Most of people around the world anticipate weekend with joy, hoping to get well-deserved rest. Having to get up early and go to work can sometimes be stressful and tiring, so one is counting days until the rest is finally there. Although spending a weekend in your cozy home in front of the television set, with a large cup of coffee or tea might sound appealing, you can always be adventurous and plan a short trip. If you leave on Friday evening, you will have two days for the adventure you have planned, and you will be back home by Sunday evening, to prepare yourself for another busy week ahead of you. Organizing a trip on short notice might seem impossible, as there are so many things to think of and plan. However, with everything you need available on the internet, you can easily plan and book a short trip whenever you seem to find time to travel. This is why we want to recommend you this guide, which could be a great travel resource that will help you to organize a short holiday in Madrid.
Get to the city
Depending on where you are from, one of the easiest ways to get to Madrid is to use air transport. Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport is the main international airport in Madrid, with available flights to numerous destinations around the world. You should find tickets through an online portal specialized in selling plane tickets, or you could also go through the website of the airline company you have chosen to fly with. The website of the Madrid’s airport also features some useful information in terms of how to get to the city from the airport, how to rent a car, etc. In case you have not visited Madrid yet, this is quite helpful to find your way and get to the city in the most comfortable way.
Find your apartment in Madrid
It is advisable to book your apartment in Madrid before you arrive to the city. Since you are on a short holiday, you absolutely do not want to end up looking for an apartment on the spot. This way you would waste a lot of time, that would otherwise would be spent on sightseeing. Therefore, you should go through the online offer of apartments and other types of accommodation, and book an apartment in Madrid that would be perfect for your short stay.
It would also be great if you could find an apartment that is located in the center of the city. There are two reason why this is the best option for tourists, especially those whose visit is rather limited. First of all, the center of the city is well-connected to the airport, as this is the tourist hub of the city, so there are city buses, as well as shuttle buses, allowing you to easily get to the city from the airport. Secondly, most of Madrid landmarks are located in the central area, so if you find apartment in the city center, you will be near all of the points of interests you wish to visit while you are in the city. With short holidays, saving time on any unnecessary activities is needed in order to take the most out of your holiday.
Late dinner or an evening out
In order to maximize the time you have on your short holiday, arriving to Madrid in the evening would be perfect. Even though it would be too late for sightseeing, you could still have time to explore the city and have dinner in one of Madrid’s restaurants. Additionally, if you like going out and partying late into the night, the central area of Madrid is perfect for you. Lots of Madrid’s cafes and bars are open until early morning hours, and the central area is especially famous as the party zone.
Day one of sightseeing
Having arrived on Friday in the evening enables you to have the entire Saturday to spend sightseeing. Obviously, you will not be able to visit absolutely every landmark of Madrid during your short holiday, so here is how you can plan a day of sightseeing in order to see the most important sights in the city of Madrid.
Start at the Paseo del Prado, Madrid’s main boulevard and major tourist attraction. As you walk along the street, you can enjoy the Spanish architecture and different styles that influenced architects that created some of the most famous pieces of Spanish architecture and Madrid’s scenery. The three most well-known museums in Madrid, also called the Golden Triangle of Art, are located in the Paseo del Prado, so make sure to visit at least one of them. Whether you choose the Prado Museum with its pre-20th century art collection, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum with the large collection ranging between historical art to contemporary art, or whether you decide to visit the Reina Sofía Museum with its amazing art collection featuring the 20th century modern art, this visit will allow you to embrace the culture and art of many different epochs and influences from around the world. Since all of the museums offer quite extensive collections, the best advice is to choose one that you would like to visit the most during your short visit. As you walk around the museum of your choice you will be able to enjoy some of the most famous master pieces of the Spanish art, as well as some internationally famous art works.
As you continue your walk along the Paseo del Prado, you will also see the Plaza de Cibeles, the Fuente de Neptuno, and the Plaza Murillo. Each of these places is important part of Madrid’s history, as well as the history of Spain, as they were the places of great importance in the past.
Having in mind the number of landmarks in this area and their popularity among million of tourists arriving from the entire world during the year, it is no wonder that this part of the city is developed in terms of infrastructure to welcome such a large number of visitors. This is why, you will find lots of restaurants and cafes along the Paseo del Prado or in the nearby streets, so this would be a perfect timing to take a break and have lunch. Enjoy Spanish paella, patatas bravas, cocido madrilène or other typical Spanish dishes, and do not forget to try out the desserts, such as churros con chocolate. This would be a glimpse of how tasty Spanish cuisine is, and it will recharge you before you continue with the sightseeing of the central area of Madrid.
The next stop in your day of sightseeing should be the Retiro Park in Madrid. This park is the largest one in Madrid, as it is considered to be a great oasis in the city, hence the name, Parque del Buen Retiro, which is Spanish for Park of the Pleasant Retreat. Besides being a wonderful retreat in the heart of a busy city, the Retiro Park has great historical importance, which is why as you are exploring the park, you will learn about the Spanish history, the Spanish aristocracy life and the unique style in architecture that shaped certain parts of the park, some of which date centuries back. The Palacio de Velázquez, a large neoclassical building with the interior decorated with red brick and tiles, covered with iron vaults and glass, and the Palacio de Cristal, shaped like a Greek cross, made mainly out glass set up on the iron framework, are two most important buildings in the park, both built in the second half of the 19th century. Nowadays, both of them serve as exhibition halls, and you can visit them during your short holiday in Madrid.
A lot of small plazas, monuments, fountains and gardens are scattered around the park, which is why the walk in the Retiro Park in Madrid is an amazing experience for anyone visiting Madrid. Additionally, there are two lakes in the park, and a boat ride around the lake as you enjoy the sunset is perhaps the best way to wrap up your first day of sightseeing.
Day two of sightseeing
As you short trip slowly comes to an end, you will still have time to spend on sightseeing of the central area, in case you choose a late afternoon or an evening departure. This way, you will have a lot of time to explore the city, and here are some places to visit on your second day of exploring Madrid.
The Plaza Mayor should be your first location for the second day. This amazing square has been the central point of historical events in the past, and still is the location where major city events are held, such as the celebration for San Isidro, patron saint of Madrid. The square is completely surrounded by three to four-story residential buildings, most of which have that recognizable red-colored façade with balconies decorated with colorful flowers. The Plaza Mayor is a perfect place to have your morning coffee in one of the cafes around the square, which is especially enjoyable if the weather is sunny and warm.
You should continue your walk and get to another important building in the neighborhood, which is one of the recognizable symbols of the Spanish history. The Palacio Real de Madrid, meaning the Royal Palace of Madrid, is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, but the main purpose of the building is to host official ceremonies. What is remarkable about this building is the fact that it is the largest palace in Europe by floor area. It occupies impressive 135,000 square meters, with almost 3500 rooms. Regardless if you choose to visit the interior of the palace, for which you will need more time, or if you choose to admire from afar and take photos of the impressive exterior design, this is an astounding landmark of Madrid, and it is worth visiting it, even though your visit might be short.
As long as you are in the neighborhood and in case you have a little bit more time, you should also visit the Plaza de Oriente, located opposite the Palacio Real de Madrid. The Plaza de Oriente is a rectangular square in the historic center of Madrid, with gardens and an astonishing sculpture collection.
We should also mention an alternative, for all of travelers who like to do some shopping when on holiday. After visiting the Plaza Mayor, you can actually head to the nearby Puerta del Sol, one of the busiest places in Madrid. Besides the historic importance of the Puerta del Sol square, this is also favorite place for locals to meet, and it is also the place that hosts the New Year celebration.
The area around the square is famous shopping area, with lots of designer shops, souvenir shops, and the most famous department store in Spain, El Corte Inglés, located in the vicinity. If you enjoy shopping, this is the place where you should head during your second day of exploring Madrid. Additionally, lots of cafes and restaurants in this area allow you to choose a place where you will once again be convinced why Spanish cuisine is internationally famous.
After you sightseeing or shopping spree is over, you can go back to your apartment in Madrid and pack up so you can be home on time to prepare yourself for the next week. Having experienced the joy of traveling and exploring different scenery, culture and cuisine, you will be much eager to handle your daily tasks and enjoy being back in your routine. You need these short holiday breaks once in a while to help you recharge and distance yourself from the tasks that might have become monotonous, and might be having negative effect on your state of mind. Traveling allows you to create memories that will fulfill your life.