Yes, Madrid is one of the greatest cities in the world, but like any other place, it of course has its flaws. But, if you are smart and research in advance you can avoid getting disappointed when you visit the Spanish capital. I have written a bit about a few tourist pitfalls in Madrid so you can avoid doing the same mistake as so many tourists have done in the past. Check out the tips below and don’t fall into the same tourist traps as other tourists.
1. Don’t eat or drink on any of the restaurants in Plaza Mayor.
When you’re taking in the attractive Plaza Mayor, you might feel thirsty. You may feel hungry. You may be tempted to order some tapas and ice cold cerveza (beer) on one of the many restaurants and cafés lining the plaza. Please try to resist the urge! The prices are extremely inflated and the quality is so-so. A coffee for an arm and a leg? Paella in exchange for your lung? It’s no good for any traveller who appreciates value for money. The restaurants around Plaza Mayor is the perfect place to practice your “No, gracias”!
2. Do not go to Madrid’s Amusement Park and/or Warner Brother’s Park
Thrill-seeker are ya? Looking for the rush of the wind in your hair and a roller coaster throwing you upside down at record speeds? Go to Six Flags when you get home. Madrid still has lots to learn when it comes to amusement parks, and these options are not only disappointing, they’re fantastically overpriced. Basically you will end up paying through the nose for something very sub-adequate. Be smart, save your money, and stay away.
3. Don’t tip
Yes, you may be used to tipping where you are from. But in Spain there are other customs. You are not, I repeat, NOT expected to tip in Spain as you would in the USA. There is no “15% to 20%” on your bill. Yes, they still get a good wage even if you do not tip them! However, it is customary to leave/give some spare change, a few 10 cent coins at most, in restaurants and to taxi drivers. If you’ve really enjoyed the service, or someone has been particularly great, you can give him or her more, but the maximum would be a euro, and even that might be considered excessive.
That’s it. If you can avoid these tourist traps your trip to Madrid has already improved its chances of being a success.