Our step-by-step city guide to 2 perfect days in Madrid, Spain.
A holiday in Madrid with only 48 hours to spare seems like a daunting task with so much to see and do. Let our guide help you take in the best of what this Spanish capital has to offer. Be sure to stay at a central hotel and let our game plan do the rest.
Lunch and Afternoon
Paella: After a leisurely morning lie-in, take the metro down to the Gran Via stop. A short walk away stands La Barraca, one of the best for paella in the city. We recommend trying the Paella Valencia.
Real Madrid: Burn off the calories with a tour of the Real Madrid stadium. Located right next to the Santiago Bernabeu station, this is a must-visit even if you’re not a huge football fan. The sheer size and details of the stadium will be sure to blow you over.
Shopping & Tapas: Puerta Del Sol is the next metro stop. Here begins the the famous market square of the city. Be sure to take in the architectural splendour of this square along with the many diverse entertainers. Plaza Mayor is a short walk away from the square and metro stop. We suggest snacking on some churros and tortillas at this old-school plaza. This is also the best place to buy souvenirs for friends and family, although beware of slightly inflated prices.
Old Town Madrid: Exiting Plaza Mayor towards Cava San Miguel, you will spot Mercado San Miguel (Madrid’s last remaining indoor market). Stock up on fresh food here if you wish. Down past the market, you will arrive at Arco de los Cuchilleros (the Arch of the Knifemakers). This arch in the road was constructed by Juan Gómez de Mora to account for the lower street levels at this side of the plaza.
Dinner and Evening
Botin: For dinner we suggest stopping at Botin (located on the arch). The Guinness Book of Records names this as the world’s oldest restaurant. Feast on traditional Spanish food and wine while eyeing the many frescoes on the surrounding road. Walking onwards after dinner you can visit nearby Plaza de la Villa. This is the beautiful Town Hall square and in summer is home to a variety of bright flowers.
Midnight Treat: For a special midnight treat, take the metro down to Banco de España stop. Here you can watch the enormous national Post Office come alive with lights in the night.
Parque Del Retiro: Begin the day with a walk through Madrid’s beautiful Parque Del Retiro. The closest metro station is Retiro. The park is home to a number of sculptures, landscaped gardens, fountains and a huge lake surrounded by ice cream carts and cool drinks counters.
Spanish Art: Take the metro to Atocha stop. A short walk away stands the unforgettable Prado, Madrid’s National Museum. Home to a collection of famous Spanish painters and sculpters, it is well worth spending the late morning exploring some of the many rooms in this renowned art museum. The large numbers of works by Velázquez and Francisco de Goya, Titian, Rubens and Bosch are among the highlights of the collection.
Lunch and Afternoon
Churros: Next take the metro back to Puerta Del Sol. Here you can visit the famed Chocolateria San Gines for lunch. This is the place which invented the churros and hot chocolate. And it still retains its original quality. Frequented by locals, take your time savouring the pile of churros that will appear on your table in minutes.
Bullfighting: Spend the afternoon visiting La Ventas Bullring, right next to the Ventas metro stop. A tour operates hourly here. The visit will explain to the history and present state of Spanish bullfighting. You will also get a chance to walk into the main ring and handle the equipment used by the fighters. Great place for taking pictures in an authentic Spanish environment.
Dinner and Evening
Flamenco: At night we recommend a visit to Corral De La Moreria for tapas, cava and a traditional Tablao Flamenco performance. One of the most famous Flamenco bars in Madrid, be sure to reserve a front row seat in advance.
Midnight Treat: Before heading back to your hotel, we recommend taking a night walk through the Palace Royale. The night lights and views over the city will be sure to enchant and captivate. Be sure to visit the fountain in the gardens of the palace. This is a great place to take a few last minute pictures to show at home.
Let us know about your experiences
If you have been to Madrid and would like to add a few ‘must-do’s’ to this list, please do share it with us by using the comment box below. Have you visited any of the attractions above?