The laid-back, leisurely Spanish lifestyle makes it easy to find relaxing things to do in Madrid.
Here, al fresco terrace drinks with friends are a way of life—not a special occasion treat—and the dozens of green spaces dotted around town make it easy to escape the bustling city center to kick back.
When traveling, relaxing can be easier said than done. We get it—as you try and check all of Madrid’s iconic sights off your list, it can be hard to remember to slow down and embrace the slow-paced Spanish lifestyle.
But once you discover the fine art of kicking back and relaxing like a local, you may even find that doing so can be one of the most rewarding parts of your trip—even if you don’t get as much sightseeing done. Here are some great ways to relax in Madrid so you can refresh, recharge, and get ready for the rest of your trip.
1. Visit a Lesser-Known Park
Madrid is one of Europe’s greenest capitals, with dozens of beautiful parks and green spaces. Some of them, like Retiro and Casa de Campo, are popular among tourists and locals alike.
While these parks are definitely worth a visit, one of the most relaxing things to do in Madrid is to get away from the city center and explore a park most tourists would never find. From the stunning rose garden at Parque del Oeste to the sprawling lush greenery at Dehesa de la Villa, Madrid is full of hidden gems—and lots of them are green.
2. Enjoy a Movie
We know what you might be thinking: “Can’t I see movies back home?” The answer is most likely yes.
But the unique experience of seeing a movie in a foreign country can be quite fun. It’s familiar, yet just different enough to feel totally new, making it one of the most relaxing things to do in Madrid.
Many local movie theaters show films in their original language (often English, though not always). Be sure to look for “VOSE” (versión original con subtítulos en español) on the screening schedule so you don’t accidentally end up at a dubbed film. That said, watching the dubbed version of an international movie can be quite the interesting way to practice your Spanish, if you’re up for the challenge!
3. Discover Hidden Gems at an Off-the-Beaten-Path Museum
There’s no shortage of incredible galleries and museums in Madrid. While iconic places like the Prado are absolutely worth a visit, their popularity among tourists doesn’t exactly make visiting a very relaxing thing to do in Madrid.
Instead, head to one of the city’s equally fascinating lesser-known museums. Discover hidden religious treasures at the spooky Convent of the Barefoot Nuns, get to know talented painters like Joaquín Sorolla at his home-turned-museum, and so much more.
4. Stretch It Out at a Yoga Class
Simple, easy movement can be a great way to relax. Madrid happens to offer hundreds of great yoga classes, many of which are even taught in English!
Local instructor Eliza Coolsma and her team offer a variety of classes, from the traditional vinyasa flow to prenatal yoga for expectant moms-to-be, both in-studio and online. Another unique experience, Viva Yoga Sculpt, offers yoga classes with the added challenge of light free weights!
5. Grab a Drink on a Sunny Terrace
Sometimes the simplest pleasures in life really do bring the most joy. One of the classic ways to relax in Madrid is to simply find a lovely, sun-drenched plaza, grab a seat and order a drink.
This is a great way to spend some time people-watching to observe local life or simply relax with a book as you sip your drink. Plus, it’s an easy yet surprisingly effective way to recharge your batteries and get ready for more sightseeing!
Relaxing in Madrid FAQs
Madrid has more than 40 parks within its city limits, comprising more than 33 million square meters (over 355,000,000 square feet) of green space.
Yes! In fact, many of Madrid’s rooftop bars are among our favorite places in the city to have a drink while enjoying great views.
Many of Madrid’s most famous museums do charge an entrance fee normally, but also offer free visiting hours at certain times of day. There are also several excellent free museums in Madrid that are always gratis!
Life is too short to speak one language and stay in one place. In 2015, this philosophy took her from familiar Ohio to sunny southern Spain. Usually drinking tinto de verano, reading Lorca, or attempting to dance flamenco (not all at once). Follow her blog, Viatic Couture, for more.