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Top Five FREE Cultural Activities in Madrid

museum with lake and park in madrid
Written by Berber

Madrid is the bustling heart of Spain and a fascinating city that offers a wealth of possibilities regarding art, gastronomy, sports or any other free cultural activity.

There is always something to see or do for any traveller, and even if you do not have any budget left, ShMadrid believes you can still discover some amazing free activities.

Related article: Bars in Madrid with Free Tapas

Where to go for free activities in Madrid

World Class Museums

exterior prado museum madrid

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Great news for all you low budget travellers, as all top three museums in Madrid offer free entry on different days and hours.

Make sure to stop by at the Prado Museum in the neighbourhood of Paseo del Arte to see the world greatest classics painted by Goya, Velázquez, Rubens, El Greco, Bosch, and many more masters.

On Tuesday through Saturday, admission is free at the Prado Museum from 6 to 8 p.m. On Sundays, the Prado is free from 5 to 7 p.m. The museum is always free for those under 18, over 65, and the unemployed.

Do you, or your fellow budget travellers prefer only modern artwork? Then you can visit the Reina Sofia Museum in the neighbourhood of Lavapiés to admire masterworks from Dalí, Miró, Picasso and many others.

When is it free? Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 7pm to 9pm, Sundays 1:30pm to 7pm.

Would you prefer a mix of old and new art? Then you should visit the incredible Thyssen Museum which has a superb collection from old masters like Rembrandt, Velazquez and Goya to more modern painters like Gaugain, Renoir, Chagall or Monet, or check out their collection last century artists such as Roy Lichtenstein or Dennis Hopper.

Free entry every Monday from 12 until 4pm. The museum is located in the neighbourhood of Cortes.

Espacio Fundacion Telefonica

Fundacion Telefonica offers 4 amazing exhibition halls that always contain a wide variety of interesting temporal exhibitions throughout the year. This centre also organises free speeches, classes and lectures.

Centrically located next to the Gran Via, there is always something interesting to discover here.

Free entry from Tuesday till Wednesday from 10 am till 8 pm. Coming exhibitions feature Photography about Big Bang Data, Jim Campbell (an engineer& artist) and at the moment you can enter MasterChef Ferran Adrian’s mind, who has an exhibition dedicated to his creativity.

Related article: Tips for a Short Visit to Madrid

exterior old post office madrid

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CentroCentro Palacio de Cibeles

Madrid´s last mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardon changed this former post office into a new modern, cultural spot for local habitants and tourists. Mostly used for Photography exhibitions. Stunning architecture and a superb, expensive roof terrace with amazing views.

Matadero Madrid

This is an enormous cultural centre that includes a movie theatre, a restaurant, bars and two enormous exhibition halls and is perfect for budget travellers. At the moment you can visit the temporal exhibition Guerrilla Girls, about feminism in Spain throughout the last 15 years.

Palacio Real

exterior palacio real in madrid

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The Royal Palace in the neighbourhood of Madrid de los Austrias is one of the top tourist attractions in Madrid. The Palacio Real or Royal Palace is the largest and certainly one of the most impressive palaces in Europe.

It has more than two thousand luxuriously decorated rooms, fifty of which can be visited. Highlights of the tour include the throne room, the immense staircase, the collection of suits of armor and the peculiar royal pharmacy, filled with all sorts of strange concoctions.

Admission is free for EU residents on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. Make sure you go early so you don’t have to cue so long.

Before you leave your home or holiday accommodation, always check online if days/times for free entry haven’t changed!

Have you tried any of these free cultural activities?

About the author


As a freelance writer, content editor and journalist based in Madrid, Spain, Berber has naturally become a specialist in Spanish lifestyle and culture.

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