Perhaps, the borough of Vallecas in Madrid is not the most touristic and monumental in the capital of Spain. But this area has particular identity and atmosphere that could be interesting for some visitors. In fact, Vallecas is known as the most working class neighbourhood of the city.
Vallecas used to be a small village centuries ago but it was absorbed by Madrid in 1950. It is located on the east side of the city and it spreads along a main boulevard: Albufera Avenue. As Vallecas is a large zone, there are several Metro stations: Puente de Vallecas, Nueva Numancia, Portazgo, Buenos Aires, Alto del Arenal, Miguel Hernández, Sierra de Guadalupe, Congosto, La Gavia, Las Suertes and Valdecarros. All of them belong to Line 1. Besides, many bus lines get to this area and commuter trains pass by here, stopping in Entrevías, El Pozo, Vallecas and Santa Eugenia.
As we said, there are few monuments in Vallecas but the attractions of this area could surprise many people. The main building of the borough is San Pedro ad Vincula church (Villa de Vallecas Metro Station), which dates from the early 17th century. It is a temple that follows the traditional rules of Madrilenian architecture: the walls are made of masonry and bricks because they were cheap. Details of granite are also present. The authors of the building were Juan de Herrera, who designed the building, and Ventura Rodríguez, who erected the tower.
Vallecas also keeps a delightful surprise, unknown by most of the Madrilenians: some of the most beautiful panoramas of the city can be seen from a park located in this area. It is called Cerro del Tío Pío (Buenos Aires Metro Station), but the locals name it ‘Parque de las Siete Tetas’ (Seven Teats Park), because of its seven small hills. The immensity of Madrid spreads below our feet.
Vallecas is also a borough of small details, usually unobserved by tourists but loved by locals. One of them is the ‘Rocker Grandmother statue’. This area has a large rocker tradition, and the best example was a grandmother that listened to this genre of music her whole life. She treated the best bands of the moment and died when she was 93. The neighbourhood and the best rock bands of the city promoted a sculpture, which can be seen today on Peña Gorbea Street 22.
Due to this rocker tradition, there are many concerts every weekend at the pubs of Vallecas in Madrid. That halls are not the biggest in the city but they do are the most authentic. Young and old bands play in places like Sala Hebe (Tomás García Street 5), Jimmy Jazz (Payaso Fofó 24 Street) and Excalibur Metal (Sanz Raso Street 19). Rock, reggae, heavy metal, ska and other genres sound in them.
Vallecas is also proud of having a football team in the top division of La Liga: Rayo Vallecano. Its stadium is located on the corner of Payaso Fofó Street and Albufera Avenue (Portazgo Metro Station). It is small and old, but it smells like pure football.
Vallecas is also known for organizing one of the best sport events in Spain: the San Silvestre Vallecana, a running race that finishes right here. It takes place every December 31st and both amateur and professional runners participate.
As Vallecas in Madrid is a residential place, there are few hotels here. H2 Mercader (four stars) and Welcome Hotel (one star) are worth mentioning. Both are near Mercamadrid, a big industrial park.