Madrid on the Cheap: 5 Things to do for Under €10

Pouring beers in Madrid

While not on par with London or New York, Spain's capital city presents travelers with many ways to spend money. With an abundace of renowned restaurants, world-class museums and pricey cocktails, the city does not suffer a shortage of wallet-emptying experiences. Well-known attractions like the Prado and Cafe Central are remarkable, but Madrid is also full of memorable activities that can be enjoyed by even the most frugal of visitors. Our five favorites are listed below.

1. Enjoy a picnic lunch in Parque del Retiro

Parque del Retiro Madrid

This sprawling park is one of the largest in a city full of grand public parks. Dating to the 16th entury, the park boasts 350 acres of gardens, fountains and tree lined paths. Pick up some jamón serrano, cheese and fruit at a local grocer and enjoy your lunch at the western border of the park, while enjoying views of the Prado museum. Other notable attractions include the crystal palace and the rose garden.

2. Explore Chueca by foot in the evening

Chueca neighborhood Madrid Spain

Chueca is one of many trendy neighborhoods near Madrid's city center. It sits between it's fancier cousins, Barrio Salamanca and Barrio Alonso Martinez. Chueca is one of the more diverse neighborhoods in the city, home to Madrid's largest gay population and popular with artists and business people alike. Take the metro or walk to Chueca in the early evening and settle in at one of the many cafes for tapas and a glass of wine. If you plan on heading out for late night fun, walk west to Malasaña, another hip 'hood with a large concentration of bars.

3. Grab late night snacks and beer at 100 Mondatidos

100 Montadidos Madrid

100 Montadidos is a Spanish fast food chain with locations in almost every neighborhood in Madrid. The menu is full of typical Spanish food like Bocadillos and Tortillas Españolas. What sets it apart from other chains, is its unique decor, large mugs of beer and outdoor patio seating. Montadidos are popular with Madrileños in their 20s and 30s because they are inexpensive and open late. Grab an outdoor table, order inside at the counter, and join the party!

4. Savor a glass of wine in Mercado de San Miguel

Mercado de San Miguel Madrid

You could easily spend 100 Euros filling your belly at this spectacular market in the heart of Madrid, but it's not necessary to take in the experience. Head to the market around 8pm and weave your way through the crowds, taking time to stop and browse the colorful offerings from the rows of vendors. Seafood, meat, tapas and a variety of alcoholic beverages are for sale in dozens of carts and stands. Sample a glass of wine or a tapa and find a place to relax at one of the counters around the perimeter of the market.

5. Peruse classics and colletible books at the outdoor book market

Madrid outodoor book market

More than 200 book vendors line the Calle de Claudio Moyano on the west side of the Parque del Retiro daily from 10am - 7pm. Each stall has truly unique offerings and the breadth of selection rivals any bookstore in the world. Stop by on a Sunday morning to see the market at its busiest. Make sure to block out a few hours as it is easy to get lost browsing through the antique maps, hardbacks, comic books and old magazines from around the world. If you plan to be in town during the first few weeks of June, checkout The Feria del Libro , another outdoor book fair. It is located in the center of Parque del Retiro and has been in existence since 1933.

Honorable mention:

Visit the Royal Palace

Royal Palace Madrid

It's definitely worth routing your walk through the city past this spectacular palace and its sprawling gardens. The palace as it currently stands was finished in 1764 and today it is used for official state ceremonies. Paintings by Velázquez, Goya, Rubens, El Greco and Caravaggio hang on its interior walls. Pro Tip: While general admission is usually €10, visitors who come during the last two hours before closing, Monday through Friday will be granted free admission. Hours and More Info

Spanish school in Madrid Spain

How to get there
We've listed all the above attractions on this handy custom Google map

See something we missed? Mention in in the comments.

Photo credits:

Olatz eta Leire
100 Montadidos
Audrey Hoyt