Last Updated: Nov 8, 2018 @


Madrid Ana la Santa

The front of the Ana La Santa – living like a local in Madrid means discovering your neighborhood on foot.

Madrid Visit Like Locals: (Enjoy Madrid like a Madrid Local)

Madrid is a Wow city! I was so excited about getting away for a few days to Madrid that l committed the cardinal sin! I did not check the dates to make sure it was feasible. You see, l had booked our Budapest trip weeks earlier. For some reason, l thought that was happening in April. I’m sure you can guess what happened. Yep! I overlapped the days. I was in a panic as l would have to pay outrageous sums to change the flights. It would probably have been cheaper just to cancel one trip and lesson learned.

I did what l normally do in instances like this – Nothing!!! I didn’t even mention it to my husband. As the dates drew closer, l was still undecided, and then lo and behold, the gods smiled upon me. I received an email from Ryanair informing us that our departure flight had been cancelled. We could either reschedule for the Saturday flight or get a refund. I was gob smacked! We got back from Budapest on the Thursday and the Madrid departure was supposed to have been on the Wednesday. I was delighted as we didn’t have to pay extra and could still make the trip, albeit a couple of days shorter, but that still gave us plenty of time to enjoy the city.

In order to fully appreciate the wonderful city of Madrid, you have to bring the right attitude and it definitely enhances your Madrid visit to live like a local. Here are some must do in Madrid pointers:


Our Madrid airbnb rental- perfect!

Our AirBnB rental in Madrid- perfect! Private lodging helps you live like a local in Madrid.


The street we stayed at.

Madrid visit like a local – The street we stayed at. You get more interaction with the everyday people of the city.


View from the balcony. Don't be fooled, there's a lot going on there in the evenings, but yet so quiet.

View from the balcony. Don’t be fooled, there’s a lot going on there in the evenings, but yet so quiet.

Madrilenos are fun! They love to have a good time, and it seems they do it all day. There seems to be something going on all the time. I have visions of Pedro Almodovar type of life happening. We stayed in central Madrid and some of the clubs were open till 5AM. There was a club that people were still going into at 8AM, complete with a big bouncer at the door when we were heading out for the day. Amazing!


Listo para comer (ready to eat)

Listo para comer (ready to eat)


Seafood Paella in madrid

Madrid visit and live like a local – eat seafood paella. Paella originated in Valencia, but it has been embraced by other parts of Spain.



Mouthwatering prawns

Mouthwatering prawns


Awesome and refreshing Sangria

Awesome and refreshing Sangria. Living like a local in madrid include loving this refreshing cocktail. Asking for “Tinto” instead of sangria makes you a local.


taberna in madrid

One of the restaurants we ate at in the old center of Madrid, Taberna La Carmela.


cana of beer in madrid

Loved the cute beer glasses. Beer (cerveza) is a must in Madrid to live like a local. Ask for Cana..which is a small size and very cheap too..less than a dollar!


Madrid : Mercado de San Miguel

Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid locals like to hang out here for tapas. Join them for some and people watching.


Madrid paella

More Paella in Madrid! You think we liked it?


Yummy tapas..

Yummy tapas.. Madrilenos love their tapas and to be live like a local, you should too.


baguettes filled with jamon in madrid

Madrid visit like a local – eat what the locals eat. Jamon (ham) baguettes.

No dinners at seven in the evening here! This isn’t Florida. Madrilenos do not go out for dinner till 9PM or much later. If you want to stick out, go for dinner at 8PM (like we did the first day, l was hungry!) and you’ll see how empty the restaurants are. The other few patrons will be tourists just like you.


The city is huge, the buildings are huge, the parks are huge and lovely. Visit one of the parks like the El Retiro Gardens, bring your lunch, eat it on a park bench and people watch, like we did.

Open air gym class!

Open air Madrid gym class at El Retiro Madrid.

Related ReadingEl Retiro Park

One of the many beautiful fountains

One of the many beautiful fountains at el retiro


el retiro park greenery madrid

Madrid visit like a local – enjoy the many beautiful parks in the city.


Spring is in the air madrid trees blooming

Spring is in the air in Madrid living like a local means enjoying the fresh air and taking advantage of the great weather .

statue of king charles v el retiro park madrid

Lovely way to spend time during your Madrid holiday – visiting the El Retiro park should be on your Madrid must do list.


el retiro madrid Rent a canoe and paddle the Lake

Rent a canoe and paddle – one of the best things to do in Madrid.



madrid statue

There are many wonderful statues all over the city of Madrid, so to enjoy…live life outside like the locals do!


beagle at el retiro park madrid

Madrid living like a local – Madrid is dog friendly. Bring the dog out to the park! We accosted every beagle we saw! Love them :o)


madrid park with trees

Chill in the shade. Dig the haircut on those trees!


how to love madrid like a madrileno pinterest




madrid santiago bernabeu stadium

Madrid, The Bernabeu stadium seats 80,000 !!! Madrid locals love the futball. If you like football, touring the Santiago Bernabeu stadium is a must visit in Madrid.

Football, (futbol)  as in soccer that is. No hand touching here, unless you want to get called for a foul! Pick your team and love them to death. Your big teams are Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid. Be prepared to talk endlessly about them too. We struck up a lot of conversations on the buses just by asking what team people supported. It was a great way to meet people and others usually joined in, one even got off the bus with us at the stop on the day we visited the stadium to make sure we found it okay, even though it wasn’t his team. Real Madrid has it’s own stop on the train by the way called the Santiago Bernabeu.

Some of their booty! madrid santiago benabeu

Some of the booty (trophies) at Madrid Bernabeu museum


 balls and shoes at madrid santiago bernabeu!

Loving Madrid like a local – Football love! Imagine the old days and playing with these balls and shoes!


locker room of Ronaldo, Bale et al. at ssantiago bernabeu madrid

The very same locker room of Ronaldo, Bale et al. Was he in heaven? .. yeah!


On the bench at santiago bernabeu football stadium tour

On the bench. Just to make sure, l sat on every single seat, thanks to my love hate relationship with Jose Mourinho! Gone from RM, but not forgotten.. Definitely a highlight of Madrid visit.


 press conference room at santiago bernabeu stadium madrid

About to give a press conference! Santiago Bernabeu is a must do tour in Madrid.

Here’s his little video of the stadium if you’re interested.


Madrid is full of museums, with names like Prado, Thyssen, Reina Sofia and Caixa Forum. Very impressive they are. Be sure to check out what times are free at the museums, even though you have to wait in long lines, but it might save you a euro or two. Visit the Crystal Palace if you get a chance, its free entry.

museum entrance at el retiro madrid

Free entry at the museum inside the El Retiro park in Madrid…

spanish art at museum madrid

Madrid visit like a local – check out the free things to do in the city.



spanish art madrid

A lovely way to spend an afternoon or day during your Madrid holiday.


museum piece madrid

New wave art at a museum in Madrid.


madrid crystal palace

Madrid Crystal Palace – alovely place to enjoy in Madrid. They have rotating presentations.


You have to share with the rest of the world. Share the beauty, the love, the kindness, the good food, the great drinks, share everything! They’ll love you for it!

Share a bike ride with beer on tap!

Share a bike ride with beer on tap! Madrid

madrid fountain

Madrid visit and live like a local – enjoy the wonderful historic parts of the city.


madrid balconies with dummies

Old center of Madrid. The buildings architecture are fun, made even more so by the mannequins that adorn the balconies.


rear of plaza mayor

Madrid live like a local – Plaza Mayor is a favorite destination of locals and tourists alike. This is the rear


Plaza Mayor Madrid Spain

Plaza Mayor – a fantastic place to people watch. Lots of buskers and tourists alongside families enjoying pleasant afternoons and evenings. There are cafes where you can sit outside and observe local life.

Protect your trip with the best travel insurance.


statue at plaza mayor madrid

King Phillip III statue at Plaza Mayor done by Italian sculptor Pietro Tacca during your Madrid visit like locals do! When in Rome :-)


madrid spain center white building.

There are no shortages of gorgeous buildings in Madrid.


tapas place madrid plaza mayor

Nor is there a shortage of tapas places in Madrid.

Related Reading: 24 hrs in Madrid

Madrid city center

Paseo del Prado in Madrid during your Madrid visit like locals.


Madrid visit like locals - street with people madrid center

Madrid visit like locals. Join the locals for tapas and beer!

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Entrance to the El Retiro Park, a favorite hangout of locals and tourists alike. Rent a canoe, people watch or check out the free entry art museum.


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How about you? Do you have any other tips to share about Madrid? I wonder if it will be the same as mine? Would you think of a Madrid visit like locals?