Madrid is the number one tourist destination in Spain and also the capital, so you’ll definitely find that there’s lots to do in the city. There’s something for everyone, from sports fans to art enthusiasts. In this article you’ll find some of the best and most essential things to do while you’re in Madrid.
Take a stroll through Retiro Park
Lakes, flowers, art, and total relaxation is what you’ll find in Retiro Park, considered to be as the most important green area in the city. You’ll also find the magnificent Crystal Palace, inspired by the building in London with the same name and Retiro pond where you can peacefully ride a boat.
Immerse yourself in art at Museo del Prado
This incredible museum, one of the largest in the world, is home to some of the finest works of European art and historical pieces. Just to give you a rough idea, there are more than 5000 drawings (and only just over half are publicly on display), 700 sculptures, 2000 prints, and 100 coins and medals. All of that doesn’t even include paintings, of which there are almost 8000 of, though only around 1300 are on show.
The best part? You can get in for free Tuesday – Saturday from 6PM to 8PM, and Sunday from 5PM to 8PM. If you love art, this is unmissable.
Visit the other two big art museums
The Reina Sofia Art Museum has an impressive collection of modern art, contemporary, and great post-impressionist artists such as Picasso, Dalí, and Miró. In fact, one of the most emblematic pieces that can be found in this museum is Picasso’s Guernica. It’s free to visit all day on Sunday.
You should also visit the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum, which holds one of the most important and varied collections of art to date, with European art dating all the way back to 1290 all the way to the modern era. There is a particularly impressive collection of Flemish primitives and Renaissance art as well as temporary exhibitions.
Visit Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
This is one for the football fans, especially those of whom root for Real Madrid. This is one of the most visited sites in the city. You can learn about the history of one of the best football clubs in the world, or book a ticket to watch a great football match. You won’t be disappointed.
Don’t miss the Royal Palace!
The Royal Palace of Madrid is the largest western palace in the world, with a luxurious interior and grand royal gardens, as well as spectacular exhibitions. It’s strongly recommend that you visit this palace as it’s a work of art in its own right. Admission is free on Wednesdays for citizens of the European Union.
Go shopping at El Rastro
Every Sunday, the neighborhood of La Latina is filled with antiques, cloths, and various objects. In a bohemian atmosphere, this historic market mixes, retro, modern, and vintage. You can also haggle and find real bargains and products that you won’t get anywhere else.
Lose yourself in Puerta del Sol and its surroundings
In this square, the heart of Madrid, you will find artists and musicians, as well as many local bars in which to sit and have a drink with your friends. The atmosphere of this part of town is a pleasure, though for some it can be overwhelming. Due to the fact that this area is so well connected with the rest of the city, you will find it’s the idea place to book your accommodation, there are a few hotels in the area, but you can also stay in one of the Madrid Apartments in the area.
Take a walk down Gran Via
This is one of the busiest streets in the city. Think of it as the Oxford Street of Madrid. Gran Via is full of shops, restaurants, and beautiful pieces of architecture. In addition there’s lots of theaters and cinemas, so it’s also like Broadway. Both Oxford street and Broadway in one place? Don’t miss a trip down this road!
Walk the walls of the Old City
Madrid used to be a walled city hundreds of years ago and nowadays you can still see the remains of the wall that protected the ancient Moorish settlement in the 9th century. Declared a national monument in 1954, you can find them near Almudena Cathedral, which is by the Royal Palace.
Visit the Temple of Debod
This Egyptian temple is located in el Parque del Oeste, and was originally located in Egypt, specifically in Debod. It’s highly recommendable that you visit this temple with the sun set for an absolutely beautiful and amazing sight.