Madrid is a unique city in every way. It’s a modern metropolis that attracts thousands of visitors every day and offers plenty of sightseeing options. There are many art museums, monuments, and historical sites worth exploring, as well as several parks where visitors take long walks and enjoy the peace and quiet. The locals are friendly and the food is simply delicious, so what’s not to like? Take a look at our list of top 10 things to do in Madrid.
- Royal Palace of Madrid
The official residence of the Royal Family, Royal Palace of Madrid is mostly used for state ceremonies. When there are no state events here, this building from the 18th century is open to the public and attracts large crowds of visitors. If you don’t want to stand in long lines, make sure to come early in the mornings to check out one of the prettiest monumental buildings in the city. You will have a chance to visit several banqueting halls and rooms.
- Prado National Museum
Prado National Museum features a collection of over 5,000 paintings. Most of them were painted by Spanish painters from the 12th to the 19th century. Make sure to check out the masterpieces including works from Francisco de Goya, The Annunciation by Fra Angelico, and Adoration of the Shepherds by El Greco. The collection also features French, British, and Italian paintings, as well as a number of neoclassical sculptures. There is an audio guide that covers a tour of 50 paintings, as well as a gift shop and a lovely bar with a terrace.
- Retiro Park
If you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of crowded streets of Madrid, head out to Retiro Park. It was created in the 17th century by the Count-Duke of Olivares and is famous for its three-lined paths and the amazing Rose Garden. See Palacio de Cristal with its amazing fountain or grab a drink at one of the park’s cafes. For those who love stargazing, there is an observatory from the 18th century. Retiro Park is also well-known for several fountains including La Alcachofa, El Ángel Caído, and Los Galápagos. It’s definitely a perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon.
- Thussen Bornemisza Museum
Featuring European art from 13th to the 20th century, Thussen Bornemisza Museum houses almost 1000 artworks that cover Pop Art, Impressionism, the Baroque period, Romanticism, and Expressionism. There are also a number of American paintings from the 19th century. Signature works of art at this amazing museum include The Annunciation by El Greco, Dancer in Green by Edward Degas, and Jesus among the Doctors by Albrecht Durer. Be prepared to spend at least a couple of hours at Thussen Bornemisza Museum, due to its extensive collection of paintings.
- Santiago Bernabeu
Located just north of the center of Madrid, Santiago Bernabeu is the number one football stadium in the city and home to the players of Real Madrid. People from Spain are crazy about this game, so it’s no wonder that Santiago Bernabeu is considered being one of the most popular attractions in the city. There are several tours that visitors can take, but a lot of people say that watching a football match at Santiago Bernabeu is a truly unforgettable experience.
- Plaza Mayor
Madrid’s main square, Plaza Mayor is located in the city center and just a short walk from Puerta del Sol. Over the years, the square has changed many names. Many important historical events took place here including bullfights, fiestas, crowning ceremonies, and public executions. Today, Plaza Mayor is surrounded by many high-end restaurants and bars that definitely overcharge their visitors, but it’s still a nice place to check out and watch people passing by.
- Templo de Debod
Situated in downtown Madrid, Templo de Debod is an Egyptian temple from the second century B.C. which was given to Spain by the Egyptian state. It took almost two years to rebuild Templo de Debod after being transported to Spain, since some stones were lost during the delivery and there were no blueprints for the project available. It was finally opened to the public in 1972. Today, it houses a lovely rose garden and offers spectacular views of Casa de Campo. The local residents say how the best time to visit Templo de Debod is just before the sunset.
- Mercado San Miguel
Located just a short walk from Plaza Mayor, Mercado San Miguel is a famous shopping destination where you can try local goods and other delicacies. It features glass walls that showcase everything from fish and oysters and cakes and pasta. The good news is that Mercado San Miguel is open on weekends until 2 AM and it’s a nightspot where tourists and locals gather to enjoy appetizers, tapas, and drinks. This superb place also hosts a number of events including live music performances, private parties, and cooking classes.
- Museo Sorolla
Museo Sorolla is dedicated to one of the most famous Spanish artists, Joaquín Sorolla. It includes an impressive collection of his paintings and drawings inside nicely decorated halls and rooms. Don’t forget to visit the amazing patio with its decorative tile work and the lovely fountain outside.
- Queen Sofia Arts Center
A modern art gallery that includes over 20,000 works of art, Queen Sofia Arts Center is home to art pieces from famous Spanish artists like Joan Miro and Salvador Dali. Of course, the most famous artwork is Guernica from Picasso. The admission price is around 8 Euro, but make sure to check out the website of the museum for working hours. The easiest way to reach Queen Sofia Arts Center is from the Atocha metro stop.