We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Exclusively commissioned by TripAdvisor

98%
Found this guide helpful

Tackling Madrid in a few days is totally doable. From seeing the most notable sights and attractions, to experiencing local, under-the-radar favorites, here's how you'll want to spend your three days in the Spanish capital.

Good for
  • Shopping Fanatic
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Foodie
  • Like a Local

12 Places

5 City Tips

Save All
Print
Map

12 Places

Day 1

Royal Palace of Madrid

Architectural buildings, Historic sites, Art museums

Plaza Mayor

Architectural buildings, Historic sites, Landmarks & points of interest

Puerta del Sol

Landmarks & points of interest

La Latina

Neighbourhoods

Day 2

Gran Via

Landmarks & points of interest

Plaza de Cibeles

Monuments & statues

Retiro Park (Parque del Retiro)

Architectural buildings, Gardens, Parks, Bodies of water

Barrio de Salamanca

Historic walking areas, Neighbourhoods

Day 3

San Anton Market

Flea & street markets

Plaza del Dos de Mayo

Landmarks & points of interest

Antigua Casa Crespo

Speciality shops

Bodega de la Ardosa

Restaurants

LaTortugaViajera's City Tips

  • Madrid is a phenomenally easy city to get around whether by foot or by public transportation. If you opt for the latter, consider investing in a Tourist Transport Season Ticket.
  • Don't stress about tipping in Madrid; leaving a few coins for meal service is usually sufficient.
  • Waitstaff generally aren't terribly attentive: if you want to place an order or ask for the bill, don't be shy about flagging down any waiter.
  • Madrileños eat lunch around 2pm and dinner roughly at 10pm. As such, don't expect restaurant kitchens to be open before 1:30pm and 9pm respectively.
  • Madrid is generally very safe, but petty theft is plentiful. Mind your belongings at all times because pickpockets aren't shy about targeting tourists.
    Day 1
  • Save
    Royal Palace of Madrid
    Architectural buildings, Historic sites, Art museums
    See more photos
    LaTortugaViajera Says:

    This is where to experience Spanish opulence at its best, even though the royal family doesn't actually live here and instead just outside of the city at another residence. The palace's rooms are a veritable wonderland of crystal chandeliers, red velvet thrones, and ceiling murals galore.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • While in the neighborhood, check out the Almudena Cathedral next door. It's free to enter, though a small donation is welcomed.
    • Arriving to the Royal Palace early (around opening time) ensures that you won't get stuck waiting behind people to enter, much less the whole way through.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #9 of 1,392 things to do in Madrid
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Wow. Royal all the way. 31/03/2015
    • Impressive & Opulent 31/03/2015
    • Royal Palace of Madrid
    Address:
    Calle Bailen
    Madrid 28071
    Spain
    Phone:
    34-914-548-800
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 23:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Plaza Mayor
    Architectural buildings, Historic sites, Landmarks & points of interest
    See more photos
    LaTortugaViajera Says:

    Surround yourself with Madrileño culture (and over 200 balconies) in the capital's main square, Plaza Mayor. During summer, it fills with outdoor terrazas where locals and tourists alike dine and drink al fresco. Then, come winter, the plaza is covered in a blanket of lights that illuminate the annual Christmas fair with its cluster of festive kiosks.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Looking for traditional Spanish souvenirs? From hats to thimbles, Plaza Mayor is home to some of the city's most classic gift shops.
    • Plaza Mayor is usually packed with street performers and (questionably charming) life-sized cartoon characters. So enjoy the entertainment or plan to steer clear of it.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #32 of 1,392 things to do in Madrid
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • One of three Plazas Mayores that you have to visit 31/03/2015
    • Tourists trap 30/03/2015
    • Plaza Mayor
    Address:
    C/Gerona, 4
    Madrid 28012
    Spain
    Other:
  • Save
    Puerta del Sol
    Landmarks & points of interest
    See more photos
    LaTortugaViajera Says:

    Puerta del Sol is the most classic meeting point in Madrid: not only do many metro and bus lines go through here but it is in fact from a little plaque in this square where all of the radial freeways in Spain are measured. Sol also hosts one of the year's biggest events, New Year's Eve. To celebrate, locals quickly consume 12 grapes in a row and in sync with the chimes of the clock.

    Good for
    • Must See
    Tips
    • Spy the aforementioned Kilometer Zero marking, which can be found on the ground in front of the clock tower building.
    • Hungry? Grab a sweet bite to eat at the over-century-year-old La Mallorquina bakery, situated on the western side of the square.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #58 of 1,392 things to do in Madrid
    • Be sure to find the bear statue 31/03/2015
    • City Center 30/03/2015
    • Puerta del Sol
    Address:
    C. Mayor
    C. Alcala
    Madrid 28013
    Spain
  • Save
    La Latina
    Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    LaTortugaViajera Says:

    Experience the best of Madrid's tapas hopping culture by making a trip to La Latina, a neighborhood packed with tapas bars. Plan to have a drink and tapa in one bar before you move on to the next and do it all over again. And, if you're in Madrid on Sunday, stop by the nearby El Rastro outdoor market before joining the masses in your afternoon of indulging in tapas.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • Friends
    • Solo
    • Couples
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • To make like a local, don't just order a beer, order a caña. These smaller-sized glasses of beers pace nicely with a drawn-out afternoon or evening of tapas.
    • Don't be put off by trash on bar floors: since it's custom to throw dirtied napkins and such on the ground, a messy floor is the sign of a popular bar.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #76 of 1,392 things to do in Madrid
    • The REAL Madrid 19/03/2015
    • lots and lots of things to buy 26/02/2015
    • La Latina
  • Day 2
  • Save
    Gran Via
    Landmarks & points of interest
    See more photos
    LaTortugaViajera Says:

    This is Madrid's busiest east-west thoroughfare, and arguably its most attractive street. It's also where you'll find a heavy concentration of theaters and internationally known stores. Go there to see a show, to shop, or simply to marvel at the big-city buzz.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • To see one of the old theaters, you needn't attend a show: just pop into a store such as H&M, which resides in a well-preserved theatrical relic from the past.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #45 of 1,392 things to do in Madrid
    • A Very Busy Avenue 30/03/2015
    • Family Trip to Madrid 22/03/2015
    • Gran Via
  • Save
    Plaza de Cibeles
    Monuments & statues
    See more photos
    LaTortugaViajera Says:

    There's perhaps no panorama more picturesque than that of Plaza de Cibeles with its chariot-topped fountain and grand Cibeles Palace. The latter once served as the headquarters of the Spanish postal service, but nowadays it's home to City Hall as well as an open-to-the-public cultural center called CentroCentro.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • For stellar views of the city, visit the rooftop of Cibeles Palace.
    • If you're in town during one of Real Madrid's bigger soccer matches, and Real Madrid wins, expect this square to be party central.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #20 of 1,392 things to do in Madrid
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Big junction 27/03/2015
    • Madrid December 2014 24/03/2015
    • Plaza de Cibeles
    Address:
    Calle Alcala y Paseo de Recoletos
    Madrid 28014
    Spain
    Other:
  • Save
    Retiro Park (Parque del Retiro)
    Architectural buildings, Gardens, Parks, Bodies of water
    See more photos
    LaTortugaViajera Says:

    This is where all of the Spanish city slickers go to get a dose of fresh air. Head there to take a stroll, row a boat on the main pond, or to sit back and sip a beverage at one of the many outdoor cafes. If you're an art or museum buff, and have extra time, walk to the nearby Prado Museum, home to some of Europe's finest artwork.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The Palacio de Cristal, or Glass Palace, is free to enter and often hosts intriguing art exhibits and installations.
    • Get out your sneakers, runners: the park is laced with paths ideal for a jog.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 1,392 things to do in Madrid
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Magnificent Park in Madrid 31/03/2015
    • Relaxing but let down by lack of toilets. 31/03/2015
    • Retiro Park (Parque del Retiro)
    Address:
    Between C. Alfonso XII and Avenida de Menendez Pelayo
    Madrid
    Spain
    Other:
  • Save
    Barrio de Salamanca
    Historic walking areas, Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    LaTortugaViajera Says:

    This neighborhood is known for its particularly posh residents along with the fancy shops and restaurants that they frequent. Whether you come here to do some spending or just to window shop, Salamanca is a city barrio that is worth a wander.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • While in the neighborhood, you may also wish to stop at the National Archeological Museum. Note that it's free to enter on Saturdays after 2pm, and on Sundays in the morning.
    • Foodies should head to El Gourmet Experience at Serrano Street's El Corte Inglés department store. This is where you'll find budget-friendly cuisine by Michelin-star-rated chefs.
    • Make time to pay a visit to the very traditional food market, Mercado de la Paz (not during Spanish lunch hours, though, as most kiosks close between 2pm-5pm).
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #41 of 1,392 things to do in Madrid
    • Chic shopping street 20/03/2015
    • Gold Mile 15/03/2015
    • Barrio de Salamanca
  • Day 3
  • Save
    San Anton Market
    Flea & street markets
    See more photos
    LaTortugaViajera Says:

    Recently renovated, San Anton Market (El Mercado de San Anton) is a new hotspot for local gastro lovers. That's because it's one part old-fashioned market, complete with meat, fish and produce stands, and another part modern foodie paradise, consisting of tapas bars and even a rooftop bar and restaurant.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • LGBT
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Trendsetter
    Tips
    • Buy meat or fish from one of the vendors downstairs and you can have it prepared for you at the rooftop restaurant La Cocina de San Anton.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #47 of 1,392 things to do in Madrid
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A neighbourhood gen, off the main tourist trail 22/03/2015
    • Very posh beautiful market 22/03/2015
    • San Anton Market
    Address:
    C/ Augusto Figueroa, 24
    Madrid
    Spain
    Phone:
    91.330.02.99
    Hours:
    Mon - Thu
    10:00 - 5:00
    Fri - Sun
    10:00 - 6:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Plaza del Dos de Mayo
    Landmarks & points of interest
    See more photos
    LaTortugaViajera Says:

    Dos de Mayo is the heart and soul of Madrid's eclectic Malasaña neighborhood, and the site of numerous playgrounds, outdoor terrazas, and often even fairs and flea markets. This is the ideal place to grab a caña or tinto de verano (the more locally popular and light version of sangria) while you mix with the locals and simply people watch.

    Good for
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Trendsetter
    • Shopping Fanatic
    Tips
    • Duck off into any of the side streets in the Malasaña neighborhood and you'll be rewarded by the discovery of funky cafes, shops and restaurants.
    • Tired of Spanish food? Fill up on a killer pizza from Sandos, located right on the plaza.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #240 of 1,392 things to do in Madrid
    • Nightlife 15/02/2015
    • Needs some love 01/10/2014
    • Plaza del Dos de Mayo
  • Save
    Antigua Casa Crespo
    Speciality shops
    LaTortugaViajera Says:

    Spanish souvenirs don't get more legit than a pair of alpargatas (espadrilles) from this family-run, over-century-year-old establishment. Not only are the shoes entirely made in Spain and very affordable (at about under 10 euros a pair) but the service is phenomenal and the setting will make you feel like you're traveling back in time.

    Good for
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Trendsetter
    • Friends
    • Solo
    • Senior
    • Couples
    • Shopping Fanatic
    Tips
    • Note that the store closes during the middle of the day (like most small shops) and doesn't always re-open right on time.
    • You'll want your alpargatas to be a little snug, as they stretch quite a bit.
    • Locals stock up on their alpargata supply come late spring, so, during warmer months, come early in the day to avoid crowds.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #30 of 143 Shopping & Fashion in Madrid
    • Great customer service 15/11/2014
    • A classic, and for good reason 02/09/2014
    • Antigua Casa Crespo
    Address:
    Calle del Divino Pastor, 29
    Madrid 28004
    Spain
    Phone:
    34-91-521-56-54
    Hours:
    Mon - Sat
    10:00 - 1:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Bodega de la Ardosa
    Restaurants (Spanish, Tapas)
    See more photos
    LaTortugaViajera Says:

    When it comes to Spanish bars, this is about as quintessential as it gets. Think colorfully tiled walls, shelves stacked with dusty wine bottles, and memorabilia from the bar's over 100 years in business. The best part? Their addictively delicious potato-egg-and-onion tortilla española, easily considered one of the best in Madrid.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Trendsetter
    • Friends
    • Solo
    • Senior
    • Couples
    Tips
    • If it seems too packed with people, don't be shy: duck right under the bar to the back area where there's more room.
    • Come around noon to join in an old-fashioned Madrid pastime of sipping on a fresh-from-the-tap vermouth as you munch on a tapa.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #868 of 5,721 restaurants in Madrid
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A place to visit 23/02/2015
    • A must Cañas & Tapas pit stop in Malasaña 26/01/2015
    • Bodega de la Ardosa
    Address:
    Calle de Colon 13
    Madrid 28004
    Spain
    Phone:
    915 214 979
    Price range:
    $19 - $26
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    8:30 - 7:00
    Other:
top
×
Was this guide helpful?
YesNo