Abdul Muqeet Waheed
Spain was the first country I visited on my three-month tour around Western Europe. It is a country with a slower pace and certain fun events that last late into the night or early in the morning. I departed from the southernmost city of my journey, Madrid, the nation’s capital.
After Berlin and London, Madrid is the third-largest city in the EU, and there are many things to discover there.
Madrid’s structure is an intriguing fusion of the ancient and the contemporary. Excellent gastronomy, fascinating historic sites, and vibrant nightlife can be found here, as in other major Spanish cities.
Its energy can be felt in the people’s laid-back lifestyle, where lunch is not served until three o’clock in the afternoon, the night doesn’t start until twelve, and you don’t go to bed until dawn. You could unknowingly become enmeshed in their culture, which may seem odd at first.
The ideal lighting, delectable tapas, and vibrant street activity. Despite lacking the beach lifestyle of destinations like Barcelona or Valencia, this beautiful city more than makes up for it with its culture and genuineness. Spend a few days in Madrid doing like the Madrilenos (Madrid natives) do, taking in the exciting markets, world-famous art galleries, and hours spent on restaurant terraces.
With this thorough guide, take advantage of all the top things to do in Madrid.
Table of Content
- How to Get to Madrid
- Best time to Visit Madrid
- Getting around Madrid
- Cost of Living in Madrid
- Where to Stay?
- Best Places to Stay in MADRID SPAIN (Map)
- Where to Eat? (Best Restaurant)
- Map of Things to Do
- Tips for First-Time Visitors
Things to Do
- Relax in El Retiro Park
- Go for a Walking Tour
- Explore The Royal Palace
- Check out Puerta del Sol
- Discover Spanish Delights at Mercado San Miguel
- Enjoy Breakfast at Plaza Mayor
- Having Dinner at the World’s Oldest Restaurant
- Learn about Spanish Street Art
- Visit the Prado Museum to Explore art History
- The Reina Sofia Museum completes the Golden Triangle
How to get to Madrid
It is possible to get to Madrid in a few different methods. This varies on your intended mode of transport and your origin.
Getting by car
Getting to Madrid will be simple whether you are driving from another region of Europe or hiring a car. You may travel here at your leisure and on your schedule. If you’re capable of it, I advise acquiring an international license through your neighborhood AAA.
Getting by bus
This requires the most time. This might be a wise choice if you have plenty of time. The cost of the bus is about $46 for one trip. Take the bus marked “Larga Distancia” if you can. These are long-distance buses that are incredibly pleasant and dependable. Compared to the other bus options, there aren’t many multiple stops. You may simply plan a bus route from Barcelona to Madrid, which takes roughly 7-8 hours, thanks to the number of different firms.
Getting by plane
If you look into budget carriers, this is the most affordable travel method to Madrid. If at all possible, I would advise doing this since it would save time and money.
Numerous foreign flights depart every day at Madrid International Airport, one of Spain’s biggest. The metro system makes it simple to go from the airport to the city center (a single ticket will cost you 1.50 EUR plus an airport supplement of 3 EUR).
Getting by train
This is an additional option, but I discovered that the price of the train was comparable to that of flights, even though planes are frequently quicker bit longer to wait for security. The benefits and negatives must thus be considered. This may be the greatest option if you are hauling many hefty bags. However, it was a terrific method to get to Madrid and was very pleasant and peaceful.
If you have a Eurail train pass, it will be much more convenient and economical for you to travel.
Best time to visit Madrid
Find out the climate patterns in Madrid so you can pack accordingly.
spring in Madrid
In light of concerns about springtime rain, now is perhaps one of the greatest seasons to visit Madrid. With milder evenings, temps in March and April hover near 54°F (12°C). The rainy season is more probable in March and less likely in April.
fall in Madrid
My favorite time of year to visit Madrid would be in the fall. Since I feel most comfortable in fall-inspired attire, I like it. The city is quite lovely during these months because of the vegetation. As the summer heat begins to subside, September might still be characterized as warm. The average temperature is 60°F (16°C), however, December sees much lower temperatures. In the evening, a jacket or lightweight sweater is advised.
winter in Madrid
Although it usually is chilly and dry, there is a potential for snow. The coldest month of the year is January when average wintertime temps can drop as low as 43°F, or 6°C. Wintertime skies are normally clear and not as gloomy, but everything can change. The greatest chance to delight in some delectable churros and dip these in hot chocolate is right now.
summer in Madrid
Madrid experiences extremely hot and muggy summers. When many outdoor activities take place in the summer, getting around might be challenging. I do, however, advise going. Low 80 °F (30 °C) to high 60 °F (20 °C) are the temperature ranges. Because certain locations don’t have air conditioning, it becomes rather hot there. To ensure that you are comfortable while you sleep, I advise looking for a hotel with air conditioning.
getting around Madrid
Despite its hills, Madrid is a fairly walking city! Walking around the streets of Madrid might be one of the most delightful things to do because so lot of the big attractions are nearby. Even if you don’t know Spanish, the Madrid metro is among the easiest to utilize, so if you’d like to protect your legs, get a ticket (1.50 for a single or a pack of 10 for 12.20).
We advise using Sunny Cars since they collaborate with regional car rental businesses when hiring a car in Spain. All insurance is already included in the price when making a reservation with Sunny Cars.
Renting a bike or an electric scooter is another entertaining choice, and the city offers plenty of cycling trails for your enjoyment.
Cost of Living in Madrid
Madrid, the capital of Spain, is among the more costly cities, particularly for lodging. However, it’s quite inexpensive when compared to northern Europe!
Additionally, it is a relatively local city with more residents and workers than visitors. As a result, if you know where to search, you may discover some excellent places to dine on a budget.
In Spain, supermarkets are quite inexpensive. If you’re on a tight budget, think about packing a picnic or purchasing food to prepare at your lodging in the evening.Tips
- Hotel – 50 to 200 EUR per night
- Hostel – 20 to 40 EUR per night
- Food – 5 to 25 EUR
- Entrance – 5 to 15 EUR
- Transportation – EUR 3–10 per day
Where to stay?
There are several wonderful areas in Madrid, from the hip Lavapies to the chill Malasana, where you may discover fantastic low-cost lodging alternatives. However, many travelers opt to remain in Salamanca’s downtown, where there are several upscale stores and eateries. But be aware that prices here are a little higher.
Your budget will have a big impact on where you stay. However, you could truly stay anywhere in Madrid due to the convenience of the metro!
I would advise choosing a lodging option in Madrid that is somewhat well-placed. In Madrid, a number of places to stay. If you’re traveling alone or looking to meet new people, I found this hostel to be the greatest since it was my favorite and it was a terrific way to meet other travelers.
- Expensive – Barceló Emperatriz
- Mid-range – Dear Hotel Madrid
- Cheap – The Hat Madrid
Best places to stay in MADRID SPAIN (map)
Where to eat? (best restaurant)
Madrid is home to some of the top eateries and eating areas in all of Spain. No matter if it’s a drink and tapas on the patio or Michelin-starred fancy dinner in a hip rooftop setting. There isn’t a finer snack after a hard morning of touring than churros and chocolate, therefore that’s what it’s most famous for! The following are a few of Madrid’s top restaurants:
- FOUR (Delicious lunch!)
- Sahuaro Madrid
- Alimentacion Quiroga (Local bites & wine)
- Grosso Napoletano (Pizza)
- Nina Pasta Bar
- Nomade Cafe
- El Perro De Pavlov (Coffee & Cakes)
- Agrado Café (Coffee & Cakes)
- Honest Greens (Veggie)
map of things to do
things to do in Madrid
Spain’s capital and largest city is Madrid. Opposite to Barcelona, its primary industry is not tourism; rather, it is a city for life. Because of this, it’s the ideal location to learn about Spanish culture and get your “culture fixed” while traveling.
The best period of time to experience all the main Madrid attractions is three days to one week. Stay a bit longer if you’ve got a few extra days, though, and take advantage of some wonderful day excursions from Madrid to places like Segovia, Toledo, or Valencia.
1. Relax in El Retiro Park
Walk through El Retiro and take in the lovely sculptures, neatly trimmed bushes, and rose gardens. I adored this park to the fullest. El Retiro, often known as Retiro Park or Parque de Madrid, is Madrid, Spain’s largest parkland. Zoological gardens, the Crystal Palace (Palacio de Cristal), a lake, various sculptures of royalty, the Rosaleda (“Rose Garden”), the Palacio de Velázquez, and more can be found at Retiro Park.
If you have the opportunity, I suggest going to the Crystal Palace and the Palacio de Velázquez, both of which are FREE. Although the Palacio de Velázquez was a nice place to escape the heat, the Crystal Palace alone is extremely lovely.
It’s amazing to believe that this park is a community asset for residents because of how majestic it feels like the Royal Gardens might still be there.
Activities in El Retiro
On weekdays and weekends, residents of Madrid visit the park to relax and entertain themselves. Everyone is active there, from rollerblading to walking. Particularly during the longer, brighter summer hours in Madrid, it’s an excellent spot to unwind beneath the cover of the trees. We advise you to pack a snack and spend the mid-evening here as a result of a full morning of touring.
There is a lovely lake right in the middle of El Retiro where you can rent boats and relax while taking in the park from the serenity of the water. Here, kayaking training is also offered. Check out the Alfonso XIII monument and the stunning palaces (The stunning pillars that are located just in front of the lake).
October – March 6 AM to 10 PM, and April to September 6 AM to midnight.
Take the subway to the “Retiro” station and then walk to El Retiro Park from there.
Guided Tour: Best Guided Tour of EI Retiro parkOpening Timings
2. go for a walking tour
I adore going on unpaid walking tours. They’re an inexpensive way to take in the major attractions, discover some local history, and get a sense of the city.
If you don’t have much time, I suggest taking a free walking tour with MADride, which departs from Puerta del Sol Square every day at 11:00 AM. The trip will take you across Madrid in three hours, stopping by all the key sights as your guide explains the city’s history and lore. Tell the front desk if you’re staying in the same hostel as me, and they’ll set something up for you.
You may easily stroll to the Royal Palace even if you decide not to join the walking tour, and then you can wander around the city at your own pace from there.
3. Explore the Royal Palace
When you’re in the city, you really must check out the Royal Palace of Madrid. The place is situated in the center of everything. The palace is a short walk from the Cathedral, Templo de Debod, and Plaza Mayor. You will be captivated at every step by the palace’s magnificent exterior and the intricate detailing of its numerous statues. You may take guided or unguided tours of the palace’s ancient structures and gardens, which are among the biggest in the world and the largest in Western Europe.
The palace is a vast 1.4 million square feet, with almost 3,400 rooms. Large vaulted ceilings, paintings, murals, and beautiful wood carvings are just a few of the rich interior decorations.
If you have some euros to spend, walk inside and explore the palace’s past. Unfortunately, I was short on time that day, so I decided to take a stroll around the palace.
Address – Oriente Square, +34 902 044 454, patrimonionacional.es.
Opening Hours – Monday-Saturday 10am–6pm (7pm in the summer) and 10am-4pm on Sundays.
Entrance – Admission is 12 EUR for an unguided tour or 16 EUR for a guided tour in Spanish. Admission to the kitchens is 6 EUR or 16 EUR combined with the palace.
Guided Tour: Best Guided of The Royal PalaceLocation, Timings, Entrance Fee
4. Check out Puerta del Sol
Madrid’s centre is Puerta del Sol. With stores and eateries that serve both locals and visitors, this area is among the busiest in the city. You may come here and shop throughout the day, or if you do not even enjoy shopping, you and your camera will be occupied for a while by the stunning architecture. When you arrive at night, the plaza comes alive with bars and clubs that will keep you entertained until dawn.
The square’s name, “The Sun Gate,” comes from the fact that it was once the location of a city entrance that faced east and was decorated with a picture of the sun.
Among the most renowned clocks in Spain is located on top of the Casa de Correos building, which serves as the present regional administration of Madrid’s office. Everyone counts down to the new year while looking at this clock.
Each of the 12 strokes of midnight to bring in the new year, Spaniards eat a grape.
Guided Tour: Best Guided Tour of Puerta del SolFun Fact
5. Discover Spanish Delights at Mercado San Miguel
As a food market, the San Miguel Market has existed since the beginning of the 20th century. Today, it is famous for its gourmet food booths, and Michelin-starred chefs even call it home and bring their dishes here! It’s a great spot to sample some of the best cuisines in Madrid (and around Spain!). There is something for every palate, whether it is delicious Jamon Iberico or the best Spanish olives and oysters.
Fresh fish, tortillas, and a lot more are available. I urge you to try the tortillas here. They were excellent beyond belief. Spanish omelets are called tortillas. It’s cooked with eggs, potatoes, and occasionally onion. As a tapa, it is frequently offered at room temperature.
Be like the locals do and have a glass of cava and a breakfast oyster since this market is bustling, especially on a Saturday morning.
Address – Plaza de San Miguel, +34 915 424 936, mercadodesanmiguel.es.
Opening Hours – Sunday-Thursday 10am–11pm and 10am-1am on Fridays, Saturdays, and holidays.Location And Timing
6. Enjoy Breakfast at Plaza Mayor
Madrid’s Plaza Mayor, which is located inside one of the city’s oldest districts, is the most well-known plaza in the entire city. Only a short distance from the Puerta del Sol lies the Plaza Mayor, another important area. It’s a sizable area, 129 meters long and 94 meters broad, where folks congregate and go out for drinks in the evening.
Enter the square through one of nine arches to find yourself in a large courtyard surrounded by terracotta-colored palatial structures. After exploring, have a drink on the patio in the sunshine and take some stunning pictures. There are numerous eateries to select from, but prices are jacked up significantly.
This is a wonderful location to unwind, drink a bottle of great wine, and some tapas, and take in the architectural marvels that surround the plaza.
It’s a well-liked location for residents and visitors to gather, dine, and shop. It’s a little costly now, but it offers some pleasant people-watching, and in the summer, there are frequent events and performances.
Tip – A big market is hosted in Plaza Mayor all across the Christmas season. Enjoy many more booths lining up all around enormous Christmas tree located in the center if you’re there during this time.
Fun Fact – There used to be a foul stink coming from the central equestrian statue. Upon further inspection, they found hundreds of little bird skeletons that had gotten stuck in the horse’s mouth. Since then, the mouth has been shut.Some Useful Information
7. Having Dinner at the World’s Oldest Restaurant
The oldest restaurant in the world is located in Madrid, which I bet you didn’t know. I had no idea till the tour leader mentioned it. The oldest restaurant in the world, Sobrino de Botn, is a Castilian-style eatery with a history spanning more than 250 years. The sitting room and kitchen of the restaurant still have an old-world feel to them, and they still use their original wood-fired oven to prepare the meals. Undoubtedly once is a lifetime opportunity that you shouldn’t pass on.
8. Learn about Spanish Street Art
Madrid is a creative city, which should come as no surprise given that it is home to a number of the best art museums in the whole world. There is street art everywhere, some of it more noticeable than others, like the large paintings that cover the sides of buildings. Other pieces are less obvious, such as the little paintings or sculptures you can discover on doorways or buried in back alleys.
Another free activity in Madrid is a great activity for anyone who enjoys modern art and a great opportunity to see the city’s diverse districts. The finest neighborhoods include Malasana, La Latina, and Embajadores.
9. Visit the Prado Museum to explore art history
This is without a doubt the museum you ought to go to if you’re planning to travel to Madrid. One of the most well-liked activities in Madrid will be this. One of the top museums in the world, it houses some of the most well-known works of art. Velázquez, El Greco, Goya, and Caravaggio are a few of the best well-known artworks and artists you will encounter.
Seeing such works in the Prado Museum is highly recommended if you aren’t very versed in the art.
- This is essential if you intend to visit the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. “Las Meninas” by Diego Velázquez
- At the Picasso Museum, he replicates this same artwork in a whole section.
- Diego Goya’s “Saturn Devouring His Son”
- Hieronymus Bosch, “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” a triptych (3 panels).
- Diego Velázquez’s “Infanta Margarita Teresa in a Pink Dress”
- Caravaggio’s “David with the Head of Goliath”
- Francisco Goya’s “Charles IV of Spain and his family”
10. the Reina Sofia Museum, completes the Golden Triangle
The Reina Sofia Museum offers one of the prettiest modern art galleries in the whole world if you’ve gotten your fill of the Old Masters but still want to satisfy your artistic itch. The Thyssen Bornemisza, the Prado, and of course these contemporary galleries make form Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Arts, which also contains the third gallery.
Picasso is obviously the primary attraction here, with more than 100 of his drawings and paintings on show. Don’t miss Guernica, one of the most well-known, when visiting this place! Visitors from all corners of the world travel to see Picasso’s well-known work, “Guernica” (Picasso was born in Malaga).
In addition to having magnificent art, the museum is housed in a large white neoclassical structure that was originally a hospital.
In addition to Picasso, this gallery also has artworks by Salvador Dali, whose most well-known piece is the 1923 Cubist Self-Portrait. Even if you’re not a fan of art, you’re sure to discover something here in Madrid that catches your eye!
Opening Hours – Monday – Saturday (10 AM – 9 PM). Closed Tuesdays. Sunday 10 AM – 2.30 PM. In the evenings, visiting the museum is free between 7 PM – 9 PM or on Sundays 12.30 PM – 2.30 PM.
Entry Fee – The entry fee is 12 EUR in person at the ticket office or online.
Do you enjoy the arts? Visit the Prado Museum, one of the world ‘s top renowned art galleries. Here are wonderful works of art, include Renaissance classics. The 200-year-old structure is a piece of beauty in and of itself, with imposing columns and a lavish interior.Timing, Entry Fee and Tips
Tips for first-time visitors
- An excellent method to navigate the city is the Metro. The cost of a ticket ranges from 1 to 3 euros, and it is the second-largest Metro in Europe (behind Paris).
- Pick up a Madrid City Pass online to save money and avoid waiting in line.
- A wonderful place to have tapas is La Latina. There are several tapas bars there, so you can move around easily. If you arrive early, stop by Gelateria 4D for brunch. They provide delectable pastries and coffee.
- Don’t allow your luggage to make you feel sluggish. Luggage Hero can help you find a convenient and safe place to keep your luggage.
- If you can’t make it to Seville, you may visit the Las Ventas Bullring in Madrid even if Seville’s Bull Ring is more famous.
- Lavapiés’ population is diverse—more than 50% of its residents are not Spanish. Accordingly, a wide variety of cuisines are available, including Chinese, Moroccan, Thai, Indian, Senegalese, Greek, and Cuban.
- Do you need advice on what to dress for the airport? We love wearing them to the airport.
- Bring the necessities for your next journey.