Hidden away in the Chueca neighbourhood and housed in a late 18th-century mansion is Madrid’s Romanticism Museum. It has a wide-ranging collection dedicated to the Romantic period of the 19th century, featuring everything from paintings and furniture to books, photos and porcelain. Don’t miss its beautiful interior courtyard café, which serves up lovely breakfasts, lunches and drinks during the summer months. The 100-person limit inside the museum means you can browse in relative peace.
Museo del Romanticismo, Calle de San Mateo, 13, 28004 Madrid, Spain, +34 914 48 10 45
To the north of Madrid, close to the Cuatro Torres (four towers) business district is an exhibition space run by the Fundación Canal, a foundation dedicated to the defence of the environment. The organisation hosts varied and always fascinating temporary exhibitions, and entrance is free. Recent exhibits include a retrospective of American photographer Vivian Maier (who only found fame when her photographs were discovered after her death), Picasso and the Mediterranean and Barbie: More Than Just a Doll. Take the metro to Plaza de Castilla.
Fundación Canal, Calle Mateo Inurria, 2, 28036 Madrid, Spain, +34 915 45 15 01
The 17th-century Palacio de Abrantes was built for a Spanish nobleman, Juan de Valencia el Infante, who boasted the intriguing title ‘Great Spy of the Secret Council of His Majesty’. Today, the palace is home to the Institute of Italian Culture, where you can take Italian classes, catch an Italian film or simply enjoy an espresso in its stylish café. The palace also has a hidden gem – part of Madrid’s original city walls.