Arguably unmatched in its metropolitan architecture, Madrid is a busy but beautiful city. Being Spain’s capital, it is a popular choice for travelers of all types. It’s perfect if you like art, due to its many famous museums. Its size and density can feel overwhelming to some, but this article will break everything down so you can see everything you should without the stress!
1. The Prado Museum
The Prado Museum is well known for its vast collection of famous art. The museum holds paintings from famous artists such as Velasquez, Goya, and El Greco. There are guides available to help you find what you want to see. If you wish to see a lot of artwork, make sure you allow yourself a good amount of time to walk around, as this museum is very complete, in other words, it’s enormous! Additionally, the lines can get long so it’s best to get here early if you can. The art here is truly impressive and the museum overall is well maintained.
2. Palacio de Cristal and Parque de El Retiro
Retiro Park is a green sanctuary in the middle of Madrid. This park is like the central park of Madrid and it’s hard to miss if you’re passing through. The best part of this park is the small glass building modeled on London’s crystal palace, known as the “Palacio de Cristal.” Because of the amazing lighting it gets, this gorgeous structure is used for art expeditions, but it also makes it an amazing place to take photos! There is also a lake in this park, where you can rent a little boat and paddle around.
3. The Royal Palace
The official residence of the Spanish royal family (although the current royal family currently resides somewhere a little more modest). This palace is as glamorous as it gets and puts the white house to shame. It is surrounded by the Sabatini Gardens and filled with all sorts of elegant rooms such as the royal library, the royal armory, and even a royal pharmacy. It’s definitely worth stopping by!
4. Plaza Mayor
Although it is an obvious choice, this plaza should not be overlooked! This strikingly red plaza is in the heart of Madrid, attracting people of all kinds. The architecture is truly impressive. This plaza, as well as the plaza Puerta del Sol, are good middle points for exploring, as anything within a few mile radius will be worth checking out!
5. Mercado San Miguel
Known as Madrid’s gastronomic temple, his market is a must-see! Even if you aren’t hungry, go for the building itself! It’s a beautiful glass market and the food is presented beautifully. Although it does tend to get a little crowded on the inside especially in the early afternoon, it’s still worth going even if you’re just passing through. The inside is filled with different stalls of different types of vendors. You can buy and sample wine and different tapas, such as empanadas, croquetas, and fresh fish.
6. Chocolateria San Ginés
Being Madrid’s oldest “chocolatería”, this is a legendary place to try “churros con chocolate”, and it lives up to its name! There may be a line but it moves quickly. The service is good and expedient. This “chocolate” is nothing like American hot chocolate, it’s much thicker and richer (and better!).
7. Bernabeu Stadium
If you’re a soccer fan, the Bernabeu stadium is something you should definitely go and see! With a capacity of 81,000 spectators, this futuristic-looking stadium is enormous, it’s the second-largest stadium in Spain. Home of the Real Madrid team, it’s one of the world’s most famous fútbol venues. You can get here via the subway and stop at the Santiago Bernabeu station. The “Bernabéu tour” takes visitors around the stadium’s most iconic spots, including on the field so you can get the player’s perspective and even the locker room where you can take your picture next to your favorite player’s locker! (a little creepy yes, but no one will blame you).
8. Temple of Debod
Dating all the way back to the 2nd century BC, this Egyptian temple was donated to Spain as a gift from the Egyptian government. The construction of this temple was started at the beginning of the 2nd century as an offering to the God Amun and the Goddess Isis. In the 20th century, it was transported to Madrid and rebuilt identically, stone by stone. To get the whole history, the site is complete with plenty of audiovisual information to help visitors learn more. Best seen at sunset like pictured here, the light bouncing off the reflective pond is mesmerizing. The temple is the perfect way to end a busy day of sightseeing!
BONUS TIP: remember you can always book a Photoshoot in Madrid to create wonderful memories from your trip to this amazing city! 😉