Street in Madrid

Secret and Unusual Madrid: 10 Places Off The Beaten Path

Spain’s capital city is often visited by those looking for culture, sunshine and amazing nightlife. As popular as it is, there are still a number of places off the beaten path just waiting to be discovered! Madrid is home to a number of fascinating sights which, although hard to believe, are unknown even by locals themselves.

A visit to Madrid is likely to include a trip to at least one of the following: the Gran Via, the Temple of Debod, the Plaza de Cibeles and the Buen Retiro Park, to name just a few! However the city has much more to offer, with hidden gems aplenty. These are the places worth adding to your itinerary on your next trip to Madrid.

The Royal Chapel of St. Anthony of La Florida (Moncloa)

A monument undiscovered by many, including locals, this chapel is worth visiting for what’s inside: stunning frescoes by Spanish romantic painter Francisco de Goya. Considered some of the artists finest works, the Chapel – which is also a Spanish Property of Cultural Interest - remains nonetheless off the beaten path. A must for art lovers and true fans of de Goya himself – the Chapel also serves as his place of burial.

  • Address: Glorieta San Antonio de la Florida, 4, Madrid

The Royal Chapel of St. Anthony of La Florida The Royal Chapel of St. Anthony of La Florida Frescoes

Capricho Park (Barajas)

If you love open green spaces such as Madrid’s popular Buen Retiro Park, El Capricho is a great place to visit. The historic park was built between 1787 – 1838 for the Duchess of Osuna, and time has left its mark in the form of the variety of styles which can be found here today. Wandering through the landscaped gardens of El Capricho is the perfect way to while away an afternoon in Madrid: check out the 18th century mansion with its stunning gardens, water features and sculptures before heading to the bandstand to be transported to a time gone by.

Tip: The park isn’t open every day and is located a little out of the centre of Madrid (get off at El Capricho station if you take metro line 5). Plan your visit in advance by checking out the schedule on the City of Madrid website.

  • AddressPaseo de la Alameda de Osuna, 25, Madrid

Park El Capricho Park El Capricho

Iglesia Patólica (Lavapiés)

Built as part of an initiative from the once popular comic Leo Bassi and styled as if a church, this space instead offers a unique take on religion through parody. Churchgoers at the Iglesia Patólica worship a rubber duck (yes, really), with Sunday mass on a weekly basis and even the possibility of getting married here (which, while taken seriously, won’t be legally binding).

All jokes aside, a visit to the Iglesia Patólica with its mismatched interior and humurous perspective is an interesting and fun experience. If you find yourself in the Lavapiés neighbourhood, make the trip to the church for a laugh and, perhaps, to find your new religion.

  • Address: Travesía Primavera, Madrid

Iglesia Patólica Madrid Iglesia Patólica Madrid interior

Church of San Antonio de los Alemanes (Centro)

If you want to admire the beauty of a church in a more serious manner, we’d suggest a visit to St Anthony of the Germans. Another lesser known space in Madrid, its exterior is simple - it’s the interior which is truly striking. Located just behind the Gran Via on the Malasaña side, the baroque church is only open during mass but is well worth the trip to see the stunning frescoes which adorn its interior.

  • AddressCalle Puebla, 22, Madrid

St Anthony of the Germans Madrid

Adelita Market (Malasaña)

If you want a more authentic shopping experience in Madrid, away from the Gran Via with its international chains such as Primark, the Adelita Market in Malasaña is the place to go. A market space which regularly opens its doors to both customers and vendors, if you’re looking for something unique and different to buy, this is the place to be! Bargains can found in abundance at this Madrid market which opens on select days – check out the website for more information.

  • AddressCalle del Espíritu Santo, 23, Madrid

Madrid's Adelita Market Malasaña,

Plaza de la Villa de Paris (Colón)

A little piece of Paris in Madrid is how we’d describe this secluded square in front of the supreme court. Despite its central location near the busy Plaza Colón and Calle Génova, this square sees little footfall and is a great place to relax and let the time pass you by. A peaceful environment in the city, with architecture different from anywhere else in Madrid.

  • Address: Plaza Villa de Paris, Madrid

Plaza de la Villa de Paris Madrid

Museo de America (Moncloa)

This National museum off the tourist trail in Madrid is home to a number of artifacts displayed in artistic, archaeological and ethnographic collections. From the Paleolithic period to the present day, there’s plenty to see here with pieces all hailing from the American continent.

Although you can check out priceless pieces from throughout the ages here, the museum is nonetheless almost unknown – meaning no queues and the possibility to enjoy the environment to its fullest.

  • AddressAv. de los Reyes Católicos, 6, Madrid

Museum of the Americas Madrid Museum of the Americas interior

Plaza de Olavide (Chamberí)

If you’re looking to explore traditional Madrid, be sure to stop off at the Plaza de Olavide in Chamberí. The Chamberí district is considered to be one of the most authentic in the capital and, thanks to its location away from the centre of the city, it’s also frequented more by locals than tourists.

After taking a trip to the nearby Museum Sorolla, featuring works by Spanish artist Joaquín Sorolla, head to the lively Plaza de Olavide - a great place to grab a drink and some tapas before settling in to people watch and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.

  • Address: Plaza de Olavide, Madrid

Plaza de Olavide in Madrid

Pantheon of Illustrious Men (Pacífico)

Away from mainstream Madrid, in the Pacífico district, stands this relatively unknown monument initially constructed to house the great men of Spanish culture in its entirety – be that in literary, artistic or political fields. However the idea was ultimately discarded, the bodies of influential figures such as Garcilaso de la Vega, Quevedo and Calderón de la Barca were returned to their graves, and the space was instead turned into a National Pantheon. Today, famous Spaniards from the world of politics and more are buried here, including Sagasta, Cánovas del Castillo, Eduardo Dato y Canalejas.

Built in a neo-Byzantine style, this is a must see for lovers of architecture and Spanish history alike.

  • AddressCalle Julián Gayarre, 3, Madrid

Pantheon of Illustrious Men

Bunkers at the Parque del Oeste (Moncloa)

Created at the beginning of the 20th century, the Parque del Oeste is home to a number of monuments and sights including the popular ancient Egyptian temple of Debod. During the Spanish Civil War, the park was also the site of the Battle of Ciudad Universitaria and the trenches and building bunkers can still be visited to this day. Visitors to this lesser known area can check out the bunkers which are striking for their representation of destruction in a peaceful natural area.

  • AddressPaseo de Moret, 2, Madrid

Bunkers at the Parque del Oeste in Madrid

IMG: Panteón de los Hombres Ilustres/elmundo.es; Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida (exterior)/soleadamadrid.es; Frescos de Goya/cromacultura.com; Parque de El Capricho/panoramio.com; Templete/hotelnuevoboston-blog.com; Entrada Iglesia Patólica/Twitter @sr_lago; San Antonio de los Alemanes/minube.es; Museo de América/unaventanadesdemadrid.es; Pieza del Museo de América/jotdown.es; Plaza de Olavide/secretosdemadrid.es; Búnkers/secretosdemadrid.es; Shutterstock

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