I love travelling, and have always really enjoyed taking my son with me. However, other parents will know how much money you can spend keeping youngsters entertained, and how expensive kid-oriented attractions are. The Estación de Chamberí in Madrid is a perfect quirky little activity, which families will love and which costs nothing!
Madrid’s Line 1 was the first (hence the 1!) opening in 1919 and running 8 stations between Cuatro Caminos and Sol. Seven of these are still active, although some were renamed – Chamberí Station was closed in the 1960s as trains became longer; it was impossible to lengthen, so that was that.
Keep your eyes peeled when you are travelling by metro between Iglesias and Bilbao Stations, and you will spot it, dimly lit and eerily preserved in the 1920s. Better still go and visit it, and watch the trains go by, filled with oblivious travellers, who are completely unaware that they are being observed. The beautiful original tiles and advertisements are fascinating to see too.
Visitors are allowed in on the hour – for example on Thursdays at 10, 11 and 12 – so get there a little before then. It’s a little unusual, but the fact that visitor numbers are controlled makes for a more special experience in my opinion. Also, unlike many metros in Madrid, there is wheelchair access here.