What To Do When The Sun Doesn’t Shine in Madrid

For the past two weeks, Madrid has seen nothing more than a constant state of torrential rain. In the ensuing dreary days, I’ve been compelled to avoid the city’s famous terraces and gardens and instead explore what Madrid has to offer between four walls and a roof. Here’s what I have deduced.

  1. Madrid has over 40 museums—go find one. The big three art museums, Museo del Prado, Museo Reina Sofía, and the Thyssen, are all guaranteed to intrigue you for hours as you ogle works ranging from artists that include Picasso to Dalí; however, if you’re looking for less of a crowd, the National Archaeological Museum of Spain, Museo Geominero and the Museo de Artes Decorativas are also worth a visit. One of the best things about Madrid is that almost all of its best museums are within walking distance of each other, making it easy to spend an entire day wandering hall after hall.
  2. Stay active (and dry) with indoor rock-climbing. I recently visited Espacio Acción, a four-floor facility dedicated to rock-climbing. For €12 you can buy a day pass and shoes to free climb in each of the three “salas de rocodromo.” For beginners who would rather use an automatic belay system, harness rental is €3 to allow you to climb the vertical wall.
  3. Watch the monsoon from any of Madrid’s famous churro and chocolate cafes. The Chocolateria San Ginés, known for its oversized churros and heaping mugs of thick chocolate in Puerta del Sol, is arguably the most famous.
  4. Tour El Palacio Real. While you can’t take pictures, and may actually be removed from the premises if you refuse to comply, room after room of ornate silk wallpaper, china ceiling tiles and hand-woven rugs is worth a €10 entrance fee.
  5. Visit El Centro Comercial Príncipe Pío, Madrid’s most popular indoor shopping mall, and spend the day roving the stores; you’ll find Spanish staples like Bershka and international favorites like H&M in the repurposed train station. You can even catch a movie in the attached Cinesa movie theatre.
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