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As the days get warmer in Madrid, rooftops and terrace bars are the place to be to soak up the sun and enjoy a cocktail or two, so join the crowds on some of the city’s best rooftops to admire Madrid from above. Visitors and locals alike will often miss the beautiful Madrileña architecture when walking down its narrow streets, so heading to a roof terrace is the perfect opportunity to take in all the stunning buildings Madrid is famous for. With over 4,000 restaurants and bar terraces in Madrid, this guide will give you all the best insider’s tips and hidden spots that will guarantee you get to see the city from a new angle!
Where better to start than arguably the best rooftop in Madrid: Círculo de Bellas Artes. Not only is this terrace the most well-known, but it is also the most spacious and boasts a 360 degree view of the city centre. Divided into two sections, their terrace includes the Tartan roof restaurant with high tables and a delicious menu, and the chillout section with outwards facing sofa beds to admire the view.
The building itself is one of Madrid’s cultural hubs, with each floor containing an exhibition hall and over 1,200 works of art. Founded in 1880 as a non-profit cultural organisation, Bellas Artes was given the prestigious ‘Bien de Interés Cultural’ (Place of Cultural Interest) award in 1981, and now visitors can enjoy both their exhibitions and terrace in one with a combined ticket for an afternoon of culture and relaxation! If you’re heading there to watch the sunset be sure to arrive before 5pm to avoid queueing for up to an hour, as on the weekends everyone has the same idea - make sure to bag one of the sofa beds to watch Madrid’s amazing sunsets, as even on cloudy days you are sure to be treated to pink skies at night!
Across the road is Casa Suecia, a different rooftop bar in the NH Collection hotel that competes with Bellas Artes but is much quieter, as it's one of Madrid’s well kept secrets. With a slightly different atmosphere, Casa Suecia often hosts weekend rooftop parties and is a good back up if the Bellas Artes' queues are too long, and as it is less well-known head there to avoid the crowds but admire the same spectacular views!
Probably the best- kept secret in Madrid, The Hat Hostel is a local’s paradise as they have a hidden roof terrace that is only advertised by a small sign on the street behind the bustling Plaza Mayor. The Hat is the first hostel run entirely on biomass energy and their terrace runs with the theme as it also boasts a glasshouse rooftop, creating a solarium for the colder nights. The bonus of outdoor heating makes The Hat’s terrace a year round hot spot, and whether you go for some afternoon drinks or a full meal, it is sure not to disappoint.
Their tapas bar is open in the evenings and all day at weekends, and each order is accompanied by a shot of salmorejo, a local, creamier version of the Spanish delicacy gazpacho. Located in the heart of the city and also offering rooms in the style of a boutique hotel, The Hat has it all, and if you’re staying in the city centre this is the perfect place to relax with a few drinks before heading to the tapas bars along Cava Baja.
Situated in the centre of the La Latina neighbourhood of Madrid, El Viajero is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the views of one of Madrid’s oldest barrios after a busy day wandering around El Rastro Market. Ascend the winding staircase to the bar on the third floor of this charming 19th century building and admire the beautiful views of old churches and buildings that give El Viajero that authentic Spanish feel.
The open air attic is decorated with ivy and fairy lights to create a cosy and relaxed atmosphere, and their excellent selection of tapas and cocktails will transport you back a few decades to give you a fully immersive evening in Madrid’s most diverse neighbourhood. The speciality is their mojitos, so be sure to order one or two along with some staple nibbles such as croquetas and hummus platters. After a morning spent haggling and jostling through the busy crowds at Madrid’s most famous market, El Viajero ticks all the boxes for a relaxing drink and some beautiful views over the Plaza de la Cebada.
Madrid is famous for its food markets, as they are the perfect way to try different dishes under one roof whilst you stand sipping drinks with friends. In recent years more markets have burst onto the scene, each offering a different atmosphere and selection of delicious tapas stalls. For those wanting a lively Spanish market in the heart of Madrid’s gay district Chueca, be sure to head to the Mercado de San Antón and make the most of their rooftop bar. Take the opportunity to wander round the varied stalls to sample tapas and beers on the first floor, before heading up to the outdoor rooftop terrace to watch the sun set and soak up Chueca’s fun atmosphere.
Known as the 'Whole Foods of Madrid', the San Antón market covers 3 floors and their terrace often hosts live music events, Sunday evenings being the most lively time to visit and blend in with the locals. One of the main attractions of this particular roof terrace is their reasonably priced drinks, as you will surprisingly pay the same price as you would at bars on ground level, a rarity amongst the terraces of Madrid! Make the most of their cheap drinks by ordering a gin and tonic and some delicious tapas while you take in the view of Madrid’s most colourful neighbourhood.
A close contender in Chueca and also on the rooftop of a market is the Azotea Forus Barceló in the Mercado de Barceló. Their terrace is decorated as a garden, creating a beautiful green oasis and is the perfect spot to bask in the sun on their sofas with some more delicious tapas. The menu at Barceló is highly rated and includes some excellent healthy options such as salads and poke bowls, as well as bargain menu of the day choices with a drink, main and dessert all for €10. Top food picks include the burrata and farfalle with a truffle cream sauce, and they also have an impressive collection of gins to kick off your night! With its casual yet lively vibe, Barceló is the perfect place for relaxed after work drinks, and located right next to the Tribunal metro stop it is also a top spot to start a night out in Malasaña, where bar hopping is what they do best!
Hopefully this guide has pinpointed some of Madrid’s most popular rooftops and some that are slightly more off the beaten track; whichever neighbourhood you find yourself in, there is no doubt that there’s a sun soaked terrace around the corner! Luckily most rooftop bars are not weather dependent, so in the unlikely event that the sun isn’t shining, heaters and blankets will ensure you can still gaze in awe at Madrid from above whatever time you year you visit this amazing city.