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Best 10 Things To Do in Madrid

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Best things to do in Madrid

Madrid is a city so full of life and culture that is hard to do justice to it in just a short guide. Artistically the city holds its own against any other city and museum in Europe.

There are also countless little things that make Madrid unique, whether that’s a café in a stately square, drinks at a rooftop bar, or a wander through the Retiro or Casa de Campo on a sunny day. Check out this list of 10 things to do in Madrid and create your perfect Madrid Itinerary!

Royal Palace

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.

Royal Palace of Madrid

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

Prado Museum

El Greco, Goya and Velázquez are all on the must-see list, including the stunning ‘Las Meninas’. Frankly, that would be enough to satisfy most artistic appetites for an entire week, but if you’ve got the stamina, it’s also well-worth seeing Dürer’s extraordinary 1498 ‘Self-Portrait’ and the collection of paintings by Hieronymus Bosch. This is the big daddy of all the art galleries in the city.

Statue in front of Prado museum in Madrid Spain

El Rastro

Go to the La Latina metro station and look around, you can’t miss it! El Rastro hosts countless booths for anything you could think of: flamenco fans, clothes, toys, souvenirs, food, and everything else under the sun!

El Rastro in Madrid Spain

It’s an absolutely beautiful experience, and the best place I can think of for you to get your own flamenco duds!

Discover Debod

The Templo de Debod dates back more than 2,200 years and honours the gods Amun and Isis. In 1968 the Egyptian government sent each and every historic brick of this place to Spain as a thank you for helping to preserve monuments that could have been destroyed by the Aswan Dam.

Debod Temple in Madrid Spain

Grab a drink at Sala Equis

Sala Equis has become wildly popular in Madrid. The 700 m² space is dedicated to film, music, and all types of cultural and gastronomic goodness.

Sala Equis in Madrid Spain
Sala Equis ©

It’s divided into three zones: the terrace at the entrance; the epicentre of the space, Sala Plaza, a bar with a variety of different eats, and an area where you can relax on wooden benches or lounge chairs, and finally the 55-seat cinema for their film cycles.

Gran Vía

If you’d like to get a sense of the city, a walk along the Gran Vía is a great place to start. It’s Madrid’s entertainment, shopping, and cultural center, a buzzing avenue often full of life until dawn.

Air view of street in Madrid, Spain

By day it throngs with shoppers stopping by the many malls, high-street stores like H&M and Zara, and luxury boutiques. Sights to spot as you stroll include the vast Telefónica Building, built-in 1928, and an early example of a skyscraper.

Plaza Mayor

Another of Madrid’s “must-sees”, Plaza Mayor is a renaissance square, laid out in the early-1600s and completely sequestered by historic three-story-high residential buildings. There are nine entrances to the square and within the porticoes at the bottom of the buildings are several cafes.

Plaza Mayor in Madrid Spain

Order a coffee 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.

Reina Sofia Museum

This museum focuses mainly on Spanish art, and is more modern in scope than the others. The best reason to come is the many works by the 20th-century artists Picasso and Dalí.

Just to show that it isn’t an 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.

Churros at San Ginés

Spanish hot chocolate is one of the most luxurious things you’ll ever taste. And the perfect pairing is a sugary churro, which if you don’t know, is piped dough, deep-fried.

Churros Spain street food

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.

Opera at the Teatro Real

Teatro Real has been a hugely symbolic building for the city’s culture ever since its construction over two centuries ago.

Inside of an Opera house

Every season the biggest national and international stars take to the stage, which is also open to the public for guided tours that let you explore the auditoriums and even dressing rooms.

Bucket List Things to do in Madrid
Top Things to do in Madrid Spain

Hello! I’m Sara, a Croatian native. I’ve traveled all over the world and have knocked out some amazing cities and countries off my bucket list.

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