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Best of Madrid

Here's a guide to what I think is the best that Madrid has to offer to the expat English speaking community: that includes all of you teachers who are thinking of coming here. I think we're all fed up with having to click fifty million times through ad-filled pages (aha!) each with a line or two of information. This is the best I can do to help you to cut to the chase by putting it all on the same page.

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The main tourist areas of Madrid:

Plaza de OrienteThe Royal Palace (There's a good 360º video on their site.) This area is the most visited landmark in all of Spain. It can easily take 15 minutes to walk around to the other side and though you shouldn't miss this view, the other side is much closer to downtown and to everything else there is to visit. More: Royal Palace photos, Campo del Moro photos While you're in the area, why don't you take the time to visit Templo de Debod, Plaza de España, Almudena Cathedral?

Monumento Cervantes Plaza de España 1Monumento Cervantes Plaza de España 2Monumento Cervantes Plaza de España 3
Templo de Debod

Teatro Real - 2016Puerta del Sol is about 10 minutes from the Royal Palace via Opera. It's also about a 3 minute walk from the Plaza Mayor, which is a must-see. You can also walk the area around the old City Hall near the Plaza Mayor. Actually, there are all sorts of things to do and see in the area, which has been completely renovated with pedestrian-only streets and so on which really have transformed it into a first-class tourist destintion. There are also lots of shopping centres around the center and north of Sol and on the Gran Via. Check out this great site for 360 photos of the Gran Vía.

Puerta del Sol - OsoPuerta del Sol - Mallorquina

The best museums in Madrid:

The Prado Museum There are three of the world's greatest museums within walking distance of each other here in Madrid. - My personal favorite is the Thyssen Museum, but you may prefer to visit the Prado Museum just across the street or the Reina Sofia Museum just 10 minutes down the street across from Atocha train station. The most recent addition to the area is the also occasionally great CaixaForum.
More: Prado. There is an annual pass available for 35 euros or so.

The best of nature in Madrid:

Palacio de Cristal 2016Stuck in Madrid but need a breath of fresh air? Take a walk in the park at the Retiro and see the Palacio de Cristal and the Monument to Alfonso XII. Between the Retiro and Atocha Train Station (where there's a great indoor jungle garden, by the way), you can also visit the Botanical Gardens. You can also take a walk and see the beautiful sunsets in the Parque del Oeste starting at either end at the Plaza de España or Moncloa. While you're there you might take the Teleferico cable-car to the Casa de Campo.

Puerta del AlcalaPalacio de Cibeles - is nearby

The best party area in Madrid:

Plaza de Santa AnaBetween the Royal Palace and Puerta de Sol in the West and the Prado Museum area in the East, my favourite area in Madrid for both day and night time fun is called Huertas and runs along Calle Huertas from the Plaza de Santa Ana to the Prado museum. There are plenty of bars and restaurants throughout the area and you can just take your pick. Huertas is part of a tourist area with very little vehicle traffic permitted in it. You can walk on pedestrian-only streets from Recoletos at the Prado Museum all the way to the Royal Palace. More on: Drink in Madrid on Wikitravel.

There are also plenty of clubs and discos in Madrid for night-lifers like: Joy Eslava, Radical, Sala La Riviera (Recent concerts: Jimmy Cliff, James Blunt, Whitesnake, B-52's, Christopher Cross, Journey, Kansas) photos , Sala Heineken, Grupo Kapital (several discos ). Here are some Irish Pubs on: MadAboutMadrid. Personally, I prefer: The Irish Rover It's great for watching sports on the big screen.

Company Requires English Teachers

Opportunities at International House Madrid:

International House Madrid are now recruiting for:
  · Opportunities at International House Madrid: Cambridge Examiners - training days in January and February.
  · Teachers for General English and ESP for a new project teaching adults and young adults (under 25) from February to September.

Click here for more information on both projects: International House Madrid

The best tourist area in the Community of Madrid:

El Escorial from Silla de Felipe

El Escorial I used to go up there two or three times a year and it's well worth the trip (1 to 1.5 hours). It's an UNESCO world heritage site and it deserves to be. I recommend the walk up to "Felipe's Chair" (Silla de Felipe) for a magnificent view of everything. More: El Escorial.

The "other" best day-trips outside of the Community of Madrid:

Alcazar Castle in Segovia Just outside of the Community of Madrid there are some other wonderful places to visit, At the top of the list is Segovia. It's also an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Roman-built aqueduct is one of Spain's best known monuments, but you've probably seen the fairy-tale "Alcazar" castle at right as well.

While you're in the area, try to find the time to visit La Granja de San Ildefonso and have a picnic at Boca del Asno park.

The castle (The Parador) of Sigüenza Other nearby places you just have to go to are Toledo, Aranjuez, Ávila and, a bit farther away, Cuenca (It actually may be faster to go to Seville by high-speed train than to go to this last one.) For a lovely one-day excursion, visit Sigüenza , an authentic medieval village (1.5 hours from Chamartin train station).

If you can get access to a car, you might also consider going to Arenas de San Pedro in the mountains of Gredos, 2 hours southwest of the Community of Madrid.

The second-best tourist area in the community:

Valley of the FallenThe Valley of the Fallen is a close runner up and it's just 10 minutes down the road. Bear in mind that this destination is controversial in Spanish society as it is the place where the dictator Franco was buried.
See: Valle de Los Caídos for more information.

The best of nature in the Community of Madrid:

Camino Schmid near Puerto de NavacerradaThe best place to go to in Madrid for a bit of fresh, crisp, mountain air is the Sierra (in the Spring, Summer and Fall for hiking and in the Winter for skiing or sledding. The best easy trails to hike are the Camino Schmid in Puerto de Navacerrada (Camino Schmid), Camino Puricelli to Las Dehesas park (Cercedilla - see also Tren de la Naturaleza while you're in the neighbourhood) and then the old Roman road (Calzada Romana) to Fuenfria Pass (Puerto Fuenfria - See photos: Calzada Romana) which meets up with the Camino Schmid, the waterfalls at Cascadas del Purgatorio (Rascafria). A bit more difficult is La Pedriza (La Pedriza Rutas - Manzanares el Real ). (Possibly the best site with hiking trails: If you really miss the lush forests of cooler moister climates and you can't make it to Asturias ( = Youtube video) or Cantabria in the north of Spain, why don't you go have a look at the: Hayedo de Montejo in the northeast of the Community of Madrid?

Cascadas del Purgatorio, Rascafría, Madrid.

The best shopping area in Madrid:

The Rastro - You can find anything and everything at the Rastro from left-over pieces of junk to beautiful works of art. And in case you were worried about safety, it's usually crawling with police officers.

The best thing for kids to do while you visit:

Madrid Zoo - It's a question of taste whether the zoo in Casa de Campo or the one called Faunia is best. I have a 6 year-old myself and I'll be visiting both for years to come as they're totally complementary. The zoo cost 18 euros and Faunia 23. - A guide in Spanish to family-friendly activities in Madrid with plenty more things to do. Use the search tool with "Madrid" as a location and the dates you'd like to do things. These guides can be found monthly on paper on the last Friday of the month along with El Mundo newspaper.

The best up-to-date information on what to do (in Spanish):

Festivals and concerts at: El Mundo. Tickets at:, Ticktackticket, Telentrada. Tickets tend to be about 60 or 70 euros for superstars and maybe half of that for anybody else. Also, other events at: Madrid Espacios y Congresos and Madrid en Red. If you happen to be in the area, you can go straight to the ticket offices at the FNAC downtown at Callao or at the Corte Inglés at Puerta de Sol. Also, good local information can be found in print on Fridays as a supplement to the daily El País: OnMadrid (don't waste your time on the online version). It's got what's going on in the next week, plus restaurants, etc.

The best of Sports in Madrid:


Santiago Bernabeu Panorama CC by Daniel Schroeder on  Wikipedia Real Madrid (Real Madrid Club de Futbol on Youtube) Tickets are somewhere between 20 and 60 euros each at the ticket office, or more (depending on quality of the opponents). Soccer matches are at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. See more information here: Real Madrid. More: Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid (for one of the other local soccer teams).

For basketball, Real Madrid games are also an excellent option. Estudiantes is another team which occasionally does well. Real Madrid matches are often played in the Palacio de Deportes or Caja Mágica but getting a ticket to a game can get a bit complicated. I've found calling Real Madrid's 902 numbers to buy a ticket to be quite hopeless (and thus so unsurprisingly expensive) because nothing ever seems to work right at any of them and you have to keep calling back again and again. The website seems to work even worse in my experience. If you do finally manage to slog through it all, good luck finding a Servicaixa ATM which hasn't broken down or closed which will print it out for you. Oh, what a frustrating, joyless experience you may have! The best option currently seems to be to go to the Santiago Bernabeu stadium and buy them there.

Wikipedia (Podcast of Real Madrid C.F. on Wikipedia. ( MP3 - Feb. 26, '11 )

Golf in Spain - Do you play golf or tennis? Tennis in Spain,

Tennis in Madrid by Gigapan

The best (and only) Amusement Parks in Madrid:

Swimming pools in Madrid, Aquopolis (Parques Reunidos Youtube Channel) - In the Community of Madrid there are two of those swimming-pool parks with all sorts of strange contraptions for people to torture themselves with (worse than the inquisition). I go to my local neighbourhood swimming pool which is just fine at 2.50 a head for the day. There are plenty of them around along with Sports Complexes where you can sign up to play sports like tennis and soccer. You may even be able to join the local leagues, it's all pretty well organized. A warning: I don't see the lifeguards at my swimming pool ever paying very close attention - just an opinion - and there were something like at least 20-30 drownings in the summer of 2008 on the beaches and in the pools.

Warner Park Madrid Tickets are 39 euros for adults (8 for parking) and they won't necessarily let you in with a backpack-full of food so you may have to buy something to eat there (1.60 for water, 2.80 for cokes, 10.50-13.00 for meals - 10 euros for a 180-gram burger, fries and medium coke). Otherwise, except for the super-hot August days and super-long waits on weekends, I'd heard nothing but positive recommendations about the cool rides and shows and now that I've gone myself a couple of times as well, I can sincerely say that I agree with them - it's fantastic! Oh, and by the way, the shows are all in Spanish which might be a bit frustrating for you if you don't speak the language. The train to Warner Park has been shut down (March 14, 2012).

Parque de Atracciones Tickets are a little cheaper at 27.50. There are loads of picnic tables and I've even seen people lugging around enormous coolers with their lunches. It's also inside Madrid and not out in the sticks. By the way, I'm not a big fan of Disneyland or anything, but I just love this amusement park. Except for the lack of good places to eat, it seems to be well-managed, well-kept-up, modern, etc. If you look at in the satellite photo in Google Maps, it doesn't seem to be as big as Warner Park and maybe it isn't, but bear in mind that it's got a lot more tree cover as it's a much older park and so you can't actually see as much of the park. Some of the rides are better in my opinion. The "rapids" ride here is longer and nicer than the ride at Warner and there are a couple of roller coaster rides including the Vertigo and the Tarantula, etc. that are different and pretty cool without getting too extreme.

The best in-English Newspaper in Madrid: - If you can't speak Spanish, there's no doubt at all that "In Madrid" is the best "in-English" press around. If you want to know what's in-fashion and happening in Madrid.
Insiders Abroad - There are a few interesting articles here, but it's not Madrid-specific.

The best in-English cinema in Madrid:


Cine Ideal This "original version" cinema (English mostly and other languages) is a few hundred meters south of "Puerta del Sol" on Calle Doctor Cortezo, 6 just off Plaza de Jacinto Benavente. Warning: all cinemas in Madrid cost 6.50€ or more. More movies on El Mundo Cartelera.

If you want to watch something really cool in 3D, go to the IMAX Cinema . By the way, I went with my family in July of 2008 (33 euros for 3 people) and, in my opinion, the place needed renovating, especially the bulbs on their 2D projector which seemed all too dark at the edges. (There is at least one other one on the outskirts of Madrid.) While you're at it, you might stop in at the antiquated, but nice, planetarium next door.

The best music-related electronics shopping area:

People say that the area to go to is about 500 metres north of Calle Alcalá on Calle Barquillo just up the street from Banco de España metro. The truth is that there are a lot of shops here with stock that looks quite professional so maybe you can find things that aren't generally available, but prices seem the same to me for average cd players, etc.

There are several instrument shops around the center. I've personally shopped quite happily at Union Musical Española on Echegarai.

The best PC shops:

PCBox - If you know what your doing, PCBox is probably the best and cheapest shop for computer hardware in Madrid. Mediamarkt, (their shops are on the outskirts), though it seems to me to have a horribly abusive returns policy, usually has some really good sales, but doesn't seem to me to be really focused on PCs, and PCCity (near Metro Arguelles) is also a good solid choice. The best reason to buy at El Corte Inglés is because of their excellent financing and the guarantee their brand offers (there's usually no problem at all returning goods for whatever reason here). One of my students is the head of the IT department in a French multinational which buys many of their computer supplies online here: Bechtle. There are plenty of other shops in Madrid to be wary of. The best PC magazine printed here is: PC Actual.

The best of Telecommunications in Spain:

The best mobile-phone and internet company overall is "Movistar-Telefonica." Their competitors Orange and Vodafone work just fine as well. The best thing to do is to go to their shops, which are all over the place, and compare current prices and offers.

The best music and films shop:

If anyone actually buys music or films anymore, which I have to admit that I do, FNAC next to metro Callao is the best for music because of their listen-before-you-buy system, and Mediamarkt has excellent prices on their videos (often 50% or less of what others are asking).

The Best Art Supplies store:

Chopos art supply store is one of the best art supply stores in Madrid and the materials are usually fresh. (I've bought acrylic paints in other stores which had just about solidified.) It's just east of Plaza de San Jacinto Benavente towards the Plaza de Santa Ana.

The Best Chocolate bar in Madrid and Eating in Madrid:

Mallorquinas On the southwest corner (on the Plaza Mayor side) right next to one of Sol's Metro exits, Mallorquina's is one of the best quality chocolate shops in Madrid. If you're a chocolate lover and you can stand waiting in line for 10 minutes to get served, go for it! You'll love it. And, by the way, there's a little restaurant area upstairs, but you can bet it'll be full as well.

Eating on Wikitravel (very good) - In general restaurants tend to be around a minimum of 25 euros a head on the menu. You usually can get the daily lunch special for 10-12 euros in lots of places during the week - wherever you see loads (the more the better) of workers, who have to commute, having their lunches. See also Budget Restaurants in Madrid. See this video for people with more expensive tastes: Travel secrets of Madrid.

The Best Hiking and Camping Equipment shopping in Madrid:

The best area in Madrid to shop for camping equipment (i.e. backpacks, hiking boots, etc.) is in the rastro. Decathlon is a sports-related department store located in various towns on the outskirts of Madrid.

The best place for hiking maps and guides is: Tienda Verde.

The Best Video-Game Store in Madrid:

GAME - This store has many locations and loads of new and second-hand games. I find prices can be cheaper currently for both new and second-hand video games on

The Best Board-Game store:

Generación X - Game store in Madrid which usually has a lot of board games and comics in stock in the shop at Calle Puebla 15 and a playing area downstairs. The area just south and east of this shop on Calle de la Luna (nearer to Callao) has another game shop that has more miniatures for military games, etc. Just west of this on this street there are plenty of comics shops. Prices seem to be about 1.5 or 2 times more expensive than Stateside. There are various places where people get together to play games of all kinds, but you have to ask around as there doesn't seem to be much info on the internet. For example, elderly chess players regularly get together upstairs in the Café Comercial in Metro Bilbao.

Generally speaking, a lot of gaming in Spain is done within the family circle or closed groups of young friends and you're probably better off going online for Warcraft or Eve Online if you want to play with other people.

The Best Photography shop:

The best photography shop in Madrid, "Fotocasión," is at the bottom of the Rastro. It seems pretty well-stocked to me. Also, here are a couple of good online shops in Spain: Fotocasión, Digital Toy Shop, Pixmania. See great photos of Madrid here: Madrid photos on

The best English book store in Madrid:

Shopping for books at and simply having them deliver them to your home is probably best thing for most people to do. The Teaching Mart is probably your best option near Moncloa . The Casa del Libro on the Gran Vía is probably your best option downtown. There are a few other bookstores with lots of books in English such as: Pasajes Libros at Metro Alonso Martinez.

The Best in-Spanish bookshop:

Casa del Libro You can find the Casa del Libro just behind the main Corte Ingles on Preciados street about 50 metres up from Arenal street. There were few books in English the last time I dropped by.

There's another Casa del Libro on Gran Via a bit nearer to the Corner of Montera street. It had a lot of materials for English teachers (the last time I checked, text books mostly - see photo at left) and a few other books in English such as novels, tourist-guides, etc.

Best bicycle shop (on Calle Atocha - a kilometre Southeast of Sol):

Calmera Bicycle shop on Calle Atocha (A kilometre Southeast of Sol). I don't know the first thing about bikes, but my biking friend swears by them. This shop is on Atocha street just 300-500 metres up the way from Atocha train station. Admittedly, I have never seen anything else like it at any of the big department stores and shopping centres. I've also heard that Decathlon has quite a bit too.

Bicycle routes on the Renfe Train - Renfe, the local train company, permits riders to take their bikes on the trains on the weekends. Do you prefer motorcycles instead? See their events here: Concentraciones Moteras. See a local bicycle blogger (a teacher on this site): La vida es la bici

The Transportation Network in Madrid:

Get Around in Madrid on Wikitravel - The mass transit system in Madrid is excellent in general. Specifically, the metro and train system couldn't be better, but the highways couldn't be busier either. It's usually faster during weekdays to take the metro system anywhere within the city, especially from about 06.30 - 09.30 and from about 15.00 to 19.30. Take this into account when trying to get into the city from the airport because you're likely to take much longer to get wherever you're going if you take a taxi (they do sometimes like to take the "scenic route" around here by the way.) Map of the metro system, Official site - City buses, metro and train transportation.

Trains - Renfe of Madrid now gets to the very centre of Madrid, the Puerta de Sol.

Apartment and Rooms information for Madrid:

Birdhouse photo by Lawrence Whittemore on Flickr - CCTeachers tend to stay at a pension or hostal for a couple of months at first while they look for a regular place. It ain't easy to find a decent one cheap (i.e. 350 euros and up for a room, 650 and up for an apartment) - loads of apartments, rooms, etc. You'll still have to do the footwork. (By the way, I read the Economist every week and if they quote them just once more, I'm going to start thinking that they own them.)
Sleep in Madrid on Wikitravel
Youth Hostel, Hostel World - Search for "Madrid."
(Google Maps: Cat's Hostal, Mad Hostal, Bull's Hostal, Luis Velez Hostal, Los Amigos Hostal - bunk-bed style - other Madrid Hostals. Another possibility: United World Hostel).
Hostales en Madrid on Infohostal
Hoteles en Madrid on
Apartment Rentals on Loquo, Room Rentals on Loquo - on classified ads site. Other: Apartamentos on Google Maps.
30 Madrid - Loads of Hotels, Hostals, Apartments, etc.
Teacher Scammed - English teacher Trent Brock writes about getting ripped off of everything he had his first week in Madrid, Spain.

The best English teaching courses Madrid:

International House Madrid CELTA and DELTA courses
Hyland Language Centre CELTA courses
Oxbridge TEFL Course

RSS for Jobs  RSS para alumnos

Teachers Required

American Language Academy
Qualified EFL Teacher for academy and in-company classes.
American Language Academy.
Google Maps

Books recommended by Steven Starry.

Madrid (Lonely Planet City Guide) (Paperback) ISBN-13: 978-1741048957

Spain (Lonely Planet Country Guide) (Paperback) ISBN-13: 978-1741790009

The Complete Guide to Living and Working in Spain (Complete Guide To...) (Paperback) ISBN-13: 978-0749444204

Photos of Madrid

Southwest door to the Plaza Mayor.

Pesadilla en el Parque de atracciones CC by Oshugi Inoue on Flickr

Parque de Atracciones, Madrid, CC by MrFreekie on Flickr

Rollercoaster CC by Cesar on

Café de Oriente in La Plaza de Oriente.

Puerta del Sol from Opera before they built the new pedestrian area.

Opera as seen from Puerta del Sol.

A pleasant place to take a walk in the Spring time in the Parque del Oeste.

Almudena vista del norte CC by Xauxa on Wikipedia

Palacio Real Madrid CC by Gothika on Wikipedia

Jardines del Descubrimiento CC by Enrique Dans on Wikipedia

Gran Via desde la Plaza de Callao CC by Edescas2 on  Wikipedia

Casa de la Villa (Madrid) CC by Pazit Polak on  Wikipedia

Madrid at Night by stoper on Flickr

Plaza Castilla Madrid, Spain. - Photography by: Osvaldo Gago on Wikipedia.

Plaza de Espana En Madrid CC by Jortegag on Wikipedia

Palacio de Cristal (Retiro, Madrid) 04 by Felipe Gabaldon on Wikipedia

The Best Spanish Courses:

International House Madrid Spanish Courses IHMadrid is a large modern multi-national school in Madrid, rather 4 schools in different buildings.

The Best Language Exchange Groups in Madrid:

David Grupos de Conversación - The best language exchange groups in Madrid include David's group at left in O'Neill's Irish Pub on Tuesdays and at the Beer Station on Thursdays at 22.00 pm. The group has 100s of members and it's so popular that even some of my own students drop in at one time or another.

Encyclopedia (entries on Madrid and Spain):

The best encyclopedia entry about Madrid: Madrid on Wikipedia. Spain on Wikipedia. Madrid on Wikitravel

Other sites and information about living in Madrid and Spain:

Check for "Spain" on the U.S. Government's website. (They move their links so it's difficult to link to them..) - The best and cheapest shoes.
Living and Working in Spain - A review of a book of the same title by Charles Davey.
Health Care - My personal experiences with the Spanish health care system.
Sites for Lawyers: Spain Lawyer (Which we employed once upon a time on without any problems).
The International Newcomer's Club offers opportunities for English-speaking newcomers (and longtime residents!) to get together through its variety of activities, and to provide members with information on other community activities, services and organizations.
Micropolix - This leisure park for children opening in December of 2008 looks exciting.
Forocio - Travel agency located near Puerta de Sol.
Guia del Ocio - Leisure guide for Madrid in Spanish.
Madrid Lanetro - Comprehensive listing of Hotels, Restaurants, Hostals, etc.
Madrid Connect - Acommodations, restaurants, travel, services and more.
Governments of Spain - Links to Spanish government institutions' websites.
CIA factbook about Spain
Instituto Nacional de Estatistica - Statistics for Spain.
Couch Surfing - Got no friends? Find one on this site.
Feliz Navidad - Christmas Traditions from Spain

These museums are "the best" depending on your interests:

Museo Geominero - This is the museum about mining. If you're a mineral fan like me, have a good look at this.

The Museum of Natural Sciences. Both of these museums are great places to take your kids.

Train Museum - If you love trains, you'll love this museum.

Naval Museum of Madrid - Spain's naval history is awesome as is this museum. No, really! You have to see its great collections of enormous model ships.

The Best Grocery-store products:

The best overall grocery store for price-quality is Mercadona (especially with their excellent "Hacendado" generic brand and with fresh vegetables, but it doesn't have some of the products below). El Corte Inglés is better for many specific brands, but it's almost always more expensive and I personally can't stand their generic brand. You will find that price and quality varies widely in Spain. They can really gouge you with prices of meat and fish for example. Though it's getting harder and harder to find quality brands (lots of competition from generic brands), these are the products I use (the price-quality ratio for all of these is very high):

Tomato sauce - canned / Hero - Tomate Frito
Peas - canned / Hero - Guisantes
Corn - canned / Gigante Verde (Jolly Green Giant) - maiz
Red peppers (not hot) canned / Cidacos - Pimientos de Piquillo
Olives / Carbonell - aceitunas
Asparagus - canned / Cidacos - Esparragos
Sweet pickles - jarred / Hero - Pepinillos
White beans - canned / Litoral - Fabada
Cheese - by the kilo / San Bernardo - queso
Cheese - slices / Hochland - queso
Soft cheese - triangles / La vaca que rie - queso
Coffee - ground beans / El Corte Inglés gourmet shop
Coffee - instant / Marcilla créme expres - café
Tea - bags in a box / San Francisco - Té con miel
Honey - jar / San Francisco - Miel de Flores
Hot Chocolate - plastic container / Cola Cao
Milk - carton / Pascual - Leche
Juice - carton / Don Simon or Juver (any flavor) - MinuteMaid is OK, but adds sugar
Macaroni, spaghetti - dry / Gallo - macarrones, espagueti.
Oil - plastic bottle / Carbonel - aceite (not virgen)
Yoghurt - plastic container / Danone - Yogur Griego (no added flavoring)
Gazpacho - Alvalle

Laundry detergent - powder or liquid / Skip - detergente
Dishsoap - plastic bottle / Fairy - Lavavajillas
Shampoo - plastic bottle / Dylisdin - champu (pharmacies only)

Other places to shop:

I also shop for groceries at: Alcampo, but I don't feel the overall quality or customer service department are as good, though the prices are similarly cheap. Also, you can't find very many of these around and mostly on the outskirts in car-dependant shopping mall areas.

Some people recommend "Día" as good place to shop for food, but I disagree because I think it's low quality. I used to shop in one, but I often had problems with the frozen goods. It was as if they'd turned the freezers off at night.

If you can't hold off on your cravings for real American food, you can pay a lot more than you're used to (due to import costs and customs I suppose) at Taste of America. (There's one near Republica Argentina Metro station.) I'd show you a photo, but they're camera-shy - maybe because it's such a small shop. Also, some people say this one is better: The American Store near Metro Islas Filipinas (). It looked about as big to me.

Other leisure activities:

Frontplip out en el Rainbow CC by Snowticias on FlickrGlobal warming ruining the ski season? Try: MadridSnowZone at the enormous shopping mall of Xanadu in the south of Madrid. (You'll have to catch the 528 or 534 bus from Principe Pio station in Madrid.) They've also got a cool indoor go-kart track: FormulaCero and an indoor mini-golf course. They're also open on just about 365 days a year. If you need to shop for clothes on a rare rainy Sunday, this mall has it all and some of it is even cheap. Just don't underestimate the prices of the leisure activities.

Club de Navegación - Got a car and like to go sailing? You may be able to go to the Pantano de San Juan near San Martin de Valdeiglesias and rent a little sailboat for something like 20 euros an hour. Give them a call first and double-check current rates and availability of boats. Also, make sure and double-check the level of the lake because it might be low.


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