In this article, we are taking a look at the best sights and attractions in Madrid. Hopefully, it will serve as inspiration if you are planning a trip to the Spanish capital!
First and foremost, we will reveal our top 10 of the absolute best attractions. Focus on these first. That is then launched into a massive overview of 101 attractions in Madrid. A perfect opportunity for the traveler (or mover) who has plenty of time and wants to discover everything that the city has to offer.
The best sights in Madrid
Madrid is a huge city and it’s full of nice things to do. Even after living here for a half year, there are still surprises around almost every corner.
However, some attractions are better than others, and right now we are focusing on the absolute best ones. In that way, you can get an overview of the best and most important things to see in the city – and you’ll probably be able to cross everything off in just a few days.
Top 10 Sights & Attractions:
- The Royal Palace
- The Almudena Cathedral
- Gran Vía
- Puerta del Sol
- Plaza Mayor
- The Prado Museum
- Museu Reina Sofía
- Santiago Bernabéu
- Parque Warner Madrid
Save this quick list, bring it on your trip, and check them out first and foremost. Some of the attractions – the first six – appeal to everybody and are very easily accessed.
About the rest: Prado and Reina Sofía are museums, and are particularly important to visit if you are into art. Santiago Bernabéu is great if you are into sports (otherwise you can skip it), and Parque Warner Madrid is a bit away from the city, but perfect for a day trip if you want to visit an entertainment park!
Below, we are looking into each of these attractions in more detail – along with a handful of many others. In total, we have found Madrid’s top 101 sights and attractions. If you go all the way to the bottom of this article, you can download a free PDF-checklist and bring it for your trip.
Everything is separated into categories in order for you to find your specific interest and see all the highlights of that particular thing.
Here we go.
Cultural attractions in Madrid
Let’s start out with the best cultural attractions in Madrid. Plazas, famous streets, some of the city’s most important landmarks.
Puerta del Sol
The absolute centre of Madrid. Puerta del Sol is historic – and something happens at Sol regardless of the time. Day and night, this central square is full of people and events. It’s a place in Madrid that you can’t miss, under any circumstances.
Around the edges of Sol, you will notice several important buildings. There is the head of the post office, there are some historic stores, and there is much more. You will also notice several statues – for example the Bear and the Tree, the symbol of Madrid!
And like we said, Sol is considered to be the centre of Madrid, so naturally there are streets in every direction that also lead to interesting places.
A large public space in central Madrid that attracts locals and tourists alike. In the old days, it used to be considered the true centre of the city, the role that Puerta del Sol has today.
It was built in the 16th and 17th centuries. Plaza Mayor has always been a popular area for trading good and for socializing. These days, it has several monuments and great surroundings. It is one of the main tourist attractions of Madrid.
The most famous street in Madrid. Calle Gran Vía is Madrid’s version of New York City’s Fifth Avenue.
It’s full of theatres, cinemas, franchise restaurants, franchise stores, and much more. It has the true big-city-vibe. And a walk here can be quite inspiring!
Gran Vía is just a bit north of Sol, and you can’t miss it. It’s arguably the main street of the city. A lot of travelers choose hotels specifically on Gran Vía, due to its great location. It’s a very long street, leading from Plaza de España in the west to Cibeles in the east.
Plaza de Cibeles
Cibeles has evolved into one of the biggest symbols of the city. In its essence, Cibeles consist of several elements. First of all, the Cibeles square itself. But then there is the Cybele Palace, the huge building you see at the square. It is currently used as the seat of the city council. And at last, the fountain right in front – arguably one of Madrid’s most important sights!
It was formerly known as “Plaza de Madrid” but that name has since changed. However, it is absolutely one of the top Madrid landmarks, and walking by is a must.
Metropolis is the famous office building that is located at the corner of Gran Vía and Calle de Alcalá – two very important streets. It has beautiful architecture and a rich history. Parts of the decorations consist of gold. The building is over 100 years old, and it has become one of the main symbols of the city.
Generally, people assume that Gran Vía starts – on its eastern end – at the Metropolis building.
You will automatically notice the Metropolis when you walk to Cibeles. So, the two sights are pretty much combined, as you will see them within a few minutes of each other.
The Royal Palace
Ah, what is there to say about the Royal Palace? It’s an absolute must-visit place in Madrid. We recommend going to the Palace on your first or second day in the city, simply so you can visit it as soon as possible.
Seeing it from the outside is very nice – but it’s an even bigger highlight to book a guided tour on the inside.
Known as Palacio Real to the Spaniards, it is not far away from the modern centre of the city. So you can always get there quite easily, even on foot.
The Royal Family of Spain used to have this palace as their official residence. Since then, they have moved to a smaller palace, and now Palacio Real is used mainly for politics. However, it is also one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.
Jardines de Sabatini – The Royal Gardens
Beautiful gardens, right next to the Royal Palace on the northern side.
Jardines de Sabatini were made in the 1930s and completed right after the Spanish Civil War ended. The gardens have a very classical style, and they are incredibly well-kept.
A walk by the gardens is a truly magnificent experience – and you might as well do it, if you are already close to the Royal Palace!
You can easily sit down and enjoy the sight any time of the day. However, Jardines de Sabatini are particularly good looking during dusk.
Templo de Debod
This comes as a surprise to many visitors, but you can actually see an Egyptian temple in Madrid.
It was originally built in Egypt, approximately 2200 years ago. Egypt gifted it away to Spain during the 20th century since the Spaniards had been very supportive in the preservation of several ancient Egyptian works. In 1972, Templo de Debod was rebuilt and ready as an important attraction in Madrid.
Templo de Debod is located right in between Plaza de España and Príncipe Pío. You can walk there if you are staying in a central place in Madrid. It’s a great spot to take pictures and to see an unusual temple – it is very unlike the rest of the city, and this contrast is interesting.
Palacio de Cristal – The Crystal Palace
You will find this unique building inside the Retiro Park. It’s absolutely worth a visit, if only for a few minutes. Aside from being a beautiful and majestic place, it also has some history, and at times you will see contemporary art inside.
Most people love going here to take pictures. Entrance is free at all times, although you may have to wait to get in – a maximum of 150 people inside Palacio de Cristal is a rule that will be enforced at the entrance.
Plaza de España
Another famous central square. Not as crowded as Puerta del Sol or Plaza Mayor, but certainly a nice place to go.
Plaza de España is located on the western side of Gran Vía. It has an important metro station, so it is always easy to get there, whether by foot or by public transportation.
This place is very green, which is nice, and it has the important Cervantes monument. Be sure to get a picture. It’s a nice place to sit down if you need a break from walking around. There are several benches and even some grass to sit down on.
Right next to Plaza de España, you will find two of Madrid’s tallest and most prominent buildings: Torre de Madrid and Edifício España.
Puerta del Alcalá
One of the most important monuments in Madrid, culturally speaking.
Puerta del Alcalá is a huge gate in neo-classical style. It was built in 1778, as the first post-Roman triumphal arch. It is somewhat similar to Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and the French Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
You will find it at Plaza de la Independencia. It is on the northwest corner of the Retiro Park.
Museums, libraries and exhibitions
In another article, we described the best museums in Madrid. We recommend checking it out, as it goes more in-depth with the museums in particular. You get information such as opening hours, prices, and much more.
However, you will also be introduced to some of the city’s museums right here!
Museo del Prado – The Prado Museum
The most famous museum in Madrid, and also one of the best in the entire world.
Museo del Prado is located in the so-called “Golden Triangle of Art” which is in the Atocha neighborhood. It has one of the finest art collections in the world.
Inside Prado, you will find a lot of paintings. The main piece is “Las Meninas” by Velasquez, but Francisco de Goya is the most represented artists. Many world famous paintings are to be found inside Museo del Prado.
Furthermore, Prado also has drawings, sculptures, statues, and various cultural items. Separated into 3 floors, it’s an amazing museum where you can easily spend several hours.
The museum is open every day – pay 15 euros to get in, and 30 euros to get a guided tour. If you go between 18:00 and 20:00, entrance is completely free of charge.
And of course, Museo del Prado has a small shop and a café, if you want to do more than just looking at the art.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum
While Museo del Prado is very old, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is a new museum. Established in 1992, it has quickly evolved into one of the best museums in Europe, and one of the three major ones in Madrid.
European art is in focus. Primarily art from the Renaissance era. But, you will also find newer pieces, for example from the Modernist era.
Overall, it’s a world-class museum with amazing art. Not only is the quality great – so is the quantity. The collection at the Thyssen-Bornemisza is quite large, so it will take a while to see it all.
The best day to go is on Mondays, as the entrance happens to be free on Mondays. Take advantage!
Museo Reina Sofía
The third famous art museum in Madrid.
Museo Reina Sofía has all kinds of art but is mostly considered a modern version of Museo del Prado. While Prado has a lot of historic and old art, Reina Sofía is more focused on newer art pieces (that means from the last 100-200 years).
Going here is an absolute must! We consider Museo Reina Sofía to be an amazing museum, and one of the best attractions in Madrid, all things considered. The most famous Spanish painters of the 20th century are represented here. That means you will get to see paintings by Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, along with many other great artists.
The National Archeological Museum
The National Archeological Museum is located close to the Recoletos station in the Salamanca area of Madrid.
It has several exhibits from Spain’s past. The museum has a majestic entrance (the building is in neo-classical style) and you immediately get the feeling that this is an interesting place.
You will find everything from Greek vases to Roman mosaics and much more. The museum has stuff from prehistoric Spain, along with more modern discoveries as well. Certainly worth visiting.
It’s incredible that Madrid has so many nice museums – and Museo Cerralbo is yet another one.
This one has arguably the most stunning interior of them all. It used to be home to an aristocratic family, but they gave it away to the state so it could be used as a museum.
Inside Museo Cerralbo, you will find more than 50.000 objects. They range from paintings to drawings – from sculptures to coins, and much more!
Not the most famous museum in the city, but certainly one of the attractions that are well worth visiting. With its central location, it’s easy to get there, and most visitors really enjoy it.
Museo Sorolla has the largest collection of art by Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida of any museum in the world. Mostly paintings and drawings, but it has also gathered other interesting objects.
Museo Lazaro Galdiano
A very unique museum with a low entrance fee. It has more than 12.000 pieces of art, mainly paintings and statues. Much of it is made by famous Spanish artists.
Museo Lazaro Galdiano can be found in Salamanca, just like the previous couple of museums. You can arguably take off a full day to see these three museums and have a very artistic day.
The Naval Museum
Interested in ships, expeditions, naval warfare and everything related to it? Then visit the Naval Museum in Madrid.
It’s a beautiful place, and its history goes all the way back to 1792. Plenty of great exhibitions, and you can even get a guide in English. Rated 4,5 out of 5 by the visitors, so it’s a highly popular museum. Undoubtedly one of the great attractions in Madrid.
Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida
Not a typical museum by any means. But it belongs in this category, and allow us to tell you why.
Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida is a chapel. The building itself is hundreds of years old and well worth visiting. However, the highlight (at least from an artistic viewpoint) is the works of Francisco de Goya that you will find inside. Come here, let it surprise you, and take it all in. We highly recommend going to this chapel.
Public Library Retiro
A very nice library located in the Pacífico neighborhood. If you are a foreigner, you need a NIE-number to borrow something home, but there are plenty of books to enjoy inside the library. You can also watch several movies, and everything is free.
This library is very popular – among young people as well as old people. If you are walking around in Pacífico, you will not miss it – it’s one of the most visible buildings in the neighborhood.
Churches in Madrid
Churches say a lot about the culture of a country. Churches also say a lot about architecture, and each church has its own charm. In Madrid, you will find several great ones, so they certainly deserve to be mentioned in this article if we are going to cover the city’s best sights and attractions.
Catedral de la Almudena
A relatively new church – Catedral de la Almudena was completed in 1993 after approximately 100 years of building it.
It is the only cathedral in Madrid. Originally, the Spaniards planned to make it the largest and most modern cathedral in the world, shadowing over all the older and classic cathedrals in the country; for example the one in Toledo. Due to other priorities, the construction was constantly postponed, and while still being quite huge, it never ended up being the largest in the world.
But Catedral de la Almudena is certainly a majestic and beautiful sight in Madrid. You can get in for free at any day of the week (although they do accept donations if you want to pay). It has an architectural style that is a mix of Neoclassical, Neo-Gothic and Neo-Romanesque. Outside the cathedral, you will see several statues. There is one of Paulus and one of Pope John Paul II, among others.
The cathedral is located immediately next to the Royal Palace, so it is very easy to get there. You should see these two attractions on the same day!
Basilica de San Francisco El Grande
This neoclassical church is absolutely also worth visiting. It is known to be a royal church and it is beautifully designed. Basilica de San Francisco El Grande has its enormous dome and a circular central floor. It is decorated with paintings by Goya and Zurbarán.
You will find San Francisco El Grande in La Latina. Entry fee is 5 euros for most people, but 3 euros for kids, students, pensioners and disabled persons.
Iglesia de San Manuel y San Benito
Iglesia de San Manuel y San Benito is a very unique church. It has a Neo-Byzantine style and is somewhat familiar to some of the churches you will see in Florence, Italy.
It is relatively new as well, completed in 1902. It has a large dome and a tower. You will notice this church when you exit the Retiro Park at the northwestern corner. The church is also visible from several areas of the park. Some people consider it to be one of the most beautiful churches in all of Spain – and certainly one of the most memorable!
Iglesia de San Antonio de los Alemanes
This Malasaña church is also worth visiting. From the outside, it doesn’t scream at attention like so many others. But one thing is for sure – you will never regret stepping inside.
Iglesia de San Antonio de los Alemanes was founded by Philip III in the 17th century. It’s famous for its ellipsoidal layout and paintings. Originally, it was San Antonio de los Portugueses, but later changed the name into San Antonio de los Alemanes, meaning Saint Anthony of the Germans.
On the inside, it is one of the most beautiful churches you will ever see. Entry only costs two euros.
Real Oratorio del Caballero de Gracia
Iglesia Arzobispal Castrense
Parks in Madrid
Madrid has the famous Retiro Park, where you obviously have to visit. But if you are staying for longer, you should consider visiting more of them! Let’s describe some of the best parks, including Retiro, but also a couple of other nice and green areas.
El Retiro – The Retiro Park
Retiro is known to be Europe’s best park. It is incredibly spacious and well-kept. Even though it’s visited by millions, it is always possible to find a quiet place in Retiro. However, you can also find plenty of fun and social things to do in the park.
Our recommendation is to go for a walk here at first. Take a look at the view, see some of the attractions inside (such as Palacio de Cristal), and walk from one end to the other.
After that, sit down for a picnic. Or get chocolate con churros at a café (there are several of them inside the Retiro Park). You can also rent a boat for a half hour and sail around the lake of Retiro. Highly recommended, although there is usually a long waiting line.
In any case, it is an amazing place to go. One of the top sights/attractions of Madrid. The park is so huge that it takes up a considerable amount of space in central Madrid.
Casa de Campo
The Royal Botanical Gardens
Parque del Oeste
Campo del Moro
El Cerro del Tío Pío
Hilariously known as the “park of the seven boobs” due to its hills and the way it looks from outside.
But all joking aside, this is a wonderful park. You’ll have to go south to visit it, as the park is located in Vallecas. Metro line 1 goes there, and it takes roughly 30 minutes from the centre of Madrid.
When you are here, do a picnic and enjoy the view of the city. From this park, you will have a nice overview of Madrid, so be sure to take some pictures!
Parque Juan Carlos I
Parque de El Capricho
La Quinta de los Molinos
Important Statues in Madrid
Here are some important statues in Madrid that you should consider checking out!
El Oso y el Madroño
The Bear and the Tree. The symbol of Madrid, and probably the most famous statue in the city.
You’ll find it at Puerta del Sol. Be sure to get a picture, because it is an important attraction from a cultural perspective!
Fuente de Cibeles
We mentioned Plaza de Cibeles in the early part of this article. Well, at the same spot, you will find Fuente de Cibeles: The monument that has also become a major symbol of Madrid.
The Cibeles Fountain, as the name is in English, was built in 1782. It depicts Cybele, the Roman goddess of fertility and agriculture, along with two mythological lions.
Absolutely worth a look! Once again, take photos and try to get as close as you can, in order to see everything in detail!
Federico Garcia Lorca
Monumento a Cervantes
Entertaining Things to Do
This category is reserved to the things that can’t be considered sights in the purest sense.
Instead, these are simply entertaining things to do. Real attractions that are fun to stop by. From attraction parks to an alternate way of transportation!
Parque Warner Madrid
Arguably one of the best things to do in Madrid. Going to Parque Warner was in the top 10 that we shared at the beginning of this article.
It’s an enormous attraction park, a bit outside of the city. It has wild roller coasters and much more. There are attractions for people of all ages. Most of them are inspired by characters and storylines from the Warner Bros. universe.
This attraction park requires one full day. It’s the perfect place to go if you are a family, or a big group of friends. As a couple it can also be fun.
In any case, Parque Warner Madrid is highly recommended! The entry fee can be a bit steep in the middle of the travel season, but we do believe it’s worth it.
With this method of transportation, you can experience Madrid by air.
The Teleférico is a cable car that flies slowly over the city, giving you a chance to see everything from above.
To get a ride in the Madrid Teleférico, go to Casa de Campo. Wait for your turn and get into one of the cabins. From there, you will ride throughout the year, and even though it only passes over parts of the city, you will be able to see most of it.
It’s an attraction that has been around for a while, and it remains one of the best. For some reason, most tourists ignore the Teleférico, but it’s absolutely a great experience.
The price is 6 euros for a roundtrip. For children under 12 and people over 65, it costs one euro less. Children under the age of 4 can use this transportation method entirely for free.
Each way takes 11 minutes, so the total ride, back and forward, will take 22 minutes.
Eating out is an essential part of visiting Madrid.
The city has a lot of great restaurants. Many of them are modern and offer great dishes, but there are also a bunch of historic restaurants. These can pretty much be categorized as attractions, so let’s take a look at them!
How about a visit to the oldest restaurant in the world that is still existing?
Sobrino de Botín has been open for a couple hundred years. It was founded in 1725 and it literally gives you a taste of classic Spanish food.
You can go to the restaurant just to see it, but you can also get a tour inside. You will hear about the restaurant’s history, and you will even see the kitchen.
But, of course, the real highlight is to sit down and eat. Get a few meals from Botín and you will not regret it. After all, you’ll be able to say that you have been eating at the oldest restaurant in the world!
Botín is relatively central, just a bit south of Plaza Mayor. It’s easy to get there by foot.
Taberna La Bola
Chocolatería San Gines
Los Artesanos 1902
La Antigua Churrería
Attractions related to shopping
Shopping in Madrid is highly recommended. Below, you’ll find specific tips for some of the best shopping attractions that the city has to offer. Going to these shopping streets and malls are great things to do in Madrid once you have seen the main sights.
Mercado de San Miguel
A famous market with stunning architecture. It mostly has food and snacks – and they are very good. But you will also find a couple of items inside.
Mercado de San Miguel is a must-visit. It’s one of the sights in Madrid that most travelers put on top of their list, and for that reason, the market is almost always crowded.
However, it’s worth the trouble. While it can seem like a tourist trap, it is surprisingly legit. You can buy great foods and snacks inside, mostly local Spanish foods. You can also sit down for a drink. The atmosphere is unique, and although you might spend more money than in a normal market, you will certainly enjoy a visit here.
Mercado de San Miguel has existed for over 100 years and it is a very beautiful sight. It’s directly west of Puerta del Sol, and you can easily go there by foot if you are staying in the centre of Madrid.
Calle de Fuencarral
Calle de Fuencarral starts at Gran Vía and heads north from there. It’s one of the main shopping streets in Madrid, home to several fashion stores along the sidewalks, and a few flagship stores, such as the Decathlon.
This street is very crowded for most of the day, and highly popular for a reason – it’s an ourdoor street almost fully dedicated to shopping. Along with that, Calle de Fuencarral also has several nice cafés.
The look of the street is how you would typically imagine a street in Madrid. Since it is located as central as it is, you will probably walk there at some point, even if shopping is not your main objective. But be sure to enjoy it – and check out one of the many shops on the street, if you wish to buy some clothes or items home with you.
Calle de Arenal
A solid alternative to Calle de Fuencarral. This one is a bit wider, and although equally crowded, that gives it a bit more space.
Calle de Arenal goes from Ópera to Sol. It has many of the same types of stores as Fuencarral, although typically a bit smaller. And while Calle de Fuencarral is home to many franchises, world-famous stores, Calle de Arenal also has some more local stores. One of the highlights is the two-floor Real Madrid shop – great for football enthusiasts.
Centro Comercial Príncipe Pío
The biggest shopping mall in the centre of Madrid. While not as large as the malls that are on the outskirts of the city, Príncipe Pío still has a wide variety of stores.
It is conveniently located right by the Príncipe Pío train station. That means it’s easy to get there. If you are staying somewhere close to Gran Vía or Plaza de España, walking there is also an option.
Most of the stores are related to clothing, fashion and perfumes. However, Príncipe Pío has a bit of everything. You’ll also find a fitness store, a supermarket, a toy store, a cinema, several restaurants, and much more. Highly recommended.
La Gavia Shopping Mall
Go a bit outside of the centre and you will find La Gavia, one of the most popular malls in Madrid. It’s in the south, in the area of Vallecas. Metro line 1 goes to La Gavia, although the best and fastest option is to drive there.
La Gavia has plenty of stores and restaurants. One of the highlights is the big IKEA. You can spend a whole day here and have fun. The best times of the year to go are in January and in the middle of the summer. That’s when they have the best discounts!
Centro Comercial Parquesur
Another great mall. This one is located close to Leganés, a huge suburb to Madrid. You can take metro line 3 and get somewhat close to the mall, or you can take a bus to get there. Their own website has advice on transportation if you are looking for alternate ways to get there.
Parquesur only has one floor, but what a big one. It has a modern design, reminiscent of Northern European malls in Scandinavia, and the variety of stores is very solid. You can shop for almost anything here. The amount of restaurants is not as great as the other big malls, but no need to worry – it will still be easy to get a bite to eat.
You will also find a very large Alcampo supermarket inside Parquesur. So, overall, a great attraction in Madrid if you are into shopping!
The most entertaining mall in Madrid. Despite the name, Xanadú is actually quite far away and cannot be reached by a direct train or metro. So, you need to take a bus (they depart from Príncipe Pío) or rent a car.
When you finally get there, Xanadú has plenty of stores, a huge cinema, great restaurants and much more.
The main appeal is the fun things that you can do in Xanadú. You can enjoy the arcade games, go bowling, play minigolf, or even do some indoor skiing. This mall has some of the best things to do in Madrid, even though it’s located outside of the main city.
Very recommended, but it requires that you can put a full day aside, just for going here.
Las Rozas Village
Las Rozas Village is also a bit far away. Northwest of Madrid, you will find this great village, where they often have awesome discounts and special deals.
Be sure to walk around the town of Las Rozas while you’re there. It’s a wealthy area with beautifully decorated streets and a couple of nice attractions on its own.
You can take a bus to get to Las Rozas Village. If you just want to visit the town of Las Rozas, there is a RENFE Cercanías line from Atocha.
Corte Inglés in Callao
The huge Corte Inglés department store in Callao is worth visiting. Right in the middle of Madrid, it is extremely popular, and inside you can buy almost any item.
It can almost be considered as one of the best attractions in Madrid since it has a lot to offer. You can buy souvenirs, practical items, anything. It has a supermarket. A post office. You can print documents. In other words, very practical stuff.
And it has the very unique Samsung floor right in the bottom, where you can try virtual reality and much more. Corte Inglés in Callao is a great place for shopping, and it’s a great place for experiences.
If you need an alternative, go south and visit the other Corte Inglés right next to Puerta del Sol. Not quite as big, but almost as interesting and useful.
Fnac in Callao
The neighbor of Corte Inglés is Fnac, also located in a historic building in Callao. Fnac similarly has many floors, covering everything from souvenirs to kitchen equipment.
However, Fnac is mainly focused on electronics. It also has music, movies and merchandise. So for the sake of buying items, it is certainly worth visiting. But another reason is the great location – right in Callao, in one of Madrid’s most important buildings.
Attractions related to sports
Various sports are highly popular in Madrid. Especially football. So here are some famous Madrid attractions that are simply related to sports!
The Real Madrid home stadium. A lot of success has been made here, as Real Madrid is the winningest club in European football history. Recently, they’ve snatched three Champions League-titles in a row. And star players have always been standing in a row to play for Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium.
It’s a huge place, with a capacity of about 80.000 people. That makes it Spain’s second largest. Santiago Bernabéu is frequently used as the venue for Spain’s national matches.
If you arrive on a weekend, you might be able to catch a match. Otherwise, pay 25 euros and get a tour. Absolutely worth it if you are a football fan!
Various Real Madrid shops
All over the city, you will notice Real Madrid shops. The club is very popular (to say the least), so they sell a lot of merchandise.
They have a big store on Gran Vía. They have another one between Sol and La Latina. And, of course, one by the stadium.
So it’s a perfect chance to buy home some merchandise if you are a fan. Aside from that, you might get to see one of Real Madrid’s many trophies on exhibition at some of the shops!
Atlético Madrid’s brand new stadium. Home to the 2018-19 Champions League final, and to several international matches involving Spain.
This stadium is also enormous, and its facilities are quite amazing. Wanda Metropolitano is located in the eastern part of Madrid, with a metro going directly there.
All football fans will love it, but particularly supporters of Atlético Madrid. We recommend going there. If you can’t catch a Real Madrid home game while you are here, maybe go for an Atlético match at Wanda Metropolitano.
Exercise facilities at Retiro
We mentioned Retiro earlier. What we didn’t mention is that Retiro has some excellent exercise facilities. You can go there yourself if you need to put in a quick workout.
Retiro has free equipment available for body weight exercises. Sometimes, some true masters of these, along with professional athletes, go there to show off. That can be fun to watch. Other times, it’s quieter there, and you can do a workout of your own. The Retiro park is also great if you just want to go for a run.
La Zarzuela Racecourse
A place with a long and rich tradition.
La Zarzuela Racecourse is a wonderful facility for horse racing. It hosts plenty of events, and it’s always fun to be around the course. It was built in 1935, partly destroyed during the Spanish civil war, and then rebuilt again. Throughout many years, particularly the 1970s, it was a very prestigious place.
You can get a guided visit, or you can go here for an actual event. Both are great opportunities! Expect to pay 10 euros to get in during the summer. It’s located in the northwestern part of Madrid, outside of the main centre. Close to the racecourse there are also plenty of golf courses.
Unique areas of Madrid
Here are some places in Madrid that are not exactly attractions, but rather areas. However, they are super interesting, and they all have a unique vibe, along with something special to offer!
A beautiful, classical part of Madrid. La Latina has everything – and with everything, we also mean a lot of special things.
There are nice stores and cafés. You can really find some unique items. Several souvenirs too. However, La Latina is also famous for its beautiful churches, it’s wonderful streets, and it’s calm mood during the day. Even though it’s central, it’s not anywhere near as crowded as the rest of the city centre.
During the nighttime, the bars begin to open, and La Latina becomes a prime nightlife area. Many classic bars are located here, so we highly recommend going to La Latina if you want to enjoy a drink during the weekend.
A hip and modern area. Malasaña is super central, but it cannot be considered mainstream in any way.
Malasaña has the type of modern stores you can’t find anywhere else. It also has great restaurants.
Many of Madrid’s best bars are found in Malasaña. It is arguably the most popular neighborhood among young people. First of all – a lot of students are living here or coming by to study. Secondly, Malasaña is simply cool, and people take notice of this.
You can easily stay here, as the neighborhood is home to a large number of hostels. Most of them are fairly priced. But well, even if you are staying somewhere else, it is easy to stop by: Several metro lines go to Malasaña, and it’s within walking distance from any part of the centre. The western part of Gran Vía is actually part of this neighborhood!
Directly east of Malasaña, you will find the neighborhood Chueca. They are quite similar to each other when it comes to being modern, special and unique. However, while Malasaña is famous for its student population and its world-class bars, Chueca is famous for something else.
Chueca is one of the most open-minded neighborhoods in the entire world. It’s an area that is wildly popular among gay people. A large percentage of the population in Chueca are part of the LGBT-community, and Chueca is one of the areas that attract the largest number of tourists.
However, Chueca is not only for people of a certain orientation. It is for everybody. Any person can come to Chueca and have a great time. It’s an awesome place for shopping, and like Malasaña, the bars are very good. Chueca also has classical attractions – you can read more about them here!
The Golden Triangle of Art
Known as the area of the huge train station, but also as a place of art. Aside from those, Atocha also has several great places to eat.
However, seeing the train station is quite cool. It has a lot of plants inside, it is very well designed, and from Atocha, you can go almost anywhere in Spain.
A walk around the neighborhood is just as nice. The Golden Triangle of Art, which we described just before, is located in Atocha!
Barrio de las Letras
Not to be confused with the city Salamanca, located in the northwestern direction on the map.
The Salamanca neighborhood of Madrid is the wealthiest in the city. This is a very popular place to live, and the rent prices are high. Everything about Salamanca screams luxury – this is where a lot of the best restaurants are located. Some of Madrid’s more high-end stores are also placed here in Salamanca, for obvious reasons.
Things to check out: The ABC Serrano mall, the Corte Inglés, the Plazas and the streets and architecture in general.
A lot of travelers choose to book an Airbnb apartment in Salamanca, due to the great reputation of the neighborhood. We can recommend doing that, as you will undoubtedly have a great experience. But: It can be a bit expensive, which is the downside.
Paseo del Prado
Do these one day trips for more attractions
You will find even more cool attractions if you visit some of the nearby cities. The best 3 options are Toledo, Segovia and Salamanca. You can typically reach those cities by bus, train or car rental. It’s possible to book tours around all of these places if you want to go with a group.
We have an article up on day trips from Madrid. It has more information about how to travel to each of these places, so check it out if you are interested in doing a day trip.
A historic city south of Madrid. Its history can be traced all the way back to Roman times.
Toledo has more classical sights than it has modern attractions, but there is something for everyone to enjoy. A day trip is ideal, although Toledo can also be a full weekend trip.
While Toledo is located to the south, you have to head north to go to Segovia.
Segovia is known for its beautiful architecture and its many interesting sights. It’s a surprisingly wealthy city with a high standard of living. Since Segovia is close to Madrid, a lot of people actually prefer living there, and then taking the one hour drive into the capital when needed.
In any case, Segovia is a great place to visit if you have time for it. You’ll find plenty of additional things to do, aside from what the city of Madrid has to offer.
A quite large city. And a very historic one. Salamanca is famous for its university, which is very old. And Salamanca is one of the most popular options among Erasmus exchange students, so the city has a very modern and young vibe.
Outside of the university, there are a lot of bars. Salamanca also has decent restaurants. Going here as a young person will certainly be fun, but visitors of any age will have a good time. Salamanca is full of nice sights, so it is absolutely worth visiting if you have the time for it.
Unlike Toledo and Segovia, Salamanca is not located in the Madrid community. Instead, Salamanca belongs to Castilla y Léon, where it is arguably the most important city. So it’s farther away than Toledo and Segovia, but car rental is cheap in Spain, and you can always take the train as well.
Download the PDF checklist
You can download a simple checklist of all the 101 things to do in Madrid right here.
Print it out, bring it on the trip, and you will never run out of things to do anytime soon!
Madrid is full of great sights. You have plenty of choices, so be sure to pick out some great attractions and enjoy them.
Browse around the site for more information about Madrid and its many sights. This hotel guide might be useful!
And feel free to comment below if you have anything to add or any questions to the topic.