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Events Guide Madrid
Events Guide Madrid
The more we talk about Madrid, the more we’re convinced that it is, simply, amazing. There’s so much to say for it.
It’s big, it’s affordable (by capital city standards), it’s full of culture, full of good food, and full of powerful architecture. The locals are lovely too!
Much of its charm is due to its ability to inhabit two identities. At its heart, it’s an old city from a classic world. And yet, it’s as modern as any other European city.
We could argue that the city is under-visited by Spain’s standards - all the better for you if you don’t like things to get too busy.
We’ve put together a Madrid travel guide; we hope it adds something to your business trip!
Where to Stay in Madrid
Madrid’s local government has recently passed a law that forbids around 95% of the Airbnb rentals in the city centre. It’s inconvenient for those that prefer private rental apartments, of course, as they’ll be harder to come by.
But we promise it’s a minor inconvenience, as the city has fabulous hotels. And that’s not hollow words on our part. Check out our guide to the best luxury hotels in Madrid here.
What is great about Madrid is how each neighbourhood has an individual identity, while still forming a collective community of Madridistas.
You have Sol & Austrias, Madrid’s historical and royal centre – it’s also the literal centre of the city. A regal charm oozes through the neighbourhood’s many grand squares, like Plaza mayor.
If you feel like experiencing life as the locals do, Moncloa-Arguelles could be ideal for you. It’s a residential and student area and home to multiple universities. It’s also affordable, and very close to the city centre.
The humble potato is a bit of a star in Docamar. It’s the area to be if you want the best patatas bravas. It’s a bit further out from the city centre, but it’s a more affordable and cosy place to be.
To the east of the historical centre, you have Barrio de las Letras. But it’s more commonly known as the Huertas. The jewel of this neighbourhood is Retiro Park. It is one of Madrid’s largest parks and was formerly the property of the royal family. It’s truly a grand place with just enough enclaves to make it charmingly mysterious.
When to Visit Madrid
Madrid sizzles in the summer; you’re in Southern Europe, and the sun can be relentless with temperatures reaching around 33°C in July and August. That’s why they have a genius cultural invention: the siesta.
The humidity is very manageable though, so you can feel at ease strolling through the streets regardless.
In the summer they have cool events like Mad Cool Festival in July. It attracts big names like Cardi B, The Killers, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Or if you want something more laid back, how about the Summer Magic Nights Wine Tour?
Despite the hot Castilian summer, it does get cold in the winter. It’s even been known to snow. The temperature settles around freezing point for much of the duration.
But don’t let that put you off, because then you’d miss out on their epic festive parties! The city decorates itself every Christmas with lots of joy. There are ice rinks, giant trees and great markets. You’d also miss out on the Puerta del Sol New Years Eve party. It’s at this party where Madristas attempt the tradition of eating 12 grapes for every chime after midnight.
We would recommend that you go from March to mid-June, and September to October. But hey, if you can handle the heat and the cold, the city is yours 12 months a year!
You can get to the city from the airport in a taxi at a flat rate of €30. As major cities go, you will have certainly seen a lot worse. And for how much you can save getting public transport, the peace of mind of a private lift is worth it.
Once you get into the city, you won’t have any trouble getting around. It’s a snug city and everywhere is within walking distance.
For anything outside the centre, you’ve got the metro. And friends, the Madrid metro is really something; it’s cheap, it’s fast, and it goes everywhere. It operates from 6am-1.30am, and a single will cost you between €1.50-€2.00.
Metro Madrid has a very intuitive and reliable trip planner on their website to make your journey’s as fluid and stress-free as possible.
The city’s bus network is known as EMT, and has a huge fleet of 2,000 blue buses that cover over 200 lines. The regular buses run from 6am-11.30pm. The night bus – known as owl buses – run from 11.450m-6am. Tickets cost €1.50 and are purchased on board.
If you want a personal ride, you can’t miss the Madrid taxis. They’re white, sporting a red diagonal band bearing the city’s crest. There’s over 15,600 of them, and they charge on a price per hour and kilometre system.
If you’d rather stick with what you know, there’s always Uber, Bolt, and Cabify.
Like any city worth its salt, you can buy a travel pass to save yourself the stress of carrying change. You can get ten journeys for €12.50, which we think is very reasonable.
Cuisine in Madrid
Spain is famous for its cuisine. The tapas, the paella, and the morcilla sausage for starters (figuratively speaking). Each region has its own voice. In its capital, less so. Everyone comes to Madrid, so you have the joy of trying a bit of everything.
You’ll get classic Spanish snack food like patatas bravas and churros, of course. But look out for local specialities like Cocido madrileño, a beef and vegetable stew. Or for the braver palate, Callos a la madrileña. A concoction of chorizo, blood sausage, and the hoof and snout of a cow.
Snack like a real Madrista and try a calamari sandwich. It’s uncertain when, why or how the sandwich came to be. The general consensus is that it really took off in the ’50s when new railways provided access to fresh fish, and immigrants brought new skills and ideas to the culinary scene. The perfect place to eat them is just off Plaza Mayor. La Campana is a highlight you’d be sorry to miss.
Madrid is also an area that still upholds one of Spains finest traditions: free tapas when ordering a drink. It won’t replace your evening meal, but it’s certainly appreciated! For each round you order, the bar staff will dutifully place a small plate of snacks by you. It never gets old. What a country, honestly.
If you need inspiration, we’ve put together a guide to some of the best group-friendly restaurants in Madrid.
What To Do In Madrid?
The city is full of art. A highlight for us is Picasso’s Guernica at the Reina Sofia museum. Its size and intensity is a daunting must-see.
We also really loved the American Museum. It’s one of the best pre-Columbus collections of American culture. The Mayan illustrations are sure to stun you.
Food markets are staples in every neighbourhood and a way of experiencing the city’s character in action. The mix of people you see is the most rewarding thing. From young to old, they are popular with everyone.
Our favourite market is Mercado de San Miguel. It’s beautifully constructed with iron and glass – the perfect setting for sampling brilliant nibble food. The drinks are affordable, too; a glass of beer costs €2, and a decent glass of Rioja goes for €3.
The Royal Palace is the largest in Europe, which is a grand title, indeed! There are art collections, tapestries, gold, silver, and marble galore plus incredible musical instruments on display. Honestly, go to see it with your own eyes.
Or perhaps you would prefer something more humble? Parque el Capricho is a cosy little sanctuary if you want to get away from the noise of the city. It’s an 18th-century garden with adorable paths and hidden treasures.
As we said, Madrid absorbs the very best of Spain’s regional cuisines. And being the international city that it is, it absorbs the best of the rest of the world too. There is a good culture of cooking classes in the city, so we advise you to take advantage of that while you’re there. Check our guide to the best cooking classes in Madrid to see for yourself.
How Much Will It Cost You?
As major capital cities go, Madrid isn’t too extortionate. It’s not amazingly cheap, but you’ll be content as you go.
Food, beer and wine can be very affordable. Pay as little as €1.83 for a glass of beer and wine, but expect to pay around €3.00. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant will come to about €12.00.
Major museums also have specific days and times when the entry is free. The Museo del Prado is included in this and is one of Spain’s most popular museums. When you see the masterpieces inside, you’ll understand why!
If you’re looking to make a saving, you can get by on €30-€60 a day. Of course, you can always spend a good deal more. If you put some brain power behind it, there’s no reason why you couldn’t spend less.
How Long Should You Stay?
It’s easy to get carried away and say, just move there! So if we’re honest, you want at least 3-4 days to get a real taste of Madrid. There are enough bars, restaurants, museums, art galleries, and historical sights to keep you occupied and wanting more.
And do you remember we said it was bang in the middle of the country? Well, the options for day trips are vast. So when we said 3-4 days, we were tight.
Toledo, an enchanting medieval hilltop town, is only 30 minutes away on the high-speed train. It’s a unique town in that it has been the site of major movements in religious forces across the country. You can still see medieval monuments to Christian, Muslim and Jewish religions today.
You can get to El Escorial by light rail. It’s a village in the north of Madrid and is home to an impressive 16th-century monastery. Spend the day exploring the spectacular complex, taking in the mountain views and enjoy a hearty meal at one of the many charming local restaurants.
If you fancy taking in magical castles and churches, you can take the high-speed train to Segovia. A Roman aqueduct will greet you at the entrance to the old quarter.
We miss Madrid. We think you probably will too when you start unpacking your bags at home.
It’s not just a cracking place to play. It’s an excellent place for corporate events. We can certainly help you out with that if it’s something you’re interested in. Check out our guide to unique event venues in Madrid to see what we mean.
FAQ for Event Venues in Madrid
A meeting room in Madrid can cost between €30 - €70 per hour. This price may not include extras such as technical equipment, catering and an onsite manager. Expect to pay a premium on top of the meeting room hire for additional requests.
This depends on the meeting venue's internal policies. Generally speaking, the earlier you cancel, the more money you can expect to get back. However, it's quite common that last-minute bookings (less than 48h before) are non-refundable
Meeting Spaces typically provide strong WiFi, seating arrangements, a projector or screen (for larger meeting rooms), a whiteboard, and basic office supplies such as pens, paper and whiteboard markers. Coffee, tea and small snacks are also usually provided (check listing specifications for more details). Align with your location expert for additional special equipment like microphones, translation booths, etc. They can give you suggestions for reputable suppliers in the area. In general, it's safer to request any essential supplies or equipment in advance.
Meetings rooms in Madrid typically come with basic office supplies as part of your booking fee. It’s best to check in advance, though. For any supplies that the venue doesn’t supply, then we recommend La Riva Special Papers for meetings in Malasana(Plaza de San Ildefonso 4), Campo Marzio (Calle del General Díaz Porlier 15) and CARLIN (Calle de Castelló 38) for meetings in Salamanca and Retiro.