Madrid is a great halal destination for a holiday, business trip or a city break. It has plenty of Muslim-friendly services that take into consideration their necessities regarding food and other actions that are not allowed by the Muslim religion.
A whole range of culinary options
With regard to food, you’ll be pleased to know that Spain, and therefore madrid as well, is famous for its healthy Mediterranean diet, that has been inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO. This food includes loads of recipes based around vegetables and fish and the visitors will not have a problem finding such dishes in the restaurants. The Spanish cuisine is closely related to Arab cuisine and includes many dishes that can be considered halal.
Those looking for 100% halal food, will be able to find it in different restaurants. For example, the Madrid’s Asador de Aranda has halal menus as an alternative to their meat dishes.
Close to the Centro Cultural Islámico de Madrid you can find the Alzahra restaurant famous for its authentic Arab cuisine. On the other hand, inside the beautiful 19th century neomudejar building, home to the Casa Árabe, you can find the Shukran restaurant, famous for its Mediterranean cuisine with Lebanese influences, offering a fusion of the two cultures. It is a great place to experience the authentic tea ceremony.
There are also numerous vegetarian restaurants and many restaurants offering food from Muslim countries like Morocco, Bangladesh, Senegal, Jordan, Lebanon or Iran that can be adapted to halal needs. A few examples? Basmati, Fairuz, Omar, Yatiri, Al Mounia, Awtar, Bistoon, La Libanesa, Alquds, El Jeque, Solidere, Alfanus, La Cocina del Desierto…
Madrid has several hotels offering halal cuisine, prayer mats, praying rooms and indications to direction of Mecca .
One of the hotels that has all of those services is Hesperia, one of the most famous halal-friendly hotels in the city and that is a safe bet for the Muslim life-style.
You can find plenty of these services in Eurostars of Madrid and in the InterContinental. If we exclusively regard the cuisine, another good option is the Restaurante M29 in the heart of Paseo de la Castellana that belongs to the Hotel Miguel Ángel. Their exclusive halal menu offers dishes like roast sea-bass, vegetable wok with warm tarragon muslin or spring chicken thigh and couscous with nuts.
Day-trips from Madrid
To get to know the Arab heritage of Madrid, that was founded by Emir Mohammad I of Cordoba in the 9thcentury, one of the best options is to go to Casa Árabe and attend some of their lectures, exhibitions or film screenings or to sign up for one of their guided tours that take you to discover the origins of the city in the Mohammad I Park close to the Almudena Cathedral, in the Plaza de Oriente or the San Isidro Museum.
Also if you wish to make a day-trip from Madrid, a great option is to contact the Nur & Duha Travels agency (with Halal Certification of the Halal Institute of Spain), that offers packages and services that are Muslim-friendly and regard the halal ethics. For example, you can book a trip from Madrid to Toledo to get to know its Cristo de la Luz Mosque, Plaza de Zocodover, the Alcázar…
Religious services at the airports and mosques
In the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport there are two mosques situated in the public area of the exits to terminals T2 and T4. Halal meals are also served in the Aena VIP lounges.
Once you are in the city, you can visit the Centro Cultural Islámico, also known as the M-30 Mosque, a 6-story religious center frequented by thousands of Muslims. Around it there are plenty of libraries, tea-shops, butcher’s, hair salons and Arab supermarkets with halal products.
Another options is the Mezquita Central de Madrid, in the Tetuán neighborhood, the oldest in the city.
Shopping, Relax and Beauty
In Madrid there are several places to enjoy the Muslim culture like the Hamman Al Ándalus Arab Baths to find a truly relaxing atmosphere.
As for shopping, a great place to enjoy the latest in fashion is Las Rozas Village, an outlet specialized in luxury brands, with more than 1000 fashion boutiques and even personal stylists.
If you wish to buy halal beauty products (those products that do not have animal fat or alcohol), Spanish brands like Natura Bissé have Muslim-friendly products or you can visit Masturah, a specialized beauty-salon located in Madrid.
Religious celebrations and events
During Ramadan, some institutions, like Casa Árabe and the Instituto Halal, organize activities like the Noches de Ramadán festival with a special program celebrating this sacred month of the Muslim calendar. Exhibitions, tales for adults, children’s workshops and concerts are the most common activities. It is a great moment to get to know what halal means for the Islamic community.
Official Halal Certificate
The Halal Institute is in charge of this certification for products and services that comply with the requirements ordered by the Islamic law. Even though it is mainly associated with the food production, lately it has been given to beauty products, baby food producers, air-line catering, non-alcoholic beers, hotels, etc.