30 Things you cannot miss in Madrid

Madrid is a great city. Ok, it’s currently my adopted home so I might be a little biased but I do highly recommend that you visit Madrid if you are heading to Spain.

Why?… Well, there are lots of reasons why you should visit Madrid. It offers visitors wonderful architecture, renowned museums and art galleries, great shopping opportunities, a wide selection of restaurants, bars and cafes plus lovely outdoor plazas and park areas. Lets take a look at what Madrid’s top city sights and activities.

I will share with you my list of 30 things you must do in Madrid, things you cannot miss when you visit Madrid. I guarantee that a few, if not most of the list will be of interest to you.

Visit Madrid

Incorporate Madrid into your trip through Spain even if it seems like a bit of a detour to go into the centre of the country. Madrid is really well connected by road, train and bus so it wont actually take as long as you might think to visit the capital. Travel in Spain is easy and cheap and you have a wide range of accommodation options in Madrid. Seeing the sights of Spain’s capital city will be worth the detour.

Consider Madrid as a city break even if you think Barcelona or Seville are more popular options. Madrid has lots to offer for a short break, perfect for couples, families and a girls/guys weekend away. It’s a city full of amazing restaurants, bars, cafes and shops.

It might not have a beach but it does have plenty of parks, plazas and rooftop terraces. Everything is within easy reach of the city centre and it’s a really safe city to walk through, even late at night.

30 Things you must do in Madrid. How to get the most out of your city visit. Local information from Seeking the Spanish Sun travel blog www.seekingthespanishsun.com
*RELATED articleWhat you need to know before visiting Madrid

Things you must do in Madrid

There are lots things to do in Madrid and many wonderful sights to see. Here are my top recommendations to get the most out of Madrid, the definitive list of 30 things you must do in Madrid:

  1. Indulge in delicious chocolate con churros and get in a mess with all that dipping
  2. Explore up close and inside the Palacio Real, the Royal Palace and old residence of the Royal Family
  3. Do a tapas bar crawl on Cava Baja in La Latina barrio
  4. Shop till you drop on Gran Via, Madrid’s version of Oxford Street
  5. Try a bocadillio de calamares, a bread baguette stuffed with crispy deep fried calamari rings
  6. Photograph the bear and strawberry tree statue, the symbol of Madrid
  7. Cool down during the summer at one of the many outdoor swimming pools
  8. See the awesome street art in Lavapies barrio
  9. Join the hordes of bargain hunters at el Rastro, the flea market held every Sunday in La Latina
  10. Spend an afternoon amongst Pandas, Gorillas, Giraffes and Bears at Madrid Zoo & Aquarium
  11. Walk or cycle in the wonderful Casa de Campo Park
  12. Admire the Temple de Debod, an Egyptian temple and amazing sunset spot
  13. Eat yummy pimentos de padron, fried green peppers that are the perfect tapas
  14. Drink tinto de verano, the local version of sangria that is crisp and refreshing
  15. Enjoy sunset cocktails on one of the many hidden rooftop bars
  16. Walk around Plaza Major and take photos of the fabulous buildings
  17. Eat a plate of good quality jamon iberico
  18. Buy a snack from Mercado de San Miguel and wander around the market’s food stalls
  19. Drink a nice cold local Mahou beer (or two) in a traditional Spanish bar or outdoor plaza
  20. See the pretty Palacio de Cristal in Retiro Park
  21. Admire the prestigious art collection in the Prado museum
  22. Have a night out in Las Letras or Chueca barrio’s and stay up late like the locals
  23. Enjoy the rollercoaster rides and scream as loud as you can at Parque de attractiones amusement park
  24. Take the highspeed train on a day trip to visit one of the nearby UNESCO World heritage sites and learn a little about this region of Spains history and culture
  25. Walk around the trendy Malasana barrio and find the latest foodie trend
  26. Get lost in a Corte Ingles department store, they sell everything under one roof
  27. See inside the epic Santiago Bernabeu stadium, home of Real Madrid football club, one of the biggest clubs in the World
  28. Take a ride on the Teleferico cable car for a great city and park viewpoint
  29. Walk through the lovely Retiro Park and hire a row boat on the iconic lake
  30. Eat fresh buttery pastries with a hot café con leche or Cola Cao milkshake

Madrid Plaza Mayor

Madrid Retiro Park

Madrid La Latina

Madrid Retiro Boating Lake

I hope this list of 30 things you cannot miss in Madrid has given you some ideas for what to see and explore in the city. Did one or two of these things sound good to you? Tell me which activities you would like to do most in the comments box below ↓↓

If you need a little more convincing about why you should visit Madrid check out these other Seeking the Spanish Sun guides…

A Weekend in Madrid

What to eat in Madrid

Romantic things to do in Madrid

Madrid’s most lively barrios and where to have a great night out

Madrid’s hidden rooftop bars

You may also enjoy these Spain guides and travel information articles…

The 10 most beautiful beaches in Spain

A quick guide to the different regions of Spain

Common misconceptions about Spain

The best cities to visit in Spain

The 5 warmest winter sun destinations in Spain

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  1. 14th June 2018 / 9:52 pm

    Thanks for putting this together, I really like the no-nonsense style of giving the full list without all the elaboration! I haven’t made it to Madrid yet but plan to do so, and will be saving this as a resource for when I go 🙂

    • SeekingTheSpanishSun
      15th June 2018 / 9:36 am

      Thanks Alex! I thought a straight forward list of the best things to see and do would make it a little easier for anyone who doesn’t have time to read through all of my Madrid guides. If you need more detail on any of the activities just let me know 😉 or you can follow the links.

  2. 14th June 2018 / 12:25 pm

    WOW i cannot believe how many things there are to do!!! I can’t wait to visit & i would for sure do the cable car!!!

    • SeekingTheSpanishSun
      14th June 2018 / 12:53 pm

      Madrid is an awesome city! I often gets pushed aside in favour of Barcelona and Seville city breaks but it is well worth visiting.

  3. Patrick H
    26th May 2018 / 7:36 pm

    Madrid seems like such a stunning place! The history, the culture, the food… it’s been on my bucket list for quite some time, I just need to find a cheap flight! Great article!

  4. 26th May 2018 / 12:45 am

    Your list of things to do in Madrid is great. I ticked off a number of these things but not all. It gives me a follow-up shorter list for when I return. I would like to have visited more of the barrios. I guess I was too busy checking out every tapas bar I could find.

    • 26th May 2018 / 4:32 pm

      It’s easy to get distracted by all the lovely tapas bars in Madrid 😉 That’s great, I’m glad to have recommended a few things you for you to look forward to next time!

  5. 26th May 2018 / 12:02 am

    I had a short stopover in Madrid last year. But didn’t get to do all of this things. I really want to go back and spend more time in Madrid. It is so much to do there and many museums to visit and restaurants I want to try. Thank you for sharing 😀

    • 26th May 2018 / 4:25 pm

      Your welcome Vibeke, I hope that you get to see more of Madrid some time soon.

  6. Candy & Crystal
    25th May 2018 / 7:49 pm

    I’m so happy I came across your post. I just booked my summer trip to Spain and need some inspiration! I would love to take the highspeed train to the UNESCO World Heritage site.

    • 25th May 2018 / 9:37 pm

      That’s great! Let me know if you have any questions. From Madrid you can easily visit Toledo, Segovia or Salamanca by train… all amazing old towns with UNESCO areas or buildings

  7. 24th May 2018 / 5:31 pm

    I absolutely adore Madrid! So there’s no need to convince me to return there. Bocadillos de calamares is delicious, especially with an ice cold beer. I also love Retiro Park; there’s such a great and calm vibe every time I visit. I want to return now!

    • 24th May 2018 / 8:56 pm

      Thanks Lisa, bocadillo de calamares and beer are two of my favourite things! So glad you agree that Madrid is awesome. I hope you get to visit again soon and thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  8. 24th May 2018 / 9:30 am

    Hopefully we are going to Madrid this summer I just cannot wait! – Thanks for your list 🙂 got a few extra ideas… can I pick your brain? If I should one day trip what would you choose? thinking of going by train! thanks

    • 4th June 2018 / 11:52 am

      Hi Julz, feel free to send me an email if you have any more questions about your trip to Madrid. It’s a great place to visit with kids, whenever my nieces and nephews visit they have a great time! My favourite day trip is Salamanca but I think as a family Segovia might be more fun. The Aqueduct and Castle are very impressive and the train journey is shorter.

      • 4th June 2018 / 1:05 pm

        thanks!!! we have just booked tickets and hotel so going ahead! very excited! Spain is a country i don’t know at all 😀 – I might be in touch.

  9. binduborle
    22nd May 2018 / 8:26 pm

    Loved Madrid! Stayed just across the royal palace in a beautiful apartment.

  10. 22nd May 2018 / 9:02 am

    This is awesome! I only went to Barcelona for a few days and I fell in love with the city and knew I had to visit Spain again one day.

    I’ll definitely be adding these places to my travel bucket list!

    • 22nd May 2018 / 10:40 am

      Definitely check out Madrid when you come back to Spain. It’s a really cool city!

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