The Retiro Park fountain. Retiro Park is one of many free things to do in Madrid.

It was not long ago that Madrid was one of the cheapest cities to visit in Europe—but those days are gone. After suffering through major financial crises and adopting the euro, Madrid, Spain is now much more expensive. The good news for travellers on a budget, though: there are still many free things to do in Madrid. If you are a thrifty tourist, check out our guide to must-try free activities in Madrid.

El Parque del Buen Retiro

The central park of Madrid, Retiro Park—as it’s known to the locals—has it all: nature, sculptures, boat rides and perfectly-manicured trees. Until the late 19th century, El Parque del Buen Retiro belonged to the Spanish monarchy. Today the 1.4 acre grounds boast the Rosaleda rose garden, the Estanque del Rotiro (the Retiro Pond), and the Bosque de los Ausentes (the Forest of the Departed). Sit back, relax and escape the hustle and bustle of city life in this free park.

When is it free?


Museo de Reina Sofia

This modern art gallery is where you can see many works by painters from Pablo Picasso to Salvador Dali. Though there is an entry fee during most times of day, the money-savvy traveller will notice that it is free during specific days and times.

When is it free?

Mondays 7—9pm, Wednesdays—Saturdays 7—9pm, Sundays 1:30—7pm. View the website for more detailed instructions and pricing.

Museo Nacional del Prado

Housing the most important collections of 14th—19th century European artists in the world, The Museo del Prado is also the most visited museum in the city. There are currently 7,600 paintings, 1,000 sculptures, 4,800 prints and 8,200 drawings in the museum’s possession, and nearly 1,300 works are on display. Visit for a free viewing of the world’s most comprehensive collection of Spanish art every day.

When is it free?

Admission is always free for children under 18 and students age 18—25. The museum is also free to journalists and family groups of at least three children and one adult. To the general public, Monday—Saturdays from 6—8pm and Sundays from 5—7pm are free hours.

Palacio Real

Madrid’s royal palace houses more collections of classical Spanish art. Much of the residential area is open to the public (although this is the official residence of King Juan Carlos, he does not actively live in the palace). The throne room, royal dining room and hall of mirrors are also open to the public.

When is it free?


Atocha Railway Station

An amazing botanic garden sits inside the city’s main train station. The tropical garden sits in the station’s old atrium and offers sites of plants and a much-talked-about turtle pool. Bonus: it is the perfect spot to visit on your way to another cheap destination.

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Image courtesy of Flickr user chiouchiou