They say that the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plains.
Unfortunately though, Madrid is smack-dab in the middle of those plains. The normally sunny Spanish capital gets on average five rainy days per month. Generally, it’s little more than chirimiri (a light drizzle), but still, it’s not always the best weather for seeing the sights. Luckily for you, you’ve got us—your local experts—to guide you to the best rainy day activities in Madrid!
If you can’t soak up some sun, how about soaking up some culture?
Madrid is home to many world famous museums: the Prado, the Reina Sofía and the Thyssen, but some of our favorite museums are a bit more off-the-beaten-path. In Madrid’s Plaza de Toros (bullfighting ring) you’ll find the Museo Taurino, Madrid’s Bullfighting Museum. Here you can learn all about Madrid’s bullfighting culture, see the costumes, hear the legends and even see videos of famous moves executed by bullfighters. Entrance is free, and they’re open Monday-Sunday.
Address: Calle de Alcalá, 237
One of our favorite rainy day activities in Madrid, especially for the history buffs, is Andén 0. This former metro platform in the Chamberí metro station was built in 1919 and recently was transformed into a museum. The beautiful interior has hardly been touched since the 1920s (though it is disabled accessible). Plus, the museum’s free and it’s a great way to explore Madrid’s history. While you’re there, make sure to ask for information on visiting the other section of the exhibit, the Pacífico Engine Shed, which houses three impressive diesel engines. The engines, built between 1922 and 1923 are part of a display of machinery, which in the past, were used to generate and transform the energy used to power Madrid’s trains.
Address: Plaza de Chamberí
Another option is to take a visit to this former slaughterhouse transformed into a contemporary arts center, El Matadero. Located just south of the city center, in the Arganzuela neighborhood of Madrid, the cold storage unit has exhibitions on everything from architecture to fashion, literature to cinema, as well as trendy bars, avant-garde theater, music and dance performances, concerts and festivals. Not to mention, the Matadero itself is really a piece of art. It’s the perfect example of Madrid’s new architecture style, which uses recycled and preexisting elements to transform history into new space.
Address: Paseo de la Chopera, 14
La Central de Callao
Of the many rainy day activities in Madrid, La Central de Callao is definitely the best choice if you’re a “curl up with a good book” sort of person. Situated in the very heart of Madrid in a beautiful palatial house, this three-story bookstore has more than 70,000 volumes. They have books on just about any topic you can imagine, but specialize in philosophy, history, social sciences and literature. After your book browsing, you can peruse your purchase while sipping a cocktail at their cocktail bar or or a cup of joe in their indoor patio. La Central is also a great place to look for one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
Address: Calle del Postigo de San Martín, 8
Hammam Al Andalus Madrid Baths
Not in the mood to soak up some culture? How about just soaking? In a thermal bath, that is. The Hammam Al Ándalus Baths are the only Arabian baths in Madrid and are conveniently located in the historic section of the city, close to Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol. It’s a lavish oasis right in the middle of the capital’s bustling city center. Hammam Al Ándalus has three different thermal baths, each with a different water temperature, because the contrasting temperatures promote tranquility and circulation. There’s also a steam room and, for an additional fee, they offer scented massages. A bath, a relaxing massage, a cup of hot tea and a bit of steam, what could be more heavenly? When it comes to rainy day activities in Madrid, we think a little pampering is a must.
Address: Calle de Atocha, 14
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A high school foreign exchange student who just never went home—Madison continues her adventure devouring Madrid one tapa at a time. She can often be found on airplanes and/or by food. She’s a coffee addict, travel writer, language lover and especially gifted in the art of siesta.