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5 Unmissable Things To Do In Madrid Spain (+ Best Tips)

Thinking of a short break to Madrid Spain? Wondering what to include in your weekend Madrid itinerary? In this article discover the very best things to do in Madrid.

In this article discover 5 places to visit and things to do for your Madrid itinerary. Whether you plan 1 day or 2 days in Madrid (or even longer) these are our favourite things to do in Madrid.

5 top Madrid sights and attractions for your itinerary

Museo del prado

Prado Garden - one of the best things to do in Madrid
  • Free entry for students, which was quite common in Madrid, or at least concession price.
  • Part of the Golden triangle of art museums (El Prado, the Reina Sofia – more modern art including Dali’s and Picasso’s, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museums which apparently fills in the gaps between the other 2)
  • Get there around 5 o clock for shorter queues.
  • Pick up the free booklet which includes a list of ‘masterpieces’ and their room location. This was very useful for an art novice like myself and we made it an activity to find them all. Perhaps the most famous art pieces we saw were ‘The naked and clothes majas’ by Goya, and ‘The meninas’ by Velazquez. I must reiterate my art knowledge is lacking, but I found the descriptions by the artworks very informative.
  • I would definitely recommend if you have an interest in European art, or find yourself at unease when the art questions come up during University challenge.

Retiro park

Retiro Park in Madrid
  • A really lovely park, right next to El Prado.
  • It was a royal park, with an artificial lake.
  • Rent a boat for 45 minutes (around €6)
  • The lake is right next to a monument for Alfonso XII.
  • Don’t miss the Palacios (glass building) which is used for temporary exhibitions.
  • I would definitely recommend if you want to make the most out of the Spanish weather in summer and enjoy WAB (Walking About a Bit)

Chocolateria San Gines

Chocolateria San Gines
  • One of the most famous churro places in Madrid. Open 24/7, 365 days a year.
  • For €4 you get 6 huge churros and a bowl of melted chocolate.
  • On Calle Coloreros, a right off Calle Mayor.
  • Best. Churros. Ever. It is a must.
  • I would definitely recommend if you love chocolate!
  • Check out these other great foods to try in Spain too!

Palacio Real de Madrid

Palacio Real de Madrid
  • €6 for students (concession).
  • It was built following a fire that burnt down the Royal Fortress, and hence was made fireproof by Philip V. His son Charles III was the first to live in the Palace in 1764. Main residence of Kings until 1931, Alfonso XIII last to live there.
  • It’s a one-way system so it is easy to follow and go around the palace using the signs and the booklet for information and guidance.
  • A lot of the rooms are decorated differently so it is quite interesting.
  • It is also right next to Catedreal de la Almudena which is a very pretty cathedral.
  • I would definitely recommend if you have an interest in history.

Gran Via

Gran Via
  • In my opinion it is the Madrid equivalent to London’s Oxford Street.
  • Gran Via aka the Grand Road.
  • It is really busy and a lively shopping street. Takes around 45 minutes to an hour to walk the whole length of it.
  • All the buildings along the road are very impressive and you get a real feel for Madrid.
  • I would definitely recommend if you love to shop and want to get a city atmosphere

Plan your visit to Spain

You can read more about Spain in the following articles:

  • Best books about (or set in) Spain