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Are you planning to spend a bridge or a long weekend in Madrid? The capital of Spain has so much to offer that three days are not enough to explore it completely, but it’s sufficient to see the highlights, fall in love with the city, and plan another trip to enjoy it with more time. Get ready to discover what to see in Madrid in 3 days!
Day 1 in Madrid
For your first day in Madrid, we’ve prepared a traditional tour, visiting some of the most central tourist attractions in the capital and starting in the best place to gather strength before the demanding tour that awaits you. Will you join us?
Start your day with breakfast at Chocolatería San Ginés, a Madrilenian tradition not to be missed. Their crispy churros and hot chocolate, the best in the capital, are the perfect accompaniment for a day full of tourism. San Ginés, in the heart of Madrid, is the perfect starting point for your tourist route after a delicious breakfast.
Plaza Mayor is one of the most emblematic places in Madrid. Surrounded by three-story buildings with balconies, it’s the ideal place to enjoy a coffee and observe people while soaking in the historic atmosphere. Throughout its history, it has suffered three major fires, with respective restorations, and has served as a market, bullring, venue for autos-da-fé, and even public executions.
Puerta del Sol
Leave Plaza Mayor through Calle de la Sal and head down to Calle Mayor to reach Puerta del Sol. This square, recently renovated, is the epicenter of Madrid and the starting point of all radial roads in Spain. Here, you’ll find the famous clock of the Casa de Correos (where New Year’s Eve chimes are broadcasted to the entire country) and the statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree, symbolizing the city.
Plaza de Cibeles
Once you’ve visited Puerta del Sol, take Calle Alcalá and progress, admiring its stately buildings, to Plaza de Cibeles, known for its impressive fountain, a site of football celebrations, especially for Real Madrid. It’s an iconic place to take photos and enjoy the architecture.
Madrid City Hall
Next to the fountain, you’ll discover the Palacio de Cibeles, the former Palace of Telecommunications, now housing the Madrid City Hall. It’s an impressive building with a beautifully illuminated modernist facade at night. It’s worth admiring its architecture, designed by Antonio Palacios: 70 meters in height over 8 floors, the highest of which houses a restaurant where you can enjoy one of the best views of the capital.
Linares Palace – Casa de América
Right in front of the City Hall stands the Linares Palace, also known as Casa de América, a historic building with impressive architecture rumored to be haunted. You can explore its interior and discover its role in promoting Latin American culture in Madrid.
Puerta de Alcalá
Continuing along Calle Alcalá, we reach Puerta de Alcalá, one of the 5 royal gates of access to Madrid and one of the most famous monuments in the capital. Designed by Francisco Sabatini, Francisco Gutiérrez Arribas, and Roberto Michel, the monument, dating back to 1778, is one of Madrid’s iconic images.
Next to Puerta de Alcalá, Retiro Park is an oasis of tranquility in the heart of Madrid. Depending on your time, you can stroll along its wide avenues, take a boat ride on the lake, visit the Crystal Palace and the Fallen Angel statue, or simply relax and have a drink in the shade of the trees.
After relaxing in Retiro Park, we invite you to visit the Royal Palace of Madrid, an architectural gem in the heart of the city. Although it is the official residence of the Head of State, the Spanish kings do not live here; instead, it
is used for events such as royal receptions. It is one of the largest royal palaces in Europe, with 3418 rooms and a total area of 135,000 square meters. After the visit, where you will explore its impressive kitchens and throne room, among other areas, you can enjoy the panoramic view from the Sabatini Gardens.
Almudena Cathedral is a neoclassical and Gothic masterpiece located next to the Royal Palace. Its interior is equally impressive, with ornate details and a fascinating history. The temple is a blend of architectural styles: the exterior is neoclassical, while the interior is neogothic, and the crypt is neoromanesque.
The Debod Temple, located in the former Montaña barracks, is a gift from Egypt to Spain, placed in a tranquil setting next to the West Park. It offers a spectacular view of the sunset and is a unique place to visit in Madrid.
Day 2 in Madrid
On this second day, we will take a cultural stroll through Madrid and discover some of the most beautiful works that the capital houses. Let’s go!
The Literary Quarter is a charming place full of literary history. Its cobbled streets and decorated facades will transport you to the Golden Age, the era of great Spanish writers. On a leisurely walk, you can discover Jacinto Benavente Square, Huertas Street, Santa Ana Square, Cervantes Street, and Lope de Vega Street. In addition to honoring the great writers of Spanish literature, the Literary Quarter is perfect for tapas in its traditional taverns.
Congress of Deputies
A stone’s throw from Santa Ana Square, you can discover the exterior of the Congress of Deputies, an iconic building in Spanish politics. If you are interested in history and politics, it is a fascinating place to visit and is open for group visits, by appointment, every day of the week.
At the end of Carrera de San Jerónimo, you will find the iconic Neptune Square, where the fountain of the same name stands out, a place for the celebration of Atlético de Madrid fans and a charming spot to rest and enjoy a unique view of the majestic Congress of Deputies building.
Follow the Paseo del Prado, enjoying its quiet boulevard, an oasis in the middle of one of the busiest streets in the capital, and you will reach the Prado Museum, one of the most important art galleries in the world, housing an impressive collection of masterpieces, including paintings by Velázquez, Goya, or El Bosco. Dedicate a few hours to explore its temporary and permanent exhibitions and enjoy the art.
Chueca and Malasaña Districts
Once saturated with classical art, you can spend the afternoon wandering through the neighborhoods of Chueca and Malasaña, two areas known for their bohemian atmosphere, unique shops, and trendy bars. Explore their streets, do some shopping, and enjoy local gastronomy.
San Antón Market
End the day by having a drink at the San Antón Market, the ideal place for dinner and a drink. Recently renovated, you will find a wide variety of gastronomic options and fresh products in a lively atmosphere.
Day 3 in Madrid
We face the third day with the spirit of getting to know the lively and festive atmosphere of Madrid even better, ready to enjoy the cultural and leisure options that the capital offers. Let’s go!
We start the day at Atocha Station, an architectural masterpiece that combines the old and the modern. Don’t miss its impressive tropical garden, which houses a variety of plant species. Also, take the opportunity to visit the monument honoring the victims of the March 11, 2004, attacks.
Reina Sofía Museum
Almost opposite Atocha Station, you will find the Reina Sofía Museum, where you can contemplate some of the best contemporary art pieces, including the well-known “Guernica” by Picasso, as well as works by Dalí and Miró, among others. Explore its temporary and permanent exhibitions and enjoy artistic innovation.
After visiting the Reina Sofía, continue along the Paseo del Prado until you reach CaixaForum, known for its wonderful vertical garden and the adjacent building, seemingly floating above the ground. It is a cultural center that hosts temporary artistic and cultural exhibitions. Its modern architecture is an interesting contrast to the historic buildings of Madrid.
Surely, all that art has left you hungry: we move to the La Latina neighborhood, famous for its lively atmosphere at any time and intense nightlife. Explore its streets, such as Cava Baja, Plaza de San Andrés, Plaza de la Puerta de los Moros, and Plaza de la Cebada, and take the opportunity to have a drink in any of the interesting bars in the area.
Wouldn’t you think we were going to leave Madrid without experiencing the Spanish Broadway? Gran Vía is the main street in Madrid and an ideal place for shopping and enjoying urban life. Here, you’ll find shops, theaters, and restaurants to conclude your journey.
You can buy souvenirs and mementos from your trip or get a fashionable item from any of the brands with a store on the avenue, have a drink in any of its restaurants, and take the opportunity to attend a musical, a monologue, or a play.
Are you coming to Madrid in December or January? If so, you’ll have a unique opportunity: attend one of the two exclusive shows that Gran Gala Flamenco offers in the capital, on December 24th and January 1st, at the EDP Gran Vía Theater. Buy your tickets now and enjoy an authentic flamenco ballet in the capital!