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Madrid has a lot to offer tourists, but there is a part that remains unknown to many: the underground city. At LOCK & enjoy!, we encourage you to read this fascinating article.

Don’t forget to book a locker with us so you can enjoy the wide range of leisure and culture the capital offers comfortably and freely.

The Hidden Secrets of Madrid’s Underground City

Here, we reveal the tunnels and passageways we recommend you visit at least once in your life. Each place is filled with history, magic, and charm.

The Passageways of Kings

The various monarchies that have reigned in Spain built a series of escape routes. Their purpose was to flee from potential political crises or social uprisings, or even to make their social lives more comfortable.

The Royal Palace of Madrid was the ideal location to construct tunnels and passageways connecting different parts of the city. The monarchs used them to leave the city unseen or to go to the theatre. Here are some examples:

  • There is a tunnel that connects directly from the Royal Palace to the Royal Theatre. It opened directly into the box reserved for the monarchs during their reign.
  • Another underground site was connected to the Queen Mother’s Pharmacy. This store, which is still open to the public and is one of the oldest in the city, was the preferred place for the monarchs to buy medicines outside to avoid being poisoned.

Another secret place beneath Madrid’s soil is the secret tunnel of Joseph Bonaparte, also known as “Pepe Botella.” He ordered it to be created to move without surfacing due to the rejection he faced from the population for the Napoleonic invasion.

Given these secret corners are in areas with high security levels, it is not possible to visit them.

Basements of the Casa de los Vargas

In the famous Plaza de la Paja, there is a tunnel that leads directly to the Bishop of Plasencia’s chapel. Moreover, it has a deeper level that has not yet been explored to this day.

The Vargas family, one of the most powerful and renowned families of the time, ordered its construction to access the chapel they commissioned. Interestingly, in the 1970s, this pathway was used by thieves to steal treasures from the chapel.

This passageway remains accessible, so book one of our lockers in Madrid to leave your luggage and visit comfortably.

Underground Corners of the Political Class

To rulers and politicians, something similar happened as it did to monarchs regarding secret passages, as security was paramount. The vast majority of tunnels are located within the bowels of the Congress of Deputies, a symbol of political power. The most well-known are the following:

  • A shooting gallery was built in the Senate, used by dictator Franco as a sort of bunker after the civil war.
  • Manuel Azaña, the president of the Second Republic, also did not escape the temptation to use these secret corners. He frequently used one that moved him from the Ateneo de Madrid to the Congress of Deputies to avoid any assassination attempts.
  • The Ministry of Finance also has a wide network of ducts. Numerous political figures took refuge there during the civil conflict of the 1930s.

Madrid Metro

The capital’s metro is one of the city’s most historic places, having been inaugurated in 1919. This allows it to hold many secrets more than 100 years later.

Firstly, at LOCK & enjoy!, we are particularly fond of the so-called Zero Platform, also known as the “ghost” station of Chamberí. It is called this because it was the first to be inaugurated; however, it closed in 1966 due to the impossibility of expanding it.

In the past, if you pressed your face against the glass of the wagon, you could glimpse it from inside during transit. However, it has now been converted into a museum that is well worth visiting to see what an old metro station was like. Keep in mind that you need to book in advance.

The Vault of the Bank of Spain

Yes, you are reading correctly, as this is no hoax or legend. Seven floors below the Bank of Spain there is an armoured vault. It was built in the 1930s along with a very sophisticated protection system. So much so that one door never opens without the previous one closing.

Visits are restricted to educational centres, universities, and non-profit associations.

Inside, a total of 5.000 gold bars and approximately 2 million gold coins are stored in a 500 square meter facility.

A Coal Mine in the heart of Madrid

And finally, another peculiar place: a coal mine near the centre of Madrid. It is in Chamberí, specifically inside the Higher School of Mining Engineers. It was built last century so that students from the said institution could practice.

You can visit it on the first Sundays of each month, and it costs € 3.. We recommend comfortable footwear, as you must descend 75 steps to tour the 50 meters of rails and trolleys.

Visit Madrid and discover its underground history whit LOCK & enjoy! Also, don’t worry about your luggage and book one of LOCK & enjoy!‘s lockers to enjoy total freedom. However, if you have any questions, you can contact us through the various means available on the website.

Rocío Santos

Graduated in Tourism from the University of Seville, this professional has over 15 years of experience in managing tourism events. Specializing in planning and organization, she has worked in diverse environments, creating successful experiences for clients. Her combination of education and experience makes her an expert in her field.