Madrid No Frills

El Rincón de Marco: Lavapiés’ foodie portal to Cuba

One end of Calle Cabestreros opens out onto the buzzing 24-hour Plaza Nelson Mandela so you'd be forgiven for not paying much attention to the opposite end. But illuminating the dimly lit end of the street with a distinctive dusk-pink glow is a little Cuban bar blasting Caribbean music through its sealed windows.

Madrid’s city of the dead

Over five million people are buried, stacked and stored as ashes in Madrid’s biggest graveyard. La Almudena’s size and layout make it feel like more of a city than a cemetery: it has a historic centre, named streets, and neighbourhoods with different characters. You’ll find upmarket areas with mansions for the rich and famous, detached houses, workers’ apartment blocks, the poor neglected parts of the city and, last but not least, an anarchist squat.

Madrid’s no-frills station bar

Since 1961, El Brillante has been the first and last port of call for millions of Atocha's passengers. A first caña stood at the bar sets the tone for the rest of your stay, and that final bocadillo de calamares leaves you with a belly full of fondness for Madrid.

The thriving scrap metal collectors

Mayorista de Chatarra is a local scrap metal dealer in Lavapiés that’s been going strong for over 100 years, and especially for the last ten.