This blog post was originally posted on July 17, 2013, and was updated on June 13, 2017.
Spain has one of the hottest summer climates in all of Europe, so knowing great ways to cool off is essential!
It’s mid June in Madrid and summer seems to have arrived a bit early! Temperatures reach above 90°F (37°C) daily, and Madrid residents will soon start escaping the city and heading to their beach houses and mountain cottages. So what can you do if you (like us) are left to fend for yourself in the empty sizzling city? Don’t worry, cooling off in Madrid is easier than it seems, especially when food is involved, so check out these 10 delicious ways to cool off in Madrid and make the most of your summer!
Photo Credit: Roberto Faccenda
1. Tinto de Verano
This bubbly wine cooler is what most Spaniards drink instead of sangría and that means you should be drinking it too! A refreshing mix of ice, red wine, and lemon soda, it is the ideal beverage to slowly sip on one of Madrid’s terrace bars.
Our pick: Take to the roof of La Cocina de San Antón atop the San Antón Market and sip away!
2. Ice Cream
It’s the quintessential summer snack and there is no shortage of fantastic options for ice cream in Madrid. From Italian style gelato to the little stands selling the dangerously addictive Magnum bars, ice cream in Madrid is a must if visiting in summer and a wonderful way to cool off!
Our pick: Head to Gelatería La Romana (Paseo de la Habana, 27) for some of the best ice cream in Madrid.
A couple years ago, the artisanal popsicle craze made its way to Madrid and it’s still going strong! These fruity, icy treats are packed with natural ingredients like juices and fruit chunks. The colorful displays make them hard to resist! They’re also one of the most portable treats, so they’ll keep you cool as you roam the streets of Madrid.
Our Pick: Lolo Polos (Calle León, 30)
This ice cold creamy beverage originates in Valencia and is one of the most delicious ways to cool off in Madrid. Horchata is made out of tiger nuts (chufas), water, and sugar. The result is a sweet, milky beverage that when served ice cold is better than any milkshake!
Our pick: Alboraya (Calle de Alcalá 125)
Forget about ice cream and frozen yogurt, if you are really burning up you should try a cold and icy granizado. The name of this ice cold drink literally means “hailstorm” and it’s similar to a slushy. You can usually find Granizados in basic flavors like lemon, strawberry and orange, but no matter which you choose, make sure to drink with caution to avoid brain freeze!
Our Pick: Heladería Kalúa (Calle Fuencarral, 131)
6. Freshly Squeezed Juice
Spaniards have been fans of freshly squeezed Valencian orange juice for centuries now, but recently other fresh fruit juices have come onto the scene. Served ice cold and full of vitamins and nutrients, a delicious fruit juice is a great pick for cooling off this summer.
Our pick: The juice stand in Mercado San Fernando (Calle de Embajadores, 41)
7. Gin Tonic
Voted the number one city to drink a gin and tonic, Madrid has made this mixed drink a cocktail of its own. Served in a big balloon glass with enormous ice cubes, specialty gin, and premium tonic water, you can’t miss an ice cold G&T while visiting Madrid.
Our pick: Gin and tonics on the roof of Hotel de las Letras (Gran Vía, 11).
Spaniards will have you believe that a glass of gazpacho cures all things, and it just might be true. What’s definitely sound advice is that a big glass of this vegetable juice will cool you off in no time.
Our pick: The vinegary, ice-cold glass of gazpacho at Casa Toni (Calle de la Cruz, 14)
9. Ajo Blanco
Before tomatoes came to Spain allowing Spaniards to create classics like gazpacho and salmorejo, there was ajo blanco. A cold soup made of crushed almonds, garlic, and olive oil, enjoy it topped with juicy grapes.
Our pick: Try a sampler of various cold soups (including ajo blanco) at Taberna La Concha (Calle Cava Baja, 7).
This cold soup is summer on a plate. Salmorejo is made with fresh tomatoes, stale bread, and olive oil then topped with hard boiled egg and cured Spanish ham. Ask for it to be served without the jamón for an amazing vegetarian alternative. It is healthy, refreshing, and delicious – a must-try and one of the best ways to cool off in Madrid!
Our pick: We like the creamy version at Mercado de la Reina (Calle Gran Vía, 12) as a part of their fantastic daily lunch menu!