The 15 Finest Issues To Do in Madrid, Spain
With many city-run museums to keep culture lovers happy, an unlimited choice of food and restaurants for every class, and unrivaled cultural attractions, Madrid celebrates its role as a deeply cosmopolitan city.
Thanks to its vibrant cultural dynamism – Madrid has incredible architecture, museums and street art to discover – this soulful destination is often ranked among the best cities in Spain.
Whether you want to visit some of the best art exhibitions in the world, enjoy delicious tapas or just relax in idyllic gardens, there is always a whirlwind in Madrid.
Read on to find out which of the top 15 attractions not to miss on your next trip to the Spanish capital.
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What you need to know before visiting Madrid, Spain
What is Madrid, Spain most famous for?
Spain’s capital is known for its vibrant atmosphere. Madrid is deeply cosmopolitan and has everything you could want in a big city: world-class museums, an unlimited choice of food and restaurants in every class, a multitude of nightclubs and bars and lots of green spaces.
Is there a lot to do in Madrid?
Madrid is known worldwide as a premier travel destination and offers a wide range of sights and activities. The overwhelming number of attractions the city has to offer means travelers will never be bored.
How many days are enough in Madrid?
Five to six days should be enough to get a feel for this lively city.
What is the best time to visit Madrid, Spain?
Spring and autumn are ideal times to visit Madrid. The weather is milder, prices tend to be lower, and the tourist crowds are much thinner.
The best things to do in Madrid, Spain
Explore Madrid’s art museums
There are numerous world-class museums in the Spanish capital. So make your choice because there is something for everyone. A great idea is to explore Madrid’s “Golden Triangle of Art,” which is made up of three major museums: Museo del Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.
The almost 200 year old Museo Nacional del Prado is the largest in the country. The magnificent Prado Museum displays fantastic works by European art by old masters such as El Greco, Francisco de Goya, Velazquez, Rembrandt and Pablo Picasso.
The Museo Reina Sofia near the train station and the Atocha metro station is also one of the most visited museums in Spain. When you visit this modern art museum, you can marvel at a fascinating collection from the 19th and 20th centuries that includes masterpieces such as Guernica by Picasso.
On a stroll through the galleries of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, you will catch a glimpse of almost 1,000 paintings from the 13th to the 20th century, including masterpieces by geniuses such as Van Eyck, Dürer, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Canaletto, Monet, Degas, and Van Gogh, to name a few.
Other must-see museums in Madrid are the National Museum of Decorative Arts, the Cerralbo Museum, the Lázaro Galdiano Museum and the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo for contemporary art.
Visit the Buen Retiro Park and the Crystal Palace
Are you looking for a quiet place to take a leisurely stroll in Madrid? Then head to Parque del Retiro, a lush crown jewel in the heart of the city. This dreamy park spans 125 acres and is dotted with more than 15,000 trees as well as stunning sculptures and fountains.
When visiting El Retiro, don’t forget to visit the Glass Palace (Palacio de Cristal) which is one of the finest examples of cast iron architecture in Madrid. Today the palace is owned by the Reina Sofía Museum, which uses it as a place for temporary exhibitions all year round.
Walk across the Plaza Mayor
During the reign of Philip III. Plaza Mayor is a portico-lined square in the heart of Habsburg Madrid, the old part of the city.
Stroll through this monumental square and pay attention to the eye-catching details of the structure, which was designed by Spanish architect Juan Gómez de Mora.
One of the most valuable features of the square is the statue of the king on horseback – often regarded as one of the most valuable works of art on the streets of Madrid.
Marvel at the art collection of the Royal Palace
The Royal Palace of Madrid was built for King Philip V in the mid-18th century and is the largest royal palace in Western Europe. This seductive building, with an ornate mix of baroque and neoclassical styles, housed Spanish kings from Charles III.
Visit the palace for a fascinating journey through Spanish history and discover the treasures of the royal collections, which include beautiful frescoes and works by Goya, Caravaggio and Velázquez.
See the Puerta de Alcalá in Plaza de la Independencia
Plaza de la Independencia is where Calle Serrano, Calle Alcalá and Calle Alfonso XII converge and is a central square that houses one of the city’s most emblematic monuments, the Puerta de Alcalá gate. This neoclassical granite archway was built in 1778 by architect Francisco Sabatini and was once used as a gateway to and from the city.
Tour of the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is a must for any sports lover traveling to Madrid. With a current seating capacity of 81,044, it has been Real Madrid’s home stadium and the second largest stadium in Spain since its completion in 1947.
Treat yourself to a bite at the Mercado de San Miguel
Whatever your plans in Madrid, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Mercado de San Miguel, a true paradise that will attract the discerning foodie.
The monumental Mercado de San Miguel in the city center opened as a local food market in 1916 and became Madrid’s first gourmet market years later.
There you will stumble across more than 20 stalls with unbeatable food, offering a unique variety of dishes and delicacies, from the best Spanish cheeses to great wines and fresh fish from the Galician coast.
Walk along the Paseo del Prado
The Paseo del Prado runs from north to south between Plaza de Cibeles and Plaza del Emperador Carlos V. Paseo del Prado is a beautiful green boulevard and the first tree-lined city promenade in Europe.
Dating back to the 16th century, the avenue is dotted with some of the city’s most famous museums and cultural sites, such as the Prado Museum, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, CaixaForum Madrid, the Royal Botanical Garden and the beautiful Paseo Del Prado Book Market. The perfect place for a stroll in Madrid!
Explore Plaza de Cibeles and Palacio de Cibeles
Plaza de Cibeles is full of monuments that document the city’s fascinating past and cultural heritage. As you stroll through the square, which is one of the landmarks of the Spanish capital, you will discover the magnificent Cibeles Fountain, designed by architect Ventura Rodríguez in 1782, and the beautiful Bank of Spain (Banco de España). Don’t forget to visit the rooftop terrace in the Palacio de Cibeles (Cybele Palace), which offers breathtaking views of Madrid.
Eat your way through the La Latina neighborhood
Foodies looking for a tempting place to eat should put a visit to La Latina on their Madrid bucket list. This vibrant neighborhood has a dense concentration of smacking tapas bars, especially on Calle Cava Baja.
Must-eats include the pintxos in Taberna Txakolina, vermouth cocktails in Taberna La Concha and the roast lamb in La Posada de la Villa.
See Madrid’s most famous statue on Puerta del Sol. at
Among the list of the most emblematic squares in Madrid, Puerta del Sol is one of the most iconic. The square was originally the location of one of the city gates and is home to Madrid’s most famous landmark, “El Oso y El Madroño”, a 20-ton statue of a bear eating fruit from a tree.
Of all the precious jewels Madrid has to offer, the Temple of Debod is one of the most fascinating. This from the 2nd century BC. The Egyptian temples dating back to the 3rd century BC were donated to Spain by the Egyptian government and transported to Madrid’s Cuartel de la Montaña Park.
While you can’t tour the inside of the monument, the temple is one of the best places to watch the sunset in Madrid.
Built between 1910 and 1929, Gran Via is Madrid’s postcard-worthy main street and one of the city’s landmarks. While strolling along this lively avenue, visitors can shop in the tempting boutiques, eat in the various restaurants or have a drink in the lively bars.
Circle of fine arts
Círculo de Bellas Artes was founded in 1880 by a small group of artists and is one of the most important private cultural institutions in Madrid. Head to CBA to enjoy an extensive program of events – from film screenings to art exhibitions – and to enjoy a drink in the rooftop bar, which offers mesmerizing views of Gran Via.
Strange: the young Pablo Picasso attended painting courses in the Círculo de Bellas Artes.
Las Ventas bullring
The Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas, also known as Las Ventas, is the largest bullring in Spain. Located to the east of central Madrid, the Mudejar-style bullring can seat over 23,000 people (it’s the largest bullring in Spain) and has hosted a brilliant array of concerts from The Beatles to AC / DC.
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