With summer's long-awaited arrival in Madrid, we've got a list for the best outdoor terraces to visit in the city.

By Andrew Ferren
June 19, 2015
The Principal Madrid
Credit: Courtesy The Principal Madrid

After a few climatic fits and starts over the last few weeks, summer seems poised to arrive in Madrid this weekend. And so begins another outdoor dining season. The landlocked Spanish capital may not have a seaside, but it does have magical summer nights when the restaurants are empty while sidewalks, gardens and rooftops rock all night long.

Whether it’s on a rooftop or in a park, there’s an outdoor watering hole for everyone this summer in Madrid. These exceptional locations (or sites with exceptional concepts) promise to be hopping this summer:

Seven floors above Gran Via is La Terraza (pictured) at the new hotel the Principal Madrid, which serves excellent cocktails and nibbles by two-Michelin star chef Ramon Freixa. Across the way on Calle Alcalá is Tartan Roof above the Circulo de Bellas Artes arts center, and down the street is the year-old hotel Innside Madrid Suecia, where a panoramic elevator will whisk you up to the rooftop lounge called The Balcony.

Arty types like to schmooze on the hidden patios at Bosco de Lobos, a fabulous Italian restaurant inside the HQ of the College of Architects, or Hat Bar (San Lorenzo 5). Hipsters also like The Hat, a groovy hostel near Plaza Mayor with a lively rooftop scene.

Over in La Latina, the kids never tire of El Viajero a classic for chilling out with glacially slow service but spectacular views of the Basilica of San Francisco El Grande, among the prettiest churches in Madrid. Fall down the hill behind the church and find Café del Rio, floating over the city’s verdant new riverside park in the shadow of the Royal Palace.

Terraces serve niche markets, too. You can get your kibbeh on at Shukran, the chic Lebanese restaurant with a sprawling street-level terrace at the Casa Arabe opposite the Retiro Park. The cutting-edge contemporary art space La Casa Encendida is having Martian evenings with live music on their terrace to complement their current “Astronomy” exhibition. You can also kick it ancien regime at Richelieu (no. 11 on Paseo Eduardo Dato), on a street lined with lively grown-up bars for the 40+ crowd.

Andrew Ferren is on the Spain beat for Travel + Leisure. He lives in Madrid.