The best things to do in Madrid, Spain

It’s easy to visit Madrid for a weekend, especially with the cheap options from Ryanair, EasyJet or Iberia. And there are tons of reasons why you should visit the Spanish capital: the food, the architecture, and not to forget the nice weather year round.

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The best things to do in Madrid, Spain
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How to get to Madrid

From Copenhagen there are lots of cheap flights to Madrid. It only takes around 3 1/2 hours and prices can be as low as 50 Euros per person return. Flights go to Alonso Airport which is a little outside of the city but easily accessible by metro. 

Where to stay

Because Madrid was only a stop over for us going to Ecuador we decided to stay close to the airport instead of in the city. Hostal Viky is only about 10 minutes by car to the airport and the stay includes a shuttle service which goes every hour. But Madrid has tons of great hostels and hotels which are super central.

How to get around

Madrid is a huge city but everything is conveniently accessible via metro. Depending on how long you stay and how much you plan on seeing it may be a good idea to get a metro pass. Though we only stayed for 1 day we knew the things we wanted to see were quite far apart so we decided to get a day pass. It gives you unlimited metro use for 8,40 Euro per person.

Things to do in Madrid

Madrid is a huge city but everything is conveniently accessible via metro. Depending on how long you stay and how much you plan on seeing it may be a good idea to get a metro pass. Though we only stayed for 1 day we knew the things we wanted to see were quite far apart so we decided to get a day pass. It gives you unlimited metro use for 8,40 Euro per person.

Plaza Mayor & Gran Via

Gran Via street is one of the main streets in Madrid. It is lined with entertainers trying to make their living by dressing up in all kinds of costumes, from Spiderman to Mickey Mouse.
Just a few streets over from Gran Via is Plaza Mayor, once the heart of Madrid’s old town. Built between 1580 and 1619 it is a popular destination for tourists and locals to shop and enjoy the numerous cafes and restaurants.

Retiro Park & Palacio Cristal

Take a walk through Retiro Park and visit Palacio Cristal, a beautiful glass house by a lake. Unfortunately it was closed for renovation when we visited but even from the outside it’s beautiful. And entry is free year round.
There is another lake in the park where you can rent boats and enjoy a leisurely row around. It’s a popular spot for wedding pictures because the lake and its small temples make a beautiful backdrop for photos.

Temple of Debod

If you’re looking for another great photo spot in Madrid check out Temple of Debod for sunset. It has a great view when the sun sets over the mountains and casts the temple ruins in a soft glow. Entry is free but the lines are usually very long so get there early if you want to go in. The crowds also appear early for picture taking at sunset so be prepared to get creative to not have tons of people in the background of your photos.

Sunset view over the temple grounds of Temple of Debod in Madrid, Spain.

Atocha Train Station

Atocha station in the south of Madrid is not your ordinary train station. Inside Madrid’s main station grows a 4000m2 large jungle of palm trees. It’s a beautiful oasis in the middle of a busy come-and-go area that was created in 1992.

Mercado de San Miguel

If you love food as much as we do you have to visit Mercado de San Miguel! It’s an indoor market with stalls selling gourmet tapas style foods as well as desserts. Opened in 1916 it is home to more than 30 vendors today.

Best churros in Madrid

If you like architecture and arts head to Plaza Major, a grand square bustling with people, painters, musicians and beautiful old buildings. It’s also really close to Chocolateria Saint Ginés, a place you definitely shouldn’t miss if you like churros. The lines are long but the churros and cups, yes CUPS, of molten chocolate are so worth it. Lots of famous celebrities have been here and the walls are lined with their black and white photographs to tell the tale.

A plate of 6 churros costs 1,60 Euro and a cup of chocolate 2,60 Euro. Watch the waiters stack mountains of churros and chocolate cups and carry them easily to the tables while you enjoy the best churros in Madrid.

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Hi, I’m Nadine

Part-time traveler with full-time wanderlust.
I explore the world one weekend and one vacation at a time and share my experiences, travel and photography tips, and food recs on this blog.

I believe the answer to (almost) any question is traveling.
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