This street really reveals the hidden cafes and restaurants favoured by Madrileños such as La Brocense which is on this street.
Do not miss the 16th century pharmacy on the corner of calle Lope de Vega and calle León. On the outside of the pharmacy there are azulejo tiles and inside at the back of the shop as you go into it is an old till from when the pharmacy originally opened. On calle Lope de Vega itself there is also the convento San Ildefonso (which can be easily missed as it does not stand out from the buildings around it) where Miguel Cervantes is buried (the convent is not open to the public but a plaque on the outside of the building telling us that Cervantes is buried here is what you need to look for). Do not be fooled into thinking that this street is where Lope de Vega lived. The house where he actually lived is preserved as a museum and can be found on the next street on the right called calle Cervantes. Calle Lope de Vega is also a short cut to the Prado museum from Antón Martín metro station. If you follow calle Lope de Vega to is end it will bring you onto the paseo de Prado and the Prado museum is in front of you across the boulevard.
Nearest metro station: Antón Martín
Exit Antón Martín metro station and turn left onto calle Atocha. Cross calle Atocha and take the next street on your right. This is calle León. Go up calle León
and take the third street on the right which is calle Lope de Vega (you will see the pharmacy on your right hand side on the corner of calle Lope de Vega)
Calle de Lope de Vega, 30, 28014 Madrid, Spain
+34 914 29 00 99
Google map: bit.ly/UCdgcY
If money is tight and you cannot afford to eat out than Lidl on the Plaza Tirso de Molina is cheap and not much different to Lidl in the UK or anywhere else in Europe as the produce offered is cheap, similar to what you get at a Lidl in the UK and you know what you are getting for your euros. If you have a rucksack ensure that you have a one euro coin with you so you can put your rucksack in the lockers beside the store entrance. But the security guards did not stop me for having a small backpack on my back when I went in on three separate occasions but it is better not to take the chance.
Plaza Tirso de Molina 16, Madrid
Google map: bit.ly/UsEQFh
If you're looking for gifts or souvenirs which are uniquely spanish but not tacky or generic you must visit El Arco Artesano on the Plaza Mayor. A whole range of prices and everything beautiful, handmade and local. I got myself a gift of some earrings and a beautiful scarf; a perfect reminder of this place with out having to have "Spain" or "toro" written all over it. Lots of accessories, homewares, decorative items etc. Fantastic.
El Arco Artesano
Plaza Mayor 9 (in the corner tucked in beside Ben and Jerry's icecream)
Notes from Madrid is a blog about Madrid written by a bunch of city-savvy expats. It includes everything from where to shop, eat, drink, and go out (neighborhood by neighborhood) to information on museums, parks, excursions outside the city, even what to avoid in the city.
I lived in Madrid for two years. The best place has to be the birthplace of La Movida. In this barrio you can find excellent alternative bars from cafe Isadora to bar el 2 de. To get a feel for the area sit on the western side of the square in Bar Arco (the other side is full of tourists.) Enjoy.
Malasaña district. Metro station: Tribunal (Lines 1 & 10)
Chueca is recognised as a gay neighbourhood in Madrid city centre, popular for its bars and discos of the same description. During the daytime there's a very tranquil, liberal vibe to the area. Then at night, especially on the weekends, it comes alive and everybody, gay or otherwise, mix together and have a great time. A perfect place for gay couples, free of prejudice.
This street is located in the Chueca neighbourhood. The narrow street has lots of designer shoe shops which are reasonably priced. Spain was one of the first shoe manufacturers, and this street is very good proof of that. In addition, La Calle Fuencarral, which is nearby, will offer you the coolest and most trendy shops in Madrid including Custo and El Mercado de Fuencarral.
Calle Augusto Figueroa.
Nearest metro is Chueca.
Malasaña is a street and an area well known by all true 16-30 Madrileños. In the day time you can shop for some retro treasures in the two 'Popland' boutiques (one for bags, badges and tee-shirts, the other for sixties home decorations and posters). Then, well after dark, you can return and be part of the Madrid sub-culture night life. Go into some bars off Plaza Dos de Mayo and you'll think you've stepped onto the set of Austin Powers (without the irony!) There are all types of bars and clubs round here, but they all have one thing in common: the cool factor. The music is cool, the people dress cool, but most importantly, the attitude is cool, that is to say, laid back.
Malasaña district. Nearest tube: Tribunal.
Calle Fuencarral is where the cool is in Madrid. All the "in" shops are there, from global brands like Levi's to national or local ones, you'll find stuff cool enough to impress your mates over here. Once on Calle Fuencarral, go to Mercado Fuencarral, a gathering of shops of all kinds. The area is called Chueca and it's the gay quarter.
I recommend walking up Fuencarral towards Malasaña and walk the pueblo-like narrow streets finding your way to Plaza Dos de Mayo, then choose a bar or cafe and you might be lucky enough to see director Alejandro Amenábar, who lives in the area.
Metro Gran Vía or Noviciado
Beautifully kept and little known ornamental gardens behind the Royal Palace. A total respite from the hustle and bustle outside. Frequented at weekends by swarms of meringue clad brides and their grooms posing for the album in the lush elegant surroundings. When tired of the peace and solitude it is just a stone's throw from the large converted Estación del Norte shopping centre, and when you are sick of that pop straight down to the Goya frescos nearby, right next door to Casa Mingo where you can eat there yummy chicken for lunch washed down with real Asturian cider.
Take the C circular bus or go to Principe Pio metro station. For the frescoes in the chapel where Goya is buried and which he painted himself walk straight down the Paseo de San Antonio de la Florida to the twin chapels of San Antonio - only one has the breathtaking frescoes, recently restored.
A Sunday street market something like a cross between Portobello and Brick Lane ... not to be missed, but be very careful with valuables; a friend of mine had the back pocket of her extremely tight jeans cut off with a razor without her noticing and lost 2000 pesetas ... and she's Madrileña ... that was years ago, they're more sophisticated and violent these days...
Metro: Tirso de Molina
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