The summers in Madrid are known to be some of the hottest in the country, especially in the months of July and August. Temperatures exceed 30°C (86°F) on a daily basis, so venturing down a sunny street at four in the afternoon is a risky endeavor best left for the cold-blooded.
It’s often said (and only half-jokingly) that one of the major problems of our capital city is that there’s no beach nearby (in fact, one of Spain’s best-known songs of the ’80s was about this fact). But regardless of Madrid’s land-locked location in the center of the country, and despite suffering the intense heat of the meseta central (inner plateau), the city has much to offer in the summer months.
Those who know where to look will find that there are an infinite amount of activities to do in the summer in Madrid. Sometimes it’s just a matter of reaching for the nearest keyboard and searching “actividades madrid verano” (“activities madrid summer”) to uncover a world of possibilities… but to make it easier for you, why not let us recommend some things to do when you get out of class?
Typical and Secret Terraces
First of all, you can enjoy a good drink, reasonably-priced tapas and the great weather at any of the countless outdoor terraces in Madrid. Practically every bar has one! But if you’re a more selective person, or enjoy trying something different, you should know that so-called “secret terraces” have become popular – sort of “pop up” terraces found in atypical or picturesque spaces. They tend to be temporary in nature, perhaps lasting only one summer. And you don’t have to worry about it being something extremely exclusive and expensive. It’s more about just enjoying the charm of something different. You can find some secret terraces in the gardens of quaint museums (Museo Romantico, Calle San Mateo, 13), on the top floor of an accessories stores (Salvador Bachiller, Calle Montera, 37) and even within official buildings (Bosco de Lobos, the Headquarters of Madrid Architects’ Association, Calle Hortaleza, 63). These hidden gems are usually found in the central zones of Malasaña, Gran Via, Chueca and Latina.
Take a dip in a pool
Although we’ve already mentioned that there are no beaches in or around Madrid, there are a number of municipal swimming pools at good prices (entry prices tend to be between €3.60 and €4.50) and with good facilities. The best pools according to locals include: the pool at Casa del Campo (Paseo de la Puerta del Angel, 7), the Canal de Isabel II pool (Calle Cea Bermudez, 2) and the pool at the Vicente del Bosque Sports Centre (Calle Monforte de Lemos, 13), which is also impressively located next to Madrid’s only four skyscrapers, known as the “Four Towers”. Perhaps the biggest downside to these pools is that they’re often pretty crowded after lunchtime and during weekends… but if you go with a group of friends you’re sure to grab a good spot.
Visit a great museum for free
As you may already know, coming to Madrid and not visiting at least one of its many terrific museums is unforgiveable. Checking them out in the summertime isn’t ideal, as you’ll inevitably find yourself in a swarm of tourists… but if you plan the trip well, at least you can visit some museums for free. For example at the Museo del Prado you can enter for free from Monday to Saturday 6:00-8:00pm, and Sunday from 5:00-7:00pm; at the Thyssen Museum the free hours are Mondays from 12:00-4:00pm; and at the Reina Sofia get in free on Mondays from 7:00-9:00pm, Wednesday to Saturday from 7:00-9:00pm and Sunday from 1:30-7:00pm.
Let’s continue with the cultural activities. The biggest cultural summer events in Madrid take place during the so-called “Veranos de la villa“. Every year the City Council organizes tons of festivals, shows, concerts… and many of them are free! You can catch anything from performances by local theater groups to alternative shows to the recitals of acclaimed artists. Some examples for summer 2016: flamenco singer José Mercé will be performing at the Circo Price (Ronda de Atocha, 35), and the Spanish version of the prestigious and innovative performing arts festival Fringe – known here as Frinje– will be held from July 1st-17th at the Matadero Madrid (Plaza de Legazpi, 8).
If Madrid sizzles with activities in months as cold as December or January, imagine what it’s like in the summertime! You’ll never be short on things to see and do; in fact, Madrid is so saturated with fun, we even recommend you just step out of class and see where the city takes you. No doubt something new, interesting and exciting will await you at every corner. Discover it for yourself!