fbpx

CheapTravelExpress

15 Best Things to Do in Madrid

Madrid is a city so full of life and culture that it’s hard to do justice to it in a few paragraphs. Artistically the city holds its own against any in Europe, with the of the best art museums on the continent where renaissance masterworks and seminal 20th-century pieces are waiting to captivate you.

Take in all the historic sights and get the background on the Spanish Empire that spanned the globe in the 16th and 17th-centuries. There are also countless little things that make Madrid memorable, whether that’s a café con leche in a stately square, drinks at a rooftop bar or a wander through the Retiro or Casa de Campo on a sunny day.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Madrid:

1. The Prado

Absolutely essential, the Prado is one of the best and most popular art museums in the world.

There’s an overwhelming collection of masterpieces by renaissance and baroque masters.

Spain is represented by Velázquez and El Greco, the low countries by Rembrandt, Brueghel, van Dyck and Rubens, while Titian, Caravaggio, Botticelli and Tintoretto form the Italian contingent.

Of the many must-see works are Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights and David with Head of Goliath by Caravaggio.

The artist with most works hanging at the Prado is the Spanish Romantic Goya, whose 14 Black Paintings are a Spanish cultural reference point.

2. Retiro Park

Madrid’s green heart and full of elegant gardens, the Retiro is just a few steps east from the Prado and was a royal property up to the end of the 19th century when it was opened to the public.

If you’re visiting with little ones, paddling on the Grand Pond next to the monument of Alfonso XII is a fun option on a sunny afternoon.

The iron and glass pavilion built to house the Philippine Exhibition in 1887 is magnificent and growing in the pond in front of it are bald cypresses, strange swamp trees that turn  a lovely golden brown in summer.

The oldest tree in the city is close by: It’s a Montezuma Cypress planted in 1633 and ringed by an iron fence.

Available tour: Retiro Park Segway Tour

3. Royal Palace

Built in the mid-1700s for King Philip V the Royal Palace is on the site of Madrid’s Moorish Alcázar fortress-palace, which burned down in 1734. It’s the largest royal palace in western Europe, and has a blend of baroque and neoclassical styles.

You have to go inside for the full experience because the royal collections and frescoes are sublime.

There are works by Goya, Caravaggio and Velázquez, as well as stunning displays of watches, tapestries, porcelain and silverware.

You can see the only string quartet of Stradivarius instruments in the world, and the Royal Armoury that includes the personal weapons used by Charles V in the 16th Century.

Available tour: Royal Palace of Madrid Skip-the-Line Guided Tour

4. Santiago Bernabéu Stadium

Whether you’re a supporter of the club or not, the truth remains that Real Madrid are Europe’s most successful football team with a record-breaking 11 European Cups to their name.

So any fan of the game should consider a pilgrimage to their gargantuan 85,000-seater stadium, where history has been made many times down the seasons.

A tour will grant you panoramic views of the stadium, you’ll step inside the dressing room, visit the dugouts and see all sorts of interesting bits including the trophy collection, press room and presidential box

Available tour: Bernabeu Stadium and Panoramic Tour With Tapas

5. National Archaeological Museum

With invaluable pieces gathered from across Spain, this museum is a trip through Spain’s rich history.

What may surprise you is the wealth of magnificent items that predate the Roman period.

The best of these Iberian treasures and sculptures look almost new, despite being at least 2,500 years-old.

The Lady of Elche is a bust of a woman with an incredibly detailed headdress and coils over her ears.

Much later but no less impressive is the Treasure of Guarrazar a Visigothic  set of crosses and votive crowns dating to the 600s.

6. Puerta del Sol

This grand square next to the Casa de Correos (Post Office Building) is a popular meeting place, suffused with meaning for  both city and country.

Nearly every Spanish person will recognise the clock at the top of the Casa de Correos, as this marks the televised countdown on New Year’s Eve.

There’s a tricky ritual involved too: With every chime you’re supposed to eat a grape for good luck (12 in total). Also in the square the is El Oso y El Madroño statue, a symbol for Madrid since the Middle Ages.

7. Gran Vía

If you’d like to get a sense of the city,  a walk along the Gran Vía is a superb place to start.

It’s Madrid’s entertainment, shopping and cultural nerve centre, a buzzing avenue often full of life until dawn.

By day it throngs with shoppers stopping by the many malls, high-street stores like H&M and Zara and luxury boutiques.

In the evenings there are couples arm-in-arm, stepping out to the cinema or a musical.

And after dark the street pulses with many of Madrid’s top nightclubs.

Sights to spot as you stroll include the vast Telefónica Building, built in 1928 and an early example of a skyscraper.

8. Plaza Mayor

Another of Madrid’s “musts”, Plaza Mayor is a handsome renaissance square, laid out in the early-1600s and completely sequestered by historic three-storey-high residential buildings.

There are nine entrances to the square and within the porticoes at the bottom of the buildings are several cafes.

Order a coffee (overpriced but necessary because of the location!) at an outdoor table and watch Madrid in action for a few minutes.

After that you could wander up to the 400-year-old bronze statue of King Philip III, who was in power at the height of the Spanish empire.

9. Mercado San Miguel

An easy walk from Plaza Mayor is this gorgeous art nouveau marketplace that dates to 1916.

It’s less of a fresh produce market (although there are grocery stalls) and more of a gastronomic destination to purchase the best that Spain has to offer, like cava, pimenton (parprika) and saffron.

There’s a host of tapas bars here serving all the favourites like patatas bravas, gambas al ajillo and boquerones, with a glass of beer, rioja or vermouth.

To do your food shopping like a real Madrileño head to the vast Mercado de Maravillas in Cuatro Caminos.

It’s Europe’s largest municipal market with 200 stalls.

10. El Rastro

On Sundays it will seem like the entire city has descended on Ribera de Coritodores and Plaza de Cascorro.

This is when some 3,500 stalls are open, hawking pretty much anything you can think of, whether used or new.

It’s the largest flea market in Madrid and gets pretty hectic, so it’s always a good idea to show up early.

Even though it’s a Sunday the antique shops on the streets branching off Ribera de Cortidores will be open, and there are also cafes if you’re in need of a pick-me-up after wading through the crowds.

11. Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Art

If you still have an appetite for art after the Prado, amble over to this museum, which is also part of Madrid’s “Golden Triangle of Art”. You shouldn’t get bogged down, because the attractions in the Triangle are complementary, each covering schools and periods that the others do not.

So at Thyssen-Bornemisza you can see works from the English and German schools by artists like Hans Holbein, Hans Baldung Grien and Albrecht Dürer.

These are accompanied by pieces from other renaissance masters like Tintoretto, Veronese, Rembrandt, van Dyck and many more.

There’s also a big collection of American abstract expressionism, and a host of impressionist and post-expressionist pieces by the likes of Monet, Renoir and Degas.

12. Reina Sofia Museum

Round off your journey through Madrid’s art collections with the third museum on the Golden Triangle.

This museum focuses mainly on Spanish art, and is more modern in scope than the others.

The best reason to come is to the many works by the 20th-century artists Picasso and Dalí.

Just to show that isn’t overkill: Picasso’s epoch-making Guernica is on display, so it’s an opportunity you really shouldn’t miss.

Among the other Spanish greats represented at Reina Sofía are Joan Miró, Juan Gris and the important abstract sculptor Eduardo Chillida.

13. Churros at San Ginés

Perfect in winter, Spanish hot chocolate is one of the most luxurious things you’ll ever taste.

It can be so rich and thick you sometimes need a spoon to drink it.

And the perfect pairing is a sugary churro, which if you don’t know, is piped dough, deep-fried.

Just off the Puerta del Sol, visit the Chocolatería San Ginés, which has been serving churros and hot chocolate since the 19th century and does it as well as any joint in the city.

If you can’t make it to San Ginés there are loads of stalls on the streets in the cooler months of the year.

14. Beer at a bar terrace

In the summer many of Madrid’s bars and restaurants spill out onto the city’s pavements and squares.

This an essential part of going out and socialising in the city.

On Plaza de la Cebada on balmy summer evenings it can even be difficult to work your way through the throng.

On the rooftops are terraces of a different kind.

These bars enjoy jaw-dropping views of the city and are a fine way to usher in the sunset.

Close to Plaza Mayor is The Hat, which like many of these bars doesn’t give you much of an indication of what you’ll find on the rooftop, where tables sit beneath a glass canopy and you can feast your eyes on Madrid’s cityscape.

15. Flamenco tablaos

Flamenco is a dance that originated in Andalusia, Murcia and Extremadura, and even if it’s not strictly native to Madrid the city has some of the most famous tablaos in the country.

These are special halls that cropped up in the 1960s, and here you see a show over a candlelit meal with sangria.

It’s a fine way of killing two birds with one stone: Tucking into Spanish specialities like jamón ibérico, migas (fried bread seasoned with paprika) or roast suckling pig, while seeing one of the country’s most famous art-forms expressed by some of the best dancers in the flamenco world.

96 thoughts on “15 Best Things to Do in Madrid”

  1. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was
    great. I do not know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

    Reply
  2. Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that
    it’s truly informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels.

    I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing.

    Cheers!

    Reply
  3. Hey! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds
    me of my good old room mate! He always kept talking about this.
    I will forward this write-up to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  4. Good day! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate!
    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him.

    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  5. My partner and I stumbled over here coming from a different website and thought I may as well
    check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you.
    Look forward to checking out your web page yet again.

    Reply
  6. Hey! Quick question that’s completely off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My web site looks weird
    when viewing from my iphone. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that
    might be able to resolve this issue. If you have any recommendations,
    please share. Appreciate it!

    Reply
  7. Hi there everybody, here every person is sharing these kinds of
    knowledge, thus it’s nice to read this weblog, and I
    used to pay a quick visit this weblog all the time.

    Reply
  8. I think this is among the most important information for
    me. And i’m glad reading your article. But wanna remark on some general things, The site style is ideal, the
    articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

    Reply
  9. I do not even know the way I ended up here, but I thought this
    publish was once great. I do not recognize who you are however definitely you are going to a famous blogger
    in the event you aren’t already. Cheers!

    Also visit my webpage – delta 8

    Reply
  10. Today, I went to the beach front with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it
    to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.”
    She placed the shell to her ear and screamed.
    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

    Look into my homepage – best CBD gummies

    Reply
  11. I have been surfing online more than 2 hours today, yet I never
    found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me.
    In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be a lot more useful than ever before.

    Stop by my web blog :: cbd for sale

    Reply
  12. This paragraph provides clear idea designed for the new viewers of blogging, that really how to do blogging and site-building.

    Stop by my webpage … cbd

    Reply
  13. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and
    now each time a comment is added I get three emails with the same comment.

    Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
    Bless you!

    Review my site … cbd gummies

    Reply
  14. Excellent pieces. Keep posting such kind of information on your site.
    Im really impressed by it.
    Hello there, You’ve done an incredible job. I’ll definitely digg
    it and personally recommend to my friends.
    I am sure they will be benefited from this website.

    Have a look at my web site – best delta 8 carts

    Reply
  15. Aw, this was an extremely good post. Taking the time and actual effort to
    make a superb article… but what can I say… I hesitate
    a lot and don’t manage to get anything done.

    My site … cbd

    Reply
  16. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though
    you relied on the video to make your point. You definitely know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence
    on just posting videos to your weblog when you could
    be giving us something enlightening to read?

    delta 8 carts Area 52 – delta 8 carts Area 52

    delta 8 carts Area 52 – delta 8 carts Area 52

    buy delta 8 THC area 52 – delta 8 area 52

    Area 52 delta 8 carts – Area 52 delta 8 carts

    delta 8 THC for sale area 52 – Area 52 Delta 8 THC

    Reply
  17. Hi, I do think this is an excellent web site.
    I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to come back yet again since i
    have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other
    people.

    Also visit my blog post – best CBD

    Reply
  18. Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you so much, However I am encountering problems with
    your RSS. I don’t know why I can’t subscribe to it. Is there anyone else getting similar
    RSS issues? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond?
    Thanks!!

    delta 8 area 52 – delta 8 area 52

    delta 8 area 52 – Area 52 Delta 8 THC

    Area 52 Delta 8 THC – buy delta 8 THC area 52

    delta 8 carts Area 52 – Area 52 delta 8 carts

    buy delta 8 THC area 52 – delta 8 THC area 52

    Reply
  19. hi!,I really like your writing so much! proportion we be in contact extra about your article on AOL?
    I require an expert on this house to solve my problem. Maybe that is
    you! Having a look ahead to peer you.

    Also visit my blog – buy cbd

    Reply
  20. Good day! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and starting a new
    initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a marvellous job!

    area 52 delta 8 THC products – area 52 delta 8 THC products

    area 52 delta 8 THC products – delta 8 THC for sale area 52

    area 52 delta 8 THC products – buy delta 8 THC area 52

    Area 52 delta 8 carts – Area 52 Delta 8 THC

    delta 8 THC for sale area 52 – delta 8 area 52

    Reply
  21. Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme of this
    blog. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s
    very difficult to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and visual appearance.
    I must say you’ve done a amazing job with this. Also,
    the blog loads very fast for me on Opera. Exceptional
    Blog!

    Here is my webpage cbd for sale

    Reply
  22. I have been exploring for a bit for any high-quality
    articles or weblog posts on this sort of space . Exploring in Yahoo I eventually stumbled upon this website.
    Studying this information So i’m happy to convey that I have an incredibly
    excellent uncanny feeling I discovered just what I needed.
    I such a lot indisputably will make sure to don?t forget this web site and provides it
    a look on a continuing basis.

    My site :: best CBD gummies

    Reply
  23. Hey there! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with
    us so I came to check it out. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m bookmarking and will
    be tweeting this to my followers! Wonderful blog and great
    design.

    Look into my homepage … cbd

    Reply
  24. That is very attention-grabbing, You are an excessively professional blogger.
    I have joined your feed and look ahead to in quest of extra of your excellent post.

    Additionally, I have shared your web site in my social networks

    Here is my homepage :: best CBD

    Reply
  25. Wonderful website you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics discussed in this article?
    I’d really like to be a part of community where I
    can get opinions from other experienced people that share
    the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know.
    Many thanks!

    buy delta 8 THC area 52 – buy delta 8 THC area 52

    buy delta 8 THC area 52 – delta 8 THC for sale area 52

    delta 8 THC for sale area 52 – delta 8 carts Area 52

    Area 52 delta 8 carts – delta 8 area 52

    delta 8 THC for sale area 52 – delta 8 carts Area 52

    Reply
  26. With havin so much content do you ever run into any
    problems of plagorism or copyright infringement?
    My site has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either created myself
    or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet
    without my authorization. Do you know any ways to help prevent content from being ripped off?
    I’d truly appreciate it.

    delta 8 THC for sale area 52 – delta 8 THC for sale area 52

    delta 8 THC for sale area 52 – area 52 delta 8 THC products

    buy delta 8 THC area 52 – buy delta 8 THC area 52

    delta 8 area 52 – delta 8 area 52

    area 52 delta 8 THC products – Area 52 delta 8 carts

    Reply
  27. Hi everybody, here every one is sharing such know-how, so
    it’s fastidious to read this website, and I used to pay a quick visit this weblog everyday.

    Feel free to surf to my web blog – best CBD

    Reply
  28. Hi would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re utilizing?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different browsers and I must say this blog
    loads a lot faster then most. Can you recommend a good internet hosting
    provider at a reasonable price? Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!

    Check out my webpage: cbd products

    Reply
  29. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article author for your
    weblog. You have some really great posts and I feel I would be a good asset.
    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine.
    Please send me an email if interested. Regards!

    Look at my blog; best thc gummies [seattleweekly.com]

    Reply
  30. Greetings! I know this is kinda off topic however I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing
    a blog post or vice-versa? My site covers a lot of the same subjects
    as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each
    other. If you’re interested feel free to send me an e-mail.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Fantastic blog by the way!

    my web site; situs daftar judi slot online

    Reply

Leave a Comment