In Spain lies the lovely city of Madrid! This city is the center of the Spanish economy and politics. The city has many nice sights and activities. Art and culture lovers can indulge themselves in Madrid, but also those who love shopping and going out will have a fantastic time in this city. But what are the fun things to do in Madrid?
13x what to do in Madrid
City Trip Madrid
Madrid is the capital and the largest city in Spain. In fact, it is the fifth largest city in Europe. Because of its central location, its history, its political and financial functions, Madrid is considered to be the most important city in all of Spain. But above all, it is a very nice city that is very lively! The inhabitants of the city are called Madrilenian, in Spanish called Madrileños. Although the city has a very busy traffic network, most of the neighborhoods in this city have fortunately (partly) retained their original atmosphere. It is a city with many beautiful parks, interesting museums and full of cozy and cozy neighborhoods where you can wander endlessly. On top of that, Madrilenians are very friendly, spontaneous and helpful.
13x what to do in Madrid?
1. Visit the Plaza Mayor
This is a huge square and you shouldn’t miss it when you’re in Madrid. This is a square where there is a lot going on around you. Here you can buy souvenirs and shop or drink a glass of wine or beer in a cozy Spanish café or on a cozy terrace. The atmosphere in and around this square is wonderful, because there are no cars on the Plaza Mayor. At Plaza Mayor it’s mostly seeing and being seen. A wonderful place to take a break and enjoy everything that is happening around you.
2. Admire the Royal Palace of Madrid
The Royal Palace of Madrid, Palacio Real, is the largest royal palace in Europe. In total there are 3,418 rooms and it has an area of 135,000 m². This is so big! The palace itself is beautiful in terms of architecture, but there are also beautiful treasures from the past, such as furniture, art and porcelain to admire. As a visitor you may only visit part of the palace, but don’t miss the palace garden, the Campo del Moro! These are incredibly impressive.
3. Visit the Museo del Prado
The pride of the city is the Museo del Prado because of the impressive collection of art that the museum possesses. This museum has been open since 1819 and is known as the museum with the largest collection of art in the world. So don’t hesitate to go for a morning, afternoon or even a whole day, because there is so much to see! It is wonderful to wander and admire the numerous paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures of the Spanish and European masters. The collection of more than 7,000 paintings is impressive and Vélazquez’ canvases are particularly fascinating. But Rembrandt can also be admired and should not be missed.
- Tip: at the end of the afternoon it is a bit quieter and during the week between 18:00 and 20:00 the museum can be visited for free.
4. Shop on the Gran Vía
The best and nicest place to shop in Madrid is the Gran Vía, the main street. It is a busy street full of numerous shops of the famous chains, but there are also many nice and unknown boutiques. In the Gran Vía you will also find many hotels, cozy restaurants and bustling cafes. Don’t forget to take a look up, because the architecture of the numerous buildings is beautiful. Especially the facades are impressive.
5. Experience the Puerta del Sol
This is the main square of Madrid and the meaning of Puerta del Sol is “Gate of the Sun”. This square is the zero point of Spain and that means that from this point the distances are measured for the whole country. There is also the large post office Casa de Correos and from there the province of Madrid is administered. On this square is the clock that on New Year’s Eve the time counts down to the beginning of the new year and on this square there are nice parties. On the square are also some cool fountains and statues. This square is a popular place for tourists, but also for the Spaniards.
6. Rest in Parque el Retiro
Are you looking for a green oasis where it is a bit cooler and which is located in the middle of the city? Then do what the Madrilenians do and visit this cool park! This park is large, beautiful and quiet and there is a palace in the middle of the 18th century with a garden where you can walk. I sat down on the grass somewhere and looked at people around me. In the park there are also a number of stalls where you can buy ice creams and snacks. You can also rent a boat to row on the big lake. Regularly there are also artists who play live jam sessions. So enjoy!
7. Enjoy in the Casa de Campo
The former royal hunting grounds in Madrid are currently one of the largest parks in Europe. In total, the Casa de Campo is 1,700 hectares in size with many walking and cycling paths, but also a zoo and an amusement park and a large lake. On a hill in Casa de Campo is a 2,200 year old Egyptian temple dedicated to Amon and Isis. From the temple you have a wide view of the city and its surroundings. You can see the Royal Palace and the mountains around Madrid.
- Tip: make sure you are here around sunset, because then the temple is beautifully lit!
8. Eat in the chocolate shop San Ginés
I think this is the best place to enjoy a famous and divinely delicious Madrids breakfast: chocolate con churros. These are a kind of fried dough sticks with chocolate and this is divinely delicious. This chocolate shop is open 24 hours a day, but keep in mind that it can be crowded. The interior is also very beautiful. It is a Madrid tradition to eat chocolate con churros after walking!
9. Visit the Bernabéu Stadium
Madrilenians love football and the place where they play in Madrid is the Bernabéu Stadium. This is the stadium of the Real Madrid football club and was named after the club’s president in 1955. For the football lovers it is certainly very nice to visit this stadium and to take a guided tour. But even more fun is of course to go to a football match! Arrange these tickets well in advance. On the spot you have to rely on the black market traders around the stadium and then you pay a lot more for your ticket for the match.
10. Wander through the La Latina district
La Latina is one of the nicest and most beautiful areas of the city. It is also the district in Madrid where you have to be if you want to enjoy delicious tapas in various cozy bars and cafes. You walk into the bar and order a drink and get something to eat for free! The Spaniards have a nice word for that: Tapear. Especially on Sundays it is nice and busy here and is sitting young and old on the terrace, or stands in front of the cafes and eat tapas. If you are in this area, take the squares Plaza de la Paja and Plaza San Andrés as a landmark and look for a nice place from here!
11. Visit a Flamenco show
A nice activity in the evening is to visit a Flamenco show. Flamenco is typically Spanish and is characterized by its sounds, exuberant decorations and strong rhythm. In Madrid there are several places where you can visit a flamenco show (possibly including a meal).
12. Get lost at the flea market El Rastro
El Rastro is the largest flea market in the world. This huge flea market is only open on Sundays. You can buy everything here: clothes, furniture, paintings. Take the subway to the La Latina metro station and you’ll see the flea market.
13. Eat in the Lavapiés area
This is also a very nice place to dine. More than half of the inhabitants in this area are of non-Spanish origin and therefore there is an enormous variety of cuisines: Chinese, Moroccan, Thai, Indian, Senegalese, Greek and Cuban delicacies. You eat here for little money!
This is my list about what to do in Madrid! Do you have any additions to my list of what to do in Madrid?
Tip hotel Madrid
Hotel NYX Madrid by Leonardo Hotels is a perfect hotel to stay at! Its location is top-notch, close to several metro stations and there are plenty of shops, cafes and supermarkets nearby. The Real Madrid stadium is a 10-minute walk away. There is a lovely swimming pool with terrace and a cozy bar on the roof of the hotel. The staff is helpful and the room is clean and trendy and they are cleaned every day. The hotel has a modern interior.
- -> Check here for the prices for Hotel NYX Madrid by Leonardo Hotels
- -> Not what you’re looking for? Look here for more accommodations in Madrid!
The best travel time for Madrid
Madrid is a wonderful destination all year round, but it can be very hot in the summer months. That’s why the months of April, May, September and October are the best months to make a city break in Madrid.
Public transport in Madrid
Madrid is a very big city and therefore it is convenient to travel by metro. The metro system in Madrid is excellent, very efficient and easy. The cost for a 10-ride ticket is about 9 euros. From the airport it is easy to take the Exprés Aeropuerte bus to the city center. This bus runs from the airport to Plaza de Cibeles and Atocha station and from there you can easily take the metro. The costs for this bus are about 2 euros.
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