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Best Things To Do in Madrid

This big European city has its fair share of hustle and bustle, but that doesn't mean it skimps on providing visitors with an authentic Spanish experience. The Prado Museum features works by some of Spain's most famed artists, including Velázquez and Goya. The Palacio Real (Royal Palace) is open to the public and the El Rastro flea market or the upscale shops in Salamanca provide hours of shopping. But if you're drained from a long day of sightseeing, you might want to rest at an open-air cafe, especially the ones that skirt Plaza Mayor. Once your energy is restored, enjoy sampling some choice specialties at a tapas bar before hitting the club.

How we rank Things to Do

Updated July 24, 2018

  • #1
    Things to do in Madrid
    View all Photos
    #1 in Madrid
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    To the east of central Madrid, Parque del Buen Retiro(Retiro Park) can be translated as "Park of the Pleasant Retreat," and that's what it is – a sprawling swath of lush greenery filled with formal gardens, lakes, cafes, playgrounds and more. This 300-some-acre park previously housed Felipe IV's palace and gardens,

    ...Read More »
  • #2
    Plaza Mayor
    View all Photos
    #2 in Madrid
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    This square, located in the heart of Madrid, is more a must-experience attraction than a must-see one. Surrounded by cafes and bars, Plaza Mayor practically begs passersby to take a seat, order a coffee or glass of wine (depending on the time of day) and people-watch. Not only do throngs

    ...Read More »
  • #3
    Prado Museum (Museo Nacional del Prado)
    View all Photos
    #3 in Madrid
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    One of Madrid's most famous museums, the elegant Museo Nacional del Prado is consistently touted by travelers as a must-see. Opened in 1819 at the encouragement of Queen Maria Isabel de Braganza (King Ferdinand VII's wife), the museum contains 8,600 paintings and more than 700 sculptures, featuring Spanish, Italian and

    ...Read More »
  • #4
    Gateway of the Sun (Puerta del Sol)
    View all Photos
    #4 in Madrid
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The true center of Madrid – kilometer zero – Puerta del Sol fills with spurting fountains, shops, restaurants and lots of people. If you're looking for a place to rest your feet after a long day of touring, or a quiet place to stay, Sol is not the place. The

    ...Read More »
  • #5
    Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real)
    View all Photos
    #5 in Madrid
    Castles/Palaces, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Castles/Palaces, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    This royal palace housed the kings of Spain from the mid-1700s to 1900s. Although the royal family does not currently live in the palace, it is still considered their official residence. It is also thought to be the largest royal palace in Western Europe with a total of 3,000 rooms,

    ...Read More »
  • #6
    Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum
    View all Photos
    #6 in Madrid
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, named for the family from which the collection was bought, is housed in the intimate Villahermosa Palace. The museum has nearly 1,000 works of art, ranging widely in style, from German Expressionism to Russian Constructivism and 19th-century American art. Artists featured include Dürer, Titian, Rembrandt, Renoir, Van

    ...Read More »
  • #7
    Mercado San Miguel
    View all Photos
    #7 in Madrid
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Mercado San Miguel, a market built of beautifully ornate glass and cast iron, is a popular stop for tourists to Madrid, especially since it is located right outside ofPlaza Mayor. Here, visitors can purchase some wine, grab a cocktail, juice or coffee, snack on a variety of ready-to-eat tapas, or

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  • #8
    Bernabéu Stadium (Estadio Santiago Bernabéu)
    View all Photos
    #8 in Madrid
    Sports
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sports
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, located north of central Madrid, is the city's main fútbol (or soccer) stadium and the domain of the city's most popular team: Real Madrid. Fútbol is an integral part of Spanish life, and the stadium's sheer size is example of this (its capacity is 81,044). 

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  • #9
    Queen Sofia Arts Center (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía)
    View all Photos
    #9 in Madrid
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is Madrid's 20th-century art gallery and along with thePradoand theThyssen-Bornemisza, makes up the city's trio of great museums. The museum contains more than 21,000 works of art, including pieces from Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró but probably the most famous work is found on the second floor.

    ...Read More »
  • #10
    Plaza de Cibeles
    View all Photos
    #10 in Madrid
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    Plaza de Cibeles is considered to be the most famous plaza in Madrid. Located at the intersection of Calle de Alcalá (which leads intoSol) and adjacent to Paseo del Prado/Paseo de Recoletos, the plaza and its stunning architecture are big draws for tourists. The main building in the square, the

    ...Read More »
  • #11
    El Rastro Market
    View all Photos
    #11 in Madrid
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Exit the La Latina metro station and wander down Calle de las Maldonadas to one of Spain's most popular flea markets, El Rastro. Dating back to the 15th century, the market starts at Plaza de Cascorro and is primarily concentrated on Calle de la Ribera de Curtidores, ending at Ronda

    ...Read More »
  • Temple of Debod
    View all Photos
    Monuments and Memorials, Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Monuments and Memorials, Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

  • Devour Madrid Food Tours
    View all Photos
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

  • Sorolla Museum (Museo Sorolla)
    View all Photos
    Historic Homes/Mansions, Museums, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Historic Homes/Mansions, Museums, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

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