Locked Up’s Maggie Civantos on her favourite corner of Madrid

The Spanish actress tells us what she gets up to when she’s not incarcerated...


Ok, so Locked Up isn’t the best advert for Madrid.


Like the Netflix series Orange is the New Black, the Spanish drama is about a young woman whose cushy middle-class life is turned upside down when she’s sent to jail, and soon realises telling her parents is the least of her worries. Unlike OITNB, Locked Up is a slick and violent thriller. 

Most of the action takes place behind bars, and the odd glimpse of Madrid usually involves some decidedly dodgy goings-on. Still, we’re big fans of the Spanish capital so couldn’t resist asking leading lady Maggie Civantos (pictured in character above) for a few recommendations via Skype.

Civantos grew up in Malaga but has lived in Madrid for 10 years. Below, she tells us about her favourite spots for tapas, vintage shopping and dancing into the early hours….

Mercado de San Miguel is touristy and a little bit expensive but you can find all the most famous Spanish tapas, so it’s a good way to try everything if you only have a couple of days to spend in Madrid. It’s close to Plaza Major. 

“When I want tapas, I head for La Gastrocroqueteria on Calle del Barco in Malasana because they do the best croquetas. I usually order the cheese ones because I try to not eat meat, although I can’t resist jamón ibérico [ham from Iberian pigs]. It’s difficult to be vegetarian in Spain for that reason!

Mercado de San Miguel

“Malasana is also where I go shopping because you can find vintage places and Spanish designers. If you love 50s fashion like me, there is a beautiful store with amazing dresses in Calle Corredera Baja de San Pablo called Lady Cacahuete.

“I love Reina Sofia, the contemporary art museum. I try to go to Museo del Prado [the main national art museum] once or twice a year but I prefer the art in Reina Sofia.

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

“The most important park in Madrid is Buen Retiro, which is a big park like Hyde Park with sculptures and a lake in the middle. Sometimes you see people dancing flamenco there. Don’t go in August: it’s very, very hot, so you’ll be fried like a potato! I prefer to ride my bike to Casa de Campo because it’s wilder. It’s huge and you can find beautiful birds, rabbits, all kinds of small animals. It’s the countryside in Madrid. 

“When we go out, we drink small glasses of beer called cañas or cocktails – gin and tonic is in fashion at the moment. In summer, I drink tinto de verano, which is wine with ice and lemonade. I only drink if I want to dance. In Malasana, there is a place called BarCo where you can listen to very good music. Almost every weekend you can find good bands – jazz music and funky, Latin music – and then after midnight, you can dance to good DJs.

“In summer, it’s very hot here in Madrid and I find that hard. In Malaga, I grew up next to the sea so I prefer to spend my summer in the south, close to the beach. I love Madrid in autumn because it’s orange: the leaves are orange and the floor is orange with them.”

Series two of Locked Up is available on Walter Presents

Radio Times Travel holidays

Madrid, Salamanca & Toledo, 6 nights from £599pp. It is one of the largest and most diverse countries in Europe, rich with the legacies of the Romans and Moors, still very much evident in the architecture of Segovia and Toledo. Salamanca has one of Europe’s oldest universities with a wealth of lovely buildings, whilst Madrid can boast some of the best art in the world in the Prado and Reina Sofia galleries. What’s included:

  • Return flights
  • Six nights’ bed and breakfast at excellent quality three-star superior and four-star hotels 
  • Walking tour of Salamanca, home to one the world’s oldest universities
  • Visit to Segovia, seeing its ancient Roman aqueduct and castle
  • Sightseeing tour of Madrid
  • Visit to Aranjuez and the former Palace of the Spanish Royal Family
  • Visit to Toledo, the former capital of Spain
  • Click here for more details and to book