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DISCOVER THE BEAUTY OF MADRID
THINGS TO DO, HOTELS IN MADRID AND DAY TOURS FROM THE CAPITAL OF SPAIN!
Spain: In a country full of beaches and practically surrounded by water on its four sides, its capital of Madrid has no sea and no beach at less than 350 kilometers.
A quick tip: Rent a car in Madrid to have more freedom of movement! Definitely worth the investment 🙂
Even though tourists might have to give up the idea of eating paella while enjoying views of the sea, the truth is that there are plenty of reasons to make a trip to Madrid.
When planning a trip to Madrid, it is fundamental to not only think in terms of the city itself but also of its surroundings.
There are few cities in the world that can boast of having so many points of interest and declared UNESCO heritage sites at less than 100 kilometers away: Segovia and its aqueduct, Toledo and its Cathedral, Ávila and its city walls, Cuenca and its hanging houses, Aranjuez and its palace, Alcalá de Henares, El Escorial…
Add a little more distance, of approximately 2 hours, and we can add to the list, Burgos, Salamanca, Guadalupe, Cáceres, Atapuerca…
In this article, I will mention the 10 top things not to miss in Madrid. I will also add options that will allow you to discover the most monumental Spain at just one hour from the city and the best Hotels in Madrid
Where to Stay? Best Hotels / Accommodation In Madrid
Further Readings: Read this other article on where to stay in Madrid
BEST THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN MADRID AND SURROUNDING AREAS
1 |Wine and Tapas In Madrid
Madrid is full of bars and tavernas, suitable for all tastes and budgets. Some seem to have always been on the same street.
The waiter has a calm manner, the decoration looks like it has not changed in the past 50 years, beer, one type of wine and little options of food to eat. Others offer dozens of different wines, gourmet tapas…
There are books written on the bars of Madrid, but tourists will not have the time! My best advice: do not go to touristy places that are close to Puerta del Sol.
The safest options are in neighborhoods that are less frequented by tourists. A good idea is to go to the neighborhood of La Latina where both tourists and locals alike enjoy wine and tapas.
2 |The Golden Triangle Of Art
The Prado Museum, Reina Sofia and Thyssen are among the best art galleries in the world. The three of them are at less than 5 minutes walking from each other. A total luxury.
3 | Retiro Park
Formerly a park for kings and, today, considered the lung of the city.
This large park in the heart of Madrid has beautiful areas like its pond, ideal for a ride on its row boats, or its Crystal Palace (with trees with roots in the water).
At some of the vendors of the park, you can enjoy an horchata (a popular local beverage from Valencia perfect for the summer). Also, make sure to check out the famous statue of the fallen angel.
4 | Plaza Major
One of the largest main squares of Spain, Plaza Mayor is the meeting point for many tourists crossing from one side of the city to another.
Its terraces are ideal for having a drink (not so much for eating). On Sundays, you can find stamp collecting vendors and a Christmas market in Winter. Many guided walking tours of the city leave from this point.
5 |Plaza de Oriente, Royal Palace, Almudena Cathedral
I mention these together since the three are located in the same area.
The Plaza de Oriente is the location of Madrid’s Opera House and is possibly the most beautiful square of Madrid.
The Palace was built on a hill that has fantastic views. The first Arab city of Madrid was located here. The current Almudena Cathedral is fairly recent and was finished thanks to individual contributions.
We recommend taking a nice walk from the Plaza de Oriente to the Templo de Debod, an Egyptian temple from which you can enjoy some of the best views of Madrid.
6 |Toledo Day Tour
Let’s change cities for a moment to visit one of the treasures located at less than an hour from Madrid!
Toledo was the former capital of Spain and is considered the city of three cultures because it was once home to Christians, Jews, and Muslims during the same period.
The city is a sort of open-air museum filled with churches, synagogues, the cathedral, bridges, and cobbled streets and squares.
A magnificent plan would be to combine a Tour to Toledo from Madrid with a visit to the famous Don Quixote windmills while also tasting the local wine and gastronomy.
Another treasure at less than an hour from Madrid. The symbol of Segovia for all Spaniards is its impressive Roman aqueduct.
The aqueduct is one of the best preserved in the world and leaves a great impression on the city’s visitors…but many other surprises await as well, including Segovia’s most traditional dish, the famous “cochinillo” or suckling pig.
On your way to Segovia, I recommend stopping at El Escorial, the famous monastery where the kings of Spain are buried.
You can try some amazing tours while there! Check these ones out, some of them are awesome!
Another good stop on the way to Segovia is La Granja de San Ildefonso, known as the Spanish Versailles and where you will find a beautiful summer palace of kings and its French-style gardens.
8 |The Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
Back to Madrid, we can’t forget to mention that Madrid is home of the soccer club with the most championship titles in the world.
The stadium of Real Madrid is located within the business district of the city and has an excellent stadium tour, as well as restaurants at which you can enjoy lunch or dinner with views of the field.
9 |Goya & Serrano
If you have time for shopping in Madrid, the streets of Goya and Serrano are a must.
Goya is one of the most frequented streets by locals where you will find many shops as well as El Corte Inglés, the well-known Spanish department store.
Serrano street is lined with more upscale stores including luxury boutique shops, jewelry stores, and big brand names.
10 |Gran Vía, Sol, Callao & Chueca
These streets were formerly part of the city’s business district.
Madrid’s first tall buildings were built in this area, which today is a commercial area full of stores and franchises.
This large area of Madrid gives a good idea of the business and energy of the city. Chueca is famous for being the most important gay district in Spain.
It is packed with small shops and trendy restaurants that offer an interesting contrast to the franchises on Gran Via.
Many people think of Madrid as a city to spend the night before continuing on to Andalusia (Seville, Cordoba, Granada) or taking a train or plane to Barcelona.
Madrid deserves much more than this.
Apart from group travel and organized trips in which Madrid is only a stopping point for longer trips, I recommend that you plan your time in the city well, spend at least 2 or 3 days (more if you plan on visiting nearby cities and taking day trips) and save time by booking with a travel agency in Spain dedicated to quality tourism.
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