Top attractions in Madrid
Top 10 things to do in Madrid
Madrid's culture is one that seems to emphasize living and leisure over hard work, yet its history has seen it produce some of Europe's most awe-inspiring artworks and buildings. Here are just a few of the best places to visit in Spain's capital!
1. Plaza de España
The metro station of the same name takes you to the Plaza de España, where a huge statue of Miguel de Cervantes presides over those of his characters Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.
2. Santiago Bernabéu Stadium
Soccer fans can tour the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, home of Real Madrid, walk the pitch, visit the dressing rooms, and marvel at the club's huge trophy cabinet!
3. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
The Reina Sofía Museum of Modern Art boasts one of the foremost collections of 20th and 21st-century Spanish art, with highlights including Picasso's Guernica.
4. Museo del Prado
If traditional art is more your thing, the Museo del Prado exhibits the world's most extensive collection of Spanish art from the 12th to 19th centuries.
5. Palacio Real
Madrid's most famous landmark Palacio Real is one of Europe's most spectacular palaces, built from Spanish marble and surrounded by beautifully landscaped courtyards and gardens!
6. Plaza Mayor
Once the place to see bullfights and carnivals, you can find some of Madrid's best restaurants where the historic market square Plaza Mayor meets the "Austrias" neighborhood.
7. Gran Vía
This energetic and extravagant shopping street is also the pulse of Madrid's nightlife, hence its nickname: "The Spanish Broadway!"
8. Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum
Completing Madrid's "Golden Triangle of Art," along with the Reina Sofia and Prado museums, the collection of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is owned by a former Miss Spain and is perhaps the most eclectic of the lot.
9. Círculo de Bellas Artes
Another key player on Madrid's art scene, this gallery's rooftop terrace offers stunning panoramas of the whole city! It's the best view of Madrid by quite a margin.
10. Parque del Buen Retiro
Of Madrid's many green corners, Retiro Park's statues, fountains, and floral features offer the city's most scenic respite for joggers, picnickers, boaters, and you!
Planning Your Visit
Best time to visit?
Summer is peak season despite the intolerable heat that drives even the natives to close up shop and head to a cooler climate! It's better to go in spring or fall, although if it takes more than a mild winter to put you off, hotels are considerably cheaper in winter!
How many days?
Madrid has enough life in it to enjoy a week there. If that turns out to be a little too long for you, the city is also well positioned for day-trip opportunities. For instance, consider visiting historic Toledo or Segovia, if not the Ribera del Duero wine region for a tasting or two!
How to get from the airport to the city?
Barajas International Airport is one of the world's largest, which means it's busy but pleasantly well connected! Taxis are available but the Renfe train is the cheapest and quickest option, however, at rush hour it might be less stressful to get the airport express bus. There is also the Metro, although this isn't advisable when carrying plenty of luggage.
How to get around?
Buses and the Metro are reliable, well connected, and cheap. Visitors might find it easier to purchase a Madrid Tourist Travel Pass, valid on all trains and buses for 1, 3, 5, or 7 days. Taxis are also very affordable compared to most European cities, and well regulated, too.
Good to know
- Euro (€)
- Time Zone
- UTC (+01:00)
- Country Code
- Best time to visit
- Spring and Fall offer milder temperatures and fewer tourists
Other Sightseeing Options in Madrid
Want to discover all there is to do in Madrid? Click here for a full list.
What people are saying about Madrid
Our three hour electric bike tour of Madrid was excellent. Our guide Javier did a wonderful job leading us at a leisurely pace around many of Madrid’s most famous attractions. He had innumerable stories to tell and provided useful and interesting contextual and historical commentary that greatly enhanced our appreciation of the city. Highly recommend both the Tour, as enjoyable way to get around and see the sights, and Javier, our guide, who was professional, knowledgeable and easy going.
The tour is perfect! The bus is comfortable, the tour guide speaks several languages and her English was perfect. The lunch was fabulous and super yummy. The amount of time given to tour each town was just right and we were able to fit some tourist shopping in too.
Very good and informative! Recommended. Got to see most of central Madrid i 3 hrs. The guide speaks very good English and knows what he talks about. Dont miss out on this opportunity to learn about Madrid.
Enjoyable tour. Easy going pace and informative guide commentary. The Palace is well worth the visit. One of the most interesting and resplendently furnished palaces in Europe.
Excelente Guia con la mejor actitud y muy buen conocimiento con datos interesantes y curiosos, el transporte fue adecuado y el tiempo perfecto para recorrer las dos locaciones.