If you are looking for things to do in Madrid Spain, you have come to the right place. Madrid is the capital of Spain since 1562. It is located at the geographic center of the Iberian Peninsula. Due to its central position and high altitude, Madrid’s climate consists of warm, dry summers and cool winters.
Madrid is a city of significant monuments. Several of its highlights includes the medieval center dating back to the Habsburg Empire and the Prado Museum. Though, Madrid is not just a cultural destination. It is also an energetic metropolis with loads of cafes, discotheques, pubs and nightclubs open late into the night. So, save some energy for the evening when the city really comes to life. If possible, avoid touring here during summer when the heat is harsh. The best times to appreciate Madrid is during Spring or fall.
Here are some of the best things to do in Madrid Spain.
Top Things to do in Madrid Spain:
1.) Madrid’s Royal Palace
Royal Palace is Madrid’s biggest building and perhaps the gorgeous one. It is also known as The Palacio Real. It is located adjacent to the equally gorgeous Plaza de Oriente square. It may come as a surprise to know that Madrid’s Royal Palace is the biggest royal palace in Western Europe.
At first, the palace was designed by Filippo Juvarra to house the court of Felipe V. It is bordered by the stunning Sabatini and Campo del Moro parks. The palace includes tapestries, furniture, paintings and ceramics. It also has significant works of art and frescos by Tiépolo. Goya, Velázquez, Mengs and Giordano are all displayed here among the numerous valuable tapestries and paintings. All this makes the palace one of Europe’s most significant museums. More than 880,000 visitors visited here during 2006.
2.) Catedral de Santa María la Real de la Almudena
The main church of the parish of Madrid, the Catedral de Santa María la Real de la Almudena, is a comparatively modern building. The place on which Almudena Cathedral now stands was formerly occupied by Madrid’s first mosque. Then, it was occupied by a church devoted to one of Madrid’s patron saints, Santa María de la Almudena.
The vivid interior of the Cathedral is designed in the Gothic style. But modest and modern compared to most Spanish cathedrals. Its “pop art” stained glass windows were recently discovered to be copies. Though it lacks the historical significance of other European cathedrals, nonetheless Almudena Cathedral is worth a visit because of its modern beauty, uniqueness and its sheer size. It is around 104 m long and 76 m wide, with a central dome around 20 m in diameter.
3.) La Plaza de Cibeles
The monumental Cibeles Fountain is now regarded as a Madrid icon. It is Located in the heart of the city. It depicts Cybele, the Greek goddess of nature and fertility holding a key and a sceptre while being pulled by 2 lions on a chariot. The wild lions represent the power of nature or of the goddess.
The highlight here is the Real Madrid, a Spanish football (soccer) team. Real Madrid has unofficially adopted the fountain. It is now the base of meeting point for its fans and also for the players. Whenever the team wins the Spanish cup or Spanish league, they celebrate it here.
4.) La Gran Vía, Madrid
La Gran Vía is Madrid’s frantic and most popular street. Running from the famous Metropolis Building with its dazzling dome to the Plaza de España. It’s loaded with hotels, boutique stores, old cinemas, shops, bars and theatres. It is among the city’s commercial centers.
There are numerous important and attractive buildings located along the street, including the Edificio Metrópolis. It is located at the corner of Calle Alcalá and Gran Via. Its impressive columns embrace beautiful statues and the Telefónica building. The Telefónica building is 88 meters tall and was Madrid’s tallest skyscraper until 1953.
It is always exciting to walk along the street and gaze to the rooftops of these striking buildings. Since many of them are well-decorated and often possess big statues. Walking around this street is one of the best things to do in Madrid Spain.
5.) Bullfights in Madrid is a Must
Watching a bullfight is one of the best things to do in Madrid.
The Las Ventas Bullring
Madrid’s chief Bullring is called La Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas del Espíritu Santo, or just Las Ventas. It was built in Mudejar style. This remarkable building is created of red brick and ceramic tiles. The construction was designed by Muñóz Monasterio and José Espelius. It was terminated in 1929 and wasn’t inaugurated until 1931. At present, the ring is also used for political meetings and rock concerts.
The best time to watch bullfights in Madrid is during May and June. The world popular San Isidro bullfight festival is hosted during these months. It brings together the top fighters, bulls and aficionados. During this festival fights are held every day for 20 days. The festival includes a range of different fights, rejones (bullfights on horseback), with novillos (young bulls), and Goyesca fights (in period costume).
6.) Hop-on Hop-Off Panoramic Bus Tours
What can be a better way of touring Madrid in a shorter period than taking on an open-top bus tour? This Hop-on Hop-Off Panoramic Bus Tours was previously known as Madrid Vision. This tour offers you a different view of Madrid. Touring such way is one of the things to do in Madrid Spain.
It is a nice way to see the city’s incredible monuments and sights. It allows you to get a nice overall view of Madrid. There is a flexibility to hop-off the bus to explore any attractions you particularly like more. And after that, you can hop on again to continue your journey as the next bus arrives. You can hop on and off the bus as many times as you wish on either of the routes. There are many interconnecting stops for your convenience.
7.) Take a Ride on Madrid’s Cable Car
If you want to experience Madrid from a bird’s eye view, a cable car is what you need. Taking a cable car is one of the top things to do in Madrid Spain. The cable car (“el Teleférico”) was actually built as part of the amusement park (Parque de Atracciones). The tour starts on the Paseo del Pintor Rosales street, close to the Argüelles Metro station.
The cable car carries you over the Manzanares River and city’s parks in the distance. A recorded commentary explains whatever car moves through. You’ll be watching attractions such as the Egyptian temple of Debod and Plaza de España totally from a different perspective. You can take photos of the attractions from several angles.
8.) Madrid Flamenco
Madrid has been known for the best flamenco since the early 19th century. It has seen the best artists prevailed here. Numerous activities due to this art form continue to prosper. Flamenco can be heard or seen in various bars and taverns in Madrid. You can go for an evening meal in one of such places and listen to the music.
The best flamenco in Madrid can be experienced at the Corral de la Moreria “tablao” flamenco restaurant and other similar restaurants. The Corral de la Moreria is widely recognized as the premier flamenco restaurant in the city. It attracts fine artists and offers some amazing Spanish food.
9.) The Rastro Flea Market, Madrid
Madrid’s weekly flea market lets you purchase almost anything. It is the city’s biggest open-air flea market. It starts from 9 am to 3 pm in the epic center of Madrid every Sunday. It attracts many locals and tourists as well. It offers a variety of products, both old and new. It stretches through several streets in one of the city’s oldest working-class region. Browsing this market is one of the best things to do in Madrid Spain.
10.) Explore the Retiro Park
Enjoy the big open spaces, boating lake, rose garden and the fantastic street theatre in the Retiro Park. It is surrounded by city’s main tourist attractions such as the Prado Museum. It is a famous and a superb place for a stroll. It is a home to numerous sculptures, monuments, and a boating lake. It also hosts an annual book fair. Plus, there are free concerts and events held throughout the summer.