1. Free Walking Tours
Free walking tours are the best way to get to know the city from a local, without paying the high-costs of a tour guide. Free walking tours are offered as a way to exchange cultural and historical knowledge of the city, in exchange for voluntary tips. You can find free guided visits to things like historical sites and even food places!
2. Attend a Flamenco show
If you have ever taken a Spanish class, you’ll certainly have heard about Flamenco, Spain’s traditional dance. Being in Madrid is your chance to close your textbook and learn by watching and experiencing for yourself this fiery dance of Spain. If interested, we recommended Las Tablas to enjoy a show. As part of the CityLife community, you will receive a 15% discount on tickets. Click here to find out more.
Spain and its people are well-known for having a good time and their parties and festivals are hard to top! For every season of the year, there are festivals taking place in cities and villages all around the country. These festivals are rooted in Spain’s tradition and culture, whether they have historical or religious meaning, or simply just for fun! You’ve probably heard of La Tomatina or San Fermin (running of the Bulls), but there’s many more celebrations to enjoy and create memories. If you’re studying in Madrid during spring semester, don’t forget your costume for Carnaval of Cadiz, one of the most crazy parties of the year that marks the beginning of Lent, where you will see people dressed in simple costumes to the most extravagant get ups.
4. Travel Spain, Portugal, & Morocco
Outside of Madrid, Spain offers a vast variety of travel destinations that will be sure to impress. Whether you’re looking for a beach, or a fascinating historical hub, you will find it in Spain.
Rich in Spanish culture and history, the region of Andalucia is truly an experience that cannot be missed in Spain. Through the culture, architecture, foods, and more, you can still see the region’s lasting impact of its Islamic roots, as it was once under control by the Islamic Empire. Andalucia is the home of top-travel destinations such as Córdoba, Granada, Sevilla, and Málaga. When visiting Andalucia, you will be sure to receive a warm-welcome from its friendly people and relaxed atmosphere. The noteworthy Andalucian cuisine won’t leave you hungry either!
Take a journey up north to the one-of-a-kind region of Pais Vasco. Situated on the Atlantic River between France and Spain, this region is famous for its photographic scenery, architecture, language and cuisine. In Bilbao, you can take in the art and architecture at Guggenheim museum and at the Museo de Bellas Artes. The beautiful city of San Sebastian can offer you delicious food and breathtaking beaches.
If you’re looking to take a weekend trip, the Spanish cities of Salamanca and Avila is the perfect destination. Take a trip back into time in these historically-rich cities. Salamanca is home to the 3rd oldest university in Europe, and still holds onto its student atmosphere. The medieval city of Avila is famous for its walls surrounding the city and its cathedrals.
If Spain isn’t enough in itself, head next door and explore Portugal! Its unique cities of Oporto, Lisboa and the beautiful beaches of the south make this neighboring country of Spain a top travel destination of those studying in Madrid. Discover Lisbon, the country’s capital, by starting with a free walking tour of the city during the day, and take in the culture by enjoying a Fado show in the evening. The night have doesn’t stop there- If you’re looking to party, a pub-crawl is the way to go! After visiting Lisbon, a must-see in Portugal is the smaller, charming city of Porto. Admire the picturesque views along the river while enjoying a glass of Port, and if you’re hungry, Francesinhas are a must-eat dish that won’t disappoint!
If you’re not travelled out yet, Spain is the perfect gateway to head south into the Northern tip of Africa into the colorful country of Morocco. This country has remarkable cities to offer such as Marrakesh, Tangiers, Fez, and Chefchaouen. While you are there, take advantage of riding a camel through the Sahara desert and spend a night camping out under the stars. Taking a Moroccan adventure is truly a trip of a lifetime that won’t break the bank either!
5. Parks in Madrid
Although a big city, Madrid still lays claim to many alluring parks. Spending a day in one of the city’s parks is the perfect way to spend time with friends, go on a date, or just enjoy the beautiful weather. Also, they are free! The most well-known, Parque del Buen Retiro is always a good choice, but don’t forget about the lesser-known parks Madrid has to offer as well. Campo del Moro, for example, located near Principe Pio, is a wonderful park often missed by those in the city center. From here you can enjoy the gardens and have a different view of the Palacio Real.
6. Explore the Art & Culture
Spain is rich in art, history, and culture and Madrid is the perfect place to start learning about them. Home to the Museo del Prado, Museo del Romanticismo, House of Lope de Vega, and many more, Madrid delivers your dose of art, history, and culture to enrich your experience in Spain. Don’t worry about money or having someone to go with either, because you are invited to join us on free visits! Check out our Fall 2016 calendar of visits for the dates that work for you.
7. Visit the Markets and Enjoy Tapas!
Whether you are looking for something to eat or to go shopping, you can cover both at one of Madrid’s markets. Start your Sunday morning at El Rastro, Europe’s largest outdoor flea market, by shopping for unique jewelry and other handmade trinkets, or browsing antiques and clothes. End the night with good company at a tapas bar, enjoying a drink alongside by these traditional Spanish finger-foods.