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A bookseller cleaning an old book at a stall in Cuesta de Moyano.
NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE

A guide to local favorites in Retiro

A bookseller cleaning an old book at a stall in Cuesta de Moyano.
  • By Almudena Ávalos
  • Photos by Guillermo Gutierrez
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Retiro
Madrid
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Tourists wander through the western part of this neighborhood, where you’ll find the Prado Museum and Plaza de Cibeles, while Madrileños prefer Retiro Park, where they go for a run, enjoy a good book on a bench, celebrate a birthday on the lawns or use the public library. East of the park, in the residential areas of Ibiza and Niño Jesus, you’ll find locals enjoying unhurried pre-lunch tapas.

Meet Almudena Ávalos

Few people can say they are grandchildren of true Madrileños, but Almudena is one of them. She travels the world now as a food and culture writer, but she always returns to Madrid to discover hidden gems to share.

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Retiro

Books at Cuesta Moyano
Since 1925, 30 wooden stalls erected on this gently sloping pedestrian street have been the delight of book lovers in search of a rare secondhand find. You can also find new editions and vintage postcards.
Cuesta de Moyano, Calle Claudio Moyano, Madrid, Spain
Retiro Park
Madrileños love this green sanctuary in the middle of the city and take great pride in preserving Madrid’s oldest tree, the ahuehuete, which is located in the Parterre gardens. (The city traces its planting to the 1600s.) Step inside the Palacio de Cristal and the Palacio de Velázquez to check out the free art exhibits organized by the Reina Sofía Museum.
El Retiro Parque, 7, Plaza de la Independecia, Madrid, 28001, España
La Castela
Experience one of the best bars in Madrid for raciones, plates of food to share with friends. There is a formal dining room, but most prefer to grab a spot near the counter, where fresh seafood is always on display. The chickpeas with prawns and the sweetbreads are out of this world.
22, calle del Doctor Castelo, Madrid, 28009, España
Kulto
Stop in here for the tastiest tuna in Madrid. It’s best to go on a slower weekday, when you’re better able to admire the turquoise, scale-shaped tiles that line the bar and wall. Try the tarantelo, and if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, order a marinated tuna satay.
4, calle de Ibiza, Madrid, 28009, España
Casa Santoña
This bar, which specializes in anchovies from Santoña, belongs to neighborhood locals and the occasional anchovy lover — not a tourist in sight. Enjoy your order upstairs with a cold beer.
10, Avenida de Nazaret, Madrid, 28009, España
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Almudena Ávalos
Few people can say they are grandchildren of true Madrileños, but Almudena is one of them. She travels the world now as a food and culture writer, but she always returns to Madrid to discover hidden gems to share.
Guillermo Gutierrez
Guillermo is a contributing photographer to The Washington Post based in Madrid.
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CITY GUIDES