The most common adjective in Madrid

Which is the most common nickname in Madrid? Majo, for sure, a term that as Real Academia de la Lengua means “someone who is loved due to his/her flair and simpathy”. Although is a very common term, we madrilenos don’t use it for everybody. When we use it we really mean that we like the person, that we feel at ease with him or her. We may not be that sincere if we use sinonyms as kind or nice when talking about someone.

Besides, this term is very useful to understand our personality. During 18th and 19th Century we used to use it to name people from the working class that have a particular way of talking and speaking. This particular mood was characterized by a certain impertinence in showing class pride.

People who live in Lavapies were called Manolos and Manolas, while Malasaña ones were called Majos y Majas, chulapos y chulapas. These two appellatives are still used today to refer to typical clothes from Madrid. These characters were very important during 19th Century and in fact they appear in many of Goya’s paintings.

La maja vestida de Francisco de Goya

"Los fusilamientos del 3 de mayo" de Francisco de Goya

Seamstress Manuela Malasaña

2nd of May is Madrid’s region festivity, and they eay to remember heroes and heroines who rebelled against French occupation in 1808. One of the people who rised up was the young seamstress Manuela Malasaña.

She, along with many others, was killed by French soldiers, in the neighbourhood that nowadays bears her name. In an unequal fight, soldiers and civilians organized as guerrilla. brought face to face with the powerful French army until 1814.

Francisco de Goya, "Los fusilamientos del 3 de mayo"

Francisco de Goya, “Los fusilamientos del 3 de mayo”

The word guerrilla popuralized at that time and it’s used since then in military jargon all over the world.

While in Spain, civilians and the army struggled to get free from the invasor, in Latin America people used the opportunity to become independent from metropoli.

Shabby bars

Shabby bars

If somebody tells you about shabby things, you may not be willing to buy it, mostly when talking about electronics, as you will think it’s old fashion outdated staff. Neither you will like a shabby present on your birthday. And of course nobody likes going on holidays and staying in a shabby hotel.

This word expresses negative qualities, but not only. Shabby, cutre, is a very madrileño adjective, very useful to describe some sort of urban culture in our town: when we use this word in Madrid, it may have positive meaning. Many madrileños are fond of the kind of bar in which we feel more confortable: traditional bars full of greasy tasty food, inexpensive drinks and no pretended glamour at all. Those shabby bars, “bares cutres, bares de viejos”, have its own charm: there we have fun meeting friends, talking loud, and drinking and eating withouth concern at all about money or figure.

Shabby bars

The best craft beer bars in Madrid

Madrid is a city with a thriving nightlife and a lot of bars to have good times with friends. In this post we want to recommend you the best craft beer bars in Madrid.

One of the most common traditions in Madrid is meeting for pub crowling, “tomar cañas”. Before lunch, before dinner, any time is good for “cañas”. Meeting friends at the bar, usually standing up, having beers while talking about other’s life and facts, football, politics or TV series.

It is a nice way to be in touch, a good excuse to go out and have time together. “Cañas” are perfect for this informal meetings, as they are small and light, therefore you can drink them on feet, and still be on your feet on your way home.  The type of beer we usually dring is pale lager.

We know that many foreign students like a larger variety of beers. Fortunatelly, apart from “tomar cañas”, in Madrid you can find a broad range of beer bars. These are the best craft beer bars in Madrid:


the best craft beer bars in Madrid


Almudena’s myth and the conquest of Madrid

Madrid was founded by arabs in the 9th Century, and its original name was Mayrit. Castilla’s Cristian king, Alfonso VI, conquered the city at the end of 11th Century. Virgin of the Almudena and the conquest of Madrid are closely related: from that moment the leyend of Almudena was born.

The word Almudena comes from the arab word al-mudayna, meaning citadel: fortress. According to the leyend, the army of Alfonso VI found a small statue of a Virgin inside the ancient fall down arab walls.

This leyend explains the festivitiy on 9th November honouring our patron. These sort of leyends help us to understand our past. The new Cristian authourities promoted the development of thousand of myths like this to provide towns with with a Cristian history previous to the arab period. The leyend of Almudena tries to prove that there were Christians before the arabs and they hid Virgin’s statue when the Arabs came to the city. These are the sort of leyends that help us to explain Madrid’s history in our cultural workshops and guided tours.

Madrid, 10th Century

Madrid, 10th Century

The origin of Madrid

Most Madrilenians don’t know about the origin of Madrid. The orginal name of the city was “Mayrit”, an arab word that may mean “plenty of water”. In Madrid there’s no navigable river and the city is far from any sea. The, why calling it “plenty of water”?.

Emir Mohamed I of Cordoba (852-886) built a fortress and a small town surrounded by a wall, in the area where the Royal Place stays now. This is the ideal place for lookouts, in fortified towns, very usual at the time, and the undersoil is full of underground water, useful in case of attack.

Nowadays we can visit arab city wall nearby Cuesta de la Vega Street, where at the time there was a gate. You can learn futher about Madrid, joining our cultural workshops and guided city tours.

Visita guiada a la muralla árabe

Guided city tour to Arab walls

La Paloma festivities

Fiestas de La Paloma

If you’re planning to be in Madrid around 11 to 15 of August, you can´t miss La Paloma festivities, in La Latina neighbourhood, one of the oldest in Madrid.

You will enjoy many open air free activities, such as concerts. We specially recommend Raimundo Amador show on 15th August at 22:30 in Plaza de las Vistillas.

15th August is a bank holiday and a lot of cities and town all around Spain celebrate their festivities. These kind of popular festivities typically take place during the summer season in every town in Spain, from the smallest ones to the big cities. In Madrid, we like saying that our city is somehow like a little town, a city full of people that still knows its roots and preserves traditions and popular festivities. This is because most of Madrilenians came to Madrid in the 60’s and 70’s from all around the country and so they contribute to Madrid’s festivities with their idiosyncrasy.

Have fun!

Museo de San Isidro

More than Prado Museum

In Madrid there are more museums to visit than the the fabulous three big ones: Museo Thyssen, Museo Reina Sofía y Museo del Prado.

A lot of little museums all over the city have much to offer, and many of them are entrance free.

Museo de San Isidro

Madrid’s history Museum and San Isidro Museum bring you the history of this big city, and have many surprises about Madrid’s origins.

Debod’s temple and San Antonio de la Florida are art places: the first, an Egiptian temple from 3rd Centuy b.C. and the second one, a church home of Goya paintings.

Full information about collections and activities of these and other local museums.





Cultura de verano en Madrid

En verano, Madrid no cierra por vacaciones. Muy al contrario, teatros, cines, y otros muchos espacios no abiertos al público normalmente, así como parques y jardines, se abren por las noches a una gran oferta cultural.

Cines de verano en diferentes lugares al aire libre: el Parque de la bombilla, Conde Duque, el patio del Cine Doré o el mismo Ayuntamiento de Madrid. Mucha buena música en Circo Price, y un montón de actividades en todos los barrios de la ciudad.

Conde Duque en verano

La mayor parte de las actividades se enmarca en el festival Veranos de la Villa, pero tamibién hay un montón de iniciativas privadas o barriales, que se pueden consultar en la nueva web Madrid Cultura.

¡Nos encanta el verano!

¡Nos encanta el verano!

Llevmos un mes disfrutando del buen tiempo de Madrid y de actividades al aire libre, ¡Nuestras favoritas! Hemos recorrido los mejores parques de la ciudad: El Retiro, El parque del Oeste con su Rosaleda y el antiguo templo de Debod, el Parque de las siete tetas, con las mejores vistas de Madrid…

El Retiro con nuestros estudiantes de español

También hemos Visto Madrid desde otra perspectiva: hemos subido al teleférico y hemos atravesado la espectacular Casa de Campo. El paseo fue delicioso, pura naturaleza. Hemos conocido más acerca de la historia de Madrid, y practicado mucho el español.

Paseo en el Teleférico de Madrid

Una de las actividades favoritas ha sido el paseo en bici por Madrid Río. ¿Lo mejor? Las vistas al Palacio Real y a la Catedral de la Almudena.

Madrid Río

Los estudiantes han disfrutado también de visitas a centros culturales como El Matadero o La Casa encendida, de terrazas con encanto, de fiestas típicas en Madrid y de picnics en los que hemos compartido experiencias, intercambiado culturas y hablado mucho, ¡pero que mucho español!