Free Things to Do in Madrid

January 21, 2013 by

Free Things to Do, Sightseeing, Things to Do, Top Attractions

The Crystal Palace in Madrid

The Crystal Palace in Madrid

While Madrid is far from being a pricey city, consider saving your euros for souvenirs and a soccer game by instead hitting up some of these free things to do in Madrid.

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Madrid has no shortage of museums, but when it comes to visiting them, best to do it strategically. Indeed, most have special hours during which you can enter without paying a cent. Visit the Prado Museum — and its masterpieces by greats like Goya and Velázquez — for free Tuesday through Saturday starting at 6pm, and on Sunday starting at 5pm. Modern art more your style? Stop by the Reina Sofia Monday through Friday between 7pm and 9pm, Saturday between 2:30pm and 9pm, or Sunday between 10am-7pm. Finally, get a dose of Impressionism at the somewhat-hidden home-meets-museum, Museo Sorolla, which is free to enter on Saturdays after 2pm.

Retiro Park and the Crystal Palace

Sure, parks are usually free, but Madrid’s Retiro Park has more than just grass, fountains and statues. Deep within its jungle of trees, you’ll find a little oasis: The Crystal Palace. Inspired by the larger version in London, the glass monument was erected in 1887 to stage an exhibition of Filipino flora and fauna. Now it often houses temporary exhibitions, and can, of course, be seen both inside and out at no charge.

Temple of Debod

Located on the west side of the city in between the Parque del Oeste and the Royal Palace, you’ll find the Temple of Debod. The 4th-century Egyptian monument was given to Spain as a gift of gratitude for help in saving a historical site in Egypt. Not only is entry to the Temple free, but if you go in the evening you can couple your visit with some pretty sweet views of the sunset.

Palacio de Comunicaciones

This building – which used to be the city’s post office – just got a major facelift: The façade was shined and brightened, and the interior was turned into multiple floors of exhibition space. Now City Hall, it’s not only cost-free to enter – and use the WiFi – but on the first Wednesday of every month you can also head to the top floor to check out some of the most impressive views in town (just be sure to grab a ticket at the ground-level desk).

 – Erin Ridley

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