We are back with another great after-class activity with AIL Madrid! This time, we went to the Círculo de Bellas Artes, and once again, it was an afternoon of great fun.
Firstly, the Círculo de Bellas Artes is famous for being a hub of artistic talent and expression. This cultural centre is a multidisciplinary centre with activities including visual art, literature, science, philosophy, film, and the performing arts. So inside, there are wonderful exhibitions – there is always something to suit everyone’s tastes! It was founded in 1880 by a group of artists, and since has always kept the passion of art at its core. Now, it is officially declared a ‘Centre for the Protection of the Fine Arts and of Public Interest’.
This building offers two great things, one being the breathtaking rooftop views of the centre of Madrid. There is a small 4€ fee to reach the rooftop, but for the magical view when you get there, it is totally worth it. Our tour group absolutely loved it.
Want to join us on our next tour or activity around Madrid? Simply sign up to one of our courses and you will be invited for free! Visit our website to find out more…
Or if youre curious, read about another one of our activitys here: Trip to the CaixaForum Centre! We would love to see you on our next activity 🙂
We are back with another blog post about things to do in Madrid! This time, it is a visit to CaixaForum that we recommend. CaixaForum is a culture and exhibition centre in Madrid. It is home to a wide variety of things including ancient, modern and contemporary art, music and poetry festivals, multimedia art, debates on current affairs, social conferences, and family and educational workshops.
The building itself is famous because it has a ‘vertical garden‘ that you can see in the picture above. It is worth paying a visit simply for a photo in front of this unique architecural feature! Then when you venture inside you will be lost in a maze of art and culture for hours. It is the perfect way to spend your afternoon exploring in Madrid.
Our after-class activity group loved this visit to CaixaForum, as well as all the other opportunities we have on offer. If you want to join us for one of these free activities, you just have to enroll on one of our great Spanish courses! View them all on our website here.
Why not read about our trip to the Salamanca neighborhood next? With AIL Madrid, it really is one of the best ways to see the beautiful city of Madrid.
Madrid is a dynamic and diverse city of culture. There are of lots of neighborhoods that offer different things to see, do, eat, and drink. There is so much to explore that we recommend splitting the city up into different sections. Tackling different parts of it on different days is much easier! One of our favourite areas, coincidentally where our language schools are located, is Salamanca. That is why we took our students on a walking tour of Salamanca in one of our fun after-class activites!
Salamanca is renowned for its beautiful building fronts, and high class inhabitants. It has always been a political and financial hub for the city of Madrid. However, it is now combined with becoming a fashion go-to for designer shopping. Queen Isabella II ordered its construction, and architect José de Salamanca designed it. Therefore it has a very expensive feel as you wander the streets.
If you want to join our next walking tour of Salamanca, or any other neighborhood of Madrid, join our family! In order to get access to these fun and FREE after-class activies, you simpy have to be enrolled on one of our courses. To get more information about the courses we offer at AIL Madrid, check out our website…
After this, why not read about another one of our fun after-class activities? Previously we wrote about a great tour around the Prado Museum, it is definitely worth a read!
Being the capital city of Spain guarantees that Madrid is full of history. Therefore, there are many different sightseeing opportunities that allow you to learn more about this magical city. At AIL, we host a variety of activities for our students, to teach them more about where they are studying! Here, we opted for a walk through the Madrid of Los Austrias. This taught us more about the history of this beautiful area.
Where we walked: Madrid of Los Austrias
During the 16th century, King Philip II began constructing the House of Austria’s imperial court in Madrid. Despite being so many centuries later, the historic centre of Madrid still conserves the architectural highlights of that time. The Austrias neighboroughood that we explored is famous for being historically significant for this era. We began our walk in the Plaza Mayor, a timeless square that has hosted all kinds of events throughout history. It’s been known to house markets, bullfights, and auto-da-fés, amongst many more. In the middle of the square you’ll see the equestrian statue of Philip III, who ordered the reconstruction of this now-famous plaza. However its current architecture is thanks to Juan de Villanueva’s, following a fire in 1790.
We then walked through the old narrow streets of the time, to the Plaza de la Villa. Our students loved it here because of its range of architectural styles, and its prime location. In this picturesque square you can find: the Lujanes’ House and Tower (15th century), built with a Gothic-Mudejar style, the Cisneros’ House (16th century), a Plateresque palace, and the Casa de la Villa (17th century), which features a Baroque style.
Thanks to this walking tour, our students gained a great insight into the history and culture of Madrid. If you fancy joining us on our next adventure round the city, check out our after-class activities page. All activities are completely free and there are over 80 on offer to all students of AIL. To get involved just sign up for a class today!
Come join AIL Madrid on an exciting tour of Madrid’s centennial taverns! AIL Madrid’s after class activities programme allows our students to dive into Spanish culture. The fun, daily outings provide the opportunity to undergo experiences that regular tourists can’t. Therefore, this month we want tell you all about our visit to Madrid’s centennial taverns!
We chose two historical establishments for our special tour: Casa Alberto and Casa Labra. As we walked towards the first one, Sergio, one of the native Spanish speaking teachers from AIL and a true madrileño, told us about traditional dishes we were about to taste and right there our mouths started watering.
The first round of tapas was a couple of classics that are well-known and loved: refreshing gazpacho and patatas bravas. The element of surprise came when our teacher ordered soldaditosde Pavía and chatos de vino. Nobody knew what to expect! A few bites of soldaditos (deep-fried cod) with some sips of chatos (little glasses of wine) was delightful. Good choice, teacher!
Thanks to this tour around Madrid’s centennial taverns, we found some of the best examples of Spanish traditions in the taverns we visited! If you’re looking for fun and sociable way to explore the city, why not join us for the next AIL Madrid’s after class activity?
How would you like to soar through the bright blue skies of Madrid without needing wings, feathers or even a boarding pass? With our featured activity this month, you can do just that! Madrid’s Teleférico cable car system is an exciting way to discover hidden areas of Madrid from a unique bird’s eye view.
Our journey begins
Our students join us in catching the Metro to the
Argüelles station, from which we only need to walk for two minutes to arrive at
the base of the Rosales Teleférico station. We climb into the stylish glass pods
of the Teleférico and quickly begin our ascent into the air!
The landscape unfurls below us, revealing trickling
mini waterfalls of the Parque del Oeste and the pink blossoms of the Rosaleda.
We hover over the Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida, home to a stunning
fresco painted by Goya, before gliding over the Manzanares river.
The beauty of the biggest park of Madrid
Our cable cars finally puncture the green lung of the city, the Casa de Campo, the biggest park of Madrid. If the day is nice and sun is shining, we often prepare a nice picnic basket and enjoy some treats at Casa the Campo, near to the lake while families paddle row boats lazily across it. Our students love this little green corner of the capital. We disembark from our pods, find a shaded spot and enjoy a picnic in the relaxing surroundings.
The striking beauty of the city of Madrid is often referred to with the saying ‘De Madrid al cielo’ (from Madrid to Heaven). We can’t think of a better way to live out this phrase than by taking to the skies yourself! Why not come along for our next visit to the Madrid Teleférico?
The flower beds bursting with colour, the sparkling
lake filled with paddle boats and the welcome sunshine basking everything in a
warm yellow glow, there can be no better time of year to pay a visit to the
Retiro Park than spring. If you’re looking to escape the crowded streets of the
city centre for some fresh air, why not join us on an activity-filled outing to
We begin our visit with a little walk through the manicured hedges and umbrella-fringed outdoor cafés of the Retiro, learning more about its history as a park that was once reserved exclusively for the Spanish royal family to use. After our students have gotten their bearings, we get started on an exhilarating gymkhana competition!With a 45-minute time limit, our students must race the clock to complete as many set mini challenges as possible, ranging from asking locals questions in Spanish to taking selfies with strangers and tracking down key landmarks to photograph. It’s a great way for students to practice their Spanish outside of the classroom with locals, and to get over any shyness they have about their language skills and start speaking!
With amazing warm weather predicted right up until the final few months of the year, we hope to take many more groups of students out to the park for this energetic activity. If you’re looking for an excuse to break out those new trainers and head out into the sunshine, why not sign up to our next after class activity?
It’s time to tie on your apron and pop on your chef’s hat. Our cultural activity this month is a traditional Spanish cooking class! Whether you regular whip up Michelin star-worthy meals or consider burnt toast to be the extent of your culinary talent, our Spanish Cooking Workshop is a great way to sprinkle some Spanish flavours into your recipe book.
Cooking like a Spanish
This month, our students have been learning to make three classic Spanish dishes. These recipes are tortillas, paella and pan tumaca, a tasty tomato-topped bread.
Before the students enter the class, we divide our school’s personal kitchen into stations. We dedicate each station to a different dish and fill them with all the herbs, spices, fresh ingredients and cooking utensils needed. With everything in order, the students get cooking! The fluffy loaves of bread are toasted, the colourful vegetables finely chopped and the chicken fried in the paella pan.
When it’s time to flip the sizzling tortilla, everyone clambers around to be the one to launch it into the air. Successfully catching the tortilla on its way back to earth can be met with an explosion of applause. One class even hailed the boy who caught their tortilla as the ‘Tortilla King!’ Every twenty minutes, the groups at each station rotate. This allows everyone in the class to enjoy preparing every part of the meal.
Eating like a Spanish
Finally, everyone gathers around to enjoy the paella and tapas. With approving “Mmm’s” and hands reaching for second servings, the class finishes on a high note. Students are often eager to replicate the recipes back home! If you’re also looking to inject some Mediterranean inspiration into your cooking, why not give our class a go?
Christmas time is finally approaching! In Madrid, this festive season means a city full of lights, decorations and loved ones gathering for brindis together. Out of the many special held at this time of year, a trip to Madrid’s Christmas markets is one of the most magical.
The colourful market stalls spill onto the city streets every December, offering all sorts of gifts to buy. Taking full advantage of their presence, AIL Madrid’s students bundle up in warm layers and start shopping!
Our favourite Christmas Market
Our favourite market, and that of our students, is the Christmas market of Plaza Mayor. Boasting more than 100 stalls, the famous market is the perfect place to get lost in. You can find everything from nativity scene figurines to Christmas trees, baubles, garlands and glittering lights. The market takes place from November to the last day of the year, leaving plenty of time to explore.
Another Christmas market we never fail to stop by is that of the emblematic Plaza de España. The handmade quality and huge variety and novelty of all its items on sale delight our students. They never leave without purchasing at least one special gift for their families! With the opening dates of the Christmas markets just around the corner, we can’t wait to pay them another visit. Who knows what we’ll find?
From time to time, we like taking a break from the city centre to experience a more tranquil pace of life. Armed with sunscreen, water bottles and hats, ten of our students enjoy a riverside bike ride with our teacher Servando through the city’s very own nature escape: the Madrid Río.
We first scoop up some pre-booked bicycles from Mi Bike Río (www.mibikerio.com), located just by Metro Principe Pío. Then, we begin our journey in a southerly direction towards the Royal Palace. Along the way, we peek in at the Casa de Campo and admire the views of the Catedral de la Almudena.
The river is the perfect location for a bike ride, even if the weather has us working up a sweat sooner than we´d expect! Rather than cycling on the crowded straight path on the east side of the river, we instead stick to the western route. The path is packed with swooping curves, dips and inclines continuing past the Estadio Calderón. Around us, children splash in the outdoors fountains and adults bask on the lawns. It’s as though they’re sunbathing on a private beach.
After reaching our final stop at Matadero Madrid, we head back and return our bikes. Then, we stroll to the nearby Paulaner Biergarten (located riverside by the Campo del Moro) for some well-deserved refreshments. Fancy coming next time? ¡Apúntate a uno de nuestros cursos en AIL Madrid!