Museo Cerralbo, an art lover's dream house


If you’re looking to explore Madrid’s museum scene beyond the famous Prado and Reina Sofia, I recommend starting with Los Cinco Museos, five former mansions that are all perfectly restored and house outstanding art collections: Cerralbo, Lázaro Galdiano, Artes Decorativas, Sorolla and Romanticismo.

These five museums take you on a journey to a different era, allowing you to see and feel what life might have been like when they were occupied. While each one is worth visiting, Museo Cerralbo is my personal favorite. I’ve been here twice – first on my own and then on a guided tour – and both times I was blown away by the museum’s special charm.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Tucked away on a side street near Plaza de España and Templo Dubod, this museum is one of the former residences of the Marquis of Cerralbo, who lived here with his family in the 19th century. Today, everything remains exactly in tact, from the furniture and art pieces to the wall colors and lighting.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

As you walk through its many rooms and corridors, let your imagination run wild, picturing what life was like when this house was actually a home.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The Marquis was a well known archeologist and passionate art lover. He amassed a collection of art, furniture and objects from Spain and around the world that you can see in every nook and cranny. You’ll see beautiful paintings, mirrors, chandeliers and clocks dispersed throughout, and so much more.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The house has two floors. The first floor was where the family actually lived their normal lives, while the second floor is where you’ll find the extravagant ballroom and dining room, for example, that were meant to be shown off to guests.

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Each particular room had a different purpose and decor, acting as a unique exhibition space. Here are a few examples.

The armor collection

After going up the gorgeous stairway (the house was actually designed to accommodate for a unique wooden banister), guests would step into the hallway displaying the Marquis’s armor collection. This is my favorite exhibit.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The ballroom

To the right of the armor collection you’ll find the stunning ballroom. I would certainly like to dance here one day…

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

As you can see, the Marquis was particularly fond of playing with lighting and mirrors to add as much depth to each room as possible. And not an inch of the house was left unadorned.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The library

The library features British-style decor and houses an impressive collection of books in several different languages, some dating back as far as the 15th century. Here you’ll also find one of the largest coin collections in Spain.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The billiard room

Right off the dining room you’ll find the billiard room. In that time, women weren’t expected to join in on the game, so there was a seating area designed just for them to watch as the men played.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Snapshots of more rooms and objects

There are so many little rooms and corridors to check out, each one providing a window into a another era and giving your eyes plenty to marvel at. I don’t want to give away too much, so here are just a few more images to give you a glimpse of the Cerralbo Museum’s collection. But please don’t pass up the chance to see it in person!

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art
Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Photography by Jose Luis Magaña from A Second Art (Facebook & Instagram)

Info

  • WebsiteFacebook & Instagram
  • I highly recommend booking a guided tour in English, Spanish or French
  • Address: Calle Ventura Rodríguez, 17
  • Hours: Tues–Sat 9:30am-3pm; Thursday also from 5-8pm; Sundays and holidays from 10am-3pm
  • Metro: Plaza de España
  • Los Cinco Museos pass: if you want to visit all five of these former mansions turned museums, you can purchase a €12 pass called Los Cinco Museos at any of their ticket offices. The pass gives you unlimited access to all five museums for 10 days, and after that you can enter on Saturdays with a plus one for the rest of the year.

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Photo Contest – "Faces of the Rastro"


We at Naked Madrid launched a photo contest together with the Madrid-based art platform, A Second Art, and Boconó coffee shop from April 20-27, under the theme “Faces of the Rastro.”

The aim was to promote art in Madrid and get people even more excited about getting their cameras out, sharing their photos, and looking to capture the beauty of the Rastro flea market. It’s that simple.

And the result?

Photo contest Bocono Art Wall Naked Madrid A Second Art

Check out the six winning photos below along with a story behind each one. These photos are also featured on A Second Art in Spanish, as well as Boconó Art Wall (calle Embajadores, 3), a family-run specialty coffee shop in the heart of Madrid.

A warm congrats to the winners and a big thank you to all those who participated. We’ll be announcing new art projects soon, so stay tuned!

1) Mark Makepeace, US

Instagram: @marotta_make

Photo contest Madrid Rastro Naked Madrid and A Second Art

“Card Hawkers”

2) Chiara Giacobbe, Italy

Instagram: @chiaragiacobbe / Website: chiaragiacobbe.myportfolio.com

Photo contest Madrid Rastro Naked Madrid and A Second Art

This photo was taken on a sunny Sunday morning at the Rastro flea market. After a while walking in the market, this talented guy drew my attention in a second, so I decided to focus on him for my project. I have been attracted by his collection of various engines, all handmade with aluminum. Really interesting stuff, especially because many people was buying from him!

3) Marcos García, Spain (two photos)

Instagram: @mis_fotos_de_madrid / Email: marcos@casalderrey.com

Photo contest Madrid Rastro Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Wisdom acquired over the years changes the contents of your shopping cart.

Photo contest Madrid Rastro Naked Madrid and A Second Art

They had splendid pasts apart. Now they’re friends and live together wrapped up like babies in the shelter of the Rastro.

4) Leah Pattem, UK

Instagram: @rastrolife / Website: www.madridnofrills.com

Photo contest Madrid Rastro Naked Madrid and A Second Art

“I feel so lucky to live in the heart of El Rastro and witness a 400-year-old community of quirky characters going about their everyday lives. Sometimes it feels as though nothing has changed in all this time, especially when the local girls bust out their best moves to the flamenco blasting from the bar downstairs. El Rastro is a truly inspiring place, and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world.”

5) Jose Enrique Arias Valverde, Spain

Instagram: @e.arisval / Facebook: enrique.arisval

Photo contest Madrid Rastro Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The story behind this photo… the truth is that “it’s you.” I mean, I’ve never participated in a contest or anything. Nor the idea of going out to capture people on the street with my camera. I’m more used to studios and using models to take headshots. But since I discovered Boconó, I don’t know how to explain it… the air you breathe in your café and the good vibes you bring, is what motivated me to take a few walks around the Rastro this Sunday with my camera, and here’s the result.

 

If you want to see the Spanish-language version of the article, visit A Second Art!




Boconó Art Wall, Madrid-based photography by "A Second"


About three weeks ago I went into a new specialty coffee shop in La Latina, Boconó, and ordered a cortado to go. The next time I stopped in, I had the chance to sit down with the owner, Carlos, and my friend, José Luis, who happens to be a regular Boconó customer. Our conversation gave me plenty to write about for a first post on Naked Madrid, but there’s so much more to the story!

Bocono Coffee Shop Madrid by Naked Madrid

What do you do with a big white wall?

As we were talking, we couldn’t help but notice the blank wall in need of attention. José Luis, who’s a photographer, took out his phone and started snapping photos of coffee cups located around the café, adding filters and creating unique images. One thing led to another, and we all agreed we should transform that floor-to-ceiling canvas into a photo gallery.

Then…

Bocono Coffee Shop Madrid

Now

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The process

It took José Luis, Andrea (another friend) and I over a week to get it all set up. I couldn’t possibly count how many hours we’ve spent in Boconó’s basement cutting paper, fitting photos and tinkering with random bits of material. Nor how many trips we’ve taken to the print shop and hardware store. Not to mention how many picture frames we bought, and how many we broke…

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

And today, as I look at the wall, I see so much more than beautiful artwork on display. I see the entire creative process that went on behind it, from the first day we sat down with Carlos at his café and pitched the idea, to the way the photos catch your eye even as you walk down the street and peer through Boconó’s window.

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

It’s thrilling to see how that seemingly random idea is now something real.

Boconó Art Wall

No longer a big white wall, Bocono Art Wall has become a showcase for local Madrid artists. Come and enjoy your coffee and take a look at the featured exhibits which will change monthly. If you’re an artist and want your work to be showcased, get in touch with A Second on Facebook.

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Current exhibit – A Second / Art

The first installation features the images shot at Boconó itself – photos that capture the essence of its coffee, ambience and the neighborhood. All photos are by José Luis Magaña, creator of A Second, a Madrid-based platform meant to create, inspire and share art projects in the city (show some support by liking the Facebook and Instagram pages, please!).

A Second Art by José Luis Magña photography Madrid

More to come

Thank you, Carlos, for your generosity and openness to create a space that supports artists in your café. We look forward to collaborating with you on the Boconó Art Wall and other art-related projects that are currently in the works.

Stay with us as we announce upcoming exhibits, as well as other venues in the near future!

Info

  • #boconoartwall
  • Where: Boconó Specialty Coffee Shop (calle Embajadores, 3)
  • Who: @bocono.coffee @asecond.art @nakedmadrid
  • When: February 17, ’17 (ongoing)

Also read our full article on Boconó, a Specialty Coffee Shop in Plaza de Cascorro

 

 

 




Café Barbieri: A 114-year-old Art Noveau café in Lavapiés


Café Barbieri first brought modernist charm to Madrid’s working class district, Lavapiés, in 1902, and although the barrio has evolved dramatically over the last 114 years, the interior of this elegant bar hasn’t changed one bit.

Some things have changed though – Café Barbieri is owned by a charismatic chap from New Delhi and staffed with bilingual youngthings. It also now has a small terrace, but this is not why you’d come here – its appeal is truly the interior.

The whole place is lined with mirrors which back then were a symbol of wealth. These mirrors are now aging well, stained a smoky bronze colour with dots of grey rust creeping in from the edges. The ceiling is framed with grids of ornate girders that are connected to decorative cast-iron beams, typical of older buildings in Lavapiés. Although never on, there are ceiling fans too – something increasingly rare in Madrid.

At the back of the bar is a grand piano on a small raised stage. Almost every evening there’s a live music session often featuring the piano, and this place does food too – typical Spanish stuff but with an edge.

The worn white marble table tops and red velvet seating lining the dining area mark this place out as opulent, but that’s really not the vibe – it’s chilled and cosy and attracts a spectrum of people, from the intrepid tourist who’s braved it down the hill, to the unassuming local who fancies a read of one of the papers on offer.

Café Barbieri by day

Café Barbieri by day

Café Barbieri's beautiful ornate cieling

Café Barbieri’s beautiful ornate ceiling

The grand piano taking centre stage, and look at all those beautiful mirrors

The grand piano taking centre stage, and look at all those beautiful mirrors

Look at that original tiled floor!

Look at that original tiled floor!

The bar has a great selection of spirits & vermouth on tap

The bar has a great selection of spirits & vermouth on tap

Café Barbieri by night

Café Barbieri by night

Café Barbieri is also on the same street as the Greek foodie place, Egeo, so there you have it, your night is planned!

Info




Manzana Mahou: Gourmet Art Experience


Manzana Mahou is the concept sponsored by Madrid’s most iconic beer, Mahou. It’s located in Malasaña (between metro stops Tribunal and Alonso Martinez) at Palacio de Santa Bárbara, a beautiful palace built in 1866. For the third consecutive year, the outdoor space has been turned into a popular terrace designed to provide an oasis during Madrid’s warmest months.
Manzana Mahou by Naked Madrid

The idea behind Manzana Mahou is to bring together art, gourmet food and beer, to create a unique experience. It is open until October 8th, after which it will be temporarily closed until next summer. This year, the stars of the show will be chefs María Marte from Allard Experience, Javier Goya, Javier Mayor and David Alfonso, from Triciclo and Roberto Ruiz from Cascabel by Punto MX.

Manzana Mahou by Naked Madrid

These top chefs will be in charge of creating exclusive dinners inspired by the four resident artists at Manzana Mahou. In addition to this, two restaurants, La Cabra and Tandem will offer a more casual dining experience. La Cabra is a Michelin Star restaurant that will also offer brunch on Sundays from 12pm to 4pm for only 25€, led by renowned chef Javier Aranda, who at just 29 is one of the most acclaimed chefs in Spain. Tandem, on the other hand, is Triciclo’s little brother which has also become a leader in Madrid’s restaurant scene.

Manzana Mahou by Naked Madrid

This year, the outdoor space has expanded, enhancing the experience. Four artists will be exhibiting, Julia Llerena, María Platero, Françoise Vanneraud and PLAYdramaturgia. The latter are a group of artists that create a mix between visual and performing arts, while the first three are focused mainly on visual arts. 

Manzana Mahou by Naked Madrid

Entrance on Calle Hortaleza

Open Monday to Sunday, from 11am to 1am, Manzana Mahou is a great opportunity to try some of Madrid’s greatest restaurants at a more affordable price while enjoying art and a few beers.

Info

Facebook & Website

Address: Calle Hortaleza, 47

Metro: Alonso Martínez & Tribunal




Forasteros, a Madrid-based swing, gypsy-jazz and folk band


As a hub for artists and creative are types from all over the world, Madrid’s local live-music scene is energetic and diverse. As always, your friends at Naked Madrid are here to provide you with the best options as how to maximize the potential of your nights out. The first local musicians to be featured in this series are the swing, gypsy-jazz, folk group Forasteros.

Forasteros image 2

They have an interesting backstory because their members had all met by chance. The band was formed when its founder, lyricist and guitarist, Tom Buzz Cox from London, crossed paths with Tara during a Vaughan System teacher training course. Swing instructor Julia Hampson, also from London, was brought onboard as the violinist after an encounter busking the streets in Lavapies.

Tom recruited Hinata Myojin, a bassist from Japan, through another band in the community. Clarinettist Ricardo Vasquez from Texas/Mexico was discovered upon his response to an advertisement. They are unclear on how drummer Fernando Iglesias from Madrid entered the fold, strongly implying that he materialized out of thin air.

tortuga frizzy hair

They write in Spanish, English, French and even Japanese. Ricardo and Julia have a classical background and are well-versed in swing and Jazz. Overall the group combines aspects of gypsy-jazz, folk and swing while also being open to anything that takes their fancy: twisted Latin rhythms, funk, DnB hints.

Their ambition is to make people laugh, dance and feel while also “talking about difficult shit.” says Tara Lowe, their singer and lyricist, who I have known for the greater part of the year as two of my close friends were her flatmates. Lowe, a long-term expat from Cardiff enjoys writing songs about everyday life that are “cheeky, honest and indulgent.”

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Forasteros’ songs have addressed some of the more relatable aspects of living in Madrid with their songs “Landlord from Hell, title self-explanatory, as well as “Banks of June” which focuses on lust and broken hearts. Their track “Springtime Shuffle” centers on opportune new beginnings while “Cuando” is just about dancing.

Forasteros performs a lot in Lavapies in the venues of Gato Verde, Taberna Alabanda, La Tortuga, La Tabacalera and Centro de Creacion y Investigation. Their First EP, “Hello you!” was recorded at The Treehouse Madrid Studios on the label of Vestizo Azul Records. It is available free on Bandcamp. Check out their video of Devil in the Trees” from their new EP.

Forasteros 4

Info

Follow them on Facebook & their Bandcamp page and be sure to see them perform live! Their EP Hello You launches on the 12th November at Intruso Bar – with supporting artist Taiacore. Tickets can be purchased at GiglonThe first 50 people to arrive will get a free EP and poster.




Where to enjoy good film in Madrid


Madrid has cinemas all over the city, yet this article aims to mention the city’s real gems when it comes to film–Madrid’s most beloved movie theaters, where films are shown in original version, and in some cases, where tickets cost less than 5€ and the theater alone is worth a visit.

Here’s a list of all Madrid’s cinemas for listings and buying tickets online. Tickets normally cost 9€, although you can find promotions depending on the day of the week. Most cinemas have a “día del espectador” (usually on Mondays although it varies) when tickets cost around 6-7€, and if you have a “carnet joven” or one of many types of discount cards, you can also get a few euros knocked off.

If you’re looking to see good film in Madrid, whether that means independent, foreign, blockbuster or simply in original version (versión original, i.e. V.O.), here are Madrid’s best cinemas for you: 

1. Plaza de los Cubos, (metro Plaza de España)

Right by Plaza de España, you’ll find two cinemas–Cines Renoir (c/ Princesa, 3 & Martín de los Heros, 12) and  Golem (c/ Martín de los Heros, 14)–showcasing films from around the world in original version, with subtitles in Spanish. Prices are standard (Monday tickets cost 6€, other days of the week, 9€).

*Cines Renoir has another location near Retiro, on calle Narváez, 42 (metros Goya & Ibiza).

2. Yelmo Cines Ideal, Plaza de Jacinto Benavente (metros Sol & Tirso de Molina)

Cine Ideal is perhaps the most popular movie theater in Madrid showing films in original version. I highly recommend this cinema because they feature great blockbuster movies as well as independent films, from Spain and around the world, and they are never dubbed. Normal adult tickets cost 9,20€, however, if you get a discount (i.e. Yelmo theater member or carnet joven) it costs 7.90€.  On Mondays, it’s  “día del espectador“, so tickets cost 7,30€ for everyone.

3. La Filmoteca Española (Cine Doré), c/ Santa Isabel, 3 (metro Antón Martín)

One of Madrid’s most special places, Cine Doré sits in a very old theater and revives all types of films from different eras and corners of the world. Here you can see movies from the 50’s from Korea, to the 90’s from France, and even more recent films from the US–you never know! Nevertheless, if you go, you’ll be happy to find yourself in a charming atmosphere and tickets are extremely cheap, just 2,50€! (and only 2€ if you have a student ID or carnet joven)

4. La Cineteca, Plaza de Legazpi, 8 (metro Legazpi)

Inside El Matadero, a former slaughterhouse turned cultural hub, La Cineteca is an awesome theater showcasing all types of films, from documentaries to independent foreign film festivals, at an unbeatable price: 3,50€. Some are even free. Plus you get to walk around El Matadero, which, if you haven’t been, is an absolute must.

5. Sala Berlanga, c/ Andrés Mellado 53 (metros Islas Filipinas & Argüelles)

If you’re looking to see Spanish films, this is the place. Sala Berlanga showcases Spanish-language films for 3€, and it is a hallmark of Spanish cinema culture in Madrid.

6. Cultural Centers

You can also see screenings at some of Madrid’s most welcoming cultural centers and embassies (usually for free), such as the French Institute, Korean Cultural Center and Russian Cultural Center.

7.  Outdoor Summer Cinema 

Madrid’s cultural centers, museums and municipal buildings are also great at putting on films outside, either on their terraces or rooftops, helping to fight the heat and making the most of the city’s cool Summer nights. Since Summer is now coming to an end, it’s a bit late to post an article on where to see films outside, however, here’s one you might like: Madrid Summer Cinema Guide by Espacio Madrid.

Find out more…

Lastly, a good website to use to find out about cheaper and independent cinema in Madrid is Madridfree.com, which tends to post about showings such as at the above mentioned cultural centers and independent theaters. For a go-to guide to all cinemas in Madrid, you can use esMADRID.com’s list of 11 original version theaters in Madrid, Guía del Ocio’s constantly updated movie listings and the most used, entradas.com.

What’s your favorite cinema in Madrid? Have we missed something? Let us know!

 




Madrid's Obvious and Not-so-obvious Museums (and how to get in for free)


Let’s skip the intro on Madrid having a world-renowned arts scene, and go straight into what you should see while you’re here. To make things easier, we’re breaking down this list of Madrid’s best art institutions into two parts: the obvious and the not-so-obvious. And we’ll also tell you how to get into these places for free*.

The Obvious:

All of these museums are classified as “obvious” because they’re situated along Madrid’s boulevards–Paseo del Prado and Paseo de Recoletos–where you’ll find the city’s finest arts institutions, including the Golden Triangle of Art which refers to the first three museums on this list. Only one place is not situated here–the Royal Palace.

1. Prado Museum

Spain’s national art museum houses a wide collection of European art from the 12th to the early 19th Centuries, and its most notable works are by Spanish painters, Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Goya and El Greco. Considered one of the best museums in the world, the Prado’s most famous piece is Las Meninas by Velazquez. Do give yourself a few hours to walk around this museum–it’s gigantic!

When is it free? Always for under-18-year-olds and students ages 18-25 (with valid ID). On Sundays from 5pm-7pm and weekdays from 6pm-8pm.
Prices & Hours: General admission 14€. Open Mon-Sat from 10am–8pm. Sundays and holidays from 10am–7pm.
Metro: Banco de España
Where: Paseo del Prado (s/n)

2. Reina Sofia Museum

Reina Sofia Museum by Naked Madrid

Spain’s national museum of 20th Century art is located at the bottom of El Paseo del Prado, near Atocha train station. The Reina Sofia’s permanent collection consists of art by Spanish painters such as Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, and its most famous piece is Picasso’s Guernica. Temporary exhibits feature works by international artists, plus the building’s impressive architecture and free-access art library are alone worth a visit!

When is it free? Sundays from 1:30pm-7pm and on weekdays from 7-9pm (except Tuesdays).
Prices & Hours: Mon-Sat from 10am-9pm and Sundays from 10am-7pm. Closed on Tuesdays.
Metro: Atocha
Where: c/ Santa Isabel, 52

Additionally, you can visit a glass palace situated in the middle of Retiro Park featuring works from the museum.

Palacio de Cristal by Naked Madrid

3. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza

This museum is my brother’s favorite. In fact, he loved the Thyssen so much that he actually visited it two days in a row (during a five-day visit). The Thyssen is named after its founder and houses one of the largest private collections in the world. Here you will find an amazing permanent collection of more than 1,600 masterpiece paintings spanning seven centuries of art and representing a myriad of genres, as well as must-see temporary exhibitions showcasing Van Gogh to Pop Art.

When is it free? Mondays from 12-4pm.
Prices & Hours: General admission €10. Open everyday from 10am-7pm. Mondays from 12pm-4pm (free entrance)
Metro: Banco de España
Where: Paseo del Prado, 8

4. Caixa Forum

Caixa Forum Facade by Naked MadridCreated by the Catalonian bank, La Caixa, the first thing that stands out about Caixaforum is its impressive exterior design, including an urban garden wall. As you step inside, you’ll notice that the building’s interior design follows suit. Architecture aside, here you’ll see outstanding temporary exhibits on everything from up-and-coming photographers to Pixar!

When is it free? Always free for La Caixa clients and under-16-year-olds.
Prices & Hours: General Admission €4. Open Sun-Mon from 10am-8pm
Metro: Atocha
Where: Paseo del Prado, 36

5. The Royal Palace:

One of the most beautiful places in Madrid is the Palacio Real. Situated in Plaza de Oriente, facing the Royal Opera House and overlooking the Gardens of Sabatini, the Royal Palace is the official residence of the King of Spain, although he doesn’t actually live there. Used today for national ceremonies and as a popular museum, Madrid’s Palacio Real is the largest royal palace in all of Western Europe, boasting 3,418 rooms which are ornately decorated with fine paintings, sculptures and tapestries. One last thing–if you go here, you absolutely must pay a visit to its gardens, called “El Campo del Moro”, located just behind the palace (always free and open to the public at the same hours as the palace).

When is it free? Free entrance for those with an EU or Iberoamerican passport/residency card from Mon-Thurs from 4pm-6pm during April-Sept and from 6pm-8pm during Oct-Mar.
Prices & Hours: Normal entrance fee is 10€. Students with valid ID get a discount (5€). In Winter (Oct-Mar) open daily from 10am-6pm and in Summer (Apr-Sep) open daily from 10am-8pm.
Metro: Ópera (line 5 & 2) and Principe Pio (line 10)
Where: c/ Bailén (s/n)

6. Palacio de Cibeles

Palacio de Cibeles by Naked Madrid

Madrid’s most emblematic building, Palacio de Cibeles is situated in the famous Plaza de Cibeles which joins Madrid’s two boulevards–Paseo del Prado and Paseo de Recoletos. One wouldn’t imagine that this ornately decorated palace was once Madrid’s post office, but it was indeed! It was turned into a cultural center in 2013, and now holds free exhibits throughout its first four floors. It also boasts a café, restaurant, and a rooftop terrace on the 6th floor that offers breathtakingly beautiful views of the city. You can also visit the lookout point at the top of the building for just 2€, where you will surely get one of your best pics of Madrid.

The lookout point (mirador):

When is it free? Free entrance every first Wednesday of the month.
Price & Hours: 2€ for adults and 0,50€ for children under 12 years of age. Visits are held every thirty minutes from Tues-Sun from 10:30am-1:30pm and from 4pm-7pm. Closed on Mondays. You must reserve tickets at the CentroCentro office situated near the main door of the building.

The exhibition spaces:

When is it free? Always.
Hours: Mon-Sun from 10am-8pm. Closed on Mondays.
Metro: Banco de España
Where: Plaza Cibeles, 1

The Not-So-Obvious

Madrid has some wonderful art havens scattered about the city which are less spoken of, although still much deserving of a visit. Here are our favorites:

1. La Casa Encendida

Created by the bank, Caja Madrid, you’ll find “The Burning House” located just a five minute walk from the Reina Sofia Museum. This arts and cultural center showcases modern and contemporary pieces, as well as many cultural events and workshops. They also hold music concerts on their terrace. Entrance is always free, and the café is very nice too.

When is it free? Always.
Hours: 10am-10pm everyday
Metro: Embajadores
Where: Ronda de Valencia, 2

2. El Matadero

Matadero Madrid by Naked Madrid

This is one of our absolute favorite spots in Madrid. A former pig slaughterhouse, El Matadero was turned into an arts and cultural center in 2006. It has many warehouses (naves) showcasing film, theater performances and art galleries, as well as events and a great café called “La Cantina” where you can taste local food products from Madrid. We highly recommend going here, and taking a stroll along Madrid’s river (Madrid Río) afterwards which is just across the street. Here’s a more in-depth article we wrote about El Matadero.

When is it free? Always
Hours: Tuesday to Friday from 4pm to 10pm Saturday to Sunday from 11am to 10pm
Metro: Legazpi (line 3, yellow)
Where: Paseo de la Chopera, 14

3. Museo Naval

Although Spain’s maritime museum is situated on the Paseo del Prado, we don’t consider it as obvious as the ones listed above. Many people are surprised when they go to this museum precisely because it’s not talked about enough. The exhibits take you through Spain’s maritime history in chronological order, showcasing artefacts such as old coins, maps, books, weapons, and more.

When is it free? Always (recommended donation of 3€)
Hours: Tues-Sun from 10am-7pm. (During August, it closes at 3pm). Closed on Monday.
Metro: Banco de España
Where: Paseo del Prado, 5

4. Museo del Romanticismo

Located in the heart of Madrid’s trendiest neighborhoods–Malasaña and Chueca–you should definitely stop by this museum if you’re in the area. El Museo del Romanticismo gives you insight into the history, art and daily life in Spain during the Romantic Era (European intellectual movement during the 19th C).  And I must admit that my favorite thing about this museum is its quaint and hidden garden café. If you’re not into museums, at least pop in for a coffee or tea.

When is it free? Saturdays from 2pm onwards and Sundays
Prices & Hours: General admission 4€. Closed on Mondays. Sundays from 10am-3pm. In Summer (May 1–Oct 31) Tues-Sat from 9:30am-8:30pm. In Winter, (Nov 1–Apr 30) from 9:30am-6:30pm.
Metro: Tribunal or Alonso Martínez
Where: Calle San Mateo, 13

5. Museo Sorolla

This charming museum is my mother-in-law’s favorite, not only for its beautiful art pieces but also for the old architecture of the building itself, which was the former private residence of Spanish painter, Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863 – 1923), who is especially famous for his portraits and landscapes. Another note–my mother fell in love with this museum too.

When is it free? Saturdays from 2pm onwards, and Sundays.
Prices & Hours: General admission 3€. Tues-Sat from 9:30am-8pm. Sundays from 10am-3pm. Closed on Mondays.
Metro: Iglesia and Rubén Darío
Where: Paseo del General Martínez Campos, 37

6. Casa Museo Lope de Vega

This 16th century house was the former home of Spanish writer, Lope de Vega, who was famous during the “Golden Age” of Spanish literature. His house is located in Madrid’s “Barrio de las Letras”, a central neighborhood whose streets are named after the several famous Golden Age writers who also lived there, such as Miguel de Cervantes, Quevedo and Góngora. Lope de Vega resided in this house during the last 25 years of his life, from 1610-35. His home was turned into a national monument and museum in 1935. Here you can see his private collection of art, furniture, books and more. To visit, you must make a reservation in advance for a free, guided tour (see details below).

When is it free? Always.
Hours: Tues-Sun from 10am-3pm. Guided tours last 45 minutes and begin every half hour. The last tour starts at 2pm. You must make a reservation. Tours are available in Spanish, English and French. Make a Reservation by telephone (91 429 92 16) or email (casamuseolopedevega@madrid.org).
Metro: Antón Martín and Sol
Where: Calle de Cervantes, 11

7. Espacio Fundación Telefónica

espacio teleféonica. Free museum in center of Madrid by Naked Madrid

This arts and cultural exhibition space was created by the telecommunications company, Telefónica, and is always free and conveniently located on the Gran Vía. We highly recommend paying a visit, not only because it’s free and has good air conditioning, but also because you’ll find surprisingly current and interactive art exhibits. Plus, one of our Naked Madrid writers, Alex, recommends this place as a great first date idea!

When is it free? Always.
Hours: Sundays-Mondays from 10am-8pm. Closed on Tuesdays.
Metro: Gran Vía (line 1 & 5)
Where: c/ Fuencarral, 3

8. Museo de América

This national museum houses 25,000 pieces of art and historical artifacts from the American continent. My friend, Ryan, wanted to make sure that I mentioned the shrunken heads on display here (apparently, native Americans used to shrink dead humans’ heads and use them as talismans).

When is it free? For under-18-year-olds, over-65, university students and unemployed (with valid ID).
Prices & Hours: General Admission 3€. In Winter (Nov 1-Apr 30), open from Tues-Sat from 9:30am-6:30pm. In Summer (May 1 – Oct 30) Tues-Sat from 9:30am-8:30pm. Sundays/holidays from 10am-3pm. Closed on Mondays.
Metro: Moncloa
Where: Avenida de los Reyes Católicos, 6

9. Fundación Mapfre

This foundation was created by the insurance company, Mapfre, and exhibits art mostly from the last third of the 19th century to after World War II. It also showcases a lot of photography. The foundation has two rooms, both located next to each other.

When is it free? Always.
Hours: Mon from 2pm-8pm. Tues-Sat from 10am-8pm. Sun/holidays from 11am-7pm.
Metro: Colón
Where: Paseo de Recoletos, 23

10. Conde Duque

I have particularly fond memories of this cultural center because I used to go here often during university. Located in one of my favorite neighborhoods–Conde Duque–this building served as the former barracks of the Royal Guard Corps and was turned into a cultural center in 1983. Ever since, it has used its enormous space wisely. Here you can see free exhibits including large scale art projects, photography and documentaries. Conde Duque is also known for is its outdoor cinema which runs from July through September, and music concerts and shows throughout the year.

When is it free? Always.
Hours: Tues-Sat from 10.30am – 2pm and 5.30pm – 9pm. Sundays/Holidays from 10.30am – 2pm.
Metro: Noviciado, Plaza de España, San Bernardo and Ventura Rodríguez.
Where: Calle Conde Duque 11

11. Museo del Traje

Madrid’s fashion museum showcases different modes throughout the centuries. Although its current name is rather recent, the museum first opened in 1925 as “Exposición del Traje Regional e Histórico”, meaning the exhibit on regional and historic attire. Today, it showcases a wide range of collections and also holds a number of activities such as “noches de verano”, where they show fashion-themed films every Thursday during July and August. You can see what’s playing here.

When is it free? Saturdays from 2:30pm on. Sundays. For anyone with a “carnet joven” or student ID
Prices & Hours: General admission is 3€. Open Tues-Saturday from 9:30am-7pm. Sundays and holidays from 10am-3pm. 
Metro: Moncloa
Where: Avenida de Juan de Herrera, 2. 

12. La Tabacalera

La Tabacalera is a very unique community center in Madrid that occupies an abandoned factory and holds free activities on a daily basis, from salsa and capoeira classes to concerts and markets. Adjacent to the community area is an exhibition space that is free and open to the public, and mainly showcases photography and contemporary art works. Do check out their web to find out about what’s going on and all the activities you can take part in!

When is it free? Always
Hours: Mon-Fri from 12pm-8pm. Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 11am-8pm. Closed on Mondays.
Metro: Embajadores
Where: Calle Embajadores 51 (the community center is number 53)

General Information: 

*Most museums allow free entrance to under-18-year-olds and over-65-year-olds, as well as free entrance or a considerable discount to university students with valid ID and groups of over 5 people.

**All of Madrid’s museums allow free entrance on the following holidays: April 18th (World Heritage Day), May 18th (International Museum Day), October 12th (National Spanish Holiday) and December 6th (Day of the Spanish Constitution).

As always, if we’ve left out any of your favorite art institutions or museums, please let us know! We intend on expanding this list.




5 Best Cafe-bookshops in Madrid


Coffee shops selling books? Bookshops selling coffee? However you call them, here’s round one of my favorite places for coffee and books in Madrid (see round two, here). What I like about these places is that even if you’re not into reading, the vibe is always nice and cozy, plus you can order tea, wine, beer, whisky, you name it.

So if you feel like grabbing a quiet table to read or work at alone, you can do that. And if you feel like meeting up with a friend or even a client, you can do that too. Here goes!

1. La Libre

la libre cafe bookshop madrid by Naked Madrid

This is my mom’s favorite cafe in Madrid. Why? Because a few years ago while she was visiting me in the dead of winter, we went in to warm up after a visit to the Reina Sofia Museum around the corner. When she asked the waiter for a coffee, he said, “No ma’am, I think you need a whisky.” He couldn’t have been more right, she said. They also have nice teas and things to nibble on, from breakfast pastries to empanadas.

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Address: c/ Argumosa, 39
Metro: Atocha

2. La Ciudad Invisible

Rebujito at La Ciudad Invisible cafe travel bookshop by Naked Madrid, in Madrid center

I frequent La Ciudad Invisible more than any other cafe on this list, mainly because it’s closest to where I live and it has the biggest space. A travel bookshop selling food and drinks, this cafe has two floors, huge windows and high ceilings, plus plenty of large tables, couches and comfortable armchairs, making it a great place for getting work done and meeting friends. Plus it sells a killer Rebujito for 2€ (a really refreshing yet deceptive drink from the South containing sherry, white wine and soda water) and it’s across the street from one of my favorite restaurants in Madrid, Bar Lambuzo.

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Address: c/ Costanilla de los Ángeles, 7
Metro: Opera & Santo Domingo

3. La Infinito

La Infinito cafe bookshop Madrid by Naked Madrid

This little corner café-bookshop lies in Lavapiés and serves up coffee, books & art on a daily basis. Not only does it have a welcoming ambience and lots of light streaming in through its tall glass windows, but it also prides itself on throwing tons of events, from theater performances (one of which took place in the café’s bathroom!) to a very popular Sunday brunch with live jazz music (must make a reservation), and much more.

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Address: c/ Tres Peces, 22
Metro: Antón Martín & Lavapiés

4. La Fugitiva

La Fugitiva cafe bookshop in Madrid by Naked Madrid

This one’s the most bookstore-like of all. Since books are the centrepiece at this cafe, I love that its window-seats and tiny bar are truly nestled between towering bookshelves and overflowing tables displaying both bestsellers and rare reads. La Fugitiva has all you need from a café–coffee and sweets–and all you could ask for from a bookstore–readings, talks, presentations, workshops, and of course, that distinct smell of books.

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Web
Address: c/ de Santa Isabel, 7
Metro: Antón Martín 

5. Tipos Infames. Libros y Vinos 

Tipos Infames Madrid bookshop cafe Malasaña by Naked Madrid

Tipos Infames Madrid bookshop cafe Malasaña by Naked Madrid

Right off calle Fuencarral in Malasaña, this trendy bookshop café and wine bar is a favorite of many in the neighborhood. I like this place because it has a lot of seating area, a full bar and high ceilings, making it feel open, friendly and comfortable. It’s a great place to go with friends for a quieter conversation in the afternoon. Plus they’ve just launched a new chapter called “El Aperitivo es Sagrado” (the aperitif is sacred), which entails live music on Sundays before lunchtime and a complimentary glass of vermouth with a purchase of a book!

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Address: c/ San Joaquín, 3
Metro: Tribunal

 

Wait! It doesn’t end there! Here’s Round 2 of Madrid’s Best Coffe-Bookshops

 

And if you’re looking for our favorite cafes in Madrid without books, here you are:




El Campo de Cebada, a mix of live music, politics & drinking


I’ve been in Madrid for 5 months now and I want to share somewhere with you. There’s nowhere as special to me as El Campo de Cebada for a place to relax. It’s quite unique in what it has to offer. It’s a free space where you can lie in the sun, the shade, drink beer and listen to live music or play sports. It’s even a place where green and reform-minded political groups go to spread their word. Oh, and they have a theatre. How awesome is that?

Any lover of sun, sociality and really cheap booze, should come to El Campo de Cebada.

campo de cebada madrid

from plataformaarquitectura.cl

It’s not just some commercialized private space. After the collapse of a sports complex in the same area, an association of neighborhoods bought the plot with a grant from the City of Madrid. From here, people in the surrounding area had a stake in how to invest the money.

The idea was to create an inclusive temporary space where the community could get involved and where they could create value. Instead of an empty disused space, the creation of El Campo de Cebada allows people to do sport, socialize and pursue other projects. But, yes you read correctly – temporary. Cebada is there to fill in the vacuum and it will leave when the community gets the funding for a new sports complex.

And this is one more reason for why it’s special. It’s not going to be there forever.

Mercado de la Cebada Market in La Latina by Naked Madrid

I promise you’re yet to find anything like it. From your first encounter, by La Latina Metro you’ll probably be surprised to see passers-by cramming around spy-holes in its graffitied walls and people flowing endlessly in and out of its gate. The hum of enjoyment comes from somewhere.

What could be so interesting?

If you go over for a peek…

First you hear the noise. Like a school when it breaks and you can hear the happy roar of children playing.

You see lots of people. Football, basketball, socializing, Botellón (people casually drinking outside) and of course, smoking. There’s art all up the walls. There are people sat in wooden stands and others on benches. All walks of life can be found, from musicians, entrepreneurs, students, workers, the old and the young; from the sophisticated, to the -let’s say- drunk.

Mercado de la Cebada Market in La Latina by Naked Madrid

I can’t help but feel welcome. Everyone is sharing one place. They’re all happy. The sun makes everything look good.

Plus, I get the pirate vibe from the makeshift DIY atmosphere! And that’s hard to find, I assure you.

My advice: grab some beer or cold drinks and a friend. Take a ball, Frisbee, guitar or book (if your alone!) and go. Go and relax. Soak it in.

If there was ever a day made for this, that day is Sunday. Starting early, like 10am, you can walk around El Rastro and see all the goods and wares they have to offer in what is Madrid’s massive open market. I managed to get a guitar for only €50! And then head for Cebada.

At around 1pm, live music begins. It’s often similar faces keeping the spirit alive, with the odd newcomer in between. But it has always been exciting. I’ve seen an amazing barbershop quartet, a comedian guitarist, a charming folk singing couple, improvisation, blues and some Spanish classics.

cambo de cebada

from plataformaarquitectura.cl

Here until 3am is the perfect place to grab a Mahou and relax in the sun. You’re welcome to stay all day and I like to make an afternoon of it.

On some weeks you can also find the same space (with the music!) turned into a political hive-mind. People from all parts of the (Leftist) political spectrum set up stalls to give you information. From memory there were anarchist stalls, socialist stalls, ones on green issues, democratic reform and women’s rights (hot topic right now). I’ve even gone there and found a local ecological food market mixed with talks on green consumerism and responsible business models. If politics is your cup of tea – this place is too. You can also sharpen up on your Spanish.

There are always things going on at El Campo de Cebada. Check out their website from time to time. Up and coming is a festival from the 4th to the 9th and a TEDx Madrid Salon talk on July 14th (here’s TEDxMadrid’s official site)

You know you’ve found somewhere special when you stumble across a space for bringing a community together for fun and for raising awareness about important issues affecting everyone. If there is one voice here, for me it says ‘we are a community and we can act’.

Sports and music, beer and politics, speaking Spanish. I really can say no more.

So, if you want to be somewhere and not feel like an anonymous person at a bar or club, go there. You want to chat in the sun with friends, beer and music? Go there. I’ve had some amazing experiences and I think you’d be missing out. So, go, go, go!

El Campo de Cebada
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Events Calendar
Address: Plaza de la Cebada, 4