Choosing my top 5 things to do in Madrid has definitely been a difficult decision, as I didn’t want to purely choose tourist hot spots that we already all know about. Having lived here for 7 months now, I have visited almost every landmark and attraction, but I have also found some hidden gems in Madrid along the way, with the help of locals and through my own exploration and curiosity.

1. La Quinta de los Molinos

The blossom in Madrid is absolutely stunning and this secret park towards the end of Calle de Alcalá is not something you want to miss if you are here this spring. La Quinta de los Molinos would be just another park in the Spanish capital, if it weren’t for the fact that inside are 6,000 almond trees that are a spectacle to behold. Shades of white and pink decorate the garden, and the intoxicating aromas float over the walls and around the park during the months of February and March.

2. Vintage shopping in Malasaña

Malasaña is one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Madrid. Its streets are home to some of the most ‘hip’ cafes and vintage stores (music, books, and comics) in the city, as well as being the hub for fashionistas. In Malasaña you will find the latest fashion trends, whatever your style. Discover the cheapest outlets, artisan pieces or second-hand clothing markets. Take the metro to Tribunal station, and you will be in the heart of this vintage community, where you can find some absolute bargains! My favourite roads and shops are below:

  • Calle de Velarde: Kinda Kinks, Magpie, Alphaville, La Mona Checa, El Rincón de Tía Jo
  • Calle Espíritu Santo: Templo de Susu, Miss Vintage, Flamingos Vintage Kilo
  • Calle de San Vincente Ferrer: Ekeko Clothes
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3. Secret Park in La Latina

Next to the Real Basílica de San Francisco el Grande, in La Latina, lies this small park. Adjacent to the church, this viewpoint is one of the best and most peaceful places to watch the sunset in Madrid. Also the stunning ‘San Isidro’ group of sculptures, designed by Santiago Costa, presides over the area. This spot is ideal for a romantic rendezvous in the afternoon, or a picnic in the sun, especially if you want to avoid the crowds in Retiro.

There is also a hidden, free basketball court to the right hand side of the park if you fancy a game with your friends and some Spanish locals!

4. €2 Oysters

Oysters are traditionally thought of as an expensive delicacy, however this is nonsense. It’s all about knowing where to look for them. This small, innocuous, traditional Spanish tapas bar called Nana, just situated on Calle de Toledo, is truly a hidden gem. Do not be fooled by the slightly rustic exterior, or the occasional prawn shell on the floor, as the fresh oysters are TO DIE FOR, and they only cost €2, meanwhile a glass of white wine is only €1.50; the perfect palette cleanser, which will make you will be coming back for more. I would recommend putting a good squeeze of lemon and a few drops of tabasco on each oyster before gulping them down.

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Best cake shop in the whole of Madrid

Just off the centre of Puerta del Sol is La Mallorquina, one of the most famous and busiest bakeries in the whole of Madrid. Every morning and evening, on my way to and from work, without fail there would always be a long queue over flowing out from the shop, spilling onto the square. The personalised birthday cakes are absolutely delicious (I would recommend the brownie, mousse and chocolate cake) as well as the famous napolitanas, and pastries filled with custard or chocolate.

But of course, I can’t forget mentioning Inhispania when talking about the best things to do in Madrid. Not only have I have met so many incredible people from all over the world working at this school, but also the teaching I have had at this Spanish language school has been the best I have ever received; not forgetting its great location in the heart of the city or the fantastic trips they have on offer.

It has been an utter privilege working and studying here and I will truly miss the familia at Inhispania. Thank you for everything!