7 things you shouldn’t do in Madrid
We are inaugurating our section of MADRIDE TRAVEL BLOG with this article and we are sure you’ll find it interesting, because there are many blogs dedicated to what to do in Madrid or what to see, but no one saying the things a “madrileño” will not recommend to do in Madrid either, because it could be dangerous, it’s not part of the local culture or is considered bad taste.
If you are visiting Madrid for sure will find something useful in these lines and if you are from Madrid, tell us what you think or if you consider something is missing here.
AND HERE WE GO!!
- Don’t leave your belongings unattended
Madrid is considered to be a really safe city, especially the city center (touristic area) you can walk alone at any time of the day even if you are going back really late at night. You will never hear scary stories about someone being violently mugged in the street, however this can’t be perfect! Unfortunately a very common problem is pickpockets and minor thieves, people who are waiting for the perfect moment to take your belongings, and believe me, that can happen in a matter of seconds, especially in bars, open air terraces, clubs and in general places with a lot of crowds of people, that’s why I really recommend you: DON’T leave your belongings unattended, because those people are very good at it. Also, most of the time it’s better to spend 1 or 2 Euros at the coat-check of a bar than going home without a jacket in the cold.
2. Eat at big chain restaurants
During the past years Madrid has been changing a lot, normally for good, but as I said before, not everything can be perfect, and it’s because a lot of small family restaurants had to close their doors, because they can’t compete against the big chain restaurants where the price is more important than the quality or the service you receive. An a example of this could be a famous place where the “Patas de jamón” (Spanish ham) are hanging at the windows of the place, really cheap place to go, of course don’t expect quality food and even worse service (personal experience) where the bartenders at the bar will attend to you in a very rude way and if they see you are look like a foreigner or you have a big camera you will receive a special ruder attitude and of course a much worse tapa than if you speak with local accent. For this I recommend you again to spend maybe couple of extra Euros on your meal and eat at a local and traditional place, in the end I’m sure you’ll be thankful and you’ll get the extra satisfaction of helping the local businesses and families
3. Make comparisons about Madrid, “madrileños” or their culture.
Imagine that somebody you don’t know arrives to your home and starts to tell you “my house is much cleaner that yours” or “the food I cook is much tastier and healthier than yours” it would be a little bit annoying, wouldn’t it? We know Madrid’s culture as the rest of the other cultures has a lot of things we can like more or less, but we don’t need to go saying it in the face of every local. Sometimes the cultural shock can make us think that all the things that are different to us are wrong, when actually they are just that, different. It’s better to keep your mind open and try new things in the best possible way, in that way you’ll be always welcome and won’t help to create new clichés about your nationality, also remember that you probably wouldn’t like when a visitor in your town starts to say a lot of bad things about your own city.
4. Go to the PRADO museum without having any idea what to see
Something very common we do when we are new in a city is to try to see all the attractions in that place, sometimes because we just hear it’s the thing to do. Well that’s ok, but something I wouldn’t recommend you to do in Madrid is go to the Prado museum without having a clue of what to see there. CAREFUL! I do recommend a lot to see in the Prado museum, but before you go, it would be very useful to read a couple of pages of a travel guide, travel blog or ask somebody that who knows a little bit about it. The Prado is the second biggest art gallery just after the Louvre and the exhibits the biggest Spanish art collection in the world, if you don’t want to end up seeing a lot of portraits that look very similar to each other because you are not used to that kind of art, it’s better to go there a little bit prepared. Another option could be to get an audio guide and then brag a little bit by telling everybody all you know about classic Spanish art.
5. Start party early
One of the things you can’t miss doing in Madrid probably is going out to party. In the city you’ll quickly realize how different the capital is from many other cities in Europe, starting from the fact that a lot of things start later and last longer. One of those things could be dinner that starts much later than in other places. If is your first time in the city I would suggest you take it easy. It’s very normal to see some groups of tourists having dinner at 6 pm and from there start with the first drinks and go harder; as consequence by 1 am you see them completely wasted, just when the real Madrid nightlife is starting, so if you want to take part in it, now you know what to do, dinner after 9:30 pm, take your time, there is no reason to rush here, in the end you are in Madrid and you’ll find a lot of clubs opened until 6 am and after that many after hours parties in case you are a party animal.
6. Scream in the streets
We know sometimes a couple drinks can make us happier and our inhibitions easily disappear until the point you maybe want to scream as loud as you can about how happy you are…….. and I think that’s amazing and I’m sure the rest of “madrileños” think so too. The problem comes when you do it in the small streets of Madrid at 5 am on a Monday or Tuesday before the people have to wake up to go to work. The capital is well known because of its party and good vibe and we would like to continue in that way, but it’s also true that party is not all people do in Madrid, here people work and do it hard, so, if you could avoid screaming your happiness at that time, all the neighbors of the city and I will be very thankful.
7. Be foreigner in Madrid
What I mean by this; is that you should feel like a local once you are here, maybe like another neighbor, like one more “madrileño” and take care and love this place as much as we, the people who live here do, the idea is that you feel as comfortable as in your own home town like that, you’ll get the most out of this great place. Doing touristic things is completely ok, “madrileños” also do it here, it’s very common to see madrileños queuing to see the Prado or Reina Sofia even joining the free tour Madrid to get to know all those little hidden secrets of the city, my advice for you is to mix them both, the tourist and local activities, and with that at the end you’ll find the perfect Madrid for you and that Madrid we all love!
Well, I hope you find the little pieces of advices I have collected from few “madrileños” useful, tell us what you think about it, also if you think I’m missing something, add it in the comments section please and if you like it, please SHARE IT, and keep an eye on this blog because now that we have started we won’t stop with more articles dedicated to everything related to TRAVEL CULTURE in Madrid, Seville and the rest of the world.