2/21Smack in the centre of the Malasaña barrio there's a beach, with a beach bar and everything, where you can take shelter in the winter cold. Recently remodelled, the bottom floor of the restaurant Ojalá becomes an improvised chill-out to make the Iberian Peninsula proud – a perfect place for beers with friends and relaxing around the low tables on fluffy cushions surrounded by dim lighting. It's cosy and exotic at the same time. And the menu features real culinary delights.
3/21Toward the end of C/Alcalá is a hidden park that plenty of locals and tourists have no idea is there. La Quinta de los Molinos would be just another park in the Spanish capital if it weren't for the fact that inside are 6,000 almond trees that create quite the spectacle for the senses when they're in bloom. Shades of pink and white paint the garden, and the intoxicating aromas float over walls and around the park during the months of February and March.
5/21At first glance, the Escuelas Pías (Pious Schools) de San Fernando is just another building that makes up the network UNED (National University of Distance Education) centres. But on the rooftop of this historic building you'll find one of the best terraces in the whole city to watch the sunset. Every weekend of the year, Gau&Café fills up with locals, groups of friends, and well-informed visitors who don't want to miss Mother Nature's show.
8/21If you love Japanese food, take note. Allow us introduce you to a 'clandestine' restaurant dedicated to haute cuisine that's for members only, where you can try the best niguiri, sashimi and tataki, as well as taking a journey back in time. All these delicacies are served in a room decorated as a WWII Japanese bunker. And if it's a bit pricey for you, they also do takeaway.
9/21In early 2014, a flat in the Chueca neighbourhood (located at Válgame Dios, 4, flat number 3º izq.) was converted into a unique exhibition space, a meeting place that hosts workshops, meetings and talks related to contemporary art. Independent publications, fanzines, self-published materials and art books – anything goes for Eva Parra, Camilo Otero and Yuji Kawasima, founders of this collective which is an artistic breath of fresh air for Madrid.
10/21A secret place with a capacity limited to 40 customers that you can't get into without a password. This underground sandwich shop is another great idea from Le Nómade Supper Club, a pop-up restaurant which does nomadic dinners that always pleasantly surprise. If you're one of the privileged, you can try exclusive sandwiches like the 'Crispy Ebai Furai' with marinated shrimp fried in panko, coconut and dragon sauce. They've also now got 'clandestine hot dogs' – don't miss your chance to get a Bratwurst carmelized in teriyaki, home-made tangy gaucha sauce, lettuce and dried onion bits (€4)! Be aware that in order to get the password and book a table, you need to contact them directly.
11/21The Bosque Encantado ('Enchanted Forest') is a botanical garden that deserves more than one visit. Its originality doesn't lie in the more than 500 plant species from around the world that it houses, but in the sculptures of impossible sizes that they've managed to create with the greenery. From elephants, giraffes and dragons to horse-drawn carriages, locomotives and a rock band, dozens of green statues seem to be about to come to life throughout this magical park located in San Martín de Valdeiglesias, 75km from the centre of Madrid.
14/21Although many locals don't know it, the oldest restaurant in the world is in La Latina, near Plaza Mayor. Casa Botín (aka El Sobrino de Botín) was founded in 1725 by Frenchman Jean Botin, although it later passed to the González Martín family. Customers of this nearly-300-year-old establishment include tourists looking for bona fide Spanish cuisine and celebrities such as Ernest Hemingway and Truman Capote.
15/21Crossing the threshold of the shop Federica&Co (C/Hermosilla, 26) is like entering the paradise of vintage décor. All the spaces are used to the maximum, including the carriage passage that gives access to the establishment, converted into a charming courtyard where Provençal-style wooden tables and wicker chairs show off hand-crafted cushions, glass bottles made into vases and handpainted tableware. A haven of peace and good taste away from the traffic in the Salamanca district.
16/21The city's zebra crossings have become a whole lot more thought-provoking. The urban art collective BoaMistura has painted some of Madrid's streets with lyrics from songs by Rayden and Leiva, and micropoems by Ajo. While you're strolling through the city streets, keep your eyes peeled for phrases such as 'Duerme menos y sueña más' ('Sleep less and dream more'), 'Te comería a versos' ('I'll smother you with verses') and 'Perdona rápido, agradece lento' ('Forgive quickly, appreciate slowly'). If you want to play it safe, be sure to see their famous graffiti in Plaza de Alonso Martínez.
19/21With prices as they are these days, finding a bar where you can get two-for-one draught beers, glasses of wine and soft drinks year-round is something of a miracle in Madrid. En Busca del Tiempo, right next to the Puerta del Sol, is the perfect spot for a couple beers before moving the party elsewhere. Yes, there's a catch: the offer is only good on weekdays from 6pm to 8pm. And you have to be quick if you don't fancy warm beer, since you're getting two at a time.
21/21An old train car storage building that belongs to Atoche station is home to La Neomudéjar (C/Antonio Nebrija, s/n), a leading arts centre and international artist residency that's not as well-known as other similar spaces like La Tabacalera or La Casa Encendida. Far from the conventional art circuit, La Neomudéjar aims to give an outlet for all disciplines that don't fit in other galleries, such as video art, performance art, street art, parkour, robotics and more.