Madrid is one of the most alive Capitals out there in Europe and one of my favorites. You can’t visit this city without falling for its charm and positive vibes. The capital is full of life and happy people. It is always a good idea whether for a weekend or a couple of days. This is where you will enjoy the warm weather eat well and yes party hard.
Madrid might not be the most touristic Capital in Europe but it still has some fascinating landmarks and touristic places to explore. My advice to you though, is to plan a full schedule that will include the amazing nightlife & Gastronomy there.
Hey! Don’t Worry about that. I will be telling you all about it in a different article. For now lets stick to the Main attractions to be visited there.
And most Importantly, check out the Madrid Itinerary 😎 for a previously prepared schedule for you. Yes I have thought about everything, all you need to do is grab your suitcase and head to Madrid.
Oh and in case you are there for the food😋 This article is made for you: the most delicious Spanish specialties to try once in Spain.
So now that you are all set and ready to go, let me tell you about the Main attractions & experiences to explore in Madrid!🤩
- Palacio Real de Madrid
- Temple debod
- Santiago Bernabéu Stadium
- El Retiro Park
- Mercado de San Miguel
- Madrid Plazas
1- Palacio Real de Madrid
It is not only about the Royal Palace, even though its the Main iconic Landmark there, but the whole surrounding area wont fail to impress you. This is definitely the number one area to visit in Spain’s Capital.
Built in 1735, the Madrid Palace was home to the Royal family from Charles III to Alfonso XIII. With its outstanding architecture and its white color the Palace will take you on a beautiful journey through the history of Spain.
A small description
The palace, inspired by sketches made by Bernini for the construction of the Louvre in Paris. It has a huge courtyard famous for its galleries. It involves over 3000 rooms, that includes the impressive Main Staircase, designed by Sabatini and the unique Throne Hall that features a ceiling painted by Tiepolo.
Some general tips
- If you wish to witness the Changing guard ceremony, it is held on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
- You can either take a guided tour, or do the visit on your own.
- I advice you to visit the palace around noon when it can get less crowded.
We spent quite a while in the courtyard taking those scenic pictures of the palace and surrounding. The ambiance was super cool, there was a lot of people yet it wasn’t crowded. The palace visit was both enjoyable and impressive. It was a pleasant tour of 45min, where I mostly enjoyed the Stairs & Throne Hall along with the Royal Armory and the Painting gallery. So I advice you to consider those in your visit:
The Royal Armory is a wide collection of house weapons and armor worn by the Kings of Spain. While The painting Gallery houses a large number of artistic gems such as Virgin with Child by Luis Morales, and Salome with the Head of John the Baptist by Caravaggio.
How to get there?
I personally recommend you to have a walk from Puerta del sol to the palace. The walk is about 15min. But if you want to go there by transportation, take the line L2, L3 or L10 to the closest square called Plaza Espana.
Address: Callede Bailén , s/n28013
Opening hours: Mon – Sat: 10am to 6pm & Sundays from 10am to 4pm
The Palace’s gardens: Sabatini Gardens
This is my favorite part of the area. I actually enjoyed the Gardens even more than the palace itself. And if you are a fan of photography this is where you should work your Magic. All angles have a captivating view.
Don’t simply stay up and check the Palace & the Gardens from up there. NO! Go down and have a stroll in those gardens. I compared them to the Gardens of Alice in Wonderland.🤩 And you can easily wander for a while in there. Walk along its narrow passageway, admire this amazing landscape and take the most beautiful pictures by the Fountain.
Opening hours: Throughout the week from: 10am-6pm
Cathedral de Santa Maria & Muralla arabe
On your way out from the Palace and its Magnificent Gardens make sure to drop by the neighboring Cathedral de Santa Maria. Known as the Cathedral of the Almudena it is famous for its colorful chapels. This Baroque Cathedral also includes a Crypt and a small museum.
And its not only about that! This area won’t fail to impress you with a mixture of history. Don’t leave without checking out the remains of the oldest Arab wall that dates back to the 9th century. The monument that once occupied a perimeter of 4 hectares has suffered many damages. But here you have it the most representative remains that can be seen next to the Royal Palace.
2- Temple Debod
Now this is something original in the center of the city, a totally different historical monument located in an unlikely location. What am I talking about? An ancient Egyptian temple.
Situated in the Madrid’s Parque del Oeste, in a one of a kind setting along the waters the view is captivating. You can’t pass by there without being surprised and happy about this little controversial Gem in the middle of Plaza de Espana.
A bit of history!
The original temple dates back to the 2nd Century BC, The one you will visit is a new relocated temple. In the 20th century, the Egyptian government gave the temple as a gift to the city of Madrid. It was transported and rebuilt in its current location while keeping the building’s original orientation: from east to West.
This temple is one of the few examples of the Ancient Egyptian Architecture that was built outside of Egypt. And it is the only one in Spain. So if you really looking for a quick getaway to Egypt while keeping your feet in Europe this is your ticket. Don’t skip this landmark and you wont regret it.
Is it worth the visit?
Although it is not related to the Spanish culture and history, Yes it does. And that is why I am telling you about it.😉 There is nothing much to see inside, its a small temple. But it still has some decorative Egyptian treasures, and displays some videos and audiovisual materials on its walls.
It might get a bit busy and you might have to stand in line because numbers are limited to the temple. So try to be patient.
The best Part is the Outdoors
This is a great place for photographers and amateurs of photography. It is a one of a kind spot in the city where you can take some breathtaking pictures. And if you like light and reflections by the waters pictures, this is exactly where you should be.
Recommendation: My advice to you is to go there around sunset. The reflection of the sun on the stones monuments is impressive. You will witness various shades of colors and take some unique photos of this masterpiece.
How to get there?
The temple is at 2min walk from the Plaza Espana. The best way to get there by public transport is to take line 3 or 10 to the Plaza station.
Tip: I would suggest that you go there directly after visiting the Palace Area, because its closely and requires only a 10min walk.
Address: Callede Ferraz, 128008
Opening hours: from 10hAM till 8hPM except for Mondays when its closed and your entrance is for free!
3- Santiago Bernabéu Stadium
Whether you are a Fan of football or not, this is an outstanding experience to live once in Madrid. The stadium itself is a masterpiece and the Bernabéu Tour is a magical visit that takes you to a journey in the Club’s amazing World.
Which Club’s Stadium is that? Well nothing else than the Real Madrid Club. The Stadium has a current capacity of more than 80000 seating. It is the second largest Stadium in Spain and hosted the Champions league final for many years. And most importantly witnessed the FIFA WORLD CUP final in 1982.
“The club of the Century“
Real Madrid was elected the best club of the 20th Century and this is what it was entitled. That gives you one more reason to discover their stadium and feel the white’s heartbeat.
What am I recommending? The Stadium’s guided tour! Where you will get the chance to learn more about this prestigious Club, discover its museum, the players lockers and finally have a stroll in the Stadium itself.
- Get your tickets online to secure your place and get a discounted price.
- In case you are not sure about your date of visit check out the “flexible tour” ticket. For a few euros more you will be able to take the tour anytime you want.
Ticket prices: The flexible ticket is around 20 euros and the Classic one is about 17 euros.
The Stadium Tour
You will be guided all along the way in a small group and your tour will include the following:
- Real Madrid C.F. Museum
- Panoramic views of the inside of the stadium
- Temporary exhibitions
The Museum displays all of those trophies and literally leaves you speechless. This scenery drags you to a world of champions and yes trust me you can feel it. I felt some adrenaline rush and the best part were those big headphones shaped as huge trumpet. They play many symphonies related to the Club. The most famous of them being the club’s anthem ” Hala Madrid”
Here is a small surprise for you! On your way to the Stadium, you will get the chance to pass by the players lockers.😍
And for your ultimate experience, the tour will end at the Stadium where you will enjoy those panoramic views all over the place.
So here is a small secret that I need to share with you, I am actually a fan of “Los Blancos”. A fan of Real Madrid. So maybe talking about my experience will be a bit subjective, but feelings aside it is really an awesome experience. It was a nice and fun activity to do on an afternoon in Madrid. And I was in a state of happiness all along the tour especially by checking all those trophies and having a stroll in the lockers. I was embraced by those fame vibes and transported to a World of Champions.
How to get there?
The Stadium is a bit far from Madrid’s city center but close enough to a Metro station ” Santiago Bernabeu”. It is reachable with the Metro line 10. So you either take directly line 10 or if you are in down town Madrid, take line 1 from Puerto del Sol and change at Tribunal to take line 10.
The whole trip from downtown is about 25min.
Address: Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, Av. de Concha Espina, 1, 28036 Madrid, Spain
4- El Retiro Park
Almost like all the European Capitals, Madrid has its own magnificent Park called the Retiro Park. And here is a little secret for you, this one is actually my favorite park in Europe. Why am I saying that? Because the Retiro has many landmarks, offers many activities and has some beautiful greeneries and plants. It is also not very large and located right next to the outstanding Plaza Cibeles.
When is it best to visit it?
I went there in both autumn and summer. And while you get to really enjoy it in summer, its nature wont fail to impress you while its dressed in those fall colors. So even if it happens that you are in Madrid out of warm season, don’t hesitate to head there. Trust me you will be impressed.
Spend a cool afternoon there and discover all its wonders while enjoying Madrid’s warm and nice weather.
How to get there?
I totally recommend you to Have a walk from through Gran via towards El Retiro. This is what I have done and it was an amazing stroll towards la Plaza Cibeles & through the Puerta de Alcala. But if you’d rather take the Subway, don’t worry take the line 2 to Retiro station and you are there.
Now, let me tell you about the most amazing spots in the Park, the ones definitely at any cost not to be missed!
The Retiro Park lake
This lake located in the heart of the Retiro and represents its main symbol and its heartbeat. The lake is an impressive large one and a popular one for the locals who go there to tan. The vibes out there are captivating, you will have a stroll with a small breeze in your hair while getting enchanted by some street musicians.
The Lake is also known for its arcade structure that became the icon of the Park. It is a place where tourists and locals lay on its stairs to relax and enjoy the view. The view from around the lake is breathtaking and the environment super friendly.
Tip: you can also enjoy some activities in the lake like rowing and solar boats. So rent one of those for the ultimate experience in the park.
Palacio de Cristal
A bit further down from the Lake, you will find this unique structure called el Palacio Cristal. I really was impressed with what I saw, and from an engineer point of you I can tell you this is a masterpiece.
The structure is made up almost entirely of glass supported by a metallic framework based on a brick. What was built back in 1887 on the occasion of the Exposition of the Philippines, has become an impressive landmark in the park and a center of attraction.
Tip: don’t simply stand out there, go inside to check some amazing statues and piece of art.
La Rosaleda del Retiro
This is a small landscaped garden with a variety of roses and arbors along with stone fountains. This where you will find serenity! In this small corner by the end of the park lays some magic and charm that wont fail to put a big smile on your face. Go ahead and take those nice pictures with that perfect background and have a final stroll between the blooming roses.
Tip: There is a small impressive wooden passageway on your way from Palacio de Cristal towards la Rosaleda, make sure to have a walk there.
- Make sure to check out: the fountain of the fallen Angel. A sculpture illustrating Lucifer falling from heaven.
- Don’t make it a quick getaway in the park, make sure to really enjoy an afternoon there. You have some Restaurants and some drinks vendors for you to keep you satisfied.
- If you are into museums, check out the nearby National museum called Museo national del Prado
5- Market de San Miguel
Spanish gastronomy is one of the best in the World! So what about having some of that in the Capital the local way? Madrid offers you the opportunity to have some delicious Spanish specialties in a cool ambiance. The capital is known for its different Food Markets all over the city and one of the best ones is definitely the Market de San Miguel.
What makes this Market special?
Definitely its location & history. The Mercado San Miguel that opened in 1916 as a food Market, became Madrid’s first gastronomy market in May 2009. And what makes it even more special? Its unique iron Architecture. The Market doesn’t look like any other Food Market but has unique image of its own.
So what about its location?
The Market is located in the heart of the city center, at a walking distance of the historic Plaza Mayor. This makes it at a proximate distance of Puerta del Sol and its Metro. Surrounded by many attractions, the market became an important landmark, packed with tourists from around the globe.
Here is your address: Plazade San Miguel, s/n28005
The food paradise
A food paradise! San Miguel Market is the city’s gastronomic temple, and the one that offers you a wide variety of products from all over Spain. Yes you heard me right! This food Market gives you the chance to have a taste of all the delicious food coming from all corners of Spain. You will find everything you might think of to align with all tastes and requirements.
From the best Iberian ham to a variety of fresh Galician sea food and special cheese from Castile. From various types of tapas to fresh fruit and vegetables. Not to forget about the famous pintxos that comes straight from the Basque Country and the Asturian Sidra.
The San Miguel Market wont fail to fill your appetite. Oh and have I mentioned about dessert yet? I guess not…Yes you also have many types of those along with the finest Spanish wine.
Once I stepped in the Market I felt the great vibes and cool atmosphere. It’s an amazing place to have some specialties in a unique environment. And guess what? It’s not only a touristic place, its the Spaniards happy place. I actually felt like a local there wandering in the Market checking all their goods and getting tempted to eat everything.
Is it expensive? Well it’s not the cheapest food Market I have been to, but it is of great quality. And you can find many items for many prices. So if you don’t wish to pay a lot you have some choices. The only thing that bothered was the fact that I wanted to try almost everything😅
- Don’t leave without trying the traditional one of a kind Iberian Jamon (Ham)
- Make a stroll all over the place before deciding on what you wanna have. Because you might end up with a totally different choice.
- If you want the full local experience, go there on an early evening for some tapas & wine.
Tip: Have a walk in the nearby street for some cool building facades.
6- Madrid Plazas
This is a major experience by itself in Madrid. The capital is known for its different Plazas and special streets. You will find many tourists and locals wandering in those plazas and mostly having there afternoon coffees or sunset drinks. There are many and each one of those plazas or small area is unique and known for a specific reason. Their diversity makes them all a must even though some are more famous than others.
So as you might have noticed, there is a lot to say about those Plazas & Areas. That is why in this article I am only gonna give you a general idea about them. And since you know me already😊, I am gonna tell you all about them in a separate article.
What are those Major Plazas & Streets?
This plaza that was once the center of Old Madrid, represents one of the main touristic areas to be visited. You can’t visit Madrid without checking out Plaza Mayor and having some relaxing time in it.
Puerta del Sol
This square is the center of the radial network of all Spanish roads. It is the busiest square of the city and features some cool historical landmarks.
Plaza de Cibeles
This is one of the most impressive plazas in Europe. With its grandiose monuments, it has become a symbol for Madrid City.
Gran Via street
This fabulous large street is the busiest one in the city and the one that offers many shops, restaurants and coffeeshops. I have some nice places for you to discover there! Make sure to add Gran Via on your schedule for you to see the city’s different angle.
Tip: Get there for either Lunch or a late afternoon where you can enjoy some sunset drinks on a Rooftop.
My favorite one of those?
I will keep it as a secret for now and will tell you all about it in my separate related article. Make sure to stay tuned because I will be revealing my preference and giving you some nice recommendations.
So goodbye for now, Enjoy those touristic attractions!! AND See you Later😉
Thank you for reading and Leaving your comment!😊