Madrid
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Top attractions in Madrid

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Top 10 things to do in Madrid

Madrid's culture is one that seems to emphasize living and leisure over hard work, yet its history has seen it produce some of Europe's most awe-inspiring artworks and buildings. Here are just a few of the best places to visit in Spain's capital!

Plaza de España

Plaza de España

The metro station of the same name takes you to the Plaza de España, where a huge statue of Miguel de Cervantes presides over those of his characters Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.

Santiago Bernabéu Stadium

Santiago Bernabéu Stadium

Soccer fans can tour the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, home of Real Madrid, walk the pitch, visit the dressing rooms, and marvel at the club's huge trophy cabinet!

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Photo: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra @Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

The Reina Sofía Museum of Modern Art boasts one of the foremost collections of 20th and 21st-century Spanish art, with highlights including Picasso's Guernica.

Museo del Prado

Museo del Prado

If traditional art is more your thing, the Museo del Prado exhibits the world's most extensive collection of Spanish art from the 12th to 19th centuries.

Palacio Real

Palacio Real

Madrid's most famous landmark Palacio Real is one of Europe's most spectacular palaces, built from Spanish marble and surrounded by beautifully landscaped courtyards and gardens!

Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor

Once the place to see bullfights and carnivals, you can find some of Madrid's best restaurants where the historic market square Plaza Mayor meets the "Austrias" neighborhood.

Gran Vía

Gran Vía

This energetic and extravagant shopping street is also the pulse of Madrid's nightlife, hence its nickname: "The Spanish Broadway!"

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Completing Madrid's "Golden Triangle of Art," along with the Reina Sofia and Prado museums, the collection of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is owned by a former Miss Spain and is perhaps the most eclectic of the lot.

Círculo de Bellas Artes
Photo: jacinta lluch valero @Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Círculo de Bellas Artes

Another key player on Madrid's art scene, this gallery's rooftop terrace offers stunning panoramas of the whole city! It's the best view of Madrid by quite a margin.

Parque del Buen Retiro

Parque del Buen Retiro

Of Madrid's many green corners, Retiro Park's statues, fountains, and floral features offer the city's most scenic respite for joggers, picnickers, boaters, and you!

Planning Your Madrid Visit

Best time to visit?

Summer is peak season despite the intolerable heat that drives even the natives to close up shop and head to a cooler climate! It's better to go in spring or fall, although if it takes more than a mild winter to put you off, hotels are considerably cheaper in winter!

How many days?

Madrid has enough life in it to enjoy a week there. If that turns out to be a little too long for you, the city is also well positioned for day-trip opportunities. For instance, consider visiting historic Toledo or Segovia, if not the Ribera del Duero wine region for a tasting or two!

How to get from the airport to the city?

Barajas International Airport is one of the world's largest, which means it's busy but pleasantly well connected! Taxis are available but the Renfe train is the cheapest and quickest option, however, at rush hour it might be less stressful to get the airport express bus. There is also the Metro, although this isn't advisable when carrying plenty of luggage.

How to get around?

Buses and the Metro are reliable, well connected, and cheap. Visitors might find it easier to purchase a Madrid Tourist Travel Pass, valid on all trains and buses for 1, 3, 5, or 7 days. Taxis are also very affordable compared to most European cities, and well regulated, too.

Good to know

  • Language
    Spanish
  • Currency
    Euro (€)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+01:00)
  • Country Code
    +34
  • Best time to visit
    Spring and Fall offer milder temperatures and fewer tourists

Things to Do in Madrid

Top Attractions in Madrid

Cities in Spain

Other Sightseeing Options in Madrid

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What people are saying about Madrid

Made my visit informed and time effective.

I had 5 paintings to see at the Prado that have changed the world of art. These were all on our guide’s itinerary and their viewing was enhanced by her intelligent and composed commentary.

Skip-the-Line Prado Museum Guided Tour Reviewed by Neil, 21/05/2019

Interesting cities - good and knowledgeable guide

We saw the highligts of the two cities - with a very knowledgeable guide, and also with time to walk around on our own in Segovia - a nice mix. A good way to see the key sights when you can't take a full day to each city. They would merit it!

Excellent, knowledgable guide in Miriam.

The tour proceeded quite quickly and Miriam was very capable and took us to some of the most important works, explained them and often the political or royal story behind them, as well as the artist's connection with the subject. Most importantly, she showed us the development from the Spanish school of the 15/16th centuries, when perspective was not understood, to the Italians of the same era who had developed these techniques, exemplifying them with relevant works. I found this an important aspect of understanding painting of those times, as well as of the history then. A truly excellent guide who managed all the above, and more, under very trying conditions, with crowds of people vying to see each work and many people talking. My only issue was that the tour only lasted just over 2 hours, when 3 were promised & some time had been taken up with headset organisation, & the tapas promised turned out to be kilometers away (maybe a walk of 30-40 minutes)& we would have to go alone! Bad!

Prado Museum Skip-the-Line Guided Tour Reviewed by Anonymous, 16/05/2019

It was very good and specially our guide, she was amazing

The guide was amazing though can’t recollect her name as difficult to pronounce, but overall we had a wonderful experience

Madrid: Royal Palace Skip-the-Line Guided Tour Reviewed by Bhavin Bharat, 15/05/2019

My fifth visit with a friend here for the first time. Stunning.

The staff are very helpful. We asked to see specific items and were given personal service. Restaurant also excellent. I will be back with more visitors in the near future.

Skip-the-Line Prado Museum Entrance Ticket Reviewed by Pamela, 15/05/2019