Who would have thought? What is left of one of the most charming streets of Madrid could be found just 100 meters of the monumental (though a bit cold, imho) Las Ventas bullring. The beautiful houses of Roma Street and surroundings where conceived as residences for the Madrilian upper middle class of the beginning of the past century. All the building share a common "British" style, that I found most amazing, specially when you realize that the neighborhood is quickly loosing its classy style, as most of the old houses are disappearing, replaced by boring brick buildings. A pity. It could be a good idea to go there while there's still anything to be seeing...
Photographer Alfonso Stairway is a really "off the beaten path" place, altought is near everything. You can find this beautiful place at Calle Mayor and Bailén; the stairway leads you under Segovia Bridge.
La Escalinata del Fotógrafo Alfonso es realmente un lugar fuera de los paseos turísticos habituales, aunque está cerca de todo. Puedes encontrar este hermoso sitio en el curce de Calle Mayor y Bilén; la escalinata termina debajo del Puente de Segovia.
Another curious street name: "Calle del Codo" (Elbow's Street). This narrow street at ancient Madrid bends like an elbow, as we suspect from the begining.
Otro nombre curioso para una calle: "Calle del codo". Esta callejuela en el Madrid antiguo se acoda, como lo sospechamos desde un principio.
Madrid Town Hall organises a few walking tours around the centre of Madrid.
For information and tickets go to the Tourist Office at Plaza mayor (where tour starts)
I do not remeber the price but they were not very expensive
"Puente de Toledo" (Bridge of Toledo) is one of the several bridges that crosses river Manzanares; it was built at 18th century, and is a magnificent pedestrain bridge.
El Puente de Toledo es uno de los varios puentes que cruzan el Manzanares; fue construido en el siglo XVIII, y es un magnífico puente peatonal.
Some madrilenian streets have odd names (specially at ancient Madrid), like "Calle de la lechuga" (Lettuce St.), "Calle de la pasa" (Raisin St.) or "Calle del codo" (Elbow St.). If you do not understand Spanish, do not worry: the nameplates have drawings. The picture shows "Calle de la lechuga".
Algunas calles madrileñas tienen nombres extraños, especialmente en el Madrid antiguo, como "Calle de la lechuga", "Calle de la pasa" o "Calle del codo". Las placas de las calles, además de los nombres, tienen dibujos. La foto muestra la "Calle de la lechuga".
I love to get up early on sundays to see Madrid EMPTY. It's when Madrid is at its best, no cars, no pollution, no noises... it only lasts till approx 10 o'clock, so U better hurry if you wanna see it.
Another chance is in august, when the city is empty of madrilians...
On friday and saturday nights there are some walking tours around old Madrid, organised by the Tourist Office. They take about 2 hours around the city centre, from Plaza Mayor, and include some disguised characters that play little representations of street scenes of Madrid of the XVII century.
To get the tickets go to the tourist office that is located at Plaza Mayor, 3.
Have a look at the beautiful tile street signs in the centre of Madrid. The photo shows the sign of "Plaza de Santa Ana".
The pavements of Plaza de Santa Ana are lined by colourful umbrellas of the local tapas bars and restaurants.
I can't think of a better example of what Madrid exactly is than the avoided by the tourist district of Malasaña. By day, its little streets didn't bring to your mind the idea of a bustling metropolis, but the placid tranquility of a small village where everybody knows your name. The small and old shops, the animated chats of lifetime neighbors in the middle of the streets, the "feeling" that nothing really important happen outside the limits of the district.
But during the weekends, when the night falls and the neighbors go to bed, the streets suddenly becomes the kingdom of hordes of teens or post-teens (depending of the hour), in the constant pursuit of squeezing out Madrid night life. One could expend years in Madrid touristy areas and never learn anything about the city. A single night in Malasaña is usually much more illustrative ;-)
The Killometer Zero Marker can be found at the south side of the Puerta del Sol just in front of the Communidad de Madrid building. The marker is the reference point for all Spanish road distances which are measured from here.
As you wander the old and charming district of La Latina, you might want to consider a rest in the peaceful and romantic garden of the Anglona Palace. I would definitely recommend it!
At the bottom of La Plaza de La Paja (Calle de Segovia, 13) you will find the door which gives you access to a hanging, intimate and withdrawn garden, which belongs to the Palacio de Anglona. The garden is only open during the daytime and offers you a peaceful and well-deserved rest.
Loaded with different pubs, great for the "aperitivo" in Madrid (mid day snack... well...... right, more like "beer time"!!!) :o)
Several bars along the street for enjoying some cañas (small beers) and tapas (apetizers)
If you want to see other things than the traditional Sol - Santa Ana - Plaza Mayor zone in terms of restaurants and nightlife, try the "Noviciado" area Calle de la Palma, Plaza de Comendadoras, Calle Cristo and Calle Conde Duque. You have quite a lot of places
The streets in this district are very lively, with a lot a little shops and an atmosphere similar to what it was 30 years ago. Calle Noviciado is full of little shops, very lively for example on saturdays morning.
- In Calle Palma: El Maño, Alacena de Paula as Restaurants, Bodegas Rivas for Beers and wine, Cafe Bar de la Palma for "Copas" and live music.
- In Plaza Comendadoras: La Taqueria de Birra, a mexican restaurant with a nice terrace, and Cafe Moderno for coffees and "copas", nice terrace too.
- In Calle Cristo, a lot of interesting places. This is a pedestrian street, quite short and charming.
Metro: Plaza de España and Noviciado.
El Rastro. The famous Madrid flea market. The real “off the beaten path” experience is to not shopping at all and expend the Sunday evening tasting tapas in the countless bars of the neighborhood. The perfect activity for a sunny Sunday afternoon!