When you first arrive to the capital city of Spain, you might face a great dilemma when it comes to which places to visit and what things to do in Madrid. Since the city is such a popular tourist destination, you might have some general idea on which places are the most visited in Madrid, but it is always helpful to have a quick guide to discover things you need to experience in Madrid.
As a provider of apartments in Madrid, we have met a lot of tourists from all over the world, coming to the city eager to explore it and learn about its culture and customs, and we have come to know the most popular places every tourist would love to see. We are going to highlight the most commonly visited places, and if you are visiting Madrid, this is a great list of the things you could do while in the city.
Visit the museums
Famous center of culture and art, Madrid is a place one could not leave without visiting at least one museum. The abundance of museums scattered around the city provides all sorts of exciting collections and exhibitions which will satisfy all sorts of travelers. The most popular area is certainly in the Paseo del Prado, with the Prado Museum being located there. As the most visited museum in the city, it stands out as the place most tourists are eager to visit. The main reason for this is the rich collection owned by the museum and displayed in an impressive interior as you are exploring different epochs and enjoy the works of art created by both local and international artists. Two other museum located close by include Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. Together, all three of them make the famous Golden Triangle of Art, a common point of interest for all art lovers visiting the city. Convenient location and impressive collections make these three the most visited museums in Madrid, but the city has so much more to offer. If you are interested in more ideas on which museums to visit in Madrid, here are some suggestions: Museums to Visit in Madrid.
Have coffee at the plaza
Squares in Madrid are known as plazas, and they have historically been places of great interest for the local life. They usually were the places where local celebrations, fairs and other public events took place, but today they are still essential part of the city, where you will meet a lot of people, find a lot of shops and cafes. Nice weather and great company are enough reasons for you to decide to enjoy a cup of coffee in one of those cafes at the plaza in Madrid. While there, you will enjoy the view and perhaps plan some impromptu shopping adventure nearby.
Go for shopping adventure
Traveling is a great way to experience new places and meet new traditions, but for all shopaholics out there, this is also a great opportunity to scout some new stores and check out the latest items that have just found their way into the stores. When it comes to shopping in Madrid, the central area is the best way to start, as most stores are located in this part of the city. Of course, if you prefer indoor shopping, which is particularly recommended during the bad weather conditions, you might want to visit one of the shopping malls. While in Madrid, make sure you check out some of the famous Spanish brands, such as Zara, Bershka, Stradivarius, Pull&Bear, Sfera, etc. Although you might have these stores in your home town, it is always nice to visit the stores in the Spanish capital, where these brands originated from.
Walk around the Retiro Park
Although there are so many wonderful parks around Madrid, the Retiro Park is certainly the most famous one in the city. It is also the largest one, with so many activities for the visitors, which is the reason why we include this landmark in the list of ten things to do in Madrid. Walking around the park and enjoying the nature is an amazing way to spend an afternoon in Madrid. Of course, if you are up for some sightseeing, the Crystal Palace, the Monument to Alfonso XII and Rosaleda del Retiro are some of the places you will find worth visiting while in the park. Depending on the time of the year you visit, you might come across book fairs, exhibitions, street performances, fireworks and other entertaining activities organized for the park visitors.
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Enjoy the view from the cable car
It might be an unusual way to explore the city, but when in Madrid you will have a unique opportunity to see the city from the cable car going above the buildings and houses from the Paseo del Pintor Rosales street over the River Manzanares and into the Casa de Campo park. The cable car, called el Teleférico, was built as a part of the amusement park Parque de Atracciones. It reaches the height o 40 meters above the ground and this exciting ride takes around 10 minutes from start to finish, with the route being approximately 2.5 kilometers long. As you reach the top at the Casa de Campo park, you will get to enjoy panoramic view of the city, so prepare yourself to take lots of cool photos.
Try local specialties
When traveling to new places, one of the must-do things is embracing the local tradition and trying specialties that are typical for the cuisine of the country you are visiting. Madrid and the Spanish cuisine are well-known around the world, so you have probably heard about the dishes such as paella, tortillas, croquetas, huevos rotos, curros con chocolate, etc. Even though you might have tried these dishes, there is nothing better than visiting one of the local restaurants and coffee shops to taste dishes prepared based on traditional, decades-old recipes that actually created specialties that have been replicated in many restaurants around the world.
Information about which places to visit is available in this gastronomic guide, with tips and recommendations for choosing some of the best and the most popular restaurants, pastry shops and tapas in Madrid.
Explore the city on a bike
Hop on/hop off buses and similar city tours are part of every large city tourist offer, as they are popular and convenient way to explore large part of the city more efficiently. However, bike tours are growing in popularity, being a more eco-friendly solution, as well as healthier and more interesting option for travelers. If you are in a good shape, and if you are comfortable riding a bike for great lengths (usually up to a couple of hours, with breaks), exploring the city on a bike is a perfect choice for you. You can rent a bike and come up with your own route of famous landmarks, but it is more advisable to join a group of travelers exploring the city on their bikes, with a guide, knowing just which streets to avoid and how to safely reach a specific destination.
Admire the architecture
Wherever you go around Madrid, you will be able to see plenty of notable buildings designed under many art influences throughout the city’s rich history. Many of those centuries-old buildings are preserved nowadays as remnants of the turbulent past and city life that has been present in the central areas for centuries now. The Royal Palace of Madrid and the Royal Theatre are two architectural landmarks worth visiting as notable buildings of historic importance and great cultural value. The Gran Vía is also great place to visit when it comes to admiring the architecture as it showcases patterns ranging from Vienna Secession style, Plateresque, Neo-Mudéjar, Art Deco and other styles influencing the final outcome we know today.
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Visit the Mercado de San Miguel
A covered market located in the central area of Madrid, the Mercado de San Miguel has become one of the greatest symbols of the city’s tradition and one of the places you need to visit when in the city. The food market is designed to showcase the amazing dishes of Spanish cuisine in pleasant surroundings. Variety of different specialties offered is what attracts so many tourists turning this into a landmark worth visiting.
Relax with a glass of sangria
Regardless if you would rather drink wine, or if you prefer the sweet taste of sangria, Madrid is the place to be for all fond of a glass of wine in the evening. When in Madrid, visit a cafe or a bar where you will be provided with the finest selection of local wines or sangria. In some bars, you will be able to order tapas with wine, making this a typical evening out in Madrid. Most popular places are located in the center of the city, which makes it very convenient to visit them. And since you are on vacation, relaxing with a glass of sangria or wine is what makes this visit even more complete.
Once you get back to your apartment in Madrid, you are left with a unique experience as you finished a fulfilled day of sightseeing. As the impressions start to pile up, you will get to sum up everything and plan the next day of your Madrid adventure.