Uncovering Europe's best budget hotels since 2001.
By Cynthia Kane in Madrid—
If shopping is on the agenda while you’re in Madrid, you’ll surely come across price tags that will make you scratch your head. The good news is that although most trendy stores will drain your funds, there are some spots that won’t.
Multiple locations, including:
Calle Carretas, 10
Calle Princesa, 63
Calle Conde de Peñalver, 16
In Madrid Lefties is pretty much the Spanish equivalent of H&M. The store has multiple locations around the city and all of them have a large selection of inventory. Even though the price tag is super cheap – the clothes are made well and outlast the latest fads.
A quick tip: Because this is such a popular spot, sometimes you’ll have to go searching through disorganized racks and shoes here and there to find that perfect item. The checkout line can also be brutal. Go during the week and don’t expect it to be a quick trip.
Sales: February and July
Unlike in the United States, where sales happen all year long, in Madrid there are only two sale seasons. February and July are when the rebajas come to the city. The best time to hit up the racks is at the beginning of the month, because by the end there’s almost nothing left on the hangers.
Essentials: El Chino
All around town you’ll find stores that locals call “los chinos.” These tend to be stocked with everything one would need: adapters, slippers, coffee makers, notebooks, shower curtains, kids stuff, plates and more at unbelievably low prices. Even if you don’t need anything, they’re a fun place to explore–it’s almost like entering a Bazaar. Really, these stores have it all.
Food: Order a drink and get free food
If you’ve been to bars in the south of Spain, you know how amazing tapas can be: you order a small beer and you get a large plate of food “on the house.” Well, in Madrid, if you know where to go, you can get the same treatment. Some suggestions:
Plaza Angel 14, 28012 Madrid
67 644 5808
Off of Plaza Santa Ana is local bar that serves up a large bowl of potato chips, chorizo and jamon with any drink you order. Best of all, once you’ve finished you’re first drink and order another one, you get a whole new basket of goodies.
La Buena Mezcla
Calle Redondilla, 9, 28005 Madrid
62 940 6776
In the neighborhood of La Latina, which is known for its tapas bars, this little spot is hidden off the main strip. Enter this cozy locale and sit at the two tables on the main floor that’s adorned with old photos, phones, dishes and pans, or walk downstairs and lounge on bean bags. Order a glass of wine or caña and choose from homemade dishes like tortilla española, lentil soup or paella. The options change weekly and the portions are large.