Culture

The Outsider Artist building a life-size cathedral set for demolition

Ex-monk Don Justo survived the Spanish Civil War and even tuberculosis, yet at 93 years old, he knows doesn't have long left. He's just a decade away from completing his 60-year mission to build a life-size cathedral, but when the local city council want it demolished, the question becomes, 'who will outlive who?'

The last horchata kiosk in Madrid

My obsession with horchata began exactly where it should: on the coast of Valencia, surrounded by orange blossom and flamingos. On my return to Madrid, I vowed never to rest until I'd found the best horchata in town, and there it was – as it has been for 74 years – in a little roadside kiosk run by the fifth generation of the same family.

Madrid city in bloom

The Spanish spring is finally upon us and the almond and cherry trees are blossoming! This spectacular honey-scented force of nature only lasts a few weeks, but don't worry, you don't have to hurriedly plan a trip out to Andalusia – you can see it right here in Madrid. Here are six places to find them…

The vintage barber’s that survived being on the frontline

Peluquería Luis Martín is one of Madrid's last remaining vintage barbers. It survived the frontline of the Spanish Civil war, the requisition of its beautiful chairs, and the untimely death of Don Luís Martín himself. Yet, 93 years later, and still having never given in to the hipster beard, this niche men's hairdresser's is still going strong.

Inside Madrid’s last porn cinema: then and now

In 2015, Cine X closed. But fast-forward two and a half years and this stunning building has been brought back to life as Sala Equis. I finally got to see inside Madrid's last porn cinema – and even better, they've barely changed a thing since the day it closed.

Eight eccentric museum-worthy collections found only in El Rastro

There are few better ways to spend a Sunday in Madrid than strolling around El Rastro, but if you don't have time to explore this 400-year-old market as many times as we have (possibly into three figures), then let us help you hit the ground running with seven of our most eccentric finds.

The last toy hospital in Spain

Once upon a time in Madrid, in a neighbourhood named after the Pacific Ocean, there was a man named Antonio, who kept the child inside all of us alive. The Toy Hospital’s customers aren’t typically children. Antonio’s customers are adults – some are toy collectors or savvy antiques dealers, but many of them are nostalgic souls whose childhood is preserved in the peculiar object clutched in Antonio’s paint-stained hands.

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.