Madrid, the capital city of Spain, is one of the most beautiful and lively cities in the world. There are tons of things to do in Madrid. The Spanish capital is the home to the Spanish Royal Family and the Spanish Government.
The capital city of Spain is mostly famous for its cultural treasures and historical buildings like the Royal Palace, Royal Theatre, various art museums, and art exhibitions.
Madrid is a modern metropolis that provides a wide range of choices for people coming in to explore the city. Visitors who are fascinated by nightlife must wander around the streets of Madrid during the evening to behold the beauty of Spain.
It is best advised to not visit the city during summers due to the scorching heat. To have a memorable experience, I recommend you to explore the city during springtime or autumn when the weather is extra friendly.
Let’s Look At The Best Things To Do In Madrid
Madrid offers tourists an authentic Spanish experience. Along with historical buildings, art museums, and art exhibitions, the city is also known for its vibrant nightlife, big flea markets, stadiums, and amazing cafe culture. Here is the list of best things to do in Madrid.
1- Visit the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium
Estadio Santiago Bernabéu is the home to Real Madrid Football Club. Real Madrid is the city’s favorite and arguably the best football club in Europe. This stadium was built in the year 1947. It was named to honor Santiago Bernabéu who was the president of the club for more than three decades.
The visitors are allowed to access dressing rooms and other facilities like taking a look at the trophy room (Real Madrid club’s achievements) and dignitaries box.
Estadio Santiago Bernabéu is the second-largest stadium in Spain with a capacity of more than 80,000 seats. The gigantic football stadium also has multiple restaurants, a huge club shop, and a special shopping area. All Real Madrid home matches are played at the Bernabéu.
The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium has been awarded UEFA’s greatest distinction of five stars. After several renovation projects, the home stadium has been given the tag of ELITE. If you are a visitor and looking for things to do in Madrid, then paying a visit to The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is a must.
Some of history’s best players have worn the white Madrid shirt. Legends like David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Alfredo Di Stefano, Iker Casillas, Ronaldo Luís Nazário, Roberto Carlos, Sergio Ramos, and many others have been a part of this club.
It is a dream for Real Madrid fans across the planet to visit the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium at least once in their life. At present, renovation work is being carried out and the stadium is expected to be ready by the end of 2022.
2- Spend Time At The Prado Museum
This is a world-famous art museum, located in the heart of Madrid. You can find a huge collection of masterpieces by renaissance and baroque masters at this museum. In number, there are more than 8000 paintings and 700 sculptures.
Approximately, there are 2300 display pieces in more than 100 rooms across three floors. You might require sufficient time to view and study them all. Although a self-guided tour of some works is available.
Some of the famous works consist of Spanish paintings from the 12th to 19th century. Spanish Romantic Goya is an artist who has a maximum number of works at the Prado Museum. The 14 lovely black paintings by him are a Spanish cultural reference point here.
The Prado Museum is unquestionably the most celebrated museum in Madrid and amongst the best art museums in the whole of Europe. The neoclassical façade is an important part of the Paseo Del Prado, the place where 3 famous art museums are there. The Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen Bornemisza Museum.
A little part of this museum includes contemporary art, building, and renovated 16th-century cloister of the San Jerónimo el Real monastery. Tourists will also like the idea of a gift shop and cafe with a wonderful outdoor terrace. Spending hours inside this museum is one of the best things to do in Madrid for tourists.
3- Dine In At San Miguel Market (Mercado de San Miguel)
This is a monument to Spanish cuisine where food lovers gather, eat, chit chat, and relax. This place opened up a century ago as a wholesale food market. Today, this monument is considered one of the major gastronomical markets around the globe.
Mercado De San Miguel is widely recognized as the city’s culinary temple. There are more than 20 stands at this place whose offerings range from the delicious Iberian ham to fresh seafood and Shellfish brought from the northern coastal region of Galicia, to Mediterranean rice dishes and the tastiest cheeses from Castile, Asturias, and the Basque Country.
Specifically notable products include homemade, natural ice-creams by Joan Roca (3 Michelin stars), traditional rice by Rodrigo de la Calle (1 Michelin star), mouth-watering tapas by Grupo Arzabal, and famous local dishes by Casa Lhardy.
It is a must-visit if you are willing to experience the amazing culinary dishes in Madrid. When strolling through Plaza Mayor or Royal Gardens, make sure to stop by this market where you will be able to find multiple small restaurants that offer everything you need. Like a tapas bar, caviar and champagne stand, paella, local ham, and charcuterie, to lovely desserts.
Apart from enjoying a dining experience here, you can takeaway wrapped food, as well as wine bottles. We recommend you to come early due to the high demand for this place. A dine-in experience at this place is considered one of the most amazing things to do in Madrid.
4- Visit The Royal Palace And Gardens
The Royal Palace of the Spanish capital is the official residence of the King of Spain and the Spanish Royal Family. The neoclassical palace is crafted from granite and white Colmenar stone. The most salient aspect of the palace is the imposing staircase at the entrance hallway, with a fresco of The Triumph of Religion and the Church, that takes you to the main floor.
This is the largest Royal Palace in Western Europe and is a luxurious one with more than 2,000 sumptuously gilded rooms. Throughout the palace, paintings by Velázquez, Goya, Rubens, El Greco, and Caravaggio, exquisite Flemish, and French tapestries are seen hanging at the walls. Apart from that, armor and weapons used by Spanish Kings over centuries are visible on display.
Visitors should also visit Jardines del Campo del Moro (The Royal Gardens). These wonderful gardens were made during the reign of Phillip II and are fashioned in a formal French style with fountains and avenues. The gardens provide serenity to the people and are beautiful spots to sit, stroll around and have fun.
Around 2 million visitors come every year to explore the Royal Palace, its rooms, artworks, treasures, and gardens. Everything at this palace is said to be unique in its way.
For people willing to know the history of Madrid, Spain, visiting the Royal Palace will be informative and worthwhile. This should be on your list of things to do in Madrid by all means.
5- Take A Walk Through The Plaza Mayor
The Plaza Mayor is located near Puerta Del Sol and the Royal Palace. This humongous area was inaugurated in the 17th century by King Philip III who has his bronze statue in the square. The Plaza Mayor officially opened for the public in 1620.
The rectangular esplanade is lined with pillars and arches. With a lot of history being reflected, the all happening Plaza Mayor can be the perfect place for you to begin your stroll through one of Madrid’s most enchanting districts.
At present, the Plaza Mayor is an important rendezvous point in Madrid. The cobblestone square is a pedestrian area, surrounded by cozy outdoor cafés and fine restaurants shaded by its arcades. In the evenings, the square picks up a lively ambience and is a famous hangout spot for both tourists and locals.
The Plaza Mayor is one of the most fantastic architectures and landmarks in the Spanish capital. Moreover, at The Square, several street performers grab the opportunity to entertain the people in their style.
Apart from the Equestrian statue of King Philip III, The Plaza Mayor is home to Casa De La Panaderia and El Arco De Cuchilleros.
If you are looking for some real street fun, visiting the Plaza Mayor would be one of the best things to do in Madrid, Spain.
6- Explore The Crystal Palace and El Retiro Park
Palacio De Cristal (The Crystal Palace) was built in 1887. It is a marvelous cast-iron and glass pavilion that has multiple art exhibitions. On the outside, there is an outstanding little fountain and pool.
Palacio De Cristal was built to mirror an alike structure in London, England. It is a beautiful-looking architectural jewel that has ornate glass and an elaborate greenhouse. With the high glass dome and the red brick foundation, this building is as superb as one can imagine.
Speaking of elaborate greenhouse, the very first exhibition in the palace was a display of eye-catching Vietnamese plants which were brought to Spain for an event. As time passed, the palace started to have more artwork than flora.
Spending hours at The Crystal Palace is one of the finest things to do in Madrid. The tourists can gaze at the art on display inside and the natural scene outside the palace. No matter what time of the year it is, you are always going to be flabbergasted by the beauty of this place. But the view in the palace and the park outside is best visible during fall, with autumnal light and trees shedding the leaves.
The El Retiro Park (Parque del Retiro) is the most significant park in Madrid, Spain. The kind of tranquility felt within the park is unmatchable. The park gave access to the public in 1868.
The park is filled with wonderful attractions like Estanque Lake, Monument to King Alfonso XII, Palacio De Cristal, Palacio De Velazquez and Paseo De La Argentina. It is not only friendly for kids but adults also rent rowboats to tour around Estanque Lake.
The literal meaning of this park is ‘retirement’ or rest. Many people spend the day here either relaxing on the grass or sitting in open-air cafes around.
The park’s most popular statue is undoubtedly El Angel Caído (The Fallen Angel). The Fallen Angel depicts the morning star as a youth in pain at his fall from grace. Being entangled by a seven-headed serpent pulling him to hell, it is put up on a fountain that shoots streams of water from gargoyle heads. The statue is positioned at 666 meters above sea level.
All in all, the El Retiro park has wonderful green spaces where you can relax and even work out.
7- Visit Basílica de San Francisco El Grande
This is a church with one of the most spectacular architectures and decorative arts in South Western Europe. San Francisco El Grande is a neoclassical style church, located close to the La Latina quarter.
The Basílica de San Francisco El Grande was built in the year 1761 by Carlos III. Francisco Cabezas formulated the church and modeled the Neoclassical architectural plan at the Church of Santa Maria in Campitelli, Rome. The construction was eventually done in 1784 by Francisco Sabatini.
As much as it is a Catholic worship place, it is also a Temple paying tribute to Spanish art. Once you get inside Basílica, you will definitely be astonished by the floor-ceiling opulence and assembly of art under a single dome. The beautiful paintings by Goya and other famous artists depict an amazing history. Some significant sculptures are also visible in white marble.
This place gracefully welcomes people from all faiths. Paying a visit inside will make you feel relaxed and anxiety-free as it falls under one of the most worthy things to do in Madrid.
8- Visit The Thyssen Bornemisza Museum
This museum offers the beauty of Western art between the 17th and 20th centuries. Located on the Art Walk, this tremendous museum consists of around 1000 works on display.
It is said to be an art powerhouse of Madrid, Spain. The overall collection consists of mediaeval religious art, Renaissance-era portraits and biblical themes, the Baroque period, Rococo, Romanticism, Impressionism, Fauvism, Expressionism, modern art, and Pop Art.
People interested in knowing the history through contemporary artwork and admirable paintings should not miss this museum. Surely, visiting the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum is one of the best things to do in Madrid.
9- Visit The Palacio de Cibeles
Madrid’s City Hall was previously a Communications Palace. It is now the seat of Madrid City Council since 2007. The headquarters of the Spanish Post Office was mapped and constructed by Antonio Palacios and Joaquín Otamendi. It was put to place in 1909 and 1993, it was declared a Building of Cultural Interest in Monument category.
Located at Plaza De Cibeles, the monument is built out of stone, iron, and glass. It stands on a former garden plot of Buen Retiro. Currently, the building is divided into multiple spaces.
The former Operations Hall of the Central Post Office, on the 2nd Floor, provides a cultural information point of Madrid, and there is also a cafeteria cum restaurant.
Centro Centro, which flaunts 8,000 different works divided into four floors offers an extensive program of cultural activities with a focus on contemporary art.
The Glass Gallery is a multi-purpose space for use by the city. It is covered by a magnificent glass dome.
The Caja de Música Auditorium, with a capacity of more than 250 people. It is located under the Glass Gallery and is known for holding presentations, concerts, and conferences.
The Cibeles Palace Restaurant is located on the sixth floor.
And the most exciting part about this building is the Madrid Viewpoint. It is located in the palace tower and provides exquisite panoramic views of Madrid, Spain.
People have enjoyed panoramic views more than any other thing and taking such a view of this beautiful city is one of the best things to do in Madrid.
10- Take A Walk At Casa De Campo Park
Casa De Campo is one of the most spacious parks in Spain and the largest urban park situated West of central Madrid. The park is spread out in an area of 1535,52 hectares.
The meaning of the park is ‘country house’ and along with flora and fauna, there is a wide range of attractions within the park.
The main attractions are The Parque de Atracciones amusement park, the newly renovated lake, where you will find several restaurants and bars, The Madrid Zoo and Aquarium, The Cable Car connecting Casa de Campo with Oeste Park.
And on the other side of River Manzanares, they have got conference centres, the Madrid Arena Multipurpose Venue, and Venta del Batán (the place where bulls are traditionally held in the time of bullfights at Las Ventas Bullring.
Sports lovers have a different level of attachment with this park as they use weekends to jog, cycle, play football, tennis, or even go for a swim which is amongst the best things to do in Madrid. The outdoor public swimming pool is one of Madrileños’ favorite spots during summer. Various athletics competitions like the annual triathlon are held at this park.
The Casa De Campo Park is 6 km away from The Royal Palace and is considered a breakaway place from museums, art galleries, and other famous works. Enjoy the beauty of nature at this park and make your trip worthwhile.
11- Visit The Temple of Debod
If you are looking for an ancient Egyptian Temple in Madrid, Spain, the Temple of Debod is the one. This Egyptian Temple is from the second century BC and was gifted to Spain by the Egyptian Government for assisting in saving the Abu Simbel Temple and other important monuments. The Temple is situated near Parque De La Montana.
The ancient Egyptian temple was opened to the public on 20 July 1972 and is surrounded by various species of plants, trees, and green lawns. Several tourists and locals gather here for food and drinks. People come here for picnics and exercise Yoga (meditation) and enjoy the scenic view.
The most recommended time to visit Debod Temple is before sunset to celebrate a mesmerizing view of the Temple with a pretty sky in the background. Although the night view of the temple seems amazingly different too.
There isn’t a fee to enter the shrine and is worth taking a look at. The interior’s walls are filled with hieroglyphics and sculptures. It also covers prominent information about Egypt’s mythology and culture.
The Temple of Debod is considered to be a hidden treasure and a peculiar attraction spot in Madrid. Undoubtedly, visiting this place is one of the best things to do in Madrid for tourists as well as locals.
12- Try Chocolatería San Ginés
Chocolatería San Ginés is a cafe just next to the Puerta Del Sol. The cafe is famous among chocolate lovers as it specializes in chocolate con churros. Since its opening in 1894, it has been wonderfully delivering thick hot chocolate with sticks of crispy dough.
If you are a chocolate person, we highly suggest you try the hot chocolate at Chocolatería San Ginés. Tourists have highly rated and recommended hot chocolate. I promise you, you will not have the chance to regret it.
Apart from hot chocolate, you can also try anything from the menu, best rated are soft drinks, coffee, and other pastries. You can try either indoors or on their outdoor terrace which is on a pedestrian street.
This cafe is amongst the elite and top-notch cafes in the whole of Madrid, Spain. Taking a break from worldly life and having hot chocolate at this place is probably one of the best things to do in Madrid for you.
13- Wander Around And Shop At Plaza De Cascorro
Plaza De Cascorro is an open space in the Embajadores neighborhood, Central Madrid. It was named to honor Cascorro who fought during the Spanish-American war in Cuba.
There is a flea market in the area and is seemingly one of the finest places to hang around during weekends. You will discover a great variety of stuff in the market, all with musicians on the street trying to bless your ears with some jazz music.
Around the corner, you will find many restaurants to satisfy your hunger and have a spot to relax. It is a pleasant square at any point in time, but it comes to life on Sundays with the arrival of the flea market.
On Sundays, going to the flea market is considered to be one of the best things to do in Madrid. You can reach this place by simply catching a metro, which is quite convenient. Also, it is not much of a walk from The Plaza Mayor.
The place is an attraction to all kinds of people and all age groups in Madrid. Everyone comes down and strolls around the place in their comfort.
Now that you know about things to do in Madrid, also have a look at the best holiday destinations in Europe.
These are some of the many interesting things to do in Madrid. Hoping that your experience at these places would be as special and historic as it could be.
Besides, there are plenty of other places that you might want to explore. Like the cafe on the rooftop terrace of the Hotel Atlantico, Rose Garden, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Museo Sorolla, Puerta de Alcalá and the list goes on.
In addition to the historical buildings, museums, parks, and cafes, when in Madrid, make sure to live the magical nightlife of the city. The vibe at night in Madrid is incomparable and most fascinating.
Wish you have an enjoyable time in the Spanish city and discover the best things to do in Madrid. Adios Amigos!