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  • Krista the Explorer

Best Unique Things To Do in Madrid

Updated: Jul 17

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Madrid is one of Europe’s most populated cities, and has a history dating back more than 2000 years. While it may not look as old as cities such as Seville or Granada, there’s certainly a lot of unique things to do in Madrid and some incredible points of interest to explore. Attractions such as the Royal Palace, Reina Sofia, Plaza Mayor, Gran Vía, and Real Madrid’s Estadio Santiago Bernabéu are all big draws for people visiting the Spanish capital. But if you want non-touristy things to do in Madrid then you have a lot to choose from as well.


Being one of the sunniest cities in Europe has its perks. At almost any time of the year you can enjoy walking around its historic streets, explore quaint shops, and find some hidden gems in Madrid along the way. It’s the perfect place in Spain to take a city break, and there are always new activities or attractions popping up. Whether you’re a foodie looking for the next best place to eat in Madrid, or want to explore the city’s history through its buildings and monuments, you’ll enjoy every minute that you’re in this incredible Spanish city.


Table of Contents

Unique Things To Do in Madrid

Unique Places To Eat in Madrid

Unique Places To Stay in Madrid


Unique Things To Do in Madrid

Devour Food Tours

There are plenty of walking tours in Madrid to choose from, but if you really want to get a taste of what the city is like, then you need to join the Madrid Tapas, Taverns & History Tour by Devour Tours. Joining this tour is a very unique thing to do in Madrid, as you get to hop between centuries old tapas bars, walk through the city’s historic streets with a very knowledgeable guide providing you with fun facts along the way, and learn more about how food has played a central role in the development of the Spanish capital. The tour takes place between 18:30-22:30, and within that time you’ll visit four family-run tapas bars, visit some of Madrid’s most important central sites, and sample dishes (and drinks) that the locals enjoy. This walking tour is one of the best things to do in Madrid, so don’t miss out!


The Madrid Tapas, Taverns & History Tour costs €109 per person and takes place only in the evenings. Devour Tours also have a couple of other food tour options available that take place during the day. The Madrid Tapas, Taverns & History Tour is certainly a top evening activity in Madrid though.


Sweet Space Museum

If you happen to visit Madrid on one of the few days that it’s raining, and have already visited the main museums in Madrid, another fun option has popped up in the capital. Sweet Space Museum is a very unique and fun place to visit in Madrid when it’s raining. This interactive museum consists of several rooms, all with different themes that are reminiscent of a Willy Wonka movie. In each room you’re given a different type of candy to try, and are free to take photos with the quirky décor. It’s not your typical thing to do in Madrid, but it’s fun if you have some spare time on your hands.


We pre-booked through Tiqets for €18.00 just in case tickets were sold out at the museum itself. When we arrived there was no queue since the weather was nice, so we were able to walk right through to the museum. This is one of the newest indoor things to do in Madrid, so it’s not on many tourists radars yet.


Grab a cocktail at Namí

One of my favourite things to do in Madrid is to grab a cocktail at Namí. This cocktail bar in Madrid is unlike any other that you’ll come across in the city. Its cozy yet modern décor is inviting from the moment you walk in, but the cocktails will get you talking too. They use natural mixology in their drinks, so all of the flavours come from fresh and local ingredients, and the entire cocktail bar provides a taste of Africa right in the heart of Madrid. The cocktails are presented in a very unique way as well, so you’ll no doubt want to grab more than one. This is the perfect place to come to chill out after a long day of exploring Madrid on foot, and the staff couldn’t be nicer either which is an added bonus.


Mutua Madrid Open

Mutua Madrid Open centre court during a match.
Mutua Madrid Open

You may not know this about me, but I am a massive tennis fan. And luckily for us the Mutua Madrid Open takes place in early May each year (when we were in Madrid), so it’s the perfect unique thing to do in Madrid if you’re visiting the city then. I would recommend buying tickets online if you can, but there seemed to be some tickets available at the entrance too. It’s a great day out in Madrid, as you get to see many of the top female and male tennis players on the tour compete, and there are lots of fun activities inside for you to take part in as well. Don’t forget to grab a souvenir before you leave!


Stand on Kilometre 0

Kilometre 0 stone slab on the ground in Madrid.
Kilometre 0

One of the top places to visit in Madrid is Puerta del Sol, and if you’re planning on taking a Madrid walking tour you’ll no doubt stop here. Among other popular attractions in this plaza is the famous Kilometre 0. If you’re not looking for it, you’ll probably miss it as it's only a small stone slab in front of the clock tower. This slab marks the very centre of Madrid, and is the starting point for the city’s numbered streets. In Madrid, all roads don’t lead to Rome, they lead to Puerta del Sol.


Explore Parque del Retiro

El Retiro park with an artificial lake with row boats.
Parque del Retiro

A trip to Parque del Retiro is one of the more relaxing things to do in Madrid. Retiro is the largest park in the city, and is popular with both tourists and locals, especially in the warmer months. Rowing on the artificial lake, checking out the many sculptures and fountains, strolling around the various gardens, and cruising along the paths on a rented bike or scooter are all popular activities in Parque del Retiro. It’s certainly a unique thing to do in Madrid, and is close to many popular museums and points of interest too. Just make sure you check the opening times before visiting, as the park may be closed due to weather or other events.


Visit the World’s Oldest Restaurant

Restaurante Botin old wooden exterior in Madrid centre.
Restaurante Botin

If you’re like me and love to check out historic restaurants, then you’ll want to snap a photo outside of Restaurante Botin. This unique restaurant in Madrid holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest continuously run restaurant in the world, dating back to 1725. Suckling pig and roasted lamb are the two famous dishes here, but they do have other traditional food items on the menu. It sits just behind Plaza Mayor, so it’s very easy to locate and you’ll instantly be able to recognize its traditional exterior. We didn’t eat at Restaurante Botin, but there was a constant flow of people coming in and out, and not just tourists either.


Unique Places To Eat in Madrid

Solo de Croquetas

If you like croquettes, then there’s no better place to eat than Solo de Croquetas. This cozy tapas bar serves more than 30 different types of croquettes, including a few unique dessert croquettes as well. We visited their Echegray location, which is a bit further out of Madrid’s Centro than many tourists would probably venture, but it’s definitely worth the short metro journey.


On top of being able to choose single croquettes, they also have the option of a tasting menu, which includes a choice of starters too (we had a delicious truffle Spanish omelette). We had so many croquettes on our table that we didn’t know where to start. There were a mixture of traditional croquettes such as jamon, and more unique vegetarian ones such as pisto. Out of all of them though, I thoroughly enjoyed their selection of dessert croquettes which I’ve never seen anywhere else. Visiting Solo de Croquetas is a very fun thing to do in Madrid at night.


Kasiba

There are many parts of Madrid to explore outside of the city centre. So if you have a spare evening, I would recommend taking a train to Alcorcón. We actually took a taxi here to save some time, but took the train back to Madrid’s centre after our dinner. Alcorcón is where Kasiba is located. They serve up a unique blend of Japanese and Filipino dishes, with the atmosphere and interior décor adding to this exotic experience.


To get a better understanding of the most popular menu items, we tried one of their tasting experiences. It included several beautifully presented dishes, most of which were seafood based, but the seafood flavour wasn’t overpowering thanks to the sauces and spices that were mixed in. The tasting menu also included a dessert and a bottle of wine, and we finished things off with a traditional sake. Kasiba is a very unique place to eat in Madrid, and is perfect for groups or a romantic evening.


GUILTY

For the most delicious and mouthwatering cookies in Madrid, a stop at GUILTY is a must. It’s definitely one of the best hidden gems in Madrid if you have a bit of a sweet tooth. All of their cookies are made fresh daily. They specialize in American cookies, so you can expect soft, chewy, and big. If you have an apartment in Madrid, they taste even better heated up! As well as a wide variety of American cookies to choose from, they also have smaller sized cookies and tasty brownies too. They have every flavour of cookies you can imagine, so you’ll be spoiled for choice and probably end up buying a box of them - like us.


Frankie Burgers

Looking for the best burgers in Madrid and not sure where to go? Look no further than Frankie Burgers. Their award-winning burgers really can’t be beat, and are seasoned to perfection. If you’re spending one day in Madrid and don’t know where to eat - this is it. They recently came third in the best burger in Spain awards, so naturally I had to try this specific burger out. The Super Frankie Cheese is loaded with crispy bacon, 250gr of premium beef, and of course lots of cheese. I’m usually not a big fan of burgers unless I make my own, but this one was incredible! They also have an anti-burger for anyone who doesn’t eat meat. Start your meal with one of their sharing dishes and top it off with their famous cheesecake for the best lunch in Madrid.


Sana Bowls

The concept of fast food doesn’t usually include anything healthy, but Sana Bowls is here to change that. Sana Bowls is located in the Chamberí neighbourhood of Madrid, and offers a wide selection of salad and poke bowls using only the freshest ingredients. If a bowl isn’t your thing, you can always opt for a healthy burrito instead. With so many great options available, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan choices too, as you can build your own bowl, which is what we did. Plus, all of their sauces are homemade, so you can expect a big punch of flavour in all of their menu choices. Sana Bowls is a fantastic healthy place to eat in Madrid, and can be enjoyed on the go or on site.


Chocolatería San Ginés

Chocolatería San Ginés fresh churro with chocolate.
Chocolatería San Ginés

No trip to Spain is complete without trying at least one churro. But let’s face it, you’ll probably be devouring more than one after dipping them in chocolate. Whereas churros are a dessert in North America, in Spain they’re an indulgent breakfast option. For the best churros in Madrid, visit the oldest churro shop in the city - Chocolatería San Ginés. They first opened their doors in 1894, and consistently top Madrid guidebooks as having the best churros. Quite a few celebrities have eaten here as well, and their photos are on the walls in the main building for you to look at while you wait for your order. If you want to sit in, expect to wait. But you can just as easily enjoy the churros and chocolate walking around the streets of Madrid too.


Unique Places To Stay in Madrid

Justine Apartments is probably one of the most unique places to stay in Madrid, and is located a short metro ride from Madrid’s Centro as well as the main bus station. There are three apartments to choose from, and each one has a different Japanese-inspired décor. All of the apartments come fully equipped with a kitchen, which includes everything you need. The apartments also have separate entrances which are accessed through two sets of keycodes for ultimate safety and security.

We stayed in the Shibari Suite, which as the name suggests is themed around the Japanese art of Shibari. The walls and much of the furniture are black, with gold and blue textures helping to create a sensual feel within the apartment. This design carries on into the very modern bathroom as well. It’s designed as a place where people can go to get out of their usual routine, in a space that’s both elegant and exciting. We had an amazing two nights sleep here in a very large and comfortable bed. We also noticed how clean everything was, and later read that the apartments undergo a thorough clean after each guest has checked out. If you want to stay in a unique accommodation in Madrid during your visit to the Spanish capital, choose which apartment you prefer and book Justine Apartments!


>> Click here for the most up to date prices at Justine Apartments <<


Madrid is a city full of charm and incredible places to visit. There are almost endless unique things to do in Madrid, so if you’re only visiting for a couple of days I would recommend adding only some of these activities to your itinerary, or else you’ll burn out like we did. Many of the coolest places in Madrid can be found off the beaten path, so make sure you do your research beforehand and do a few less touristy things too. Whatever you decide to do, you’ll no doubt be wanting to plan another trip to Madrid as soon as you leave, and who can blame you?


Have you been to any of these places in Madrid before? I’d love to hear what you thought of them in the comments below. And feel free to ask me any questions if you’re planning a trip to Madrid in the near future. Don’t forget to follow my travels on Instagram as well!


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