Quirky activities you could do in Madrid
Expatica writer Kejan Haynes wanders off the beaten track to discover unique places in Madrid.
Been to Plaza Mayor, rode the boats in Retiro, or visited the Prado already? Yawn. Here’s a list of things to do in Madrid that you wouldn’t necessarily find in your tourist guide.
Golfing for regular folks
In a crowded city such as Madrid, it’s still possible to work on your golf swing without paying exorbitant fees of joining a private club.
At Parque de Santander, one can access the driving range for less than EUR 10. Classes are also available if you want to work on your short game.
The park also includes a 1.2km running track, football fields, paddle courts and playgrounds for the kids. Open daily from 9am to 10pm. There’s something for everyone who’s looking to get away from it all.
At a cost of over EUR 500 million, this park was opened in 2007 under a spot of controversy because of its size. However, it also boasts an eco-friendly environment by using less grass so that less water is wasted during dry summer months. The dazzling fountain with large jet uses its own regenerating water supply.
Parque de Santander
Paseo San Francisco De Sales / C / Santander, Madrid
Geomineral museum for the young
The geomineral museum is a great way to keep young minds stimulated over the long summer months until school starts.
The museum contains a fascinating collection thousands of rocks, gems, and fossils dating back even before the time of the dinosaurs. The main hall contains a beautiful stained glass roof which overlooks a giant mastodon fossil, and if the rocks are boring, they will be sure to love the life-size replica of a T-Rex skull.
Museo Geominero (Geomineral Museum)
Ríos Rosas, 23 Madrid 28003
91 349 5759
Entry is free daily from 9am to 2pm.
Ice-skating to cool you down
When you think of Spain, winter sports usually aren’t the first thing that comes to mind, especially during the summer; but at the Palacio de Hielo (www.palaciodehielo.com) you can ice skate all year long at their expansive 1,800 square metres ice rink.
You don’t even need to own a pair of skates, you can rent. There are also English summer classes available for the children where they have the added benefit of learning English while cooling down on the ice.
Palacio de Hielo
Pº Gral. Martínez Campos, 20. P º Gral Martinez Campos, 20. 28015 Madrid
Tel/Fax: 34 914 451 984
Breathtaking view for the romantic
Another of Madrid’s somewhat hidden treasures is the teleferico which takes you from Parque Oeste to Casa de Campo hundreds of feet above ground.
For EUR 5.10 round trip, you can take one of these cable cars to see a fascinating view of the city, especially the Royal Palace. Once you get to Casa de Campo, you’re close to a slew of activities for everyone including the Parque de Atracciones and the zoo.
Teleferico (Cable Car)
Paseo Pintor Rosales 0
28008 Madrid, Spain
Tel: 34 915 411 118
Hiking for the sporty
This isn’t in Madrid city centre, and getting there is an excursion in itself but this hike in the Sierra de Guadarrama is definitely worth the effort.
Located north of Madrid, the mountain reaches around 2,500 metres (8,200 feet) at its highest point, called Peñalara, but isn’t too strenuous even for the most novice hikers.
At its lowest is Alberche en Villa del Prado at 430 metres. The mountain is a designated nature reserve known as the Parque Natural de Peñalara and is surrounded by small lakes and steep cliffs.
In the winter, the mountain doubles as a ski resort, but during the summer time it’s a great way to beat the unbearable heat.
To get there, take the Cercanías trains from either Atocha or Chamartin to Cercedilla and then transfer to Cotos.
Kejan Haynes / Expatica
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