Top 10 Free Things to do in Madrid

Last updated: Jan 19th, 2024

Located in the heart of Spain, Madrid is the city that promises its visitors a wide and exciting range of beautiful monuments and landmarks, making this breath-taking capital city one of the most exciting in Europe.

In this blog, we set out on a quest to find the top 10 free activities that make every trip to the Spanish capital a fun adventure!

The Palacio de Cristal or Crystal Palace is a large glass building in Madrid, Spain. It is located in the Retiro Park on the Paseo Duque

Retiro Park

Starting off with the top 10 free things to do in Madrid is the famous Retiro Park! Tourists and locals alike gather in this tranquil and calm area to relax and enjoy the outdoors. With 125 hectares and over 15000 trees, it creates a true green haven. Did you know that Retiro Park has a rich history in addition to being a park with picturesque views?

The park was once the royal garden of the old Buen Retiro Palace, built in the 17th century by the Spanish kings as a place of rest, spiritual retreat, and vacation. Numerous architectural and historical landmarks can be found here, including the Great Basin, Velázquez Palace, and the Crystal Palace. The Forest of Remembrance, the Puppet Theatre, and outstanding sculptures and fountains are all located here – all for free!

Sunset over the Temple de debod in Madrid, Spain

Temple of Debod

Undoubtedly one of the most exquisite hidden gems in Madrid is the Temple of Debod. It is in the west of Plaza de España in the Parque del Oeste. In exchange for Spain’s assistance in preventing the construction of the Aswan High Dam from burying the Abu Simbel Temple, the Egyptian government donated this temple, which dates to the second century B.C.

Breath-taking anytime of the day, it’s best to visit just before the sun sets to take in the temple’s magnificent beauty against the backdrop of a beautifully lit sky.

Madrid Spain, aerial view city skyline at Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor

The Plaza Mayor is situated in the centre of Madrid. The square measures 129 metres in length and 94 metres in width. Three-story buildings with porches line the square filling it with memorial markers and historical sites. The square was previously used as a gathering spot in the past for festivities and announcements.

Famous landmarks worth seeing include the equestrian statue of Phillip III and the most striking building in the square – Casa de la Panadería.

The Museum of History of Madrid is a history museum located on Calle de Fuencarral

History Museum

The history museum, which is housed in one of the most stunning baroque structures, showcases a broad overview of the city’s industries, arts, lifestyles, and customs from 1561 – the year Madrid was named as the capital of Spain – to the present.

The museum houses a collection of over 50,000 objects including porcelain items from the Buen Retiro factory, a scale replica of the city, and the famous Goya Paintings. The museum offers exclusive guided tours and is free to enter.

Green spaces of Madrid Rio at spring day with the Almudena Cathedral in background. Madrid, Spain.

Madrid Río

There are many parks and gardens in the heart of the Spanish capital with each one offering something unique, there’s something for everyone at Madrid Río. Once a section of the Mazanares River, the 2220-acre riverfront park offers a variety of amenities, including urban beaches and bike trails.

Whether you choose to eat at a Parkside restaurant or cross one of the 33 bridges to take remarkable pictures of the city, this is the perfect place to explore and escape the busyness of the city.

Plaza de Cibeles, Madrid, Spain

Plaza de Cibeles

Plaza de Cibeles is a square located in the middle of the city. It has evolved into one of Spain’s most recognisable icons. The square is famous for its colossal fountain, and buildings from the late 18th century.

There are a few major landmarks that are worth seeing when visiting the Plaza de Cibeles. The most notable landmark is Cibeles Fountain which gave the square its name! The iconic fountain has long been the site of the Real Madrid football team’s victory celebrations. Did you know that the fountain originally supplied water to the citizens of Madrid in 1895?

Statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree (Oso y el Madrono), sculpture which represents the heraldic arms of the city, installed on Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid, Spain.

Puerta del sol

One of Madrid’s most well-known major squares, Puerta del sol (meaning the sun’s gate) serves as a gathering place for both locals and visitors and is the location of several famous monuments. Here, you can see the renowned Bear Statue and enormous Tio Pepe as well as standing on the famous Kilometre Zero which is said to be the centre point of Spain!

Beautiful view on the Royal Theatre (Teatro Real) from the Plaza de Oriente on the blue sky background with white clouds in Madrid

Plaza de Oriente

The picturesque Plaza de Oriente is in the historic centre. The Royal Palace and The Royal Theatre, two of Madrid’s most significant structures, surround the square.  The Plaza de Oriente is one of the most interesting and historic areas of the city. It holds a pleasant and serene setting that is perfect for taking a stroll and is a sight that shouldn’t be missed due to its central location and historical significance.

Madrid landmark at night. Landscape of Santa Maria la Real de La Almudena Cathedral and the Royal Palace. Beautiful skyline at Madrid, Spain

Almudena Cathedral

The beautiful Almudena Cathedral is Madrid’s most significant religious structure. Consecrated by Pope John II, makes it the first cathedral to be blessed outside of Rome. It took more than a century for the Almudena Cathedral to develop into full structure. The Cathedral’s combination of architectural styles is the result of the work of six different architects in total.

You can view the cathedral’s interior and take in the beauty of the stained-glass windows for free!

Prado Museum facade and Cervantes statue in Madrid, Spain

Museo del Prado

Finishing off the top 10 free things to do in Madrid is one of the most famous art museums in Spain – Museo del Prado. The museum, which was founded in 1819, is home to an enormous collection of artworks by well-known European painters. Most of the artworks are from the early 12th and 20th centuries and showcases a unique collection of some of histories most renowned masterpieces.

The starting price for tickets to the Museo del Prado is €8, but on weekdays, Saturdays from 6 to 8pm, and Sundays from 5 to 7pm, admission is free .

An Educational tour to multicultural Madrid is waiting for you!

The landmarks and museums in the heart of Spain are ready to enrich you with their culture and history.

We have a passion for providing tailor made educational tours for you and your students. If you’re ready – then we’re ready to have a chat about your future tour to Madrid!

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