Madrid is Spain’s central capital. It’s a cosmopolitan city full of plaza’s, museums, fun places to eat and a buzzing nightlife. I went to Spain couple of months back and Madrid was my first stop during the trip and it definitely dint disappoint. Since I just had 2 days, I was constantly on the move to cover all the attractions in the city under a time crunch. Feel free to spread this over 3 days if you have more time to visit the city.
Madrid has a great transportation system. I would highly suggest you get the 10 trip metrobus ticket from any of the stations once you arrive in Madrid. It can be shared by 2 people and costs € 12.30. Most of the attractions are at walking distance from each other and I felt the best way to see the city was on foot. A 10 trip pass was enough for us to take the few trains to get from one place to another.
If you must take a taxi from the airport to downtown Madrid it costs about € 40 (flat rate). Taxi’s are recognizable with a red diagonal stripe. Here is some Spanish that will come in handy while trying to hail a cab.
- “Quiero reservar un taxi” – I want to reserve a taxi
- “Para dos personas” – For 2 people
- “Desde el aeropuerto” – From the airport
- “Minusvalidos” – disabled
- “A las tres” – at 3 o’clock
The Madrid card is an awesome bang for your buck while visiting the city. It allows you free and priority entries to a lot of attractions. I got it from Viator for € 60 for a 48 hour pass. As you scroll below, you can see a lot of attractions are included with this card.
The food in Madrid is good. You can get anything from a hamburger to authentic Spanish tapas. This is something me and my husband spent lavishly on. The Sangria in Spain was so delicious we used to drink it for both lunch and dinner. However, food prices here can cause a huge hole in your wallet and that is something you should be careful about.
Here is the itinerary we followed:
1.Monastery of Las Descalzas Reales
Cost: 6 Euros
This is a beautiful monastery. Please buy tickets for this online as tours are generally booked for the day. There are very few tours in English and most of the tours here are in Spanish. That is my pet peeve about visiting this monastery. Though I took pictures, I could not understand the history behind anything. I would suggest you read up about this online before you visit, just so that you are not clueless like I was.
2. San Francisco El Grande Basicilica
Cost: 4 Euros
This is one of the most beautiful churches I have seen.I don’t think the pictures are doing it justice, its way more beautiful in person. We witnessed a Spanish wedding while we were visiting the church which was pretty awesome. Keep in mind this church is not open on Sundays.
3. Royal Palace of Madrid
Cost: Included with Madrid Card or 10 Euros
This was one of the most beautiful palaces I have seen in the world and definitely one of my top attractions in Madrid. Every room was so nicely decorated and I loved learning about the Spanish monarchy. I look literally travel through history as I walked through the various chambers. The views from the palace are beautiful as well.
4. Plaza Mayor
This is the central plaza. It has some fun street performers, shops and food places. This place is walking distance from Del Sol.
5. Church of San Gines
Small church. Nothing special. You can skip it if you want. If you like churros you have to go to the place you see in the picture above. There is always a line, but I’ve heard they’re really good.
6. Puerta Del Sol
This means “Gates of the Sun” in Spanish. It’s literally the center of Madrid which connects to all the attractions and other train stations. If you like sweets, do try the pastries from Patisserie La Mollorquina.
7. Queen Sofia Arts Center
Cost: Included with the Madrid Card or 8 Euros
Nice museum to visit. Has some funky art collection.
1. Prado Museum
Cost: Included with Madrid card or 28 Euros
2. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
Cost: Included with Madrid Card or 12 Euros
3. Plaza De La Cibeles
This square is a star attraction of Madrid. The neo-classical foundation and the bank are its main attractions. It lights up beautifully at night as well.
4. Real Madrid Stadium
Cost: Included with Madrid Card or 19 Euros
A must visit for all the soccer fans. The tour is self guided and includes a panoramic view, the “best club in the history” room, the sensations room, the pitch, the presidential box, the dugouts and technical area, the player’s tunnel, the dressing rooms, the press room and the club’s official store.
5. Calle De Serrano Salamanca
The Salamanca district has some nice shops and restaurants. We stopped here to relax and get some sun, tapas and sangria. However, this is a tad bit out of the way from the main attractions. So do this if you have time.
6. Plaza De Espana
So Gran Via is one of the main streets in Madrid and this plaza is at one end of the Gran Via, the other end has Plaza Cibels. I was lucky to find a fab bag at a small market here.
7. Gran Via
The main street in Madrid. Walk here and admire the beautiful buildings, people watch, try the food at some of the local joints (we loved the Tapas at Tapa Tapa).
Hope you had fun reading my article. I will be writing more posts on the rest of the cities I visited. So stay tuned. Have a great day.