Top 10 Things to Do in Madrid
Blog post by: @hermanasingluten on behalf of Checkout.note by Famous Hostels.
Spending some time in one of Spain’s most popular destinations and wondering how you’re going to fill up your itinerary? Check out our post and discover the top 10 things to do in Madrid!
Madrid is an amazing city where you can literally spend hours walking aimlessly and still stumble upon different things. Regardless if it’s the people, the climate, the food, or the style, everything is beautiful in Madrid. From grand architectural stunners, to lush green spaces, cool museums, festivals, and great shopping, there’s a whole host of things to do in this ultra-cool city! And one of the best things about this popular Spanish destination? It’s well connected and planned out, so you can access nearly anything on foot or via transit. Ready to start planning your trip? Read on for the top 10 things to do in Madrid!
1. Walk and Shop on the Gran Via
Gran Via is the one of the most important and central streets in Madrid. You can find all types of shops here, from Gucci to Primark, as well as tons of food options. And we all know how necessary a snack is after a few hours of shopping! So if you’re looking for a good coffee paired with a nice view of the Gran Via, then head to the 9th floor of the El Corte Ingles Callao. Gran Via is especially nice during the day, but you’ll get a totally different experience here in the evenings. The shopping crowd is replaced by street musicians and enthusiastic dancers, which brings a street-parts feel to the area. Is it any wonder it’s one of the top things to do in Madrid?!
2. Retiro Park
I was amazed at the number of parks in Madrid. and Retiro is one of the most famous ones. Locals and tourists frequent the park, and you’ll find tons of street musicians, people relaxing and exercising, and lots of lush greenery. And located in the middle of the park is the “Palacio de Cristal”, which was inspired by London’s Crystal Palace. Entrance to the Palacio de Cristal is free, and once inside, you’ll be met with tons of photo opportunities. And don’t miss out on the charming rose garden, where I easily could’ve spent hours. As for when to visit the garden, it’s up to you! But a visit in the morning, or a picnic lunch under a tree is recommended.
3. Explore the Architecture
If anything in Madrid stands out to you, it will be the impressive architecture. And taking time to really admire and appreciate it is really one of the top things you can do in Madrid. One of my favourite examples of stunning architecture in Madrid is the “Puerta de Alcalá”. Located in the middle of Alcalá Street, it’s a popular spot for lots of events throughout the year, but also just as a regular meeting and chill out spot. But no matter where you roam in the city, you’ll be constantly faced with stunning examples of architectural craftsmanship.
If you’re up for a day trip, then head to Toledo! Located only an hour by bus from Madrid, Toledo is a gorgeous city with steep streets, beautiful architecture, and typically delicious food. Also referred to as, ‘the City of the Three Cultures’, you’ll witness the striking differences between Christian, Muslim, and Jewish architecture and culture in Toledo. The coexistence of these three religions in Toldeo make it a truly special feature of the city you really shouldn’t miss. Without hesitation, a day trip to Toldeo is worth it! While there, I recommend going on a free walking tour to get a better grasp of the city, and see it from a different perspective!
5. Indulge in Local Food with Beer or Tinto de Verano
One of the most exciting parts of travel is most certainly the food aspect, and Spanish food doesn’t disappoint! I’m the type of traveler who loves trying local foods, even if I have no idea what exactly is placed in front of me. As for what to try, I recommend the typical Spanish dishes like paella, gazpacho, salmorejo, or any tapas. And if you happen to visit Madrid in the spring or summer, you’ll be especially spoiled with the fresh food options.
As for drinks, the scene in Madrid doesn’t disappoint. Quench your thirst with a delicious beer, or a “tinto de verano”, which is a drink made with red wine and lemon soda. It may sound strange but I promise it’s delicious!
6. National Museum Reina Sofia
Whether you consider yourself a fan of art or not, a visit to the National Museum Reina Sofia is one of the top things to do in Madrid! The museum boasts an impressive collection of contemporary art, such as cubism and surrealism, many of which are by some of the most famous artists in the world. Ever hear of Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, or Joan Miró? Well, you can admire some of their pieces here! And if you’re on a budget, you’re in for a treat because after 6pm, entrance to the museum is free.
7. Museo de las Ilusiones
This museum gave me a totally different experience than any other museum I had been to before. Rather than wander around in awe at impressive historical pieces and art, you’ll find yourself in awe of illusions and lots of other curious things. The museum is built for patrons to have fun and take cool photos. This activity will only take a few hours, and is a great thing to do with friends, or even with children.
8. Palacio Real de Madrid
If you’ve ever wondered what the biggest (functional) royal residence looks like in Europe, then you have to stop here! Officially home to the Spanish royal family, there are no words to describe what I felt upon entering the Palacio Real de Madrid. The tour starts in the living room, going through the bedrooms, the dining room, and the royal throne room. However, the tour route can change from time to time, so it’s hard to say what you’ll see when you experience it for yourself. After 5pm, entrance is free, but please note it can get quite crowded at this time.
9. Visit a Stadium
Whether you’re a football fan or not, stadiums are impressive and always worth a visit. And Madrid is home to two massive ones! Are you a fan of Real Madrid? The you know to head to Santiago Bernabeu. But if you’re more into Atletico Madrid, then a visit to Wanda Metropolitano is in order! And if you time your visit right, you might even be able to catch a game at either one. Tickets usually start at around 30€, and will give you an experience you won’t soon forget!
10. Faro de Moncloa
Like to take in the city from above? Especially when the sun starts to set, this can be a very exciting activity. Head to Faro de Moncloa, nearby the Moncloa metro station to get the experience. For 4€, you can take a lift to the observation deck and get the most stunning views of Madrid you could ever imagine!
Where to Stay in Madrid
Cats Hostel Madrid Sol is our top recommendation if you’re planning to visit Madrid. From free activities, to cool social areas, and even a Sangria fountain, Cats Hostel are the best hosts in the city. They even have an amazing bar in their basement, so you don’t even have to go far to find a good party!
Top 10 Things to Do in Madrid
As you can see, Madrid is a city with lots of things to see and do, and is always a lot of fun! If you’re looking for more information to help you plan, click here. Our blog ranges from city & food guides, travel tips, and more, all in an effort to inspire your next getaway. For all the latest news at Famous Hostels, follow us or subscribe on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Youtube.
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