/ The Madrid Guide
Madrid — By Nellie Huang on March 7, 2010 at 5:20 pm
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5 Sunday Activities in Madrid

For a nation that prides itself on living la vida loca, Sunday is a day of leisure and laid-back calm. Even in the hectic Spanish capital, the daily mad rush slows down to a relaxed pace. On Sundays, Madrileños head to these various corners of the city for some rolling good times.

Retiro Park

1. Sample churros at San Ginés

The Spaniards are serious about their national breakfast: golden crisp flour dough sticks dipped in thick, lathery melted chocolate. Ask any local and you’ll be directed to San Ginés (Pasadizo de San Ginés 5) (map), the pioneering chocolatería in town with a reputation to uphold. Having churros on a Sunday is weekly affair for the Spaniards; head out early for churros served hot and fresh from the oven.

2. El Rastro: an antique market downtown

Sprawled across the La Latina barrio, El Rastro (map) is one of the biggest outdoor market in Europe. This massive flea market only opens on Sunday, selling anything from jewelry to spices and unique antiquities. Be sure to regatear – bargain – with the local vendors and check out a few stores before making your purchase.

3. Lounging in Retiro Park

This green zone in the heart of the city is sprinkled with Roman fountains, emerald shrubs and a swan lake. There’s nothing more relaxing than rowing a boat on its calm waters, reading a book under the shade of a pine tree or having a drink at the many outdoor cafes scattered throughout Retiro Park (map).

Outdoor diners at Plaza Mayor

4. Watching buskers at Plaza Mayor

In Madrid’s old quarters, Plaza Mayor (map) stands out with its grandious architecture and central location. On Sundays, the usual crowd disperses to be replaced by quirky street artists. Expect to see groups of Arabic Sufi musicians drumming away, violinists crooning diners and slightly bizarre magicians entertaining the young ones.

5. Admire art at Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Madrid’s world-famous modern art gallery, Museo de Reina Sofia (Santa Isabel 52, Madrid 28012) (map) has free entry on Sundays. From the works of Pablo Picasso to Salvador Dali, the museum displays an impressive collection of artwork that attracts visitors from around the world. Sundays are also the best time to come to avoid hordes of tourists and the pricey entrance fee.

Whether you’re lazing Sunday away on the green patches of the city or chowing down good foods in famed restaurants, there are thousands of ways to spend a glorious Sunday in Madrid. I’ll be entertaining you with more ways to explore this vibrant city, keep reading!

Photo credits: Park Retiro by ctankcycles, Plaza Mayor by Nellie Huang.

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