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Spain is perhaps best-known for tapas, which are small appetizers you get when ordering a drink. In most places in Spain, you have to pay a little extra for a tapa, but there are a few places left in Spain where you can get free tapas! One of them is right outside Madrid in Alcalá de Henares, and we took a day trip there to find the best free tapas in Alcalá de Henares!
Getting From Madrid to Alcalá de Henares
Taking a day trip from Madrid to Alcalá de Henares is incredibly easy and quick on public transit. The best way to get there is to take the train from Madrid’s Atocha Train Station.
The train to Alcalá de Henares from Madrid takes about 40 minutes and costs about €7 round trip from Atocha. You can buy your ticket the day of our do it ahead of time online through Renfe’s website.
As it’s a commuter train, it comes fairly often, so there’s not much of a need to buy it in advance.
Alcalá de Henares History
Now, Alcalá de Henares has a ton of history, including what it might be best known for: Miguel de Cervantes’ childhood home.
However, we aren’t going to dive deep into all the history here, but rather stick to the best tapas in Alcalá de Henares because that’s what you’re dying to know…It’s free tapas after all!
Best Tapas in Alcalá de Henares
While Alcalá de Henares isn’t huge by any means, it is about 200,000 people, so it’s not exactly small either! That’s why we wanted to breakdown the best tapas in Alcalá de Henares, so you can find all the best ones without getting lost amongst other bars in the city. Although that can be fun too!
One of the most popular and best places to get tapas in Alcalá de Henares is Indalo. It’s right on the main street in the center of the city on Calle Libreros, where you’ll find the majority of tapas bars.
For just €2.95, you can get a tapa and drink of your choice!
There are so many tapas to choose from at Indalo that you could honestly stay here all day eating different ones, which makes it one of the must-visit on any Alcalá de Henares tapas tour.
Indalo even has some specials that they allow you to pick from and a few tapas that are a little bigger and fancier if you want to pay a little extra.
During our day trip to Alcalá de Henares from Madrid, we actually stopped at Indalo twice because it was such a good deal. Plus, we had some time to kill before heading back to the train station.
Mesón Las Cuadras Rocinante
Another fantastic bar for tapas in Alcalá de Henares is Mesón Las Cuadras Rocinante. They don’t offer you a large selection of tapas like Indalo, but they do have one delicious, and very traditional tapa: callos.
Callos are stewed tripe with garbanzo beans that has been slow cooked for hours.
While callos might not sound like your cup of tea, it’s definitely a very typical dish in Spain, and in particular Madrid, so it’s something you’ll want to try when here.
And it’s perfect because this small, free tapa in Alcalá de Henares will allow you to try this classic Spanish dish without paying for it in a huge portion during a meal!
Lucrecía is another great place for tapas in Alcalá de Henares. It’s a bit more expensive and is more of a restaurant in the back, but there is a bar you can drink at up front and get a free tapa.
If there’s a seat near the bar at Lucrecía, grab it and order a drink, and you’ll get your free tapa!
Lucrecía is also right across from the Museo Casa Natal de Cervantes (Miguel de Cervantes Birthplace Museum), so it makes for the perfect stop before or after visiting that.
Vinoteca Esencias del Gourmet
Last up, on our Alcalá de Henares tapas tour is Vinoteca Esencias del Gourmet.
This is the place to come for wine lovers as they have an incredible selection of wine from all over Spain and fantastic cheeses to pair it with.
They definitely don’t give you a huge free tapa like other places in Alcalá de Henares, but the free cheese that comes with a glass of wine is very high quality and extremely delicious.
Rosquillos de Alcalá
As a little bonus, especially if you have a sweet tooth, you need to get the rosquillos de Alcalá when on your day trip to Alcalá de Henares.
The rosquillos de Alcalá are famous here and can be bought at almost any bakery, which there are plenty of right along the main street near the majority of tapas bars.
They are light and delicious without being overly sweet and have a slight orange flavor too it. If you’re looking for a traditional dessert to cap off your Alcalá de Henares tapas day trip, definitely stop and get a rosquillo de Alcalá. You won’t be disappointed.
Overall, a Alcalá de Henares tapas day trip from Madrid is definitely worthwhile and is a lot cheaper than doing a tapas crawl in Madrid. The town is also full of a lot of history too!
In saying all that, Alcalá de Henares can be done in a day trip from Madrid, and you don’t necessarily need to spend more time there.
If you do choose to visit and discover any other bars that need to be added to our Alcalá de Henares tapas bars list, let us know if the comments below!