Madrid – a relentlessly traditional city that sticks to its old habits like they’ll be gone tomorrow – is changing.

While traditional tabernas still drag their devout regulars through the door for a beer and a plate of green olives, there’s a surge of international restaurants engulfing Spain’s recently rooted gastro scene. While Spanish men and women still socialise on separate municipal benches and cover the streets with shells of sunflower seeds, people from all over the world are moving here and bringing their food, music and electric culture with them. Graffiti once seen as an act of vandalism is entering the realms of street art, encouraging people to walk around rundown areas with their heads up and eyes wide open.

The difference between the oldest and youngest generation is huge. The elders were young adults during an archaic dictatorship that stunted Spain by decades and whose effects can still be felt, whereas Spain’s young adults today have gone through the deepest-cutting financial crisis in living memory and sceptically seek comfort in promise for change.

As Madrid makes up for lost time, however, some of its most fascinating parts are increasingly overlooked because they’re seen as old-fashioned, culturally insignificant, or poor and dangerous. The objective of this blog is to dispel these myths, encourage you to dig deeper and explore the Madrid not yet touched by gentrification.

Let each one of these articles form your pocket guide to Madrid’s disappearing neighbourhood bars, electric immigrant eateries, unusual secret locations, and the humble Madrid way of life.


Do you have an eye for no-frills Madrid? Then either join the Secret Detectives Club or send us a message and tell us about somewhere you’ve discovered…