro stations and is not too far from the neighborhood of Lavapiés. A highlight of the museum is Picasso’s Guernica – it’s an immense blue, black and white painting that depicts the Nazi bombing of the city by the same name. You will also find works by Dali and Miró there. The museum offers a mixture of national and international temporary exhibitions in many of its galleries.
Calle de Santa Isabel, 52, Madrid, Spain, +34 917 74 10 00
El Juglar is a bohemian, cool and relaxed hangout for those who like the tempo of their evening to be energetic but not too frenetic. You can enjoy drinks at the bar with the soundtrack of jazz and soul beating in the background. Later into the night, the rhythms speed up as the resident DJ, Señores de Funk, spins mixes of soul, latin and funk. Come on a Sunday night and see the best flamenco performances by local students from the nearby Amor de Dios School.
Calle de Lavapiés, 37, Madrid, Spain, +34 915 28 43 81
Atocha Train Station
The Atocha Train Station is the largest train station in Madrid. In 1992, the original building was taken out of service, and converted into a square with shops, cafés and nightclubs. With a new function today, the square has been covered with a beautiful tropical garden. It is certainly a landmark to visit due to the 2004 bomb attack at the station, with a number of monuments spread across, such as a virtual shrine. Visitors to the attacked stations can leave a hand silhouette and a message through special-purpose consoles.
Plaza Emperador Carlos V, Madrid, Spain, +34 902 32 03 20
La Gatoteca Cat Café
La Gatoteca is Spain’s first cat café in Madrid. The cat cafés are an Asian invention. You can visit La Gatoteca for a fee, depending on the time spent in the establishment, as a donation to the ONG. This fee contributes to the maintenance of the establishment, towards helping other cats without homes, and in collaborating with educational projects, rescue and neutering campaigns, etc. The entry fee includes a free non-alcoholic beverage and other free services, like Wi-Fi and books at your disposition. It’s a unique experience where you can enjoy a cup of tea surrounded by adorable cats.
Calle Argumosa, 28, Madrid, Spain, +34 916 22 58 31
Lavapiés has a large immigrant community, particularly from North Africa. This has brought a number of Moroccan teahouses, such as Casa Blanca, to the area. Try sampling the extensive menu of spiced teas or share a shisha pipe. It’s a great experience to venture and try something different and unique to the neighborhood.
Calle de Atocha, 101, Madrid, Spain, +34 696 370 442
El Rastro is the most popular open air flea market in Madrid. It is held every Sunday and public holiday during the year, from 9am to 3pm. The Madrid town council regulates the markets and there is a maximum of 3500 stalls that cover the area along the Plaza de Cascorro and Ribera de Curtidores, between Calle Embajadores and the Ronda de Toledo. Those wanting a tourist experience are advised to go to El Rastro at 11am, as this when the market is at its busiest.
Calle de la Ribera de Curtidores, Madrid, Spain, +34 915 29 82 10
Museo Nacional Del Prado
The Museo Nacional del Prado is the main Spanish national art museum located in the center of Madrid. It features one of the world’s finest collections of European art, dating from the 12th century to the early 19th century. Based on the former Spanish Royal Collection, the museum unquestionably holds the best single collection of Spanish art. El Prado is one of the most visited sites in the world, and is considered one the greatest museums of art in the world. The best-known work and main attraction on show at the museum is Las Meninas by Velázquez.
Paseo del Prado, Madrid, Spain, +34 913 30 28 00
Museo Naval de Madrid
The Museo Naval de Madrid – in English, the Naval Museum of Madrid – is a national museum in Spain. It shows the history of the Spanish Navy since the Catholic Monarchs, in the 15th century, up to the present. The museum has on display several navigation instruments, weapons, maps, paintings, uniforms, and ship figureheads. It’s a great visit for all ages to experience and learn about Spanish history.
Paseo del Prado, 5, 28014 Madrid, Spain, +34 915 23 85 16
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum offers visitors a selection of art from the 13th century to the late 20th century. In the near 1,000 works on display, visitors can contemplate the major periods and pictorial schools of western art, such as the Renaissance, Mannerism, the baroque, rococo, Romanticism and the art of the 19th and 20th centuries, up to pop art. The museum takes you on an incredible journey through the memorizing art of many ages. It is a highly recommended tourist attraction.
Paseo del Prado, 8, Madrid, Spain, +34 902 76 05 11
Fiestas de San Lorenzo
If you are in Madrid on 10 August, come join in on the celebrations of San Lorenzo. All of Lavapiés and beyond celebrate the feast day of San Lorenzo. The parties last for days and visitors from all over Madid come to Lavapiés to attend the free concerts. Activities include participating in contests, such as the search for the best Spanish omelette. You get to drink free lemonade or even have something a bit stronger at the serving stations that bars set up on the streets for the occasion. Fun is guaranteed at this event.
By Talitha Duncan-Todd