Madrid, the capital city of Spain. A young city by European standards, with an energetic and adventurous vibe that is highly infectious! Madrid is engulfed in culture and rich when it comes to art, with the city being home to some of the continent’s best art museums showcasing masterpieces by Renaissance and Baroque artists! You can spend hours walking through tiny neighborhoods made up of gorgeous plazas that date back to the 16th and 17th century, and find in these whimsical by-lanes, tiny restaurants, and quaint cafes that whip up some of the most delectable meals you’ve ever had! The city wakes up late and stays up way past midnight, with pubs and restaurants buzzing with people living their best life! If you wish to pack art, architecture, food, and fun into one single place- that place would be called Madrid! Best of Madrid – the travel guide.
We have curated this travel guide to get you all caught up with the best things to do in Madrid and all the places that you must visit while you’re in Madrid! But before we jump into the juicy details about all things touristy, let’s address a few important questions –
How big of a budget would you need?
Madrid can be an expensive city to visit during the peak season. However, if you’re travelling on a budget, some good tips to save money would include – visiting during the offseason, staying in hostels or Airbnb apartments, getting a Madrid tourist card that offers free public transport, entry to some museums along with discounts at some nightclubs and restaurants!
let’s get started with the Ultimate Madrid Travel guide
1. Take a free walking tour
Free walking tours are simply the best way to get to know more about the history of the city and to capture its vibe and culture! Join a walking tour where a local guide will give you insights about all the places that you visit and perhaps even some insider tips about where you can find the most delicious food or some off the radar beautiful places that are infrequently visited by the general public!
The Royal Palace is truly a majestic sight to see! Built in the mid-1700s, the grandeur and sheer scale of the Royal Palace will take your breath away! Showcasing exquisite influences from the Renaissance and Baroque period in its construction, the palace now displays masterpieces made by Renaissance artists such as Goya, Caravaggio, and Velazquez. Apart from this, also put on display are the personal weapons used by Charles V in the 16th century.
Built right next door to the Royal Palace is the architecturally stunning Cathedral of Madrid. It took over a hundred years to build this gorgeous cathedral, all with its ethereal Baroque style exterior! The cathedral is simply beautiful and it also offers some fantastic views over the city.
4. Grab a coffee at Plaza Mayor
The cobbled streets of Plaza Mayor that are sequenced by historic three-story-high buildings, holds centuries of history! Built way back in the 15th century, Plaza Mayor is Madrid’s main square. The buildings are lined with café’s, with tables laid outside. Grab a coffee and watch the happening city of Madrid go by!
5. Mercado de San Miguel
Originally built in 1916, and recently reconstructed with plenty of new restaurants and food stalls; this market is an absolute favorite amongst the locals! Mercado de San Miguel lies close to Plaza Mayor and is the best place to be in to catch the vibe of the locals and grab some fresh produce, affordable drinks, and tapas!
6. Take a stroll in Puerta del Sol
Another one of Madrid’s important and grand squares is Puerta del Sol. Along the side of this square sits the famous post office building with a clock at the top. According to the tradition, on New Year’s Eve, you are supposed to eat one grape for each chime of the clock for good luck!
7. Take a food tour!
Madrid is easily every food lover’s dream! With fresh produce in all its grocery markets and restaurants that serve simply mouthwatering dishes, it would be a shame to leave the city without taking a food tour! Food tours will most likely ace the list of the top favorite things you did in Madrid. These tours are informative, super delicious, and will leave you with a filled belly and a smile on your face!
8. Find a picnic spot in El Retiro Park
El Retiro Park is truly a green oasis set in the middle of a bustling city! This beautiful park covers 350 acres, all with walking paths, water fountains, monuments, and even a small lake where you can rent a rowboat! Don’t forget to pack a picnic to eat while you enjoy the greenery in El Retiro Park.
9. Visit the Palacio de Cristal
As the name suggests, Palacio de Cristal is a white structure made out of glass set in a white iron framework. The Palacio is simply beautiful and almost ethereal. The Crystal Palace also features a rotating art collection that can be enjoyed along with the view of a large lake situated right beside the Palacio.
10. See Flamenco dancers
Flamenco is Spain’s most famous style of dancing since the 19th century and is extremely captivating and enjoyable to watch! Many bars and restaurants in Madrid organize Flamenco shows that you can watch as you enjoy your delicious Spanish meal. And if you’re interested, feel free to learn some Flamenco and sport a few moves!
11. Football Match at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
Spaniards take their football matches pretty darn seriously, and rightly so! Real Madrid, their home team is one of the most famous teams in the whole world! So if you’re into football or simply want to experience the Spanish football craziness, do watch a match at Santiago Stadium if there is one being held during your vacation in the city!
12. Visit the Royal Botanical Garden
Take a stroll in the Royal Botanical garden that houses around 90,000 varieties of plants, over 1,500 trees, thousands of flowers in beautifully landscaped gardens, fountains, and serene lakes! A morning stroll in the garden will truly soothe your soul and refresh your mind!
Talking about museums, our top favorites include the National Archeological Museum and the Naval Museum of Madrid. The National Archeological Museum houses an incredible collection of archaeological finds from across the Iberian Peninsula from the Greek and Roman periods, along with artifacts from Egypt and Mesopotamia. Whereas the Naval Museum will take you for a walk down memory lane, teaching you about the nation’s rich naval history!
You cannot talk about art without mentioning The Prado, which is one of the best and most popular art galleries in the world! The Prado displays a spectacular collection of masterpieces dating back to the 18th century, made by artists such as Goya, Velazquez, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Bosch, and El Greco!
Up next is the Reina Sofia Museum, the second museum that is a part of Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art. The Reina Sofia Museum displays works made by artists of the 20th century such as Picasso, Dali, Joan Miro, Joan Gris, and Eduardo Chillida.
The third museum of Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art is the Tyssen Bornemisza Museum of Art which displays works of English and German artists such as Hans Holbein, Hans Baldung Grien and Albrecht Dürer along with the works of Renaissance masters like Tintoretto, Veronese, Rembrandt, Van Dyck!
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Frequently Asked Questions About Madrid
Q. Is Madrid safe?
A – Madrid is generally a safe city, although you should beware of pickpockets in most European cities of transport and other nearby sightseeing places. However you must be careful; Remember that the overwhelming majority of passengers to Madrid rarely encounter any problems.
Q. Is madrid a good city?
A – Madrid is the capital city of Spain and is located in the center of the country. The city is known for its abundance of art and culture. Some of the most famous sites include its art museum, the Royal Palace and the Plaza Mayor. Madrid is undoubtedly a grand city and very accommodating.
Q. What makes Madrid special?
A – Madrid is a city of great monuments. Its main attractions include the medieval center Habsburg Empire and the Prado Museum. But Madrid is not just a cultural destination. It is a vibrant metropolis with many pubs, cafes, discotheques and nightclubs opening late at night.
Q. English is spoken in Madrid?
A – A decent level of English in the central areas, but not as high as some other more touristic cities. Most restaurants and shops in the center will have someone who can speak English, in the form of tourism offices.
Q. Is it safe to walk at night in Madrid?
A – I walk regularly in Madrid until night. Madrid is super safe, even safer than other European capitals, literally police everywhere. In tourist or congested areas you have to be extra careful with your luggage, crimes like pickpockets and petty crime in any major city.
Q. Is Madrid or Barcelona cheaper?
A – With cheaper, more variety, better food, and generally more to do than Barcelona, Madrid gets the top prize for a long trip. If you are in the south of France and want a quick weekend in Spain and to experience the architecture of Gaudí, Barcelona is the one for you.
Q. Is Madrid cheaper than London?
A – Madrid is 24.3% cheaper than London.
Q. Is Madrid expensive?
A – Spain is considered an economical destination for travelers, especially for Western Europe. While Madrid is more expensive than other Spanish cities, it certainly does not cost as much to live here compared to other major European cities such as London, Copenhagen, or Stockholm.
Q. Is Madrid worth visiting?
A-Yes, Madrid is worth a visit. Although Madrid can be removed to some extent from Germany, and even though it will be a cool spring and not shorts and t-shirt season, Madrid is definitely working !!!! One of my favorite cities.
Q. Why is madrid so beautiful?
A-Madrid is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain and its capital is in the center of the country. Within its borders you will find many cultural and historical treasures such as the Royal Palace, Royal Theater as well as many museums and art galleries that are unmatched elsewhere in Europe.
Q. Why do people love Madrid?
Q. How far is Madrid from the ocean?
A – Madrid, while one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, is definitely a landlock. In fact, it is 300 kilometers or about 200 miles from the sea.
Q. Can you drink tap water in Madrid?
A – Yes. In fact, Madrid has Spain’s best tap water. There is nothing dangerous, risky or unpleasant about it. Madrid’s tap water is completely clean and un-cleaned, and you should have no qualms about drinking it.
Q. Is there snow in Madrid?
A – Winters in Madrid are cold and dry, and snow falls now and then, especially in late December and January. However, Madrid is not considered a particularly icy city.
Q. What is the pronunciation of Madrid?
A – Those who are born in Madrid, or have lived there for a long time and adopt a local accent, speak Castilian Spanish. But Madrid is a very metropolitan city and there are many Latin American immigrants, as well as many people from other Spanish provinces, who live and work there.
Q. Is Madrid a walking city?
A – Madrid, the third largest city in Western Europe, is filled with an eclectic mix of bars offering a scene for every genre. Just take a stroll through the streets of this vibrant city, and it seems like every other building is a cafe or bar.
Q. Which is the best area to live in Madrid?
A – Since most of Madrid’s main attractions are centrally located and within easy walking distance from each other, it makes sense to stay at the Centro or Retiro, depending on whether you are in the Royal Palace (Centro) Are more interested in being close or not) or ‘Golden Triangle’ of art museums (retiro).
Q. Can you live in madrid without speaking spanish?
A – You can survive in most places in Spain without any Spanish, if you want to become a permanent tourist. Even learning some Spanish words and phrases will help you communicate with the locals. Until you learn Spanish, you will never be a part of this beautiful and exciting land.
Q. Is there a beach in Madrid?
A – It is a land-locked city and thus, Madrid does not have beaches. However, the Manzanres River offers ample sandy beaches and places to enjoy near Madrid. Surprisingly, the Madrid Rio project has now made river banks fun too.
Q. Which is the best month to visit Madrid Spain?
A – The best time to visit Madrid is in the fall (September to November) or spring (March to May), when the bummy tempo comes through the city, making it lively. But if you don’t mind the weather and not Madrid but Madrid, travel in winter when hotels reduce their rates.