Visit Madrid and make the most of the city
Barcelona may have a beach and Gaudi, but Madrid has life and joy! As they say here, from “Madrid al cielo”, because Madrid must always come back, because here you can only be happy! Check out our twelve must-sees in Madrid, get inspired and start planning your trip to Madrid.
1 – Views of Madrid from the Círculo de Bellas Artes
Right in the center of Madrid, there is the Circulo das Belas Artes, where you can climb to the top and enjoy Madrid from above. From here you can identify the entire layout of the capital, from the Paseo de la Castellana, the Cibeles Palace or the Gran Via. To go up, there is an elevator and the price is four euros.
2 – Every Sunday the attentions go to Rastro and La Latina
On Sundays and holidays, in the traditional neighborhood of La Latina, El Rastro is set up. The Rastro is a huge fair, where everything is sold. And everything goes! Books, clothing, furniture, cookie boxes, fans, musical instruments, etc. It is an excellent place to buy your entertainment. Take the opportunity to eat some “empanadas” and drink some cañitas (beers), enjoying the sun and the beautiful sky of Madrid!
3 – The Madrid markets
The invasion of the big supermarket chains, forced the old and traditional markets of Madrid to renew themselves! Today, markets such as Mercado de San Miguel (next to Plaza Mayor) or San Anton (in Chueca district) are popular gourmet areas, with a wide variety of regional and international products, such as tapas, oysters, cheeses, wines, cakes and more.
4 – The El Retiro Park
It is true that it is not the largest green area in Madrid, that title belongs to Casa de Campo (where the Madrid cable car is located), but it is our favorite and also that of many inhabitants of Madrid! Here you can find several street artists, from painters to magicians or actors, and take the opportunity to take a boat trip on the large lake in the center of Retiro. And a curiosity: in the Retiro is the only statue of the Devil in the world! The Fallen Angel, as it is called, represents the fall of Lucifer, after being expelled from Paradise.
5 – Visit the Matadero
As the name implies, this space was an old animal slaughterhouse. The old structure remains standing, only now the place has been converted into one of the most dynamic and stimulating cultural spaces in the capital of Spain. Every day there are activities, from cinema, to colloquia or exhibitions. Markets and fairs are also common, with design articles and where young creators exhibit and sell their creations. You can get here via the Yellow line of the Madrid metro, leaving at Legazpi station.
6 – The museums of Madrid
The three main museums are known as the Golden Triangle. This cultural triangle consists of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofia Museum.
The first has collections from the Renaissance to the 20th century, with works by El Greco, Bernini, Caravaggio, Goya, Pollack or Dali. The Prado was the former palace now converted into a museum where, in addition to the famous painting of the Velazquez Girls, you cannot miss the works of El Greco or the room dedicated to Goya’s paintings on the Civil War. It is also about war, the most famous painting by Reina Sofia, we are talking about Picasso’s Guernica, the main attraction of this museum, whose majority of works are contemporary art.
Important: both Prado and Reina Sofia have free admission times, check on the website. And if you have one, bring your student id, as it is usually accepted and you can benefit from a significant discount.
7 – End the day at the Debod Temple
Near the Plaza de España, there is the Temple of Debod, a gift from Egypt to the citizens of Spain, for their help in protecting the temples of Nubia. This is also one of the most special places in Madrid and the best place to enjoy the Madrid sunset. Overlooking the Casa de Campo, there are no houses, buildings or anything that stands between them and this wonderful show. Take some drinks with you, as you will want to stay here for a while!
8 -… and start the night in Malasaña
The most hypster and “modern” neighborhood (as the Spanish say) in Madrid, is like a magnet for nightlife in Madrid! In the 80s, it was the heart of the Spanish “movida” and even today, nocturn spaces such as Vía Latina or Taboo are iconic. And it is not for nothing that the Spaniards are known as the kings of the fiesta, same as in Portugal, going home only when the sun rises is part of the tradition.
And speaking of tradition, visit Casa Camacho, one of the oldest bars in Malasaña and drink a yayo.
9 – The Orgullo in Madrid
The LGBT Pride parties are the biggest event in Madrid! Hotels fill up, the city doesn’t sleep, there are concerts all over the city and finding cheap flights to Madrid is an impossible mission. The heart of the party is the Chueca neighborhood, but the truth is that this is a party for everyone who lives in Madrid, with rainbow flags flying in various government buildings.
10 – The most multicultural neighborhood in Madrid
Lavapiés. To prove it are the several restaurants in the neighborhood, where you can find Indian, Japanese, Moroccan, English or Senegalese food. And, of course, there is no shortage of typical Spanish bars with tapas and beer! Here are also the best terraces in Madrid, perfect for sipping a summer red on the hottest days!
Below is the Tabacalera, an old tobacco factory that after many years was occupied by the inhabitants of the neighborhood, having become a center for concerts, exhibitions, with free classes and much more. Especially lovers of urban art cannot fail to visit this space.
11 – Sol, the center of Madrid
It’s impossible to visit Madrid without going through Sol. This is where the zero point of Madrid is located and this is the busiest square in the city, the heart of Madrid! It is also here the famous statue of the bear with the strawberry tree, the symbol of Madrid – In the olds days there were many bears here, it was common for the nobles to entertain themselves hunting bears. Here, tourists line up to take a picture! Take the opportunity to take yours!
12 – The most visited museum is…
The stadium where Real Madrid plays, that is, the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Visitors can enter the stadium and get to know the team’s changing rooms, as well as the room reserved for press conferences or the room where all the Real Madrid trophies are located. The stadium also has a restaurant and you can get here on the Madrid metro, on the dark blue line, leaving at the Bernabeu station!
13 – The Royal Palace
Considered the largest royal palace in Europe, with an area of 135,000 m² and 4318 rooms, it is located just minutes from Sol, the center of Madrid.
The Royal Palace or Palace of the Orient is not actually where the Royal Family of Spain lives, it is only used for official acts. In fact, King Felipe and Queen Letizia live on their private property in Zarzuela. In the palace area, there is also the Madrid Opera and the Almudena Cathedral, the patron saint of Madrid and where kings Felipe and Letizia were married.
14 – Walking around the Plaza Mayor
All cities in Spain have their Plaza Mayor, where the main institutions and management bodies of each city used to be. Nowadays they are tourist spots, full of animation, restaurants and bars. Yes, it is worth visiting the Plaza Mayor, but keep in mind that the prices here are much higher.
To eat or drink in Madrid, opt for the parallel streets, where you will find good restaurants at lower prices.
15 – Tapas, tapas and tapas
Madrid is that wonderful city, where wine and beer are always accompanied by a tapa (yes, it’s free!) And that’s wonderful! Take advantage of Madrid’s many restaurants to explore the tapas. We recommend wild potatoes and fresh rotos con jamón. On hot days, they go nicely with a summer red, with lemon or casera (fizzy)! And if you allow us another recommendation, go to Buscon, a restaurant near Sol and where you can eat some DELICIOUS prawns a la plancha!