Updated: July 2019
While Madrid may be the Spanish capital, it often loses out in the minds of visitors when compared to the charm of Barcelona. But, Madrid definitely should not be missed if you’re looking to soak up all the Spanish culture…and try all the tapas! If you are visiting Spain, then there are plenty of things to see and do in Madrid.
Like most capital cities, it has wonderful shopping areas and parks where you can relax, along with a range of historical sites. Whether you are staying in the city for a short weekend or a couple of weeks—
here are the top seven things to see and do in Madrid!
Puerta del Sol
While the Plaza Mayor may be the most famous square in Madrid, the Puerta del Sol is the busiest and most interesting square to visit! As it’s one of the main transport hubs, it’s definitely bustling but there’s a great open space as well.
There are a series of interesting statues and public artworks on display in this particular square, and the Royal Post Office now serves as the offices of the president.
This is the ideal place to take a seat, enjoy a coffee, and watch as the people of Madrid go about their daily business. Plus there’s a bunch of stunning architectural delights all around the square!
Catedral de la Almudena
Visit the Catedral de la Almudena
Facing on to a broad open square, this grand cathedral is one of the most ornately decorated structures in the city, along with being one of the largest cathedrals in Europe.
The work of building the cathedral took over a century—from the day the broke ground to its consecration in 1993. The most interesting thing? You can see a variety of artistic styles throughout the interior!
Enjoy a Flamenco Show
Flamenco is one of the most iconic forms of dance in the world, and as it originated in Spain, it is no surprise to find that it is a key part of the country’s culture.
Madrid has a range of venues that offer Flamenco shows with a traditional Spanish dinner, and this is a great way to enjoy some festive dancing and some good food at the same time. Can’t really beat that combination!
Palacio de Cristal
Palacio de Cristal
Built in 1887, the Palacio de Cristal is made almost entirely of glass set in an iron framework and is used today for contemporary art exhibitions. Set in a 130-hectare park and alongside a large lake, there is a wide variety of flora and of over 15,000 trees to discover on a sunny Spanish afternoon.
Gorgeous, isn’t it?
Mercado de San Miguel
The Mercado de San Miguel is one of the most beautiful food markets I’ve seen in all my travels! Locals and tourists alike pack into the market to sample the delicious tastes of Madrid. Be sure to sample some tapas and sip on a Spanish-style Gin & Tonic—Madrid’s favorite cocktail!
If you want to extend your culinary adventure, look into taking a food tour around the city!
Watch a Game of Football
Can you go to Spain and not see a game of soccer, er…I mean a football game? With two huge club teams in one city, it is a great place to catch a game!
Real Madrid is one of the most recognized teams in the world, with stars like Ronaldo and Gareth Bale strutting their stuff. Atlético Madrid is more of an underdog story, and are equally worth watching if they are playing during your visit!
Museo Del Prado
The Museo del Prado is one of the best museums in Europe and boasts a superb collection of classical art that spans some of the most recognizable artists to have put brush to canvas.
From Spanish masters such as Velasquez and Goya through to other Europeans such as Rubens, Botticelli, and Caravaggio, this is such an interesting and beautiful collection that is worth exploring!
Those are my top seven picks of things to do when visiting Madrid! What would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!