Conde Duque Neighborhood
Magical places can be found if you know where to look. Look in Conde Duque Area!
The reason for which this area is so special is that it is literally another country in the middle of Madrid. 2 unique museums are found here plus art galleries:
– Museo ABC (Spanish Illustration and Drawing Museum)
– Museo Centro Cultural Conde Duque (Contemporary Spanish Art and Temporary Exhibitions)
– 4 original private art galleries open to the public
Make sure you read my 1 Day like a Conde Tour plan below!
The design shops in this area are elaborate but also accessible. Many are the clothing shops of private designers and multi-brand solutions that gather interesting international proposals.
The restaurants here are also something unique. The gastronomical offer is peculiar and original from small restaurants ranging from gourmet sandwiches, to authentic american kitchen, french elegant taverns and of course many interesting spanish proposals as well.
It is not easy to put in words what Conde Duque District (it actually forms part of Malasaña Neighborhood) represents for the city of Madrid. Up on its hill, the nature of this area has always been very calm and residential. Not gathering the hordes of tourist masses that just a few block down clutter Gran Via. There is mainly a Spanish crowd although you would not be surprised to hear that many Madrileños are not familiar with this part of down, despite its super central position.
Pretty much, Conde Duque Area is a very well-kept secret. A rather small part of the city, with low car traffic, charming shops, cafes and bars and lots of art, there you have it.
In many ways the architecture and mood of this area reminds you of Scandinavian cities. The stylish shops are similar to the ones that you could find in the Le Marais in Paris.
Of course the highlight of the district is its massive Cultural Center. It includes a large public library with wide and new studying rooms, it is very popular among teenagers studying quietly in the afternoons, there are also children and families playing and reading in the kids area.
There is a wide conference area with an incredible acoustic and a proper large Auditorium. Being a public organization they organize several very interesting free talks. I went once to hear Tibetan monks giving a very interesting speech on meditation (they had a translator of course :).
Another section hosts a fixed Spanish contemporary art collection. Young promises that already are gathering some notoriety display their art here. Very suggested. Next to it, in the galleries there usually are temporary art or photography collection. To see the latest program you can click: condeduquemadrid.es/exhibitions
Spend a Day in Conde Duque Area: Daily Plan
Start in Plaza de España. Explore and discover going up the streets of calle Amaniel and San Bernardino with its many international restaurants from all over and cozy cafes. Notice how the whole area is changing. The massive building in the Plaza called Edificio España has recently been bought and will soon start a gigantic refurbishment process that will create 25 floors of temporary apartments, a 5 star hotel, office and luxury shops on the street level. This change after decades of abandon (full story here: edificioespana.es) will ignite a huge economical boost in the whole area.
Mur Cafe is just at the end of this stroll, in Plaza Martos 2. In our Top 5 Brunches article we describe how it is if you fancy brunches madridfood.guru/top-5-brunches-madrid. Make a pause here, have a nice soothing tea or a cold beer (depending on the season you are visiting).
Right in front of you is Palacio de la Liria, the former residence of the count-duke of Alba, unfortunately it is currently used for private events and it can be visited upon request on Friday mornings only. The gardens are also beautiful. Proceed north on Calle Conde Duque towards the Plaza de las Comendadoras and the Cultural Center.
From here I won’t over guide you, simply wander around, discover and enjoy, don’t miss out on the ABC Illustration Museum also and take your time. The whole area is not to big so excluding museum time and possible drinks or meals, in 3-4 hours you should be able to visit it properly.
Are you visiting Madrid and Spain soon? Contact us so we can give you free recommendations and tips. We can help you plan your stay and inspire you with new ideas.