During more than 20 years we have been teaching Spanish in the centre of Madrid. We have welcomed students from practically every country in the world. Every week new students start their classes, and year after year many of them come back to Inhispania and continue learning Spanish with us! Although they have different cultures, religions and ethnicities, the atmosphere of camaraderie that is created in and out the classroom is great. Apart from the language classes, at Inhispania we offer extracurricular activities in Madrid for the students of Spanish. For example, guided tours, excursions, visits to museums or visits to gastronomic markets to taste the most famous Spanish tapas. We tell you about the activities that our students like the most!👇
1. Try Spanish tapas
Tapas in Spain are small portions of food that are accompanied by wine, beer or vermouth. There are tapas to please all tastes: they can include meat, fish, vegetables… even chocolate! However, the most traditional tapas are Spanish potato omelette (with onion), patatas bravas, olives, thinly sliced Iberian ham, scrambled eggs with ham, calamares a la romana and croquettes. Depending on where you order the tapas, you will also find various tapas typical of that region. For example, pulpo a feira in Galicia, pan tumaca in Catalonia, pescaito frito in Andalusia or papas arrugás in the Canary Islands. All of them are delicious! We highly recommend you trying them. They are usually very cheap and if you order several tapas you will be satiated.
When our students arrive at the school for the first time, we welcome them with a welcome party where there are tapas. In addition, we usually organise meals out to food markets close to the school. There are about 10 minutes’ walk from Inhispania to 4 gourmet markets, so almost every week we have a meal together.
2. Walking tours through the city of Madrid
At Inhispania we often offer free walking tours for our students to get to know the city. They usually go accompanied by a Spanish teacher, after the intensive courses in the morning, so that students have time to attend both and have lunch before.
We have different types of routes: one through the Madrid de los Austrias (the oldest district in the old town of Madrid), the Madrid Monumental (with explanations about the history of the country and the symbolism of monuments such as the Oso y el madroño) and a mystery tour (about some murders, disappearances and strange things that are said to have existed years ago in Madrid👻).
Depending on the number of students on the tour and their level of Spanish, the teacher will speak with them in either Spanish or English. Despite this fact, Spanish will always take first priority over the other languages. However, if you have any doubts about what has been explained, ask the teacher and he/she will be happy to answer you in a different language. Some Inhispania teachers know Japanese or French as well as English!
3. Trip to Toledo
Trips to a city near Madrid are another of our students' favourite activities. Approximately every two weeks we organise a day excursion to places that are half an hour or one hour by public transport from Madrid. We usually go on Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 3-4 p.m. We meet at the entrance of the Spanish school and go to Atocha Station. Of course, students who want to return to Madrid before that time can do so, as we buy the return ticket with the return journey open.
In addition, students' friends or relatives can also join us on these trips. Can you think of any better way to spend a weekend in Madrid and practice your Spanish? 😉 Students always travel with a teacher from the school to these activities. They explain the history of the place and the most representative monuments in Spanish.
Do you know which our students' favourite excursion is? The trip to Toledo. From our point of view, Toledo is the favourite city because of the great amount of monuments that are preserved, the interesting history it has and the mixture of cultures that years ago there was and that still seems to be perceptible when you visit the city. It is a city in the province of Castilla-La Mancha, located on the banks of the Tagus River. It is known as 'The city of the three cultures', having been populated for centuries by Jews, Christians and Muslims. It was also the seat of the Court of one of Spain's most important kings, Charles I (I of Spain and V of Germany). In Toledo you can visit El Greco Museum too, a Greek Renaissance painter most recognisable for his elongated figures, who spent much of his life in Spain.
4. Learn Latin dances and Sevillanas dance
Dancing is another of the activities that our Spanish students enjoy the most. At Inhispania we offer dance classes because one of our teachers is a semi-professional dance teacher. Although teacher Lucía has taught almost every style of dance throughout her career, her favourites are undoubtedly Latin dances. And she is Andalusian by birth, so she has been dancing sevillanas since she was a child!
These dance classes are usually held when the good weather arrives, in Spring or early Summer, in a wooded area at the Retiro Park or in a pavilion, a place specially designed for music and dance performances. They usually have a duration of 45 minutes or one hour. During this time, students can learn the basic steps and movements, and it's great fun to go with your classmates! It doesn't matter if you have no idea about dance or have never done it before, it's an activity to lose your shyness, have fun and make lots of friends. What's more, the classes are taught in Spanish, so you'll improve your understanding and fluency. 🙃
5. Language exchange
What is a language exchange? It is a meeting between local people from Madrid and foreigners who want to practice languages. The people who go there are normally learning a new language or want to practise one that they haven't used for a long time. With this activity you can meet very interesting people with whom you can make plans in the city later on, improve your level of Spanish and take it to the next level! 🚀
In addition, by regularly attending language exchanges you will never be afraid of being worng when speaking Spanish again. You will have the opportunity to practise with native speakers.
Every week our Spanish school participates in a language exchange organised by Madrid Babel. It takes place in a bar in the centre of Madrid, near the Callao Square. A member of our staff goes with the students who want to attend. There are always lots of people who want to take part in it. If you also like the idea, we would be happy to go with you!
6. Natural pools in the mountains near Madrid
In summer it is usually very warm and sunny in Madrid. For this reason one of our favourite activities and one of our students' most popular activities is a trip to the natural swimming pools. In the Sierra de Cercedilla, in the Community of Madrid, there are some beautiful natural pools surrounded by high trees and mountains. It is a very relaxing place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and to cool off surrounded by friends. Just getting there is worth it because you have to do a bit of hiking, about 10-15 minutes, and the place is very beautiful. Once at the pools, the teacher and the students swim, rest, sunbathe, have lunch and practice Spanish with games. It's very pleasant and every time we have organised it, a lot of students have gone!
Next year we will repeat the activity! We'll organise it to go on a Saturday so all the students who want to come can do so and it won't coincide with classes 😉 Get your swimming suit, sun cream and snacks ready!
7. Having hot chocolate and Spanish churros in Winter
In contrast to the previous activity, this one takes place in Winter. When it's cold in Madrid, we go for a warm drink with our school friends. In particular, there is a very famous place in Madrid called Chocolatería San Ginés. It was founded in 1894 and still has many customers today. If you arrive in the evening, around 7 p.m., you will highly likely have to wait in a long queue. There you will probably find the best churros and hot chocolate in Madrid! Or so they say. You'll have to come with us to find out if it's true! The prices are not very high and the decoration is nice, with mirrors and keeping the original aesthetics.
8. Ride a cable car in Madrid
We hope you are not afraid of heights. Are you? If the answer is "yes", move on to the next activity because this one is not for you. 😆😉 In Madrid there is a cable car, this is a kind of cabin that is suspended on the air. It takes about 10 minutes and connects the area of the Temple of Debod and Plaza de España, with the Casa de Campo and the Parque de atracciones (attractions park). If you go with friends, you can ride and enjoy the views together - you can see Madrid's skyline entirely! You can see the Almudena Cathedral, the Royal Palace, Madrid-Río and the Casa de Campo from above and, by the way, take lots of pictures and selfies. What's more, it's not too expensive, young people pay just 5 euros return, and adults 6 euros.
We really enjoy going on the cable car because it's a great opportunity to see Madrid from a different perspective - many tourists don't even know that this attraction exists! Also, going up in the cable car is a great excuse to show our students the Casa de Campo Lake, on the other side of the Manzanares River. The Lake is another big unknown for foreigners and, from our point of view, it is the ideal place to unwind, have a drink or a beer with friends, try some typical tapas and practice your Spanish. It consists of a very large artificial lake where you can practice many sports such as canoeing or fishing. Indeed, in Casa de Campo you'll find a lot of paths where you can ride your bike without the danger of running into any cars.
9. Drink vermouth
We Spaniards are well known for our habit of taking a siesta (a nap), but we'll tell you about another Spanish custom! At 12-1 p.m. we often hang out with friends or family members and go to a bar for a 'vermú' (to drink a vermouth). Vermouth is a drink with a high alcohol percentage that is also drunk in other countries. As you may already know, it is a wine fortified with a distillate and a mixture of herbs, flowers, roots, spices, citrus peel and caramel. In Spain we drink vermouth with chips as an aperitif and/or olives. Over the years this expression is still used even if people are having other drinks, such us Coke or wine. It refers to the tradition of having a drink and some snacks with friends before having the lunch.
We organise some activities in order to let the students get to know the Spanish traditions, so from time to time we go out for a vermouth! Sometimes we even do a tasting with different types of vermouth and an expert person who explains its qualities. Very interesting and very tasty!
10. Visit the most important museums in Spain
Last but not least, our students love to visit the most important museums in Madrid. We are very lucky to have three of the most important museums in Spain and Europe. The Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofía Museum together have a vast collection of paintings of incalculable historical and economic value. Between them they add up to an innumerable collection of pictorial works of incalculable historical and economic value, and you can visit them all if you come to Madrid! Artworks by famous Spanish artists such as Pablo Picasso, Diego de Velázquez and Francisco de Goya, who have had such a great influence on artistic trends and other international artists of their time and beyond.
In Inhispania we often organise visits to these museums. A teacher accompanies the students through the exhibitions and explains a little about the history and trajectory of the most representative Spanish artists. At the same time, the students can share with him or her and their classmates the emotions that the paintings generate in them (if possible, in Spanish). Our colleagues from the Administration team buy the tickets in advanced so you don't have to wait in the queue and can see some of the exhibitions for free.
👉 What do you think of all these activities? Do you agree with our students' favourites? Can you think of any other cool activity in Madrid? Just suggest it and we'll organise it! 😃