As I have mentioned in my previous post on the best European places for solo travelers, Spain is the first country I have visited in Europe. I went to Madrid in 2010.
Energetic vibes are everywhere in the city of Madrid in Spain, and you will feel it immediately upon your arrival. As you begin to wander around, you will find plenty of cultural options, especially when it comes to the artwork that is present in many galleries and museums.
Add in the spectacular architecture, phenomenal dining options and cuisine, and the numerous bars that line the streets, and you will have a vacation destination that checks off all the boxes.
Read also: 30+ Best Places For First Time International Travelers
Best Things to Do in Madrid, Spain
1. Do a Little Museum Hopping
Okay, so while on vacation, many people go island hopping. But while you are in Madrid, you may want to go museum hopping instead! There are so many spectacular museums in the city of Madrid, and you will want to see them all. If you must narrow down your list, make sure you keep Museo Reina Sofia and Museo del Prado close to the top.
2. Visit the Royal Palace
The Royal Palace is always at the top of the must-see list for those visiting Madrid. This is the official residence of the Royal family, but they do not spend much of their time there. During a tour, you can see the incredible art collection, as well as a few different rooms of the palace.
3. Relax in Parque del Buen Retiro
This stunning park is a favorite amongst the locals in Madrid, so you know it must be the perfect place for relaxation. You can easily take a picnic lunch there to enjoy, but we also encourage you to rent a boat to take out onto the lake. If nothing else, this park will allow you to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a little bit.
4. Spend a Little Time at Puerta del Sol
Puerta del Sol is a huge square that can be found directly next to the Post Office Building in the city. This is a popular square and it is almost always crowded throughout the day. You can easily sit and do a little people watching for hours. During your visit, you must look at the clock at the top of the Post Office. This clock is the one the locals look at, in person and on television, when celebrating the countdown to New Year’s.
5. Eat All the Food at Mercado de San Miguel
Mercado de San Miguel is the oldest market in the city. This market opened up in 1916, and it is not too far from Plaza Mayor. While you can easily purchase some fresh fruits and vegetables, you are more likely to find prepared meals to indulge in. All the local dishes are delicious, and you won’t want to leave until you have tried the gambas al ajillo and patatas bravas. Also, don’t forget to order a rioja or beer to wash it all down.
6. Go Shopping at El Rastro
El Rastro is one massive flea market that has more than three thousand stalls. If there is an item on your list to buy, you will find it in this market. El Rastro is only open on Sundays, so you will need to plan your visit accordingly. When you are finished with the market, you should also take the time to explore the nearby antique shops to see if there is anything else you can check off your list.
7. Take a Selfie with the Cibeles Fountain
The Cibeles Fountain is one of the iconic symbols of this city, but that is only one of the many reasons you must capture a selfie with it. If you happen to time your visit to this fountain right, you may get to meet some of the Real Madrid players, as they are celebrating their most recent win.
8. Walk the Riverside Along the Manzanares River
If you have a little extra time when visiting Madrid, you must walk alongside the Manzanares River. There is a Riverwalk there that will take you past many parks, bridges, and even playgrounds. While you can simply walk along, you can also ride a bike from one end to the other and back again.
9. Watch a Flamenco Performance
If you have never seen the flamenco performed before, it is something that you will want to make sure you see when you are in Madrid. This dance, and the music that is in the background, is enticing, so don’t feel embarrassed if you are dancing in your seat while watching. You can watch the flamenco in many different places, but we recommend Corral de la Moreria since it is the oldest flamenco house in the entire world.
These are the best things to do in Madrid, Spain, so you must make sure they are all on your list for your planned vacation there. We know you will discover many other intriguing things to do during your visit as well, so keep a close eye on your itinerary and the time. This will ensure you do not spend too much time admiring one attraction and need to skip over the next few items on your list.
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21 thoughts on “Best Things to Do in Madrid, Spain”
It kooks so beautiful there. Ive always wanted to visit the Cibeles Fountain since I saw it in another post, but this makes me want to go immediately. Thanks for sharing!
Never been to Madrid but now I think Madrid would be in my bucket list.
Madrid is in our bucket list, once we can travel as normal we will deffo go there. Glad to bump into this article , less time for me to search about what to do in Madrid . Saved !
I haven’t been to Madrid, but I would love to go. There are so many great things to see and do.
Spain was my first destination as a solo traveller. Really fond memories of the country, explored Barca though. So this is something I look forward to. Exploring Madrid next!
I’ve always wanted to visit Madrid! I used to have a manager from Madrid and she had told me about Mercado de San Miguel. I will have to save and come back to this post when I decide to go!
Rayka | South Asian Skin Blog
Thank you for sharing these many recommendations! Madrid was a former “Mother City” of the Philippines when we were colonized 300 years ago, and we gained so many Spanish cultures. We embraced it, and it would be exciting to visit Madrid and explore its beauty.
I absolutely love Spain! I’ve made it to Barcelona but not Madrid, thank you for sharing I’ll make sure to keep this in mind after the pandemic 🙂
It seems interesting!! I will share it with my sister.
I want to visit Spain. All the things you have mentioned will make a trip memorable and fun
These ideas will make sure you never have a dull moment. Great post.
El Retiro is my favorite park in Madrid, and I recommend rowing a boat in the lake.
Also, explore the Golden Triangle of art! it’s a must-see! – Knycx Journeying
Spain is on my bucket list when things go back to somewhat normalcy one day lol. Madrid has such character and scenery. Thanks for the suggestions.
I want to see the building that the Cibeles Fountain is in front of. That looks amazing.
These all sound like fantastic ideas for visiting Spain. The museum hopping sounds like it would be a lot of fun and educational.
What I love about Madrid is its rich history and culture. I like going to museums so this will be the perfect place for me to travel! Hopefully, this pandemic will end soon. Thanks for this guide!
Very helpful article indeed. I look forward to reading your other articles as well. Thanks for sharing!
I was only in Madrid for a short while, but it really got me wanting to spend more time there to explore. This is the perfect post for anyone wants to explore Madrid!
Beautiful Madrid. Such an easy city to visit. I loved the Prado and the Royal Palace. Your post brings a lot of great memories back!!!
This for me is one of the best places to visit. I wish we can go out again and explore the world!
WOW., very informative ! this looks like a wonderful place, my husband would really like to visit the Royal palace!