Free Things to Do in Madrid

Tired of just walking around the city because you don't have money for entertaining activities? There are a lot of educational and fun things you could do in Madrid without spending any money- including many museums, a free walking tour and outdoor events. Plus: a cool place to see a panorama of the city center that most tourists don't know about!

Spain's capital has a lot of world class museums and it get's even better - you can visit them for free. If you have a current student ID and you are younger than 25 you get to see Museo del Prado and Museo Reina Sofia and observe legendary works of Picasso, Dalí, Goya, Velásquez, Rubens, van Dyck and many more without spending a cent anytime! Not a student? Not a problem - go to Prado between 6 and 8 pm (5-7pm on a Sunday) and Museo Reina Sofia from 7 to 9 pm (1:30-7pm on a Sunday) with free admission. If you want to see the permanent collection of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum go on Monday between 12 and 16 o'clock. Museo Sorolla is free on Saturdays between 14:00 and 20:00.

el grecomuseo del prado madrid
Prado Museum is full of masterpieces
There is a number of museums that always have free admission. A unique place in Madrid is Museo Tiflológico, the Blind Museum - you will get to feel and touch the exhibition. To explore the history of the controversial Spanish tradition of Bullfighting and see matador costumes check out Museo Taurino. For some modern abstract sculptures by Spanish artists  go to the open-air Museo Arte Público. Museo Arqueológico Nacional also offers free entry anytime.

Palacio Real the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family has free admission for EU citizens and residents. You can also go there without paying for entry on weekdays from 4pm to 6pm (October to March) and 6pm to 8pm (April to September) no matter which passport you hold. Luckily it is in a good location right  in the city center.

You can also go to the Spanish parliament Congreso de los Diputados for free and even attend a plenary sitting if you are interested in politics. On a Saturday there is a free guided tour of the building.

Several churches in Madrid have free admission: Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Alumuden, Basílica de San Francisco el Grande and  San Jerónimo el Real among others.

Of course Madrid has a free walking tour, organized by the company who started the trend of free walking tours in Europe. It takes place every day - for more details go to the website. Free maps of the city are everywhere - in hotels, hostels and El Corte Inglés shopping center.

Another place worth visiting is the central train station- Atocha. Inside of the building is a 4,000 m2 tropical garden - definitely one of the most impressive train stations in Europe.

Madrid panorama viewing platform gran via street el corte ingles
Gran Via as seen from the top of El Corte Inglés

Most famous viewing platforms in Madrid have an entry fee, but there is a special place that most tourists don't know about. For a free panorama of the city there is a balcony with a bar on the top floor of El Corte Inglés shopping center on Gran Via. Just take the elevator to the top floor. If you simply want to make panorama pictures you can do it without ordering anything.

El Rasto flea market is a popular place you can visit on Sunday mornings from 9am to 3pm. You will find antiques, clothes, jewelry, bags, books, souvenirs and even furniture. The market is situated near the famous neighborhood La Latina.

An amazing attraction in the Spanish capital is Parque Europa - a huge park full of replicas of famous European monuments. You will see the Brandenburg Gate, Atomium, the Berlin Wall, Trevi Fountain, London Bridge, of course the Eiffel Tower and a lot more. The entry is always free. Check the official website for opening hours and more details.

Another place worth visiting is El Parque del Buen Retiro, a beautiful park in the city center. You will find  beautiful bushes, flowers, lakes and fountains. One of the highlights of the park is Palacio de Cristal - a stunning building made of glass and Iron from the 19th century. Inside the park you can also see art exhibitions for free in the Palacio de Velásquez building.

If you are in Spain in February don't miss the Carnival in Madrid. Music, fireworks, costume parades and weird local traditions like burying of the sardine - you will experience it all. Dates change every year - but the carnival is always a week long celebration that ends on the Ash Wednesday.