Europe Travel

What to See and Do in Madrid

Ohh Madrid, the Spanish capital holds a special part in my heart. We were lucky enough to call this beautiful city home for a while, so I definitely know my way around! I know that Madrid is a popular city break destination, that is why I have comprised a post on the best things to see and do. With more museums to shake a stick at to Mercados and Plazas, in Madrid its impossible to be bored.

Getting Around

Madrid is the third largest city in Europe so there is quite a lot of ground to cover, thankfully they have a pretty extensive metro system so getting around is easy AF. Handy tip if you are moving here and under the age of 26 you can get an unlimited monthly travel card for only €20, I mean can you cope?

What to See

Sol

Sol is the city centre and interestingly enough the actual geographical centre of Spain. A lot f the sights I will mention are within walking distance from Sol so it is a great starting point for a day packed full of sightseeing. Sol is great if you want to go shopping as the streets around the centre house some of the top high street stores. Plus it is a short stroll up to Gran Via the main shopping street in the city. The Primark there is massive!

If shopping not your thing and the crowds at sol have you planning your escape then head towards Retiro Park. Retiro Park is a beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. From renting a rowboat to exploring Crystal Palace there is plenty to do and see in the park, and I would highly recommend taking time to visit.

Retiro Park
Retiro Park

Taking a stroll down the other side of Sol and you will find Plaza de Mayor, the old plaza of Madrid and right outside the plaza you will find Mercado de San Miguel. This is my favourite food market in the city, I loved to grab a glass of wine in the evenings here or even stop off for some lunch. It is a great place to sample different Spanish cuisines. Strolling on down from the Mercado will take you to Almudena Cathedral and the Royal Palace. Exploring inside the Cathedral will only set you back a euro and I would recommend popping inside for a look, also within the cathedral is the Neo-Romanesque style cyrpt which is the burial place for many influential and powerful families. Many people miss the crypts as they have a different entrance to the cathedral, the entrance is located on Cuesta de la Vega Street. Looking across from the cathedral is the Royal Palace home to the Spanish Royal family, some of the palace has been turned into a museum, I haven’t personally been in but I have heard great things. Toward the other side of the palace, you will find Jardine de Sabatini where you can get a great view of the palace it is the perfect place for a photo op. Moving on from there it is just a short walk to Parque De La Montana and this is where you will find Temple Debod which is an ancient Egyptian temple that has been remade in Madrid. I would highly recommend coming here around sunset, not only does the temple look amazing but you can also watch the sunset over the mountains. Coming back down from Temple Debod you can walk through Plaza de Espana to get back up onto Gran Via.

Almudena Cathedral
Jardine de Sabatini
Temple Debod

Museums

Madrid boasts an incredible amount of museums and is definitely a treat for any art and culture lovers. The city has what is known as the golden triangle of art museums all within walking distance from one another.

Museo Reina Sofia- This museum houses all 20th-century modern art with pieces from some of Spains most famous painters like Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.

Reina Sofia

Prado Museum- A world famous art museum, Prado houses art pre 20th century. It is widely considered to have the world’s finest collections of European art and I would tend to agree, I would highly recommend checking out this museum if you have the time.

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum- A national museum which contains historical and contemporary art.

Museo del Traje- A must for any fashion lover! For me, I love fashion so I adored this museum. The museum is dedicated to fashion and costumes and houses over 160,000 pieces with more exhibitions interchanging throughout the year.

Caxi Forum- This a really cool museum, with a really cool exterior with an awesome urban garden wall, which is a really good spot for a photo op. They are always rotating exhibitions from Andy Warhol to Disney. Definitely check out what exhibitions they have on when you are visiting you never know what you might find.

Pablo Picasso Guernica at the Renia Sofia

Museo de Historia de Madrid- A small museum consisting of three floors all about Madrid’s history. It is a free museum located in the hipster neighbourhood of Malasana.

Museo Arqueologico Nacional- This is the National Archaeological Museum in Marid and contains works from Hispanic prehistory to the Modern Age, including artefacts from other cultures around the Iberian peninsula and the Mediterranian.

Shopping

I loved Madrid for shopping, my bank account however did not! Spain is home to some of fashion’s most loved brands. I mean Zara, Mango, Loewe and Massimo Dutti need I say more. If you are looking for a good shopping experience pro tip head up towards Salamanca to the Golden Mile. It is here you will find all the high-end stores as well as the high street. The shops here are a lot quieter than the city centre which makes for a more enjoyable shopping experience. The Golden Mile consists of the well-known streets José Ortega y Gasset, Claudio Coello and Serrano. I loved talking strolls up along these streets window shopping and then making my way down through Retiro Park, normally with a cafe con leche in hand.

Two of my favourite trendy neighbourhoods in Madrid are a mecca for trendy boutiques. The Malasaña district has streets full of boutiques and vintage stores. Strolling through Malasaña was one of my favourite ways to spend a Sunday afternoon, it is home to some of the best coffee shops in Madrid and in my opinion, a not to be missed district. Chueca is another trendy area situated right next to Malasaña and is another great spot for boutique shopping. One of my favourite streets is Calle del Barquillo where you can find cool stores and some cute cafes.

El Rastro is the largest open-air flea market which takes place every Sunday and is situated in the lively neighbourhood of La Latina. This bustling flea market is well worth checking out if you find yourself in Madrid on a Sunday.

That is it for what to see and do in Madrid, be sure to check out more of my Madrid guides if you are planning a visit.

You may also like...

2 Comments

  1. You could breathe life into any topic! Good job!

  2. I like the nuance in this article, but I would like to read more work on this from you at some point.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *