A great group activity during the scorching summer months is cooling off at a local pool. Madrid has several public swimming pools; one of the most popular is the complex at Lago inside the Casa de Campo park. It has two swimming pools and plenty of grassy space around them to lay out your beach towel. Alternatively, you could spend a glamorous day at one of the city’s stunning rooftop pools, which have incredible views across Madrid’s rooftops.
A craze that has taken over several European cities, beer bikes are a popular pastime in the summer in Madrid, especially with groups such as stag and hen parties. Everyone has their own seat and peddles the huge bike around the city, taking in the sights and enjoying a beer along the way. Sangria versions are also available. If you want a bit more independence, rent a bike and explore the city on two wheels. Madrid Rio, the area around the Manzanares River, has been recently renovated and is a great place to cycle. The BiciMAD city bike scheme has docks around the city from where you can easily rent a bike.
One of the most simple group activities can also be one of the most fun. Madrileños love spending a weekend afternoon enjoying a picnic in one of the city’s lovely parks. Head to the central Retiro Park or the huge Casa de Campo, to the west of the city, and don’t forget to take a frisbee or football, or even just a good book for the ultimate relaxing experience.
Spain is famous for flamenco, the passionate and dramatic dance, music and singing form that originated in the south of the country. While going to see a flamenco show is fine, why not go a step further and learn the dance yourself? Doing a flamenco class as a group can be a hilarious experience, as you all end up rating each other.
Football fans should definitely add a visit to the Santiago Bernabéu to their bucket list. The home of Real Madrid offers regular tours that include the dressing room, dugout and a panoramic view of the pitch. Watching a football match is another must-do for football fans; keep an eye on the Real Madrid and Altético Madrid websites for upcoming fixtures.
It can sometimes be tricky deciding where to eat if you’re in a big group, but Spaniards tend to like dining en masse so there’s no need to worry. A good option is visiting one of Madrid’s food markets. They have different stalls with food from across Spain and around the world, so every taste is sure to be covered. Mercado San Miguel, in the centre, is a tourist favourite, while Mercado Antón Martín and Mercado San Fernando, in Lavapiés, give a more local flavour.
Madrid is home to some beautiful rooftop bars that give visitors unforgettable panoramic views of the city. One of the best is the bar at the top of the cultural centre, Círculo de Bellas Artes. The views stretch across Madrid and you can recline on a comfy bed for the ultimate in laid-back luxury. Other great options include the cute bar at the top of HAT hostel, the rooftop bar at San Antón market in Chueca and the outdoor terrace of the department store, El Corte Inglés.