Creative Cities: Madrid

Our guide to the Spanish capital is resident Ana López, a journalist and communications specialist who also represents the magazine Marketing Directo on the Epica Awards jury.



Photo: Nuno Nunes

The most creative museum or gallery

Undoubtedly the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (Alcalá 13), which is little known to tourists. It has magnificent paintings, drawings and engravings by Francisco de Goya, including engravings of Los desastres de la guerra (“The Disasters of War”).

Goya was closely linked during his long life to the Royal Academy, which retains an exceptional collection of paintings representing his various stages. In addition, the Academy offers cultural activities, such as concerts, lectures, courses and research projects, alongside other great masterpieces by the likes of Velázquez, Rubens, Van Dyck, and Zurbarán.

Photo: Carlos Delgado

The café where you go to read, write or be inspired

The Café de Oriente (Plaza de Oriente 2) means thinking about the history of Madrid. The views from its terrace of the Royal Palace and the Plaza de Oriente give it a unique status in this elegant city. It can be the perfect place to read a few pages of a book, inspire some writing, or meet in quiet and cosy surroundings with a colonial and authentic atmosphere.


A restaurant with a difference

Olivia Te Cuida (Calle de Sta. Teresa 8) serves healthy and ecological food as if you were at your grandmother's house. The presentation of their dishes makes it special, as well as the delicacy in the choice, quality and combination of foods.

This place is infallible for those of us who love healthy and homely fare. From first thing in the morning they are busy serving breakfasts with good coffee, red fruit tarts, lemon and meringue or chocolate with saffron. They have homemade jams, yogurt with muesli and pastries. It’s the perfect place for vegetarians and non-vegetarians to spend some time together.

Photo: courtesy of Olivia te Cuida

The most creative neighbourhood

It’s difficult to choose a specific neighbourhood when you live in the centre of Madrid. Malasaña, Barrio de las Letras, Chueca and La Latina are all fantastic places with artistic and cultural inspiration on each corner.

The centre of Madrid has a historical, creative and at the same time very cosmopolitan charm, which means its neighbourhoods have become perfect spaces for inspiration and creativity, where it’s easy to get lost and hard to get tired of walking and watching.

Photo: La Latina by Sergio Lopez

The store you can’t pass without going in

I have two favourite places that I love visiting in the Malasaña neighbourhood, and they’re both bookstores:

The Librería Tres Rosas Amararillas (Calle del Espíritu Santo 12) is a small place I love visiting to find new creative works, especially the pop-up books that remind me of my childhood and the admiration I felt for colourful, illustrated stories. I often buy small poetry books that are easy to carry in my bag and that I can bring out any time I’m bored or in need of inspiration. This is a magical place that will stir the imaginations of young and old.

Libros Para Un Mundo Mejor (Calle del Espíritu Santo 13). The best thing about “Books For A Better World” is their cat Preta: although I’m not a cat lover, I love to go in and see if I can spot the beautiful cat sitting very elegantly amid the bookshelves. The store offers reading and writing workshops, as well as highly original books and gifts inspired by sayings in favour of a better world. Meanwhile, the black and glossy cat silently observes the visitors’ every move.


Photo: Ana López