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

Easy to purchase and download, breezed into the museum.

I was in Madrid for less than 24 hours and didn’t have time for lines. The skip-the-line ticket and the Get Your Guide app allowed me to skip the very long lines and have a meaningful visit to the Prado.

Skip-the-Line Prado Museum Entrance Ticket Reviewed by Rod, 06/10/2019

A really quality theme park, with lots of activities and great rides.

My kids absolutely loved this theme park. The rides are superb and the restaurants, characters, shows and activities are amazing. I know some people comment on the fact that a lot of shops, restaurants are closed, but I think these would be open with larger crowds. Its balanced well by the relatively short queue times. Our boys are begging to go back. The only glitch was they were not geared up to recognise my mobile app ticket, but they did make great efforts to resolve it and get me a printed ticket.

Great to learn more about the infamous Inquisition.

Matt is clearly knowledgeable and passionate about the subject. Great guide, good tour. Interesting to clear up some misconceptions I had about the Inquisition, good to get a lesson in history and even more interesting to see how one can draw parallels with extreme fundamentalism across the centuries!

Madrid: The Spanish Inquisition Tour Reviewed by Azra, 06/05/2019

Trip to a fascinating destination led by an excellent guide (Beatriz).

Would recommend Toledo as must see if you are visiting Spain. We were fully satisfied with this tour

Toledo: Full-Day Guided Bus Tour from Madrid Reviewed by William, 06/05/2019

Short but great experience in Segovia and Toledo!

Our guide Beny gave us a short but thorough introduction to the touristic spots in Segovia and Toledo. We were given some time to explore on our own after the guided tours.