Surviving Madrid in the Summer

I got an email yesterday from someone visiting this site (Martin Christensen) asking me for some tips on how to survive the hot weather in Madrid. Madrid in summer can be quite taxing, though if you start living like the Spanish it can be much more bearable. Here are some thoughts on how you can get the most out of Madrid in the summer.

Site seeing
I would probably make sure that you try and get around the city in the early hours of the morning  probably up until 12pm or 1pm. Always make sure that you walk on the side of the street that is in the shade. If you’re looking to walk around the city later, I would try and make sure you do it from around 6.30 p.m onwards. Don’t forget that the shops close around 8 p.m.

Museums
Personally, I would try and get around the museums during the hottest times of day – 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. All of them will be air-conditioned and far more pleasant than walking around the city.

Eating Out
To be perfectly honest I would far prefer to eat indoors in this weather than sit out in the very hot daytime temperatures. Though, if that is what you’re looking for, you may want to try out eateries along the Paseo de Pintor Rosales – more expensive but next to Madrid’s huge park, the Casa de Campo.

Madrid’s Terrazas
Madrid’s outdoor terrace bars are really a must during the summer months and a wonderful way to spend the warm summer evenings. You may even see some of Madrid’s beautiful people – the Beckham’s, possibly? The most popular ones tend to run down the city’s Paseo de Castellana and Pintor Rosales. For the former, I would look to walk from Plaza de Cibeles up towards Plaza de Colón; the latter is one of the coolest places in the city (as mentioned above) and has loads of themed ‘terrazas’.

Most people tend to drink cubatas long glasses of rum, vodka, whiskey with coke or lemonade, as they are cheaper option to bottles of beer. Don’t forget that terrazas really kick in after 10.30 p.m. Another great place to enjoy a drink in the evening is Plaza Santa Ana – and probably cheaper. The Retiro Park can be a lovely place early in the evening and I would recommend that you try ‘horchata’ – a tiger nut/almond drink that is popular there.

There is also a very nice terraza on the Puente de Segovia bridge, which looks out towards the Almudena Cathedral and Royal Palace.

Casa de Campo – One of the coolest (temperature!) places to go is the Casa de Campo – the huge park on the east-side  west side of the city. Located around the lago (lake) you will find a number of terrace bars. Metro: Lago

Excursions
A large number of Madrileños head out of the city at weekends to their family homes in the country. Places like Segovia, Avila and El Escorial do tend to be cooler in summer but don’t forget you are in central Spain and it will still be hot. If you plan properly, there are a number of fiestas and summer fairs that go on outside the capital over these months.

Swimming Pools
There are quite a few public swimming pools around the capital – some of the details I included in an article last year – Open Air Swimming Pools in Madrid. You may also be interested in some of the Aqua Parks that are dotted around the centre:

Aquópolis San Fernando – open 12 pm-8 pm; Cost: 12.50-14 Euros (Adults), 9 Euros (Child)
Aquópolis Villanueva de la Cañada – open 12 pm-8 pm; Cost: 13-16.50 Euros (Adults), 9 Euros (Child)
Aquasur Aranjuez –  a 40-minute journey from Atocha train station to Aranjuez and a free bus ride from there to the water park. Cost: 5-15 Euros (Adults), 3-12 Euros (Child).

Veranos de la Villa – Every year the city council of Madrid puts on a huge number of events across the city, ranging from theatre and dance to classical music and puppetry for kids. Madrid’s parks, squares and streets will be taken over as culture goes out on to the streets. For more information visit the Madrid City Council site.

One thought on “Surviving Madrid in the Summer

  • December 7, 2005 at 5:20 am
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    It is extraordinary that so many English speakers comment on Madrid summer heat- especially Americans. Try summer in: New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C.. And never mind New Orleans, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, etc… Madrid’s summer heat is nothing compared to these (and it’s winter much worse than many of them).

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