5 Off the Beaten Path Things to do in Madrid

Tired of Madrid’s most common sights? Eaten too many tortillas de patata and bocadillos de calamares? Forget about another visit to the Royal Palace or the Plaza Mayor, and take a look at our suggestions for off the beaten path things to do in Madrid!

Yambala Bar

moroccan tea -- off the beaten path things to do in Madrid

A glass of Moroccan Tea

A perfect hangout for locals and newbies alike, Yambala Bar has a super laid back feel and delicious fresh drinks to match. Although it is not far from Sol and Plaza Mayor, this bar is definitely not a gimmicky tourist spot, and perfect when staying in Madrid. The darkly lit bar, filled with plants and African masks, is a Moroccan bar, and after spending some time in Marrakesh last year, I assure you that this is the real deal! The Moroccan lanterns light the back area, where guests can sit on puffs or stools while enjoying fresh fruit drinks or even hookah upon request. This is definitely a relaxed night out, away from the fast paced clubs or expensive bars in Madrid.

Faunia Nature Park

This animal sanctuary originally opened in 2001 under the name Parque Biológico de Madrid. It is known as the largest polar ecosystem in Europe because it is the home to animals from both the North and South Poles, as well as many other climates. This is a perfect day trip for kids and adults, and the park is full of bars and restaurants if one would like to take a more lackadaisical approach to the exploration. With more than 1,000 species of plants and 500 different species of animals, there is definitely plenty to see.

Indian Food in Lavápies

indian food in Madrid

Lavapié´s´is perfect for Indian food in Madrid!

It is just the best. Baisakhi Indian is super affordable as well as some of the best Indian food you can find for the price. I must recommend the lamb madrás, you can ask for it as spicy or as mild as you would like because everything is made to order. This place should be a pit stop on an exploratory trip to the barrio itself. Lavápies is often overlooked as it is known as one of the poorer immigrant barrios, however, the cultural experience there should not be ignored. One can go see the more traditional style family homes and apartment buildings, while really getting a feel for what Madrid would have been like in the early part of the 20th century. Nothing beats a little bit of history with some authentic Indian food on the side!

Plaza Santa Ana and Huertas

If you have a free afternoon, Plaza Santa Ana is a wonderful place to be. On a sunny day, the plaza is filled with tables of relaxed café goers enjoying a drink in the sun. The bars and restaurants are all open and bustling with eaters and servers. Around the plaza are little streets that seem as though they were designed to be explored. Quotes from Spain’s most famous authors are embedded in gold into the grey, bricked streets in the area known as the Barrio de las Letras (the literary quarter). The neighborhood known as Huertas is also a great place to be at nighttime. The bars and restaurants are always abuzz.

Fábrica Maravillas

fabrica maravillas madrid -- off the beaten path things to do in Madrid

Fabrica Maravillas beers

A new mini-brewery just north of Gran Vía in the trendy neighborhood of Malasaña offers a fairly wide selection of homemade beers. The modern vibe makes it a cool place to hang out with friends, while learning a little bit about the beer-making process and trying new things along the way.

Do you have an insider’s tip for off the beaten path things to do in Madrid? Please share in the comments!


  1. Great suggestions! I always get stuck in a tortilla rut… I need more Indian and Moroccan food in my life!

  2. Interesting post! Thanks for sharing!


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