There are many things to do in Madrid, but you can visit the best in 3 days. Madrid is a cultural European city, ideal for the classic traveler who loves art. The best option to get from Barajas Airport to Madrid centre is the metro (pink line 8). Barajas Airport has 2 metro stations you can find in Terminal T2 and Terminal T4. Trains leave from 6.00am to 2.00am. Metro will take you directly to the the Nuevos Ministerios Metro station in about 15 minutes. You can buy the Billete Sencillo + Suplemento Aeropuerto which costs about €4.50 – €5. If you have the Abono Transporte Turístico the metro is included in the price. Some Spanish friends talked me about the renovated Hostel Gala, which is a few steps from the Plaza de Oriente.
DAY 1. PALACIO REAL – CATEDRAL DE LA ALMUDENA – MONASTERIO DE LAS DESCALZAS REALES – ERMITA DE SAN ANTONIO DE LA FLORIDA – TEMPLO DE DEBOD
Start your tour from the Palacio Real. The basic ticket costs €10, the admission is free with Madrid Card.
The building is impressive and charming, although it is not as stunning as the Palace of Versailles.
Catedral de la Almudena is next to the Palacio Real. It is a melting pot of different styles, from neo-Romanesque to neo-Gothic style. The apse is decorated with colorful paintings of Kiko Argüello.
Go to Plaza de Oriente, here there are few meters that separate you from the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales, a cloistered convent, where you can admire several paintings. The tour is guided, in Spanish or English, and only a few rooms are open to visitors. The ticket is €6 but the entry is free on Wednesadys and Thursdays in the late afternoon for people who live in Europe.For lunch taste the bocadillos (sandwiches stuffed with squid, tortillas and many other Spanish specialties). When I went to Madrid I chose the Cervecería Compano in Calle de Botaneros. Bocadillos were cheap and tasty, only €3. Other good places are La Campana and La Ideal. There are a lot of places who prepare bocadillos, especially in Gran Vía. If you like desserts go to Chocolatería San Ginés churros y chocolate to taste these typical Spanish sweets.
In the afternoon, reach the Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida, by metro (stop Prince Pio) or bus 75. It is a beautiful monastery away from the usual tourist spots but not of less interest or beauty. Inside the monastery there are beautiful frescoes by Goya that will leave you breathless. This is one of the most beautiful things you can do in Madrid.
Relax at the Parque del Oeste and then go to the Debod Temple (Templo de Debod) to enjoy a beautiful sunset. It is next to the Paseo del Pintor Rosales (Parque del Oeste).
Have you ever tasted the Spanish paella? You should! For dinner, go to La Barraca, in Calle de la Reina 29, which is one of the best places for paella to me. I tried paella in several other places and I can say that it is exquisite. Obviously, people have different opinions and they often depend on your personal taste.
If you are planning to come back hotel after dinner, forget it. The Madrid nightlife starts right now! One of the most known place is the Plaza de Santa Ana in the centre of Madrid, Vistillas and areas of Las Huertas, Plaza Mayor, Gran Vía, Calle del Prado, and the districts of Malasaña and Chueco you will visit tomorrow. Enjoy a tapas tour, a yummy tradition in Madrid! Then, if you are gay I made a list of the best gay- friendly bars in Madrid.
DAY 2. PUERTA DEL SOL – GRAN VÍA – MERCADO DE FUENCARRAL – PARQUE DEL BUEN RETIRO – PASEO DEL ARTE
In the morning, have breakfast at Mallorcan, an old bakery that churns out fantastic desserts. Do not forget to take some pictures in front of the nice statue Oso y Madroño near Puerta del Sol, in Calle de la Bolsa.
Stroll to the main shopping streets. Madrid has many shops of clothing, accessories, design and so on and so forth. Start from the streets around Puerta del Sol and the Gran Vía. The oasis of fashion designers is Calle Serrano but also Calle Velázquez and the Salamanca district. At 27 of Calle Serrano there is the store of the designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, famous for its multicolored clothes. Another area for shopping is just around the Gran Vía. This is the so-called triangle TriBall (Triángulo de Ballesta) between Calle Fuencarral, Gran Vía and Corredera Baja de San Pablo. This area is full of boutiques, pubs, bars, clubs and galleries. In Calle Fuencarral 36 you can find the famous store of Desigual. Mercado de Fuencarral is a huge shopping centre, where it will not be difficult to find some gift for your family and friends.
Buy something to eat and relax at the Parque del Buen Retiro. Do not forget to admire the Palacio de Cristal, a glass greenhouse with a spectacular architecture. This is a magical place, especially in winter!
After lunch, visit the most importat museums of Madrid. The entry is always free on Saturdays and also with the Madrid Card. This walk is called Paseo del Arte.
The first museum to visit is the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, whose entrance is free from 2.30pm. Saturday, from 2.30pm to 9pm and Sundays from 10am to 2.30pm. This modern art museum is famous for Guernica by Pablo Picasso.
Next museum is the Thyssen-Bornemisza. Here there is the private collection of the Barons Thyssen-Bornemisza. An unmissable gem of art. The last museum is the Museo del Prado, free on Saturdays until 8pm. My suggestion is to plan well your visit to the Prado. The museum is really great and perhaps a whole day would not be enough to visit it. However, there are some works that are “musts”, such as Goya and Bosch with its surrealistic visions.
In the evening, if you want to taste fried cod (fantastic croquettes) go to Casa Labra at Calle Tetuán 12, and then enjoy the Movida in the area of Malasaña. I recommend La Vía Láctea pub, Calle de Velarde 18: good music and you can also dance.
DAY 3. RASTRO FLEA MARKET – MERCADO DE SAN MIGUEL – SANTIAGO DE BERNABEAU
This morning is dedicated to the Rastro flea market, a place where you can find all kind of trinkets. Among the things to do in Madrid there is a visit to Mercado de San Miguel, a real paradise of flavour where you can taste all types of tapas! Not more than 10€.
Take the metro (line 10) to reach the stadium Santiago de Bernabeu, where Real Madrid football team plays. The entry is free with Madrid Card.
In the evening, if you have never attended a flamenco show, I recommend the Corral de la Morería where dancers perform at the highest level. The price is about 50€ without dinner.
As you can see there are so many things to do in Madrid in 3 days!
Any suggestions? Leave a comment! 🙂