Madrid is a huge city. There are about 6 million people living here! There are, of course, some super luxurious things to do: dinner at the oldest restaurant in the world, Restaurante Botin, the opera at Teatro Real, drink a cocktail at the DRY Cosmopolitan Bar. If you are like me, successfully surviving on €80-€100 a day, these activities are out of your budget. But don’t fret! There are lots of cheap and free things to do in Madrid! Here are ten things to do in Madrid for under €10:
1) Have a meal at 100 Montaditos
This is a great chain restaurant. Ok, I won’t lie, I think it’s kind of a like a fast food-type place, but it is full of locals, it is SUPER cheap, and the food is actually good! The menu is made up of montaditos (little sandwiches), and everything is under €2, including the pints of tinto de verano and beer! My personal faves, are the Spanish omelette and brava sauce, and the cajun chicken, smoked bacon and barbecue sauce. Delish!
Cost: If you spend €10 here, you could have 7 sandwiches and two pints of tinto de verano…
2) Check out the rooftop of Circulo Belles des artes
If you’re looking for a beautiful view of Madrid, look no further than the rooftop of the Circulo Belles des Artes. This is a cool, old theatre in which you can catch a show! If you just want the view, you pay a whopping €2 and take the elevator to the roof. If you go around sunset, the line is a bit intimidating, but moves very quickly. Once at the top, there are multiple bars serving drinks, tables to sit at, and misters if the afternoon sun is too much to bare. (You can read a story about the day I went up to this rooftop here!)
Cost: €2 to go to the top, €5 for a glass of wine (but you don’t have to drink at the top!)
3) Indulge in some Churros and Chocolate at San Ginés Chocolateria
Ok, so you’ve been going through your whole life thinking, “I know dessert, I know how good hot chocolate is, I know how delicious a churro is…” Sorry friend, you have no idea how good it can be. At San Ginés Chocolateria, the hot chocolate they serve is a cup of out of this world melted chocolate. Their churros are not dipped in sugar, because they are absolutely delicious without it. You can also enjoy some perros, which are bigger, doughier churros (I preferred the churros).
Cost: €10 got us a plate of churros, a plate of perros, and two cups of hot chocolate.
4) Take a FREE walking tour
I have said it once, I will say it again, Sandeman’s New Europe free walking tours are the absolute best way to see and learn about a city (I proudly say this without any sort of compensation from the company). They offer free walking tours in 18 cities in Europe, and every time I have taken one (8 times!) I have been SO impressed by the guide, the route, and the information. It is called a free walking tour, but the guide works on a tip basis, so you pay what you think the tour was worth.
Cost: €10 (or if your guide was AMAZING and deserves more, go for it!)
5) Stroll through Retiro Park
Ok, there is so much to do in Retiro Park, it’s insane. To stay free, just go for a walk! There is a rose garden, beautiful fountains and water features, tons of green space, and a very instagrammable glass building (see below picture). You can also rent a row boat on the main water feature in the park (I did not do this because it was damn hot, and there was no shade, but the rental was under €10). I had a phenomenal nap in this park, so I have very fond memories of it.
6) Head to El Buo for a Spanish omelette!
On the menu at El Buo is a Spanish omelette for €10. We ordered the candied onion and goat cheese omelette. Now, this is the biggest omelette you have ever seen (if it isn’t, PLEASE comment and tell me where you got a bigger one). This is absolutely one of those things you have to share. We shared between four people, and I couldn’t even finish my quarter piece. Between four of us, the omelette and some drinks each, we were up to €8 each.
Cost: €10 for an omelette (shared between four or more).
7) Check out a flea market on a Sunday
On El Rastro, every Sunday, there is a flea market! This is the kind of activity in which you decide how much you spend. It could be a free day! It could be an expensive day. How much stuff do you want to buy?! Here, you will find cheap AF clothes, accessories, souvenirs, art, and homewares. I bought a fanny pack (for a very specific reason), and a pair of vintage Levi’s jeans I ended up cutting off into super cool shorts. I spent €18.
Cost: FREE (if you don’t buy anything).
8) Go to La Titi for wine
Right across the street from San Fernando market (which is another place to go in Madrid for under €10…bonus!) is a little wine bar called La Titi. We went at about 8pm on a Saturday night and the place was bustling! All locals, enjoying wine, chatting with friends and making new ones. We ended up having a hilarious conversation with two Madridians about Spain’s ludicrous history. The wine was cheap, the tapas were delicious (and of course, free with the drink). Highly recommend this cute, off the beaten path, wine bar!
Cost: €2-3 depending on the glass of wine you order. Tapas are free!
9) Have a beer in Dos de Mayo Plaza
During the day, this is a lovely plaza for people watching, there are lots of shops nearby to peruse, and cafes surrounding, to wet your whistle! At night, people flock to this plaza to sit, drink, play guitar, and hang out with their friends. This is the cheapest night out you can possible have. It’s BYOB, and if you forgot to, you can buy a beer for €1 off the guys walking around selling. Don’t forget though, you aren’t technically allowed to drink in public, so if the police come, the square might clear right out…
Cost: FREE! If you buy a beer from the guys selling them, €1
10) Enjoy sunset at the Temple of Debod
After an easy walk up a hill either via stairs or the road, you will reach the beautiful temple of Debod. The temple was originally erected in Egypt, but was dismantled and rebuilt in Madrid. It’s a beautiful spot to go during the day, but with little shade at the site itself, can get really uncomfortable. If you go at night for sunset, it’s a total stunner. Bring a bottle of wine with you from a nearby grocery store and have a glass of wine as the sun goes down. Cheap AND romantic!
Cost: FREE (or with a €3 bottle of wine)
Heading to Valencia? Check out five things to do in Valencia for under €5 here!
Traveling to the north of Spain? Here are ten things you can do in the north!