Madrid is a big city with something for everyone. There’s so much you can do, it can get a bit overwhelming if you’re tight on time. However, I spent 3 complete weeks getting to know this beautiful city, and it so happens that I’ve put together the places you simply can’t miss when you’re around.
So, keep reading!
This is what you can’t miss:
1. PALACIO REAL
The Royal Palace is an emblematic visit, therefore can’t be missed. I suggest you visit later in the afternoon. By 6pm the ticket was free, and it was really no that crowded, despite it being summer (high season) so it was worth saving those extra euros!
2. CATEDRAL DE LA ALMUDENA
This cathedral stands right in front of the Royal Palace, making it a convenient stop before or after entering the palace. It really is worth a visit. I was amazed by its stained glass and size. Oh, and there is no entrance fee!
3. PARQUE DEL BUEN RETIRO
El Retiro is a famous park in Madrid, located right beside La Puerta de Alcalá. Both Madrileños and tourists from all around the globe come here to stroll around, gather with friends or family for a lovely picnic, rent a canoe to row around the lake, and visit El Palacio de Cristal, located inside the park (featured below).
4. PUERTA DE ALCALÁ
There is not much to see, given the location of this sight is right in the middle of the street. Nonetheless, is one of the most photographed ones by travelers. It’s located right beside El Retiro Park so my tip is to snap your photo right before you enter the park. There is a green area in the street right in front of the Puerta de Alcalá, and a crosswalk for you to get there, so getting a good shot is not hard, despite it being in a busy street.
5. MUSEO DEL PRADO
Museo del Prado is to Madrid what the Louvre is to Paris. Wandering and getting lost in its halls with splendid ceilings, and to be found in works like those of Velázquez is a guarantee. I suggest you take a guided tour, this way you are not to miss the details or history that enrich the perception of each piece.
6. TEMPLO DE DEBOD
Visit late in the afternoon or early at night to catch the sunset. During summertime the sun sets around 9:30pm, so this is a good time to see it. Besides admiring the temple, which was donated by Egyptians to the city of Madrid, you can enjoy some downtime. The sight is located in a park called Parque del Cuartel de la Montaña, from where you can enjoy beautiful views, too. You can spend a lovely evening here, and it’s completely free of charge!
7. CÍRCULO DE BELLAS ARTES
One of my favorite spots in the city! The terrace at Círculo de Bellas Artes offers exceptional views over Madrid, including the iconic Metropolis building. Going up costs 4 euros, but it is absolutely worth it, because besides the view, there’s a refined atmosphere with music, a restaurant and a bar.
8. PLAZA DE TOROS LAS VENTAS
This bullring is the largest in Spain, and because bullfighting has been a part of Madrid’s history, visiting it is a must. You don’t have to attend a bullfight to get the experience if you’re not into it. Not many people like the idea because of the involvement it has with bulls. Nonetheless, taking a guided tour inside and seeing its exterior is something you can do.
9. PUERTA DEL SOL
This is one of the most important squares in the city. Some of the most transited streets coincide here. This is where you’ll find Madrid’s official symbol: the Statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree (Oso y el Madroño) featured below!
10. GRAN VÍA – MALASAÑA
Gran Vía is a vibrant and busy street in Madrid. It’s right in the city-center, and with its infinite shopping and dinning options, you can find anything you need here. For real. Walking around is a must whenever you’re in Madrid. Malasaña, on the other hand, is a trendy and laid-back neighbourhood, walking distance from Gran Vía. I really recommend you walk around Malasaña as well. There are lots of vintage and modern shops, creative stores, and restaurants worthy of a visit.
…and these are the top 10 sights in the city! There are other things I would really recommend doing that aren’t the typical tourist spots. I’ll work on another post with those, and then will come back to add the link right here in case you want to check it out.
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