Madrid is an impressive city in which there is no shortage of original leisure and tourism offers, both indoors and outdoors. In this guide you will find everything that you cannot miss, as well as different plans in which you will hardly spend money.
Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.
Madrid, the Spanish capital, is one of the most visited cities in the country. Thanks to its tourist offer, each year it attracts millions of people from all over the world.
So that these visitors are always informed, throughout the city there are several tourism offices in which to be able to solve any doubt or acquire a map. They are found at these addresses:
- Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport, T2, between rooms 5 and 6
- Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport, T4, room 10
- Paseo de la Castellana, 138 (next to the Santiago Bernabéu)
- Paseo Recoletos, 23
- Plaza de Callao, s / n
- Cibeles Square, 1
- Neptune Square
- Plaza Mayor, 27
- Ronda de Atocha, s / n (next to the Reina Sofía museum)
To make it easier to get to know this place, Turismo Madrid has developed a app (application) that can be downloaded on both an iPhone and an Android phone.
In the following tourist map you can see the central area of this city:
As you will discover below, in Madrid there are many attractions to see and plenty of plans to do. However, some people prefer other cities like Barcelona. Here you can find the rest of the most important towns in the country: The 10 most important cities in Spain.
What to visit
Madrid is a city with quite different areas and impressive buildings. These are the 10 places that you cannot miss on your list:
Puerta del Sol
This square is the most famous corner of Madrid, since it is here where the most important and crowded events of the year take place, such as on New Year's Eve, when the attention of the attendees is focused on the clock of the Royal Post Office.
Here you will also find the Kilometer Zero from which the radial highways of Spain depart. Also, although it goes unnoticed, there is the Statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree, an icon of the city.
Plaza de Cibeles
In this busy location, the Palacio de Cibeles and current City Hall are located, as well as the Fuente de Cibeles, which dates back to the XNUMXth century and is the star of the most important sports celebrations in the country.
Other notable buildings are the Bank of Spain and the Palacio de Buenavista. This point communicates with Calle Alcalá and Paseo del Prado.
Buen Retiro Park
Retirement It is the largest park in Madrid, ideal for practicing sports, taking a walk, or simply sitting on one of its benches to contemplate the views and the passers-by who pass by.
Within its 118 hectares, the Crystal Palace stands out, which usually hosts some art exhibitions, and the large artificial pond next to the Alfonso XII Monument, where you can go up by boat.
This area, also known as Madrid of the AustriasIt is the place in the city with the greatest history, since it includes the part included in the medieval layout commissioned by the House of the Habsburgs.
This is where the Madrid's Royal Palace o East Palace, the official residence of the King of Spain. Next to it we find the Almudena Cathedral, which was built between the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries.
However, the best known place in this area is the Plaza Mayor, which has been one of the key points of Madrid since the XNUMXth century. Today you will find numerous bars and restaurants there.
Temple of Debod
Believe it or not, inside Madrid you can find an authentic temple of the ancient egyptian civilization: The Temple of Debod, which donated Egypt to Spain in 1968. This building has 2.200 years of history, making it one of the essential visits to the city.
Seeing its interior is completely free and can be done every day of the week except Monday and some holidays such as May 1 and Christmas. You have all the information in this article: The Temple of Debod in Madrid: opening hours, how to get there and prices.
If after knowing it you are interested in learning more about Egyptian culture, we recommend the following article: Egyptian civilization: location, organization and characteristics.
Puerta de Alcalá
La Puerta de Alcalá, which is located on the street under the same name, is one of the most famous monuments in Madrid. At the time of its construction, in 1778, the entrance to the city was located here.
At present, it is located inside a roundabout where traffic does not stop all day. It's next to Parque del Retiro and only 400 meters from the Plaza de Cibeles.
Neighborhood of the letters
It is the favorite area of literature lovers, since great Spanish authors of the past lived in the Literature or Literature neighborhood. Golden age, among which are Cervantes, Quevedo, Lope de Vega and Góngora.
The positive aspect of this area is that a large part of its streets are pedestrianized and, in addition, you will be able to see the most outstanding verses and phrases of the writers who resided in this place on the ground.
Plaza of Spain
If you plan to go through Gran Vía, don't forget to visit Plaza de España first, as it is located next door. Despite being in the center of Madrid, it is a quiet and traffic-free garden.
The main monument of this place is the one built in honor of Miguel de Cervantes. In it you can find its two most famous characters: Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.
El Capricho Park
Although it is not as big as El Retiro, El Capricho de la Alameda de Osuna Park stands out for its heritage and unique corners. In addition, he is not so well known, so calm usually reigns in him.
Among the buildings that are located inside, a bunker of the Civil War which is in an optimal state of conservation and which can be visited on weekends.
Those interested in the most modern architecture cannot miss the financial district, which is located at the end of Paseo de la Castellana and is included in the Tetuán neighborhood.
Among the tallest buildings are the Torre Picasso, at 156 m, and the Torre Europa, at 121 m. However, the most famous buildings in the area are the KIO Towers, which form the so-called Door of Europe. They are the two leaning buildings that we can see in this photo:
What to do
In a city so big and with so much diversity, it is easy to find a plan according to the tastes of each one. Here are some of the most recommended:
If you want to walk through the most luxurious from Madrid and visit the most exclusive shops, you cannot miss the Barrio de Salamanca. Within it is located Calle Serrano, also known as the golden mile.
A totally opposite option is El Rastro, a market located between Lavapiés and La Latina that is set up every Sunday and on holidays. In it, you can find old objects, art, clothes, etc.
To visit a museum
That it rains in Madrid does not mean that nothing can be done. The best choice for a rainy day is to visit one of the great museums in the city.
The most famous is the Museo del Prado, in which you can enjoy great works by the most relevant artists in history, such as Velázquez, Rubens or El Greco, among many others. It's free every afternoon from six (five on Sundays and holidays).
For those who prefer contemporary art, we find the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Both centers are quite close and you can go from one to the other in just ten minutes.
Likewise, it is also important to know the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, in which there are outstanding works of art such as Dream caused by the flight of a bee around a pomegranate one second before waking upby Salvador Dalí.
If what you want is to enjoy Madrid's nightlife, there are different options. The busiest area, especially on Friday and Saturday nights, is Huertas, which is located near Puerta del Sol.
The most alternative neighborhood is Malasaña, where there are plenty of places dedicated to rock or punk. This is where the artistic movement called la Movida madrid. On the other hand, the gay scene is concentrated in Chueca.
If you want to extend the party as long as possible, you can go to one of the best nightclubs in the country, among which are the following:
- Joy Eslava
- New garamond
Watch a show
Along the Gran Vía the most popular shows in the city are concentrated, be they plays, musicals, monologues, etc. Among the most popular venues are the Rialto Theater and the Lope de Vega Theater. On the other hand, the Royal Theater of Madrid It is located in the Plaza de Oriente.
If you want to attend one of these activities, it is recommended that you purchase your tickets in advance, as they tend to sell out and it can be difficult to get one on the same day you plan to attend.
Madrid is an ideal city for gastronomic tourism, since its culinary offer leaves no one hungry. Among its typical appetizers are the calamari sandwich or the tortilla pincho.
If you want to try these tapas, among others, a good place is Mercado de San Miguel, which is open every day of the week from ten in the morning until late at night.
However, you can also go to a more select restaurant such as Casa Benigna, La Candela Restò or DiverXO, one of the most avant-garde and different options you can find.
Make a route
Taking a tourist route is a good choice if you only have 24 or 48 hours in the city. There are numerous companies that are dedicated to teaching the most important and special of the city.
Similarly, there are some that focus on organizing thematic routes, which focus on a part of Madrid and some of its most important characters, such as Velázquez. Some are even offered in which the tour is done by bicycle or segway.
Climb by cable car
A romantic and perfect plan to do with your partner, for example, on Valentine's Day, is to get on the cable car that goes from Rosales Station to Casa de Campo.
The cabins are large and spacious, and from them you can enjoy beautiful views of the city. Tickets can be purchased there. Also, it is a fairly cheap option. In the following article you will find more information: The Madrid cable car: address, price, how to get there and timetables.
Madrid with children
Madrid is a good city to visit with children and even babies, as it has an important transport network and throughout the year many activities are organized for the little ones.
If you want to surprise them with impressive views even when it is raining, you can go with them to the Moncloa Lighthouse viewpoint or the cable car, which we have already named in section 3.7 of this article.
In addition, this way you can take the opportunity to go to the Madrid Amusement Park, as it is in the Casa de Campo. A good time to visit is Christmas, when the park is decked out for the occasion and makes it even more fun.
On the other hand, if your children are football fans, they will be delighted to witness a match in one of the two main stadiums of the city: the Santiago Bernabéu and the Vicente Calderón. It is an option that even teenagers they will love it.
Among the most recommended museums for children is the National Museum of Natural Sciences. Similarly, a special place is the Ratón Pérez Museum House.
Also, apart from the aforementioned parks, you can go to Madrid Río, where there are a total of 17 areas with children's games, as well as circuits to practice sports. It is located on the banks of the Manzanares River.
Madrid's public transport network is perfect for getting to know the city without having to go everywhere on foot. The best option is to purchase a tourist pass.
This type of ticket can be purchased for 1, 2, 3, 5 or 7 days. With it you can take any means of transport, both metro, bus, tram, train, etc. There are two kinds:
- Zone A
- It includes all the transport of the city of Madrid, in addition to the metro that goes to the airport, the vicinity of the O and A zone and the ML1 light rail. The bus is excluded Airport Express.
- Zone T
- includes all metro areas, urban and interurban bus lines (except the Airport Express), the entire Cercanías network, the ML2 and ML3 Light Metro, and the tram to Parla. Therefore, you can go to Guadalajara or Toledo.
Another way to get to know the city without having to walk is to ride the tourist bus, which has audio guides in many languages and different routes.
However, if you prefer to exercise and move freely, you can opt for the public bicycle rental, which has a rate for 1, 3 or 5 days.
When to go
Madrid is a perfect city to go all year round. However, there are certain dates that will make your trip more special. One of these is Christmas, when you can enjoy a different New Year's Eve and the Three Kings Night parade.
As for the most important party, this is San Isidro And it takes place every year in May, at which time music concerts, shows, etc. are organized in the city.
However, if you want to move around the city quietly and avoid the accumulation of tourists, it is better to avoid holidays such as Easter or the December bridge.
As for the time needed to see the city, you can know the basics in a weekend. However, a three to five day visit would be perfect to see it in depth.
Although Madrid is a city with an immense offer in which it is difficult to get bored, you can take advantage of the trip to get to know some of the towns and corners that are close to it.
Saint Lawrence of El Escorial it is only 45 km from the capital. Here we find a monastery built in the XNUMXth century, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In addition, it is a place surrounded by nature, ideal for hiking.
In this province we also find Aranjuez, specifically 51 km from Madrid. This charming town stands out for its Royal Palace and impressive gardens. It has several hotels where you can stay.
A different alternative is to go to Warner Park, in which there are attractions for both children and adults, as well as shows and thematic areas where you can meet the characters of The Looney Tunes Show.
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