In addition to historic cities and beach towns, Spain is home to incredible weather. In the middle of March, while it’s blizzard season in New York, Madrileños are bound to enjoy gorgeous 60-70 degree (Fahrenheit) weather every day. Make sure to take advantage of the fresh air and warm rays with some fun activities that’ll keep you outdoors and soaking up the Spanish sun.
1. El Parque del Buen Retiro
Formerly the private park of the royal family, Buen Retiro is one of the largest parks in Madrid. There are hours worth of things to see in this park if you’re in Madrid and looking for something to do outdoors. Think about heading over to the Monumento a Alfonso XII where you can hop into a row boat on the pond for just 8 euros, or have a picnic under a shady tree in any of the quiet grassy areas around the park. Make sure to stop by the Palacio de Crystal while at the park. Previously a green house, it now houses art exhibitions for free which are open to the public.
2. Gran Via
This is the 5th Avenue of Madrid and is central to the city and other must-see attractions. You can find stores with familiar names like H&M, and Adidas, as well as European chains like Zara and Primark, and even some local boutiques. It is easy to spend hours on end walking up and down Gran Via strolling in and out of stores. Whether you are window shopping or looking to purchase, this is a must-visit part of the city. Make sure to check out one of the most famous buildings in Madrid, the Metropolis building with the winged Goddess of victory prominently looking over the city from the top of the roof.
3. Círculo de Bellas Artes
While you are near Gran Via shopping around, why not stop by the CBA building which houses the most cultural programs throughout Madrid. There will always be performances and exhibitions to see inside of the building, but when weather permits, the real gem is up at the top of the building. The Círculo de Bellas Artes building has a trendy rooftop bar with ample seating and multiple bars (and a restaurant) for you to take in the panoramic view of Madrid. The building is located right next to the Metropolis building, so you will be sure to get a great view and even greater pictures from a new vantage point. If you go on a week day, head over around 6:30pm to catch the remarkable sunset, on the weekends plan for a wait in line. Admission to the building/terrace bar is under 10 euros.
4. Puerta del Sol
The Puerta del Sol is one of the busiest places in Madrid. You will always find people walking around, shopping, or sitting by the fountain in the center of the square. In the square, you can find the old Casa de Correos (post office) built during the reformation of Madrid, which now is the office of the President of Madrid. Make sure to also check out the very famous and prominent statue of King Charles III (el Rey Carlos III/el Rey Alcalde). You will also find the statue of El Oso y el Madroño (The Bear and the Strawberry Tree) which has become the symbol of the city of Madrid. And of course, the shopping; from TopShop to Sephora, Puerta del Sol is a nice shopping area to head over to in any weather.
5. El Rastro
If you are lucky enough to be in Madrid on a Sunday, you cannot miss the chance to shop at the Sunday market. El Rastro is only open until 3pm and has hundreds of stands running down a long street and multiple side streets, so make sure you get there by noon to be able to experience the entire market. From sunglasses, to souvenirs, to clothing and jewelry, to handbags…El Rastro literally has it all. You can even bargain, or regatear, the prices with the venders.