La Latina Entertainment Walk, Madrid (Self Guided)

Madrid's oldest neighborhood, La Latina is one of the city's most fun to explore. The place where the old meets the new, and historic blends harmoniously with the modern. El Rastro, Madrid's oldest and most iconic street market is located here. When the night falls, the area comes alive with the multitude of bars, cafes and pubs opening up for tourists and locals eager to go out on the town.
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La Latina Entertainment Walk Map

Guide Name: La Latina Entertainment Walk
Guide Location: Spain » Madrid (See other walking tours in Madrid)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 km
Author: emily
Plaza de Cascorro

1) Plaza de Cascorro

This square is located close to the La Latina station. Plaza de Cascorro is famous for hosting every Sunday El Rastro, that is the most popular open air flea market in Madrid, where locals love to go shopping for leather, furniture, antiques, souvenirs or second-hand items. The square is surrounded by residential buildings and contains the bronze statue of Eloy Gonzalo, a famous Spanish soldier. The statue is commonly known as the Cascorro Statue, hence the name of the square.
Sight description based on wikipedia
El Rastro

2) El Rastro

El Rastro de Madrid, or simply El Rastro, is the most popular open air flea market in Madrid. It is held every Sunday and public holiday during the year and is located along Plaza de Cascorro and Ribera de Curtidores, between Calle Embajadores and the Ronda de Toledo (just south of La Latina metro station). One of the most habitual routes for visitors is to walk from the square at the top (the Plaza de Cascorro with its statue dedicated to Eloy Gonzalo) down to the square at the bottom (Puerta de Toledo market), where over 3500 stalls are lined along the streets.

According to the German writer Hans Magnus Enzensberger, el Rastro is the final border between Europe and Africa, comprising diverse peoples from different countries and of differing ethnicities all searching for curiosities or bargains, sightseeing, sampling the gastronomic delights of Madrid or simply soaking up the atmosphere. Traditionally, the wares for sale are items not available in shops or malls, such as antiques, rarities, curiosities. Here one finds 18th to 20th century furniture, glassware, silverware, old books, kitchenalia, tiles, lamps, costume jewelry, vintage clothes, old radios and telephones, miscellaneous collectables, and just serious junk, mixed with touristy souvenirs, crafts, contemporary clothes and merchandise. The whole carnival is accompanied by street organists and typical Madridian street food.

At 11 am the market is the busiest, with crowds thinning toward midday, but if you're out for a bargain, it's better to arrive at 9 to 10 am.

Operation Hours Sundays and public holidays: 9 am - 3 pm
Galerias Piquer

3) Galerias Piquer

Located at Calle de Ribera de Curtidores, Galerias Piquer is a famous shopping arcade with circa 70 antique booths and shops on the premise, offering a wide choice of furniture, architectural antiques, garden sculptures, bric-a-brac and various home decorations. The stores are spread over two floors clustered around a courtyard which has two entrances, one from Calle de Ribera de Curtidores and the other from Calle de Rodas. Galerias Piquer had its grand opening in 1952, attended by then-Mayor Jose Moreno and featuring the performance by famous singer Concha Piquer.

Operation Hours Monday - Friday: 10.30 am - 2 pm and 5 pm - 8 pm; Saturday and Sunday: 10.30 am - 2 pm

4) Shoko

During daytime hours Shoko is an upscale restaurant serving fine Japanese cuisine, while in the evening guests crowd the dance floor of this hip nightclub located in the La Latina district of Madrid. Upon entering this swank dance club, guests will find the beautiful arboretum which includes a live tree as its centerpiece. Further into the club bamboo-like shafts covered in red LED lights can be found throughout the space that light up and synchronize to the music. DJS serve up a good mix of hip hop, dance, Latin pop, and reggaeton, which in turn sets the spacious, oval-shaped dance floor on fire.

Operation Hours: Thursday – Sunday: midnight – 6 am
Berlin Cabaret

5) Berlin Cabaret

An alternative to the typical nightclub found in Madrid, Berlin Cabaret features an assorted variety of splendid entertainment nearly every single night, as well as DJ sets heating up the dance floor late into the evening. Entertainment here runs the gamut to include anything from a burlesque performance or drag show, to a flamenco dance show, Bollywood night, and more. Later in the evening guests crowd the dance floor and a get down to a bevy of pop favorites mainly from the eighties and nineties. Attracting a crowd mainly in their early-thirties, Berlin Cabaret can get quite packed on the weekends.

Operation Hours: Monday – Friday: 11 pm – 5 am; Saturday: 11 pm – 5.30 am
El Corral de la Moreria

6) El Corral de la Moreria

When anyone thinks of Spain the first thing that comes to mind is flamenco dancing. If you want to leave Madrid with wonderful memories and great photos, the best place to spend an evening is at El Corral de la Moreria near the Royal Palace.

Created in 1956 by Manuel del Rey, it is the best-known Flamenco Cabaret in the world and is called the “Cathedral of Flamenco Art”. It has seen great artists such as La Chunga (who served as a muse for both Picasso and Dali), Pastora Imperio and Mario Maya.

The decoration of the restaurant and stage are designed to take you back in time, with Arabic corbels and 18th century streetlamps. It’s true that the tables are rather close together, but this enhances the feeling that you are part of a great family, drawn together to watch a great show. The food is excellent and you can choose either a complete meal or a variety of tapas. There are two shows a night, one that starts at 10pm, the other at midnight.

The tablao is a favorite place of kings, presidents, actors and singers and you can see photos hung on the walls of Manuel de Rey with stars such as Marlene Dietrich and Natalie Portman.

His widow, Blanca del Rey was one of the greatest dancers of the cabaret; today she manages the establishment with her son and brings in great artists such as Miguel Tellez and Raquela Ortega, as well as giving a place to the future generation of flamenco performers.

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Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Madrid for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Madrid has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Madrid's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as iVenture Card, Madrid Flexi Attractions Pass, Madrid Unlimited Attractions Pass, Madrid City Pass and Madrid City Card.

A city pass combines all or multiple Madrid's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Madrid hotels that are conveniently located: Hotel Liabeny, Petit Palace Posada del Peine, Quatro Puerta del Sol.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Madrid, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, as a guided tour typically costs from US$25 up to US$100 or more per person:

- Hop on a “hop-on hop-off” double-decker and enjoy sightseeing of Madrid from the open top of the bus, listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get off at any of the stops along the two interconnecting routes (your ticket is valid for both).

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour – these usually last from 1.5 to 2.5 hours and allow you to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise would have done by walking.

- Pedal your way around Madrid on a bike tour for 3 hours visiting the most spectacular sights, stopping at each of them (for 5-20 minutes) to get rest, watch the surroundings, and learn much about the city from an informative group leader.

- Satisfy your hunger for historical knowledge and culinary delights of Madrid on a walking tour with food tasting and dinner to experience the unique flavor and culture of the Spanish capital and to soak up its nightlife atmosphere.

- If your passion for food pairs with that for fast-paced choreography, then you definitely may enjoy a night of flamenco dancing at one of the most esteemed flamenco venues in the heart of Old Madrid.

- If you take a keen interest in royal matters and history, consider taking a 3-hour sightseeing and Royal Palace tour of Madrid to explore the city's most important architectural sights and Royal Palace (Palacio Real), learn about Madrid’s Moorish origins, observe its famous Habsburg and modern-day monuments, and see what has shaped the Spanish capital into what it is today.

Day Trips

If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Madrid, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like Toledo, Segovia or a combo of Toledo and Aranjuez. For as little as circa US$60 to US$120 you will get a chance to discover historical highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites being picked up straight from your hotel, or any other place in Madrid, and transported either by train or a comfortable air-conditioned minivan to the destination of your choice and back again. Also, you may wish to take a chauffeur-driven tour of Madrid Wine Region visiting several wineries for a chance to learn about the region's wine making traditions and to taste a dozen of local wines. This excursion will set you back around US$140.