Balance with Mariana's Healthy City Guide: MADRID

Staying healthy when traveling is always hard, for anyone, including myself. So when I travel (which I'm lucky to say is quite often), I make it my mission to scope out nearby healthy spots – including places where I can grab a healthy meal, maybe some superfoods for home, and places where I can workout.

For those cities where I have recently spent a lot of time, I’ve naturally come up with my own little “guide” of key places to visit whenever I go.

Today I want to share with you my “healthy guide” to one of my favorite cities, Madrid. (And stay tuned because in upcoming weeks I’ll share with you my healthy guide to my new home town, Managua, and later my previous home towns – Miami and NYC).

Madrid is a city that in the past 2 years has undergone a huge transformation in the world of health and wellness. When I used to visit Madrid, it was hard extremely to get fresh vegetables in restaurants; usually the only vegetable options came with ham! And there were no organic stores or juice bars in sight. While the lack of veggie options is still the case in many traditional places, I’m now happily surprised to see tons of vegan restaurants popping up, as well as health food stores, and casual healthy restaurants that offer organic bites, superfoods and green juices. Since I always indulge in too much wine, dessert and seafood when visiting Madrid, these healthy spots become my little heavenly escape for the occasional healthy meal to keep me balanced.

As for fitness options, Madrid is still a bit limited (to my liking), so I tend to focus on walking a lot, occasional jogs and bike rides. But when staying more than a few days, I always need a fitness or yoga class, and luckily their studio offering is continually growing. Below I share the places I've tried and liked.

MY HEALTHY GUIDE TO MADRID (centered around barrio Salamanca):

Organic Health Food Stores:

Herbolario Navarro (Calle Alcalá, 19; center of Madrid, and Calle Fuencarral, 138; Chamberi – just West of Salamanca). This was the first Health Market I discovered and instantly fell in love. It’s like a mini- whole foods, filled with organic products. I especially love their organic dark chocolate selection.

Bio C’Bon (Calle de Lagasca, 65; Salamanca). Very similar to Herbolario Navarro, this is an expansive health food market, but I’d argue has an even bigger selection of organic products. It has everything, including coconut water and goats milk kefir, and all the dried goods you can think of. I recently discovered it, and will be sure to pop in regularly when I’m in Madrid (especially as It’s so close to my Madrid home!)

El Corte Inglés: No matter where you are in Madrid, there is a Cortes Inglés nearby, and their supermarket offers a huge health food section. When staying a few days in Madrid, my first shopping stop is always Corte Ingles as it’s a one-stop-shop offering almost everything you need.

Healthy / Organic Restaurants & Salad Bars:

FitFood (Calle de Serrano, 98 & Calle Velázquez, 39; Salamanca) – My go-to spot in Madrid to buy breakfast items post-workout (mostly because it’s a block from my apartment!). Great superfood offering. I usually get their green juices, a turmeric+matcha almond milk latte (but ask them to go easy on the agave!) and I LOVE their homemade granola which I buy to keep at home and add to my homemade chia pudding.

Bump Green

Bump Green

BumpGreen (Calle de Velazquez, 11; Salamanca) – My new favorite healthy restaurant in Madrid. Super cute place for lunch or dinner. We loved their hummus with veggie chips, coca-pizza, Nutribowl, lentil salad and quinoa+beet burger. The only thing I wouldn’t re-order is their steak (I’d stick to the veggie plates). Their chocolate desserts are not exactly light, but they're worth the splurge! And a plus (for a weekend dinner): they offer a good full selection of alcohol, beers and wine. I can’t wait to go back and try their breakfast items (it’s just strange that they don’t open till 12:30pm)!

Honest Greens (Paseo de la Castellana, 89; north of Salamanca) – Build your own bowl/salad concept, in a modern and rustic environment. All their products are non-gmo / free of antibiotics, and based on sustainable farming. Check out their Instagram… enough said! I loved it and wish there were more spots like this in Salamanca. Loved their falafel and all the warm veggie sides. Only caution is their juices are definite on the sweet side, and the desserts are delicious, but again, on the sweet/rich side.

Honest Greens

Honest Greens

Panela & Co. (Calle Lopez de Hoyos, 10; Salamanca) – My go-to for a quick salad (primarily because it’s next to my apartment, but also because my husband loves it). Everything is FRESH and good quality. They offer filling salads, sandwiches and wraps, with the option to change ingredients or create your own (a huge plus as that’s a rare option in Madrid!). Oh and their Saturday brunch is delicious!

Others (a bit farther from Salamanca):

Abonavida (Calle Navas de Tolosa, 3) – Cute café (and store) to grab a tea, fresh juice and a light bite. Also offer pizzas/salads/sandwiches. Vegan friendly. And (like BumpGreen), they offer booze including organic wines.

MOX Healthy Food & Drinks (Calle Corredera Baja de San Pablo, 53 – Malasaña). Good spot for Green juice, smoothies and salads.

VEGAN RESTAURANTS MADRID (mostly in Madrid city center / barrio Malasaña)  

Vega (Calle de la Luna, 9, 28004 Madrid) – Super cute and cozy restaurant that keeps busy. You’ll likely have to wait for weekday lunch, but it’s worth it. Everything is delicious. This was my favorite.

Yerbabuena (Calle Bordadores, 3)– This place offers big portions at a great price, and everything I ordered was yummy. Its less “cute” and a bit more “cafeteria” feel, but I loved it nonetheless. Definitely suggest going with an appetite! 

Rayen Vegano (Calle Lope de Vega, 7) – A small vegan café offering yummy and unique, freshly-made vegan plates. Like Vega, it’s a cute and busy place.

Others that have been recommended but I haven’t been able to try yet include:

Reineta Vegetariano (Calle Infante 5) – Known to be delicious, rich plates, and appealing to non-vegetarians. Will definitely take my husband here on my next visit! 

B13 bar vegano (Calle Ballesta 13) – Best place if you’re craving a veggie burger and fries. Fully vegan, casual and super affordable (just not sure how healthy it is, which is why I haven’t prioritized it yet!).

Yoga / Fitness Studios:

Yoga Center Madrid (Calle Serrano, 6; Salamanca) – Offers beginner-medium level classes, mostly Hatha style, but also offers Iyengar, Kundalini, Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Yin Yoga. I enjoyed it, but the classes I attended were more on the relaxing side and didn’t make me sweat (which I missed). At least the walk to and from helped! They offer a 3-class “trial pack” which is perfect if you’re visiting for just a few days! Website:

Mysore Ashtanga House Madrid (Calle de Sta Engracia, 70; barrio Chamberi) – As I recently started Ashtanga, I came here on my last Madrid stop and loved it. Great energy. Nice instructors (though not super hands-on/minimal adjustments, at least that was my experience with Rafa). They have a special offer for people visiting from out of town - 50 euros for the week (good deal if you’re there a week and go at least 3-4 times, as one should with Ashtanga!)

Bikram Yoga Spain Studio (Calle de Maldonado, 52; Salamanca) - I tried this one summer and was just too hot for me, but I’m also not a bikram fanatic. For all bikram lovers, though, the place is great, spacious (yet always full - which I always take as a good sign), and the place is well kept. Also super friendly staff.

Kundalini Yoga Studio (Calle de Fuencarral, 147; barrio Chamberí) - Offers Kundalini as well as Hatha, Power and Prenatal Yoga. Haven't been yet - mostly as it's quite a walk from my apartment - but will definitely try on my next trip; It’s at the top of my list!

B3B Woman Studio (Calle Ayala, 54; Salamanca) – Female-only gym offering a mix of spinning, boxing and barre. As a barre fanatic, the barre portion didn’t meet my standards, but I loved the concept, and you get a good workout. Plus the place is spacious and clean, and has a super nice and well-equipped bathroom/locker room. Worth checking out (especially as the first class is free)!

Pilates Zentro Madrid (Calle de Lagasca, 74 1ºC; Salamanca) - If you're a Pilates fan, this spot offers a good schedule of both small group classes and privates. The teachers are experienced, super friendly, and overall great! However, personally, I would only recommend it if you're a Pilates regular and/or have a long visit in the city and can go regularly. Otherwise it's hard to feel like the workout is good enough, especially given that it's more expensive than other workouts. I went here as a newbie to Pilates and loved trying something new, loved the place/staff, but it is pricey, and I definitely felt I needed to combine with some cardio.