Catherine Palethorpe, 2012-2013 at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Weekend activities

Circulo de Bellas Artes: On this rooftop, a hidden gem which is free for students of Carlos III on presentation of a student card, you can find a stunning view of the whole of Madrid. It’s best to go while it’s still warm and just before the sun is setting to see one of the most beautiful sights of Madrid! With a swanky rooftop bar and sunloungers… you certainly won’t feel like you haven’t paid to experience what feels like a VIP setting!

San Gines chocolateria: San Gines is the oldest and most famous chocolaterias in Madrid, and with chocolate and 6 churros starting from 3.80 euros, you’ll be treating your sweet tooth to a bargain. Go here on a Saturday morning to indulge in the classic Spanish breakfast speciality. (Or even after a night out in Sol – it’s open 24 hours!) 

Tapas in La Latina: If you take a stroll in La Latina on a Sunday, it will be difficult to navigate your way through the throng of people on every plaza, alley and street corner. La Latina is one of the most atmospheric and cultural areas to find good tapas in Madrid. You can bar hop and look for the best one, or simply sit on one of the many terraces with your friends on Sunday afternoon for hours, enjoying good conversation and typical Spanish food.

The El Rastro market: Tourists and locals like to flock to this flea market on a Sunday in La Latina from 9am-3pm, where you can find a variety of bargains and interesting antiques. As in any city, be sure to look after your valuables, but otherwise enjoy browsing through this buzzing market which stretches across many, many streets and can take a good couple of hours to walk through from start to end!

Mercado de San Miguel: This historic market has been converted into a modern gastronomic experience where you can taste samples of very high quality typical Spanish food for a very low price. The food varies from cold meat to chueese, to sushi, to chocolates, sangria… everything very delicious and fresh! If you don’t fancy spending any money, the market itself is still a beautiful place to visit on the weekend, with its iron and glass structure and flooding natural light.

Retiro: Often named a rival to Central Park in New York or Hyde Park in London, a Saturday morning run or simply a walk through this giant public park is definitely recommended on a sunny day. Check out the Crystal Palace and the huge monument dedicated to Alfonso XII which hugs the lake, on which you can rent boats to row on, trying not to crash into fellow boaters! There is always a buzzing atmosphere here – especially on the weekend – with a variety of street performers and artists always willing to entertain on your stroll through this peaceful green space.

Toledo: Only a 30 minute RENFE train ride from the centre of Madrid, a weekend day trip is definitely recommended to this historic World Heritage sight. Discover the artwork of El Greco and experience Toledy’s cobblestone alleyways and medieval architecture. Train tickets can cost as cheap as 10 euros, a small price to pay to visit this small yet history-soaked town.

Bullfight: During the bullfighting season, the Las Ventas stadium is flooded with Spaniards, all gathering to witness the age-old event. It’s controversial, sure – but it’s worth making at least one trip to an event to soak up the atmosphere and experience a typical Spanish Sunday sporting afternoon.

Party: When in Spain, party like the Spanish do. This means starting late and finishing early (in the morning – I’m talking 5 or 6am) and making a trip to the crowd favourite, Kapital. Every day of the week is a party for the Spaniards, but especially the weekends!

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