5 Days in Madrid: What to Visit

Planning a city trip can become a bit of challenge. There are so many things to do on such short notice, so if you are unable to organize everything right, you will be at risk of missing some important sights. This is one of the main reasons why people turn to travel agencies for help. They want a ready-made itinerary that will help them see as much as possible during their trip. However, with the amount of resources available online, organizing your own trip has never been easier.

In this article, we will show you how to spend five days in Madrid to get the most out of your stay.

What to Visit – Day 1 in Madrid

For the first day, we suggest a couple of activities that will be quite easy to organize and handle, having in mind that you might arrive late during the day and you might be travel from the trip. This is why you want to focus on the area near your apartment in Madrid. We suggest the Plaza Mayor as the main landmark of the day, with some extra activities in the nearby area.

Get to the city

Sometimes you cannot be flexible with the time you get to the city because there is only one flight which arrives at a particular time. However, whenever it is possible, always choose a morning flight. This way, you get to the city early, you drop by your accommodation, such as an apartment in Madrid, and then you have the rest of the day to start your adventure.

Have lunch at the city center

We all know that traveling can be tiring, especially if you are coming from a distant country. This is why we want to keep this day easy-going but still enable you to immerse into the local environment. If you find an apartment in the center of Madrid, this gives you an instant edge. You can immediately go to a nearby restaurant and try out some of the local specialties.

There are so many restaurants, cafes, and bars in the city center, that you might even have a hard time choosing which one to visit. In situations like these, travelers love turning to popular apps such as Yelp, Foursquare and similar, to get reviews and recommendations regarding best places to visit.

Plaza Mayor

After the lunch, go for a short walk and visit the Plaza Mayor. It is an impressive landmark, a distinguishable square in the center of the city, which has great historical value. It is a perfect location to take photos, have lunch or simply enjoy the local atmosphere.

Calle Mayor

If there is enough time, continue your walk along the Calle Mayor. Since it is the central area, you will find a lot of gift and souvenir shops along the street. Other stores, including the supermarkets, are also located here, so you will have an opportunity to go for a quick shopping spree. In case shopping simply is not your thing, then perhaps having drinks in one of the tapas bars is. Either way, the city central area around the Plaza Mayor will certainly be an interesting place to visit during your first day in Madrid.

What to Visit – Day 2 in Madrid

The second day of your Madrid adventure is focused on the west, with the life of the Royalty being the central aspect. There will be quite a few landmarks to visit here, so many sure you get an early start in the morning.

The Royal Theatre

The Royal Theatre is on your way as you head to this area, so it is worth having a look around of Madrid’s opera house founded in the 19th century. You can simply admire the exterior, but if you are interested in more, the interior tours are available as well.

Plaza del Oriente

Your next stop could be the Plaza del Oriente, a historic square with a beautiful garden around it with a central monument. It is actually in front of your next destination, the major attraction for the second day of exploring Madrid.

The Royal Palace of Madrid

The official residence of the Spanish Royal Family is actually an amazing landmark to visit in Madrid. The construction started in the 18th century, and now a part of the palace is open for public so that you can explore the impressive collection of armory, porcelain, furniture, etc. This way you get the glimpse of the court life and different epochs that influenced it.

Sabatini Gardens

The gardens are a part of the Royal Palace, but they were not opened to publish until mid 20th century. An outstanding structure and meticulous attention to details are what makes this garden truly royal. It is a perfect place to wrap up the day and have some rest of all the sightseeing.

Catedral de la Almudena

As a country with strong religious and architectural heritage, Spain has so many impressive churches built in its unique gothic style, and the Almudena Cathedral is one of them. Beautiful interior with colorful chapel outside, the Roman Catholic church is one of the places you can also visit in this area.

What to Visit – Day 3 in Madrid

The third day in Madrid is all about the central district, outstanding architecture and a little bit of shopping. As you leave your apartment in Madrid, embrace yourself for another exciting day in the city.

Plaza de España

A grand square in the center of the city, the Plaza de España in Madrid is definitely the place to visit. This will be the starting point for today’s sightseeing. The main attraction on the square is a monument to Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. There is also a part of the green surfaces with lots of colorful flowers. It is surrounded by two large skyscrapers, and it directly leads to another destination in the city you will want to visit.

 5-Days-in-Madrid-What-to-Visit

Plaza de España in Madrid and the monument to Miguel de Cervantes

 

Gran Vía

On the east, you can continue your trip to Gran Vía, Madrid’s Broadway, as this street is known for. While you walk down the street, enjoying the view of stunning architecture and design, you will come across a lot of shops. In fact, this area is known as a favorite shopping destination, so it is only natural to be tempted to stop by. Let this day be about shopping as well. Besides international brands, you will find lots of Spanish brands with their stores in this area, such as Zara, Pull&Bear, Stradivarius, Bershka, etc. You can also have a drink in local cafes or even visit one of the rooftop cafes with an amazing view of the city.

Once you reach the opposite end of the avenue, you will enter Calle de Alcalá. If you are all done with the sightseeing for today, you can go back to your apartment in the center of the city. If you would like to see a little bit more of the city, this street will take you to your next destination.

Plaza de Cibeles

Plaza de Cibeles with its impressive fountain is another landmark worth visiting while in the city. The Cibeles Fountain is in the middle of the square, and it is heavily inspired by the Roman deity, while the surrounding buildings are influenced by distinctive Gothic style. In all, it is a perfect day to end another they of sightseeing.

What to Visit – Day 4 in Madrid

This day is all about nature and culture. If you love both, visiting these places will help you enjoy the unique spirit of Madrid. You could always choose only one of these. So you could either focus on nature and spend the day exploring the natural life or explore the culture and artistic heritage the country is so proud of.

Atocha station

We will start the day four in Madrid from the Atocha station. This is the largest railway station in Madrid, but what is interesting about this location is its steel and glass construction with a unique interior. Inside of the station, you will find a tropical garden.

Botanical garden

The next destination is the botanical garden located nearby. It is a perfect place to enjoy the natural life and species that originate from all over the world.

Retiro Park

If you are fond of nature, the Retro Park is a perfect destination for you. It is the largest park in the city, and one of the greatest ones in Europe. It has a lot of green surfaces, but you will also find lots of monuments around the park. Two most notable landmarks in the park are certainly the Crystal Palace, a glasshouse which is now housing contemporary art and the lake with Monument to Alfonso XII next to it. It is an impressive place, and you will probably spend a lot of time exploring the park. You might also want to go for a short ride around the lake.

Paseo del Prado

Let us end this exciting day of sightseeing with a nice walk along the Paseo del Prado, one of the most famous avenues in the city. This location is of great cultural and historical value for the city, which is why you will find lots of monuments and other historical places along the avenue.

The Golden Triangle of Art

A walk along the Paseo del Prado slowly takes us to the three most famous museums in Madrid:

  • The Prado Museum
  • The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
  • The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

If you want to experience the local culture, as well as to explore masterpieces of international artists, choose to visit one of these museums as the final activity for your day. In case you are too tired to enjoy such visit, just leave it for the final day. The museums are in the center of the city, so your apartment in Madrid will probably be quite near. This way you will get to enjoy the final day of the trip, especially if you are scheduled to depart later in the day.

What to Visit – Day 5 in Madrid

Like with the day one, day five is all about travel, this time going home. Unlike with arrival, where you want to get to Madrid early on, you can take advantage of the final day if you are able to schedule a departure for the late afternoon. If that is the case, that would be perfect, because there is one more landmark you need to visit.

Puerta del Sol

If you are staying in the apartment in the center of Madrid, this square will be quite near you. Seize the morning and spend it exploring the favorite meeting point of the locals. Once you get there, you will soon notice the statue of King Carlos III and 0 km marker stone. You could also explore the local cafes, shops or even pastry shops if you would like to have a quick breakfast in the city.

Finally, it is time to wrap up everything. The landmarks we have highlighted here are all the major points you need to see in the city. However, if there is an activity that takes too much of your time, and you do not get to see all of the places in the same day, it is perfectly fine. The whole point of going on holiday is to enjoy and have fun, and that is what your goal should be all the time.

How to Spend Summer in Madrid?

When you first think about summer holiday, you instantly think of a beach. It is what most people will do. All you want to do is lay down and enjoy the sun. This image is what most people associate with a summer holiday.

But did you know that summer in a city can also be fun? Do you know how you can spend an exciting summer in a big city such as Madrid? If the beach holiday does not fit your schedule or plans for some reason, the alternative of spending the summer in the city also sounds amazing. In case you decide to visit the Spanish capital this summer, here are a couple of suggestions you need to consider to spend an awesome summer in Madrid.

Seize the morning

Morning is such a beautiful part of the day in summer. Despite the fact that you are on holiday, wake up early and enjoy this amazing experience while you walk down the streets of Madrid. It will not be as crowded during the day, and it will definitely be less hot. Morning is such a perfect setting for a peaceful walk around the central city area. Stop by one of the lovely street cafes and have your Spanish breakfast or take a cup of coffee to go.

Then let the walk bring you to one of the Madrid’s parks. The Retiro Park is in the city center, so it is quite convenient to visit it. There is some special vibe in the park in the morning. The air is rather fresh, and there are not many people. Yes, you will probably come across a busy runner or an enthusiastic photographer. But if you prefer solitude and if you want to enjoy nature, try visiting the park in the morning.

The Crystal Palace in the Retiro Park - How to Spend Summer in Madrid

The Crystal Palace in the Retiro Park

Another great location for a nature-inspired, morning walk is the Botanic Gardens. With its seven outdoor areas and five greenhouses, which holds an impressive collection of over 90.000 plants, flowers, and trees, the garden is a perfect location if you want to explore natural life. If will surely keep you busy the entire morning, and perhaps you will extend this walk until lunch time. The Botanic Garden is also in the city center. In fact, it is next to the Retiro Park.

Find an accommodation with air-conditioning

Since the temperature can get high and it might be rather hot during the day, we always recommend that you look for an apartment that has an air-conditioning during the summer months. It is unlikely that you will need it throughout the year, but when it comes to July and August, it can get too hot during the day, especially around 2 pm or 3 pm.

Besides the air-conditioning, another thing you should think about concerning finding accommodation is the location. If possible, you should always choose to rent an apartment in the center of Madrid. This location provides a dose of convenience when traveling to Madrid and exploring the city area. Most of the city landmarks will be within walking distance in case you choose an apartment in the center.

Enjoy Spanish cuisine

Renowned worldwide, Spanish cuisine is perfect to explore while you are visiting Madrid. Famous dishes such as Spanish tortilla, croquettes, hues rotos, are all part of the menus which you will come across as you explore the local restaurants during the lunch time. In case you are renting an apartment in the center of Madrid, you will be able to find restaurants rather quickly, as lots of them are actually located in the central area. If you want suggestions on which of them to try out, check out our Gastronomic Guide with restaurants, pastry shops and other places to eat out in Madrid.

Embrace the siesta

Siesta is a nap time in Spain. It usually happens from 2 pm until 5 pm, and it means that some restaurants, cafes and even shops can be closed during that time. Siesta is a traditional custom, which some people love, and some people do not. If you want to have some rest in the middle of the day, simply stop by your accommodation and enjoy having rest in the apartment during the hottest period of the day. It would be a perfect break to prepare you for an evening out. However, if you are not tired, and you want to get the most out of your day in Madrid, we have an indoor and outdoor activity suggestions for you.

Visit the museums

If you do not want to take a nap and you prefer to spend the middle of the day indoor, you should stop by museums. They are air-conditioned, so it would be a pleasant walk away from the heat. Consider this visit a delightful cultural tour where you get to experience a glimpse of cultural life and historical event that shaped the life of the locals. Go to the Golden Triangle of Art and choose one of the three museums to visit. The Prado Museum, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum are three museums you should explore. All three of them are in the center of the city, quite near each other, so if there is enough time, you can always choose to visit two in one day. However, to make sure you explore them indeed, you should focus on one of them and take as much time as you need it to look around.

Stop by a swimming pool

Here is another amazing, middle-day activity for all outdoorsy people – swimming. Madrid may not have a beach, but swimming is an activity you will definitely want to try out during the hot summer days in Madrid. Simply choose on of the local pools and enjoy the day. The swimming pool season in Madrid starts from May, and it lasts until September (the exact dates might vary from year to year). Most pools are opened from 11 am to 9 pm every day, but this can also vary depending on the facility and you will often find community pools that open as early as 8 am. The entrance for adults starts at around 5 Euros. Children and seniors have a discount, and the entrance is generally more expensive on weekends and holidays.

Swimming Pool - How to Spend Summer in Madrid

Relax by the pool during hot summer days in Madrid

Parque Deportivo Puerta del Hierro

One of the biggest swimming pools in Madrid, Parque Deportivo Puerta del Hierro stretches on over 300,000 square meters. Its outdoor pool is known as one of the largest ones in Europe, being 130 meters long. Besides the swimming pool, there is a golf course, tennis courts, and other areas to play different sports, making this complex into a wonderful sports park. There are grassy areas for enjoying the sun, as well as children’s pool. It is a perfect oasis to seek shelter on hot sunny days.

Location: Ctra. de La Coruña, km 7, Madrid

Centro Deportivo Municipal Casa de Campo

Besides its 50-square meter pool, the center also has another 33-meter pool and a children’s swimming pool. Unlike other sports centers, this one primarily focuses on water-related activities organized next to the swimming pool and other water sports.

Location: Paseo Puerta del Ángel, 7, Madrid

Centro Deportivo Municipal Vicente del Bosque

Another huge sports center with courses for football, basketball, tennis, beach volleyball, etc. is Centro Deportivo Municipal Vicente del Bosque. Of course, the swimming pool is what we want to focus on during the summer months. There are two 50-meter pools as well as children’s pool, so it is perfect for travelers, for families with children, etc.

Location: Avenida Monforte de Lemos, 13, Madrid

Centro Deportivo Municipal Francos Rodríguez

In this sports center, you can spend a fantastic summer day, sitting by a large outdoor pool, or playing beach volleyball or table tennis with friends. With its 11.5000 square meter surface, the center is a bit smaller than the previous ones, but still a perfect place to enjoy outdoor activities in summer.

Location: Calle  Numancia,  11, Madrid

There are more public swimming pools you can find around the city, but what is also interesting is a number of private rooftop swimming pools. These are usually owned by a particular hotel or a restaurant, but they sometimes offer admission for non-guests, which is great to take advantage of if you want to enjoy swimming and the fantastic view from the rooftops.

Check out a water park

If you are up for a more adventurous water time, instead of going to a swimming pool, stop by a water park. An activity popular among people of all ages, water parks are great resorts during the summer months in the city.

Warner Park Beach

Although certainly more famous for its theme park, Warner Park also has a beach section with exciting rides and cool attractions to keep you cool on a hot summer day. There is even Baby Olas, a section for the youngest children with Looney Tunes inspired theme with sure school and beach houses.

Aquopolis

This might the most popular water park in Madrid. It is approximately 30 minutes away from the city center. Lots of exciting rides, slides, children area as well as a sandy beach are good enough reason to check out this park while in Madrid. There is even a restaurant if you decide to plan to spend an entire day here.

Explore terrazas

As the evening time approaches, you will probably start getting hungry or thirsty, which is the great moment to look for one of the terrazas or outdoor eating areas to have dinner. With your evening drink, you will probably want to order tapas, as this is what Madrid bars and restaurants are famous for. Enjoy the night breeze while the evenings get cooler as it is much more pleasant to spend time outside in the night than during the day.

Enjoy an evening walk

While some of you will prefer a morning walk, some will always choose to sleep late, and then spend the evening exploring the city. While the entrance to the facilities is closed, there are many more landmarks to see around Madrid in the evening time. Squares and monuments with their night lights shine so proudly and give that unique charm to the city late into the night.

Organize a day trip

While most of the activities tourists focus on is usually in the city center, the Community of Madrid actually extends over a much larger area, which also includes interesting places such as Navacerrada. Even though the location is a popular winter destination, for those interesting in skiing in Madrid, during summer it becomes a sort of a resort, with daily temperatures barely passing 20 degrees. It is located 52 kilometers from Madrid. It is a great destination for hiking, cycling and generally enjoying the nature.