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What NOT to do in Madrid 2024

We are sure that you already know what the main attractions of the Spanish capital are and you have a slight idea of how the city is laid out and what you want to do.

However, you probably haven't thought about the possibility that there are things you can't do or can't leave behind. Sometimes it can be forgetting a place with a special charm, trying a new flavour or simply finding the perfect place to rest in the middle of your route through Madrid.


That's why we bring you a list of things NOT to do in Madrid. Pay attention because we don't want anyone to miss out.


What NOT to do in Madrid

It's not all about shaking hands

Spaniards are open, warm and very friendly people. Our way of being is reflected in everything we do, and how we do it. For that reason, some people, when they meet you, will greet you with a handshake, but others will not.

So what you need to do is not to be scared. Be prepared for kisses on the cheeks and more than one hug. It doesn't happen all the time, and it doesn't seem to be as common now as it used to be, but it's not lost.


We don't eat like everyone else

We use cutlery, of course, but not at the same time. Spaniards eat a lot, well and late. Our eating schedule consists of breakfast around 10am, lunch around 2pm, a mid-afternoon stop for a snack around 6pm, usually a sandwich or something sweet, and then dinner around 9pm.

Does this mean that you should do it too? No, but you should know what time the meals are so that you can behave like a real Madrileño or avoid the large crowds in restaurants at lunch or dinner time.


You can't leave this without trying it

Since you've brought up the subject of food, we can't miss the opportunity to remind you that not everything in Madrid is a squid sandwich and Cocido madrileño. There's more, and that more should be on your list of things you've tried.

Among those dishes we must highlight the callos a la madrileña, the patatas bravas (woe betide you if you haven't ordered this simple but incredible delicacy one tapas day), sweetbreads and, of course, the oxtail.


Don't go too soon

A common misconception among travellers to Madrid is that by seeing the most outstanding monuments of the Spanish capital, such as Puerta de Alcalá, Plaza Mayor, Museo Nacional del Prado, Palacio Real de Madrid, Parque de El Retiro or Puerta del Sol, you have already discovered the essence of Madrid. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is that the more days you spend discovering its monuments, stories and secrets, the better you will understand both the city and the province, both with the name of Madrid.


Visit El Escorial, Toledo, Segovia and Ávila. You don't need to pack your suitcase, as the connection is magnificent and you can spend the day in Toledo and go back to sleep in your room in Madrid.


Don't leave things unattended

Madrid is a very safe city, but it is still a big city, one of the great European capitals. With this we just want to tell you to be calm, but don't tempt fate.

That is to say, if while you are eating your fantastic calamari sandwich in the sun with a cold beer, you notice that your wallet is bothering you in your pocket, don't leave it unattended on the table. Just be careful.


Not everyone speaks English

The great unfinished business for Spaniards is languages. Do we try to speak English? Yes, always. Have we improved? Quite a lot, but that doesn't mean we don't appreciate a little attempt and it's always comforting to hear someone trying to communicate with us.

A little effort is enough to make us smile and want to help even more. For this reason, here are just a few words that can help you in your day to day life in Madrid:





Hi there

Buenos días

Good morning

Buenas tardes 

Good afternoon

Buenas noches  

Good night  



Por favor  


¿Dónde está…? 

Where is…?

Yo quiero…

I want…

¿Hablas inglés?

Do you speak english?


It's not all about taxis

Public transport in Madrid is fantastic. There's no doubt that walking the streets is the best way to get around the capital, but if you need a longer journey, both bus and metro are there to lend a hand.

Even when you get to the airport. Taxis are a good way to get around if there are several of you, although they are more expensive than the bus or train. Both the time and the decision are yours.


Don't leave without going out

The late night and nightlife in Madrid is something you must try. The atmosphere is fantastic and there are as many bars and cafés as there are tastes. They all have something special.

From the big nightclubs such as Kapital, Teatro Barceló or Opium Madrid, to charming cafés such as Café de la Plata, Café Angélica or the more traditional places such as Gran Café Gijón or the pastry shop La Mallorquina.