Travel guides

Madrid tourist guide: what to see and do in the capital of Spain

Madrid is an impressive city in which the original leisure and tourism offers are not lacking, both indoors and outdoors. In this guide you will find everything you can not miss, as well as different plans in which you will barely spend money.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

General information

Madrid, the Spanish capital, is one of the most visited cities in the country. Thanks to its tourist offer, every year it attracts millions of people from all over the world.

So that these visitors are always informed, throughout the city there are several tourism offices in which to answer any questions or acquire a map. They are found at these addresses:

  • Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport, T2, between rooms 5 and 6
  • Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport, T4, room 10
  • Paseo de la Castellana, 138 (next to Santiago Bernabéu)
  • Paseo Recoletos, 23
  • Callao Square, s / n
  • Cibeles Square, 1
  • Neptune Square
  • Plaza Mayor, 27
  • Ronda de Atocha, s / n (next to the Reina Sofía museum)

To make it easier to know this place, Turismo Madrid has developed a app (application) that can be downloaded on both an iPhone and an Android phone.

In the following tourist map you can see the central area of ​​this city:

As you will discover next, in Madrid there are numerous attractions to see and many plans to make. However, some people prefer other cities like Barcelona. Here you can find the rest of the most important towns in the country: The 10 most important cities in Spain.

What to visit

Madrid is a city with quite different areas and impressive buildings. These are the 10 places that cannot be missing in your list:

Sun Gate

This square is the most famous corner of Madrid, since this is where the most important and busy events of the year take place, such as on New Year's Eve, when the attention of the attendees is focused on the clock of the Royal Post Office.

Here you will also find the Kilometer Zero from which the radial roads of Spain depart. Also, although it goes unnoticed, is the Statue of the Bear and the Madroño, an icon of the city.

Plaza de Cibeles

In this busy location, the Cibeles Palace and the current City Hall are located, as well as the Cibeles Fountain, which dates back to the 18th century and is the protagonist of the most important sports celebrations in the country.

Other prominent buildings are the Bank of Spain and the Buenavista Palace. This point communicates with Calle Alcalá and Paseo del Prado.

Good retirement park

The Retiro is the largest park in Madrid, ideal for sports, walking, or simply sitting on one of its benches to contemplate the sights and passersby passing through it.

Within its 118 hectares, the Crystal Palace stands out, which usually hosts some art exhibitions, and the large artificial pond next to the Alfonso XII Monument, where you can board a boat.

Austrias quarter

This area, also known as Madrid of the Austrias, is the place of the city with the greatest history, because it includes the part included in the medieval layout commissioned by the House of the Austrias.

This is where the Royal Palace of Madrid or Palacio de Oriente is located, the official residence of the King of Spain. Next to it we find the Almudena Cathedral, which was built between the 19th and 20th centuries.

However, the best known place in this area is the Main Square, which has been one of the key points of Madrid since the 16th century. At present, there you will find numerous bars and restaurants.

Debod Temple

Although it may seem a lie, in Madrid you can find an authentic temple of the ancient Egyptian civilization: the Temple of Debod, which donated Egypt to Spain in 1968. This building has 2,200 years of history, making it one of the essential visits of the city.

Seeing its interior is completely free and can be done every day of the week except Mondays and some holidays such as May 1 and Christmas. You have all the information in this article: The Debod Temple in Madrid: schedule, how to get there and prices.

If after knowing it you are interested in knowing more about Egyptian culture, we recommend the following article: Egyptian civilization: location, organization and characteristics.

Puerta de Alcalá

The Puerta de Alcalá, which is located on the street under the same name, is one of the most famous monuments in Madrid. At the time of its construction, in 1778, here was the entrance to the city.

Currently, it is located inside a roundabout where traffic does not stop throughout the day. It is next to the Retiro Park and just 400 meters from the Plaza de Cibeles.

Neighborhood of the letters

It is the favorite area of ​​literature lovers, since in the neighborhood of Letters or the Literates lived great Spanish authors of the Golden age, among which are Cervantes, Quevedo, Lope de Vega and Góngora.

The positive aspect of this area is that many of its streets are pedestrian and, in addition, you will be able to see the verses and the most outstanding phrases of the writers who resided in this place.

Spain Square

If you plan to go through Gran Vía, do not forget to visit the Plaza de España first, as it is next door. Despite being in the center of Madrid, it is a quiet and traffic-free garden.

The main monument of this place is the one built in honor of Miguel de Cervantes. In this one you can find his two most famous characters: Don Quijote and Sancho Panza.

El Capricho Park

Although it is not as large as El Retiro, El Capricho Park in Alameda de Osuna stands out for its heritage and unique corners. In addition, he is not as well known, so that calm usually reigns in him.

Among the buildings that are located inside, a bunker of the Civil war which is in an optimal state of conservation and that can be visited during the weekends.

financial district

Those interested in the most modern architecture can not miss the financial district, which is located at the end of the Paseo de la Castellana and is encompassed in the neighborhood of Tetuán.

Among the tallest buildings are the Picasso Tower, with 156 m, and the Europa Tower, with 121 m. However, the most famous buildings in the area are the KIO Towers, which form the call Europe Gate. They are the two inclined buildings that we can see in this photo:

What to do

In such a large city with such diversity, it is easy to find a plan according to the tastes of each one. These are some of the most recommended:


If you want to walk through the most part luxurious from Madrid and visit the most exclusive stores, you can not miss the Barrio de Salamanca. Inside it is Calle Serrano, also known as the Golden Mile.

A totally opposite option is El Rastro, a market located between Lavapiés and La Latina that is set up every Sunday and holidays. In it, you can find old objects, art, clothes, etc.

To visit a museum

Raining in Madrid does not mean that nothing can be done. The best choice for a rainy day is to visit one of the great museums in the city.

The most famous is the Prado Museum, where you can enjoy great works by the most relevant artists in history, such as Velázquez, Rubens or El Greco, among many others. It is free every afternoon after six (five on Sundays and holidays).

For those who prefer contemporary art, we find the Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum. Both centers are quite close and you can go from one to another in just ten minutes.

Also, it is also important to know the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, in which there are outstanding works of art such as Dream caused by the flight of a bee around a grenade a second before waking upby Salvador Dalí.

Go partying

If what you want is to enjoy the Madrid night, there are different options. The busiest area, especially on Fridays and Saturdays at night, is Huertas, which is near Puerta del Sol.

The most alternative neighborhood is that of Malasaña, where there are many places dedicated to rock or punk. This is where the artistic movement called the Madrid Movement. On the other hand, the gay atmosphere is concentrated in Chueca.

If you want to extend the party as much as possible, you can go to one of the best nightclubs in the country, among which are the following:

  • Kapital
  • Joy Slavic
  • New garamond

Watch a show

Along the Gran Vía the most demanded shows in the city are concentrated, be they plays, musicals, monologues, etc. Among the most popular rooms are the Rialto Theater and the Lope de Vega Theater. On the other hand, the Royal Theater of Madrid is located in the Plaza de Oriente.

If you want to attend one of these activities, it is recommended that you purchase the tickets beforehand, as these are usually sold out and it can be difficult to get one on the same day you plan to attend.

Gastronomic tourism

Madrid is an ideal city for gastronomic tourism, since its culinary offer leaves no one hungry. Among its typical appetizers are the squid sandwich or the tortilla skewer.

If you want to try these tapas, among others, a good place is the San Miguel Market, which is open every day of the week from ten in the morning until late at night.

However, you can also go to a more select restaurant such as Casa Benigna, La Candela Restò or DiverXO, one of the most avant-garde and different options you can find.

Make a route

Making a tourist route is a good choice if you only have 24 or 48 hours in the city. There are numerous companies that are dedicated to teaching the most important and special of the city.

Similarly, there are some that focus on organizing thematic routes, which focus on a part of Madrid and some of its most important characters, such as Velázquez. Some are even offered in which the tour is done by bicycle or segway.

Climb by cable car

A romantic and perfect plan to do with your partner, for example, on Valentine's Day, is to get on the cable car that goes from the Rosales Station to the Casa de Campo.

The cabins are large and spacious, and from them you can enjoy beautiful views of the city. Tickets can be purchased there. In addition, it is a fairly cheap option. In the following article you will find more information: The Madrid cable car: address, price, how to get there and schedules.

Madrid with children

Madrid is a good city to visit with children and even babies, as it has an important transport network and throughout the year numerous activities are organized for the little ones.

If you want to surprise them with stunning views even if it is raining, you can go with them to the Moncloa Lighthouse viewpoint or the cable car, which we have already named in section 3.7 of this article.

In addition, you can take advantage of this to go to the Madrid Amusement Park, as it is in the Casa de Campo. A good time to visit it is Christmas, when the park is decorated for the occasion and becomes even more fun.

On the other hand, if your children are football players, they will be happy to witness a match in one of the two main stadiums of the city: Santiago Bernabéu and Vicente Calderón. It is an option that even the teenagers They will love it.

Among the most recommended museums for children is the National Museum of Natural Sciences. Likewise, a special place is the Casita Museo de Ratón Pérez.

Also, apart from the parks mentioned above, you can go to Madrid Río, in which there are a total of 17 areas with children's games, as well as circuits for sports. It is located on the banks of the Manzanares River.


Madrid's public transport network is perfect to get to know the city without having to go on foot to all the sites. The best option is to acquire a tourist pass.

This type of ticket can be purchased for 1, 2, 3, 5 or 7 days. With it you can take any means of transport, both metro, as bus, tram, train, etc. There are two kinds:

Zone A
It includes all the transport of the city of Madrid, in addition to the subway that goes to the airport, the outskirts of zone O and A and the ML1 of light rail. The bus is excluded Express Airport.
T zone
includes all metro areas, urban and intercity bus lines (except the Express Airport), the entire Cercanías network, the Light Metro ML2 and ML3, and the tram to Parla. Therefore, you can go to Guadalajara or Toledo.

Another way to get to know the city without having to walk is to ride a tourist bus, which has audio guides in many languages ​​and different routes.

However, if you prefer to exercise and move freely, you can opt for public bicycle rental, which has a rate for 1, 3 or 5 days.

When to go

Madrid is a perfect city to go throughout the year. However, there are dates that will make your trip more special. One of these is Christmas, when you can enjoy a different New Year's Eve and the parade of the Night of Kings.

As for the most important party, this is that of San Isidro and it happens every year in May, at which time music concerts, shows, etc. are organized in the city.

However, if you want to move around the city quietly and avoid the accumulation of tourists, it is better to avoid holidays such as Easter or the December bridge.

As for the time needed to see the city, you can learn the basics in a weekend. However, a three to five day visit would be perfect to see in depth.


Although Madrid is a city with an immense offer in which it is difficult to get bored, you can take advantage of the trip to know some of the towns and corners that are close to it.

San Lorenzo de El Escorial It is located just 45 km from the capital. Here we find a monastery built in the 16th century, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is also a place surrounded by nature, ideal for hiking.

In this province we also find Aranjuez, specifically 51 km from Madrid. This charming town stands out for its Royal Palace and the impressive gardens. It has several hotels where you can stay.

A different alternative is to go to Warner Park, where there are attractions for both children and adults, in addition to shows and thematic areas where you can find the characters of The Looney Tunes show.

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Finally, we have selected the previous and next article of the block "Prepare the trip"so you can continue reading:

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