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The Best Things to See and Do in Madrid for Free

Tourist Attractions in Madrid that you can visit for FREE

Best Things to do in Madrid Spain photo via Pixabay

The Best Things to do in Madrid for Free

Have you decided to visit Madrid? I will not deny you something obvious; Madrid is not a particularly cheap city. The good news, however, is that you can enjoy the Spanish capital to the fullest even without running out of bank accounts. We have written this content with the help of our travel experts at OThingstodo.

Best Things to do in Madrid Spain photo via Pixabay
Best Things to do in Madrid Spain photo via Pixabay

Among these, you will have the opportunity to visit the museums, stroll through the parks, explore the most beautiful markets and squares, and these are just some of the many things that will allow you to enjoy the city while saving money.

1 -Visit the museums during the days with free admission

If you love cultural visits, you will be happy to know that many museums can be visited for free in Madrid.

Many of the museums in Madrid provide one or more free admissions during the week.

Among the museums that you can visit for free I point out:

Prado Museum

The Prado Museum is the most famous museum in Madrid and inside you can admire works by great Italian, Spanish and Flemish artists including Andrea Mantegna, Raffaello Sanzio, Hieronymus Bosch, Brueghel the Elder, El Greco, Pieter Paul Rubens, Tiziano, Diego Velázquez, and Francisco Goya.

Goya’s statue at the main entrance of Prado museum in Madrid, Spain photo by ester lamberti via Unsplash
Goya’s statue at the main entrance of Prado museum in Madrid, Spain photo by ester lamberti via Unsplash

The building was commissioned by Charles III of Spain to house the Gabinete de Historia Natural but was transformed into the seat of the new Royal Museum of Paintings and Sculptures by his nephew King Ferdinand VII. The Museum opened to the public in 1819 under the name of the Prado National Museum.

Free access is now possible from Monday to Saturday from 18:00 to 20:00 and on Sundays and holidays from 17:00 to 19:00.

Reina Sofia Museum

The Reina Sofia Museum is a modern and contemporary art museum dedicated to artistic production from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present and includes works by famous Spanish painters.

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia by Zarateman via Wikipedia cc
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia By Zarateman – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

A museum was transformed out of the old General Hospital of Madrid, built in the eighteenth century by Charles III of Spain, in 1992.

Free access to the Reina Sofia Museum is possible from Monday to Saturday (except Tuesday) from 19:00 to 21:00 and on Sunday from 12.30 to 14.30.

2- Almudena Cathedral

Almudena Cathedral by Jose Fancisco Garcia Cuenca via Unsplash
Almudena Cathedral by Jose Fancisco Garcia Cuenca via Unsplash

You can also visit the Almudena Cathedral for free.

The Church is located a few steps from the Royal Palace of Madrid and is considered the most important in the city.

The events that led to its construction are long and complicated enough to be briefly explained in this article.

I can tell you, however, that the project for its construction dates back to the sixteenth century and a wish of Philip II.

Toledo’s archbishops have always prevented its realization.

Only in 1883, under the reign of Alfonso XII, the first stone was laid and the works began.

The crypt, the first area to be finished, was opened in 1911, but construction of the rest of the church stopped during World War II and then again in 1965.

The Almudena Cathedral was consecrated only in 1993.

Entrance to the church is free and you will only have to pay a ticket if you want to visit the museum inside or if you want to climb its dome to admire the view over the city.

3 – Sunset at the Temple of Debod

Temple of Debod by Miguel Saenz de Santa Maria via Unsplash
Temple of Debod by Miguel Saenz de Santa Maria via Unsplash

Another visit that you can do for free in Madrid is the one to the Temple of Debod.

This ancient Egyptian temple dating back to the 2nd century BC was erected under the pharaoh Ptolemy IV Philopator and was brought to Spain in 1968 as thanks for the country’s intervention in saving the temples of Nubia.

The Debod Temple was inaugurated in 1972 and has been available to visit for free every day since then. Inside you will find several explanatory panels that will accompany you on your visit.

The monument is surrounded by a large fountain and is surrounded by a garden.

The best time to go to the Temple is at sunset: the location in which it is located is, in fact, very suggestive and with the setting of the sun it is tinged with truly spectacular pink and orange shades.

4- Look at the shop windows along the Gran Via

Gran Via Madrid by via Unsplash
Gran Via Madrid by via Unsplash

Not only squares but also long walks through the streets of the city: walking around Madrid is the best thing to do to discover it at its best.

The main street of the city is the Gran Via, a place loved by the people of Madrid for shopping and strolling with friends.

The construction of this road artery dates back to 1910 under the reign of Alfonso XIII, but the plans for its construction had already been made during the second half of the nineteenth century.

Today, as I said, the Gran Via is famous for its showcases of international brands and trendy boutiques, but also its theaters and cinemas. Think that by many it is considered a bit like the Spanish Broadway.

Strolling along the Gran Via you will be able to admire the Metrópolis Building and the Carrión Building. The latter is famous for the large Schweppes sign that you have certainly seen in some photos on Instagram or TV.

5 – Get to know the other green spaces in the city

Among the free things to do in the city, there are many other nature walks that I suggest you keep in mind, especially if you are visiting the Spanish capital during the summer.

Among the most beautiful there are certainly the gardens of the Royal Palace.

The Jardines de Sabatini is located in front of the north facade of the building, between the Calle de Bailén and the Cuesta de San Vicente.

This green space was created in the 1930s and took the place of the old stables of the Royal Palace built by Sabatini. Despite the name, the gardens are a subsequent project that was not conceived by the Italian architect.

Today it is one of the most fascinating gardens in the area called Madrid de Los Austria’s, south of Calle Mayor.

The Jardines de Sabatini extends for about two hectares and has a neoclassical appearance that echoes that of the Palace. Inside there are fountains, statues, terraces, and lawns that will catapult you into a corner light-years away from city traffic.

The entrance to the gardens is always free.

Another particularly interesting and truly unique green corner is the one you will find inside Atocha Station.

This station has become a real tourist attraction thanks to a real Tropical Garden that is located inside.

This green corner is made up of over 7,000 plants of 400 different species from America, Asia, and Australia.

Also in this case you can visit the Tropical Garden for free every day.

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Searching for the best hotels, resorts, tour packages, affordable flights in Madrid and nearby cities? Check out our cheap Madrid Hotels and resorts list via Agoda and Booking.

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