Madrid is the capital of Spain, but for many people not the first city that comes to mind when they think of Spain. But it is certainly a beautiful and busy city to visit! It has more than 1000 delicious eateries, theaters and romantic parks. In Madrid, history, art and the ultimate Spanish life come together in a contemporary way. Are you curious about the sights of Madrid and what there is to do? Read our best tips and tricks below!
- Top 15 things to do:
- #1 El Retiro Park
- #2 Plaza Mayor
- #3 Palacio Real (King Palace)
- #4 San Miguel-market
- #5 Palacio de Cristal
- #6 Estadio Santiago Bernabéu
- #7 Plaza de Toros de las Ventas
- #8 Plaza Puerta del Sol
- #9 Templo de Debod
- #10 Gran Vía (street)
- #11 Catedral de la Almudena
- #12 Chueca (Neighbourhood)
- #13 Puerta de Alcala
- #14 Atocha-Renfe Station
- #15 Plaza de Cibeles
- Top 4 Restaurants
- Top places to stay
Top 15 things to do:
#1 El Retiro Park
El Retiro Park is a beautiful piece of nature in the heart of the city and is Madrid’s most famous park. It means “pleasant seclusion” and is commonly abbreviated to “Retiro”. It is a very popular park, yet it never feels too crowded. With an area of 1.4 km² you will always find a place. The most beautiful places in the park were the large crescent-shaped pond full of rowing boats and the impressive Palacio de Cristal.
Tip! To get to El Retiro Park, take the metro to ‘Retiro’ station and get off nearby.
#2 Plaza Mayor
In the middle of the capital Madrid, the Plaza Mayor is the most famous square in all of Madrid. Walk through the arch (nine in all) into a large courtyard. It is a large open space in the middle of the bustling vibrant city, which is used as a meeting place for the locals and as a place to enjoy a drink in the evening.
Tip! This is also where the largest Christmas market in Madrid is located at Christmas.
#3 Palacio Real (King Palace)
The Palacio Real of Madrid is one of the main attractions of the city. Inside the Palacio Real, it is possible to visit several rooms, such as the decorated rooms with crystal chandeliers, the great armory and the red velvet grandeur of the throne room.
Tip! Don’t feel like standing in line for a long time? Then book skip-the-line tickets for the palace.
#4 San Miguel-market
The San Miguel Market used to be a large food market. Today it is a food Walhalla, where you can sit down at one of the many food stalls. Try the Jamon Iberico, the finest Spanish olives and oysters.
Tip! Start with a drink, usually tapas are offered to taste!
#5 Palacio de Cristal
In the heart of El Retiro Park, is the Palacio de Cristal (the glass palace). Surrounded by pretty chestnut trees, the glass palace seems to emerge from the water. At the Glass Palace, there is a beautiful lake where you can go to enjoy the beautiful Palacio de Cristal.
#6 Estadio Santiago Bernabéu
Are you a football fan? Then you should definitely visit the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. One of the biggest clubs in Spain plays football here: Real Madrid CF and was opened in 1947, it has since been one of the most famous football temples in the world. More than 80,000 people can be seated in the stadium for each match!
#7 Plaza de Toros de las Ventas
The plaza de toros de Las Ventas, known simply as Las Ventas, is the largest bullfighting ring in Spain and even the third largest in the whole world. The Plaza de Toros is located in the Guindalera quarter of the Salamanca district of Madrid.
#8 Plaza Puerta del Sol
If you walk through Madrid, you will come 100% over the Plaza Puerta del Sol. It is a public square in Madrid, one of the best known and busiest places in the city. This is the centre (Km 0) of the radial network of Spanish roads. The Puerta is located in the very heart of Madrid. It serves as the kilometre zero from which all radial roads in Spain are measured. The eye-catcher is the well-known clock above the post office, which symbolically counts down on New Year’s Eve.
#9 Templo de Debod
Templo de Debod is located in the Parque del Oeste. This is an ancient Egyptian temple that originally dates back to the 4th century BC. The Templo de Debod was donated to Madrid by the Egyptian government in 1968 as a thank you to Spanish engineers who saved numerous ancient monuments after an area around the Nile flooded.
Tip! Come here in the evening, then the temple is very nicely lit.
#10 Gran Vía (street)
Gran Vía, it is the heart of Madrid. Eating, drinking and shopping is what counts in this street. Until the early hours that is. Dream away with a movie in the cinema, feast in one of the restaurants and go crazy in one of the many nightclubs.
#11 Catedral de la Almudena
In Barcelona you have the Sagrada Familia. Madrid was kind of jealous and that is why the enormous Catedral de la Almudena was built to give Madrid a similar attraction. It is definitely worth taking a look inside the cathedral because of the beautiful colored ceiling. Catedral de la Almudena is located next to the Royal Palace, making a visit perfect to combine.
Tip! The entrance to the cathedral is free.
#12 Chueca (Neighbourhood)
Chueca is the gay area and the liveliest nightlife area of Madrid but that is certainly not the reason why you should visit this area, because there is much more to experience. It’s a beautiful neighborhood to wander through. In addition, you have many nice bars and squares here where people enjoy tapas and drinks.
#13 Puerta de Alcala
On the Plaza de la Independencia, on the northwest corner of the El Retiro park, you will find the Puerta de Alcalá. Today the gate is one of the main symbols of Madrid. And in the evening the building is beautifully illuminated.
#14 Atocha-Renfe Station
There are a lot of train stations and most of them are not to be seen. Atocha Station is only an exception! This beautiful station has a large tropical garden full of unique plants and trees that grow to high heights and almost reach the ceiling of the station. In the botanical garden are more than 7000 plants that come from all over the world, from places such as Australia, Asia and even South America and is also surrounded by a landscaped garden with hundreds of turtles!
#15 Plaza de Cibeles
At Plaza de Cibeles, a number of major roads in Madrid converge at a roundabout. The square is richly decorated with marble statues and surrounded by neoclassical buildings. In the center of the square is the Fuente de Cibeles fountain.
Top 4 Restaurants
#1 Ten Con Ten
Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night;
Mediterranean, European, Spanish, Contemporary;
See more: www.restaurantetenconten.com
#2 Bodega de la Ardosa
Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Drinks;
Bar, Mediterranean, Spanish;
See more: https://grupoardosa.es/
#3 Pum Pum Cafe
Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch;
Cafe, European, Healthy;
See more: www.pumpumcafe.com
#4 Salmon Guru
Bar for the best Cocktails.
See more: https://salmonguru.es/
Top places to stay
The 7 Islas Hotel is located in the center of Madrid in a hip area. The metro stop ‘Gran Vía’ is a 2-minute walk from the hotel and is your connection to the rest of the city. The 4-star hotel is modernly furnished and has its own bar and restaurant.
Check the price: Booking.com