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.
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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