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