Madrid is a sprawling European city and Spain’s own central capital. It’s a city that holds its own among some of Europe’s most iconic destinations thanks to its art museums, parks, historical sites, food, and wine.
The city itself has its own share of hustle and bustle, but this makes for no shortage of culture and open space to take in the beauty of Madrid. If you’re planning a visit to this iconic city, here are the top things to do in Madrid while you’re there…
Must-See Sites and Things To Do in Madrid
The best thing about Madrid is that you’re able to experience the best of both worlds. If you’re looking for that quintessential European flare and culture, Madrid is packed to the brim with it. But if you’re looking for a little more up-and-go vibe, the city has a taste of this too. Ultimately, it all depends on what you enjoy the most when traveling.
But if you do anything while visiting Madrid, make sure you visit any of these five spots…
- Plaza Mayor
This famous square is found at the very heart of Madrid. And it’s a definite must-visit when visiting the city to get a true feel for Spanish culture. Surrounded by some of the city’s top tapas restaurants, cafes, and bars, you can wine and dine while watching the city bustle by. The square is also host to a variety of street performers and holiday markets around that time of year.
- Buen Retiro Park
Translated as ”Park of the Pleasant Retreat”, Buen Retiro is a true sight to behold when visiting Madrid. Famous for its sprawling, perfectly manicured gardens, lakes, and playgrounds, this is the ideal city escape. The park spans over 300-acres and once housed Felipe IV’s very own palace and gardens. It was opened to the public in the late 19th century, and is now a true wonder of the city.
Make sure to call past the Crystal Palace and rent a rowboat or visit the impressive rose garden for a rose display like no other.
- The Royal Palace of Madrid
It wouldn’t really be a royal palace if it didn’t house royalty- and at this site you can either opt for a tour company as your guide, or meander at your own pace. Housing the monarchs of Spain from the 1700s- 1900s, it is still considered the official residence of the royal family. It is also one of the largest royal palaces in all of Western Europe. Prepare to be blown away by pure grandeur, opulence, and finely honed detail in all of the 3,000 rooms, as well as the popular armory room and royal pharmacy.
- Barrio de Salamanca
If you’re looking to bend some plastic while touring Madrid, be sure to head to Barrio de Salamanca, one of the city’s most elite shopping regions. Often compared to New York’s Fifth Avenue, here you can expect to find elegant restaurants and designer stores. If this is your type of thing, you don’t want to miss the main shopping streets – Calle de Serrano, Calle de Goya and Calle de Velázquez.
- El Rastro Market
If you’re looking for a shopping spot that’s a little more budget-friendly, then the El Rastro Market is the place to be. After a short stroll down Calle de las Maldonadas, you’ll find one of Madrid’s oldest flea markets, dating back to the 15th century. It’s not only popular for shopping, but a great spot to experience local culture, too. Enjoy live Spanish music and browse from hundreds of different merchants. Bear in mind that it can get overcrowded, so it’s best to get in early!
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