Both a traditional and hipster city, you can’t leave Madrid without enjoying at least one entire day in this neighbourhood. Google is never wrong ─ If you search “coolest neighbourhoods in Madrid”, Malasaña will come up in most links. Actually, if you expand the search worldwide, the Madrilenian neighbourhood will still show up in the first positions. It’s got to be for a reason, right?
We propose a one-day route in Malasaña, it’s up to you to decide if it’s also in your personal Top 10 (we bet you’ll return). This is the plan:
9:00: You open your eyes, look at the time, and remember that you’re in Madrid so everything happens a bit later than anywhere else, so you close your eyes again. After all, you’re in a gorgeous, centric apartment on Fuencarral Street, so you have everything near just after waking up.
10:30: Hunger makes you get up and run to the shower. It’s one thing that locals eat breakfast later, and another that when you try to have breakfast you can’t even get a croissant in the entire city.
11:00: You don’t know which place to choose to have breakfast. The options are wide ─ all kinds of brunches, pies and muffins try to seduce you from the shelves. You decide for La Bicicleta Café, a place where you can easily eat breakfast, see an art exhibition or work for a couple of hours. Their pastries are homemade and carefully selected.
11:30: You have to make the most of the day, so you go to Conde Duque, an arts centre that currently houses an exhibition by Alfredo Mahou y Solana (Almayso), one of the forerunners of Spanish photography. On your way out you find that the ABC Museum of Drawing and Illustration is very close. So, you decide to visit and see two temporary exhibits ─ Passion for Flying and Rebecca Dautremer: A Bible.
13:30: After devoting a few hours to art, you go check out the shops. Just window shopping, you promise yourself, but you know it’ won’t be so. Venues in Malasaña have multiple uses. For example, you can go to Tipos Infames and leave with the novel you were looking for and two bottles of wine, or stop by Cuervo Store and buy records (vinyl, of course), clothes and accessories. Dolores Promesas, Carlos Diez o García Madrid (fashion 100% Made in Spain) have shops in the neighbourhood.
16:30: Time flies by when you’re out shopping, and, before you realise, it’s past lunch time already. But it’s okay. You reach Bodega La Ardosa (number 13 Colón Street) to enjoy a slice of Spanish omelette or any other local tapas that you might fancy. This is one of the most traditional venues in the neighbourhood (well, not everything’s going to be modern).
17:30: Actually, it wasn’t just one slice of omelette and a beer, so now it’s time to go for a walk to burn all those calories! Malasaña is full of squares. The Dos de Mayo Square is the best-known, and the monumental arch that gave entry to the old palace of Monteleón is still visible, as well as the Church of San Justo y Pastor. Later, you drop by the San Ildefonso, Las Comendadoras and Juan Pujol squares. They hide more than one treasure! It’s worth stopping by the Museum of History of Madrid. Its impressive entry dates to 1673, when it was built as the Royal Hospice of San Fernando.
21:30: It’s about time to be thinking about dinner, right? It’s a difficult choice because there are so many options to choose from, for every taste and budget. You stop by to pick up your travel mates at their flat in la Gran Vía (wow, impresive!) and you decide between Madrilenian kitchen, fusion, raw vegan, Basque tapas or Peruvian dishes… Crucina, La Carmencita, La T, and many more, would be a safe bet.
23:30: They say that Malasaña is the place with more bars per square meter in the whole world, and it must be true. Many of the most mythical venues in Madrid are here ─ La Vía Láctea (symbol of “la movida madrileña”), the TupperWare Club, el Madklin (Madrid+Brooklin) are ideal to have a drink or two and end the night dancing at El Barco or the Teatro Barceló, a beautiful four-storey building from the 1930s where stars like Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger, Pedro Almodóvar and the kings of la movida danced the night away. Also, it has daily programming.
9:00: You open your eyes, look at the time, and remember that you’re in Malasaña, so you can sleep a little bit more.