This huge European city offers visitors the quintessential Spanish experience and memories that last a lifetime. Combining the hustle and bustle of a major city with leisurely but invigorating activities, Madrid has quickly established itself as one of the main tourist destinations of all time. Offering sightseeing, exotic cuisine and hospitable locals, Madrid is a tourist haven that will not disappoint.
The capital of Spain, Madrid is located in the south-west of Europe, and is counted as the third-largest European city. This cosmopolitan city is the fusion of modern architecture and cultural heritage. There are many things to do in Madrid, if you are traveling here for the first time. From museums to restaurants, bars, parks, and shopping outlets – tourists are offered a lot to explore here. Most of the buildings here look like castles. To learn about the history and facts of this city, one of the things to do in Madrid is visiting the variety of museums it has in store. Sorolla Museum, Prado National Museum, Museo Cerralbo, Naval Museum, Museo del Romanticismo, Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Casa Museo Lope de Vega, Museo del Ferrocarril de Madrid, Museo Geominero, Museo Lazaro Galdiano, and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, are some of them. These museums are based on science, culture, and artwork. Here you will find paintings of famous painters and many other interesting things. Other top things to do in Madrid comprise of a survey of all the parks in the city. There is a lot of greenery here, and the parks such as Casa de Campo, Madrid Arena and el Parque del Buen Retiro are quite famous.
If you are looking for a memorable night out, then the places to visit in Madrid are plentiful. Cardamomo Tablao Flamenco, Casa Patas, Flamenco en Vivo, The Madrid Wine Experience, The Madrid Pub Crawl, and El Burladero are a few of the bars and pubs here. You can have a drink or dance the night away at these places. Since the city is old, there are palaces situated here as well, such as Plaza Mayor, Palacio Real, and Plaza de Santa Ana. These palaces are delicately made, behind which many historical tales are hidden. Getting different kinds of tour is one of the interesting things to do in Madrid. Sandeman’s New Madrid Tours, Adventurous Appetites Tapas Tour, Segway Trip Tours, Bravo Bike - Day Tours, and Ogo Tours are a few you can benefit from, and make the most of your trip. Other top landmark places to visit in Madrid are Madrid Cathedral, Plaza de Orientes, Plaza de Cibele, Plaza de la Vill, and Templo de Debod. These are the churches, temples and palaces present in the city. As the day ends, one of many energizing things to do in Madrid is trying Chocolate Con Churros in any traditional Spanish restaurant such as Chocolatería de San Ginés.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is named after founders of the art museum and is located in Madrid, Spain. It forms part of the "Golden Triangle of Art" that includes Reina Sofa and Prado Museum. The museum is situated at one of the main boulevards of the city near the Prado Museum.
The museum houses over 1,600 collections of paintings. The artworks span a period of nearly a thousand years, from the late 20th century, dating back to the 13th century. Visitors can contemplate the major artistic period of western art including the Renaissance, Baroque, Mannerism, Romanticism, and the Pop Art of the 19th and 20th century. The paintings also offer a mixture of Expressionists and Impressionists art that was popular during the second half of the 20th century. Visitors can find works from various other movements in the museum as well including Fauvism, experimental avant-garde, and Cultural Revolution.
The collection housed in the museum represents tastes of the two principal founder of the museum: Baron Heinrich and Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza. The museum is one of the most frequently visited places in Spain that receives an average of about a million visitors per year. It is the perfect place to visit for art aficionados.
The Westin Palace in Madrid is a luxury hotel resort situated on the Carrera de San Jerónimo at Cetnro in Madrid, Spain. Known for its sumptuous hospitality since 1912, the iconic hotel is located in the central part of the city, within walking distance of the city's major tourist attractions including the Thyssen, Prado, and Reina Sofia museums.
The Westin Palace hotel was built over a period of a year and a half and was opened for public in 1912. It was the largest hotel in Europe at the time – one of the few in the continent that offered such luxuries as intercom, toilets, and telephone in every room. The basement of the hotel contained entertainment options of the visitors including the 'the del Palace' dance hall, a jazz lounge and a bar.
In 1999, the Spanish government designated this hotel as cultural heritage of the country. Today, the 5-star hotel is part of the Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. Guests can enjoy breakfast/dinner in one of the beautiful atrium of the hotel. Every room is lavishly furnished for the comfort of the guests. In addition, due to its location in the neighborhood of Las Letras, guest can find various leisure, shopping and gastronomic options located nearby.
The Zoo Aquarium de Madrid is situated in the Casa de Campo in Madrid, Spain. The 49-acre zoo and aquarium is owned by the city municipality but is managed by an international entertainment operator, Parques Reunidos. Established in 1771, it is one of the largest and oldest zoos in Spain.
Zoo Aquarium de Madrid includes a petting zoo as well as an aquarium containing around 2 million liters of salt water. It has over 500 different species of animals that number over 6,000. It is one of the few zoos in the world that houses giant Pandas. The African exhibits, containing zebras, giraffes, and small gazelles, are very popular among the visitors.
Visitors can find various things to do with their kids at the zoo aquarium. Aviary show, dolphin exhibit, and sea lion show are main events that are held at the place. The shows will enthrall both the children and the adults. The zoo is a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). This means that none of the species housed inside the zoo aquarium are mistreated, and ensures optimal animal care and welfare, conservation of biodiversity, and global sustainability.
Almudena Cathedral is a historic gem dating back to the year 1883. The thought of building this cathedral was conceived in the year 1561 when King Felipe II declared Madrid as the new capital of Spain instead of Toledo. The King wanted a beautiful and magnificent cathedral for Spain’s new capital which led to the creation of Almudena Cathedral. However, the idea was realized in the year 1883 when the construction work to build this cathedral started at full throttle. The project construction was supposed to start earlier, soon after the idea was finalized. However, due to political unrest and turbulence, the construction work was postponed.
Originally, the site where this cathedral stands today was occupied by the city’s first mosque. The architectural work of this spectacular cathedral reflects the Neo Gothic style. It is 104 meters long and approximately 76 meters wide. The Almudena Cathedral is nestled adjacent to the gorgeous Royal Palace. The cathedral features bright interior and intricately designed architecture that leaves people amazed. The entrance to this cathedral is free.
The Almudena Cathedral also boasts a museum that exhibits great work reflecting the history of the cathedral and the archdiocese of the capital, Madrid. The museum is open for tourists from Monday to Saturday but closed on Sundays.
Built in the year 1947 and owned by Real Madrid CF, Santiago Bernabéu Stadium was initially called El Bernabéu, which was later renamed in the honor of the former chairperson Santiago Bernabéu Yeste. Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is a huge football stadium, reputed as one of the most prestigious and famous football venues worldwide. This stadium has a capacity of approximately 85,454 football fans.
This football stadium is situated on the Paseo-de-la-Castellana which rests in the Chamartín district in Madrid. It fully occupies the block encircled by the Paseo-de-la-Castellana and also the famous streets of Padre Damián, Rafael Salgado and Concha Espina. The closest subway station to Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is Santiago Bernabéu located on Line 10.
It took 3 years to construct this stadium. Though initially built in 1947, the stadium has undergone renovations 2 times, once in the year 1982 and the other in the year 2001. The owner of the stadium continues to improve the quality of facilities and expand the stadium’s capacity, providing more seating area for spectators to enjoy their favorite sport.
Over the years, the stadium has hosted several local and major international football tournaments including the European Nations’ Cup and FIFA World Cup to name a few.
If you wish to explore the culture and history of Spain, then CaixaForum in Madrid is the place to visit. This is both a cultural center and museum situated in Paseo-del-Prado 36. The building is an architectural marvel constructed in 2007 by two highly-skilled Swiss architects, de Mueron and Herzog.
The design of the building is very unique. It artfully combines an old electrical station and new floor construction encased with oxidized cast iron. Near the building is a green wall which was designed by Patrick Blanc, a popular French botanist. The red color of the building nicely contrasts with the green wall.
Although it is a contemporary/modern style building constructed only a few years ago, it is recognized as the tourist magnet largely because of the retrospective artist works from earlier-time periods that are housed inside CaixaForum. In fact, this place has evolved as one of the most sought after and visited tourist destination in Madrid, Spain.
The intricate detailing and creativity with which this building is made reflects architectural excellence that leaves many mesmerized before they enter it. And, what makes their day is the exotic and large collection of art work of renowned and legendary artists waiting to be explored.
Located in Moncloa Aravaca district on the west side of city central, the Casa de Campo is the largest and most beautiful urban park in Madrid. Formerly recognized as a royal-hunting estate, Casa de Campo covers an area widespread across 6.8 square miles, over 1,750 hectares.
Casa de Campo also houses a stunning amusement park by the name Parque-de-Atracciones-de-Madrid and also the Madrid Zoo. It’s a great place for people to visit with children. The amusement park inside Casa de Campo also has some of the most exciting attractions and rides for all age groups such as pony rides, a carousel, maze and roller coasters, taking fun to a whole new level. Casa de Campo is open to the public every day and all year round.
The Madrid Zoo inside Casa de Campo is a treat for animal lovers. Here, you can find nearly 3000 different species of animals from across the globe. It also has a large dolphin tank and aquarium.
Besides this, here, you can also indulge in a variety of sport activities such as tennis, trekking, football and canoeing. Casa de Campo presents tons of activities for people to enjoy and have a great time with friends and family.
Declared as a World-Heritage Site by UNESCO, El Escorial is a Spanish Royal Site, formerly the residence of the King of Spain. It is located in the scenic town of San Lorenzo, approximately 28 miles to the north west of Madrid. Currently, El Escorial functions as a royal palace, monastery, school and museum. It comprises of 2 architectural-complexes, the royal monastery and hunting lodge famously known as La-Granjilla-de-La-Fresenda.
This place has a rich history dating back to the 16th and 17th century which is one of the top reasons why this destination is a tourist favorite. The cornerstone of El Escorial building was laid in the year 1563. Besides this, it is also recognized as a royal site as most of the Spanish kings are buried here including Charles V, Philip I, Philip II, Louis I, Philip III, Ferdinand VII, Charles III, Isabella II, Charles IV, Philip V, King Amadeus, Ferdinand VI and Alfonso XII to name a few.
The building is divided into different sectioned courtyards of the Kings, Basilica, Palace of Philip II and the Hall of the Battles that feature Fresco paintings showcasing Spanish-military victories such as their medieval victory where they defeated the Moors. Other sections include an art gallery, library, Gardens-of-the-Friars, and an architectural museum.
When you come to Madrid, don’t forget to visit El Rastro. It is the perfect place to shop for household items, decoration pieces, clothes and Spanish souvenirs for your friends and family back home. And more importantly, here, you can get great stuff for half the price.
El Rastro is a popular open-air flea market located along Ribera-de-Curtidores and Plaza-de-Cascorro, in Madrid, between the Ronda-de-Toledo and Calle Embajadores. It is also said to be one of the largest flea markets across Europe with more than 3500 stalls scattered across several streets. The main street features stalls predominantly selling clothes. However, if you wish to buy souvenirs and antiques; then visit shops located on the side streets. They contain the real Spanish treasures. This flea market is held every Sunday all year round. The timings of this market are from 9am to 3pm. Besides this, it is also held on public holidays to attract busy locals who can come to shop only on either Sundays or public holidays.
At El Rastro Market, you can also find both new and second hand goods like jewelry, handbags and decoration pieces. After a fun yet an exhausting shopping spree, you can always rejoice and treat your taste buds to good food at the restaurants nearby.
Explore history and literature together by visiting the House-Museum of Lope de Vega. Dating back to the 16th century, this was the former house of the famous and legendary Spanish poet, playwright and novelist, Lope de Vega. He is recognized as one of the biggest contributors of Baroque Literature.
His literary works and poetic contributions earned him the titles such as ‘Prodigy-of-Nature’ and ‘The Phoenix-of-Wits’. Some people even called him the Shakespeare-of-Spanish-Literature.
Lope de Vega bought this place in the year 1610, hence the name. Now, this writer’s house-museum is conserved by the Real Academia-Espanola. It was opened to public visits in the year 1935 once it was restored as a museum. And the same year, it was classified as a national monument. The House-Museum of Lope de Vega is a 2 storey brick-town house located uphill from the Paseo-del-Prado.
A visit to this house-museum provides tourists with insights into the everyday life of people during the 17th century, Spain’s Golden-Age. A walk through this place can be best described as a trip back in time. It features several rooms showcasing furniture from the 17th century such as whale oil lamps and even pans that were used to heat bed sheets back in the days. The entrance features beautiful inscription in Latin. The Home-Museum of Lope de Vega is open from Tuesday to Saturday and closed on Sunday, Monday, public holidays and in August.