Recently I spent some days in Madrid and I loved it! This city is vibrant, classy, full of nice architecture and with great infrastructure that facilitates tourists to move and explore all its awesome sites. Let me share with you which are the top 10 places you should visit and some specific information about each one that will make your life easier when you are there and want to visit them.
1. Prado Museum
You can start your tour at the Prado Museum. It is the main national art museum, considered to have one of the world's finest collections of European art, dating from the 12th century to the early 20th century. The entrance is 15 Euro, and there's free entry for ages under 18, students 18-25, and visitors with physical impairments.
More information: Museo del Prado
2. Parque El Retiro (The Glass Palace and Lake Rowboats)
This is one of the most beautiful parks I've been to, it's full of kids playing, dogs, musicians and good vibes. You can visit the Palacio de Cristal (The Glass Palace) and there is a lake with rowboats to rent.
More information: Parque El Retiro
3. Puerta de Alcala and Plaza de Cibeles
They are both on the same street. The Puerta de Alcalá was a gate of the former Walls of Philip IV, its name originates from the old path from Madrid to the town of Alcalá de Henares.
More information: Puerta de Alcala
The Cibeles fountain shows Cybele, the Greek goddess of fertility and nature holding a sceptre and a key while being pulled by two lions on a chariot. On each of the 4 corners of the Plaza de Cibeles square, you will find an interesting building. The Palacio de Buenavista currently houses the Spanish Army's headquarters; the Palacio de Linares is owned by the Casa de América organisation and the Madrid City Hall.
More information: Plaza de Cibeles
4. La Gran Via
Gran Vía is the street known as the Spanish Broadway. I loved the architecture of all its buildings, it's an ornate and upscale shopping street and it is one of the streets with the most nightlife in Europe.
More information: Gran Via
5. The Royal Palace of Madrid
The Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family at the city of Madrid, but it is only used for state ceremonies. The entrance costs around 10 euro.
More information: Royal Palace of Madrid
6. Almudena Cathedral (Sunset on the hill)
The Almudena Cathedral is a Catholic church, the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madrid. After visiting the cathedral you can cross the bridge with glass siding and at the end, you will see a little area to the right with a fence and a hill. There you can take a seat and watch the sunset.
More information: Almudena Cathedral
7. Plaza Mayor and San Miguel Market
The Plaza Mayor was built during Philip III's reign and is a central plaza in Madrid. It's located very close to another famous plaza, the Puerta del Sol.
More information: Plaza Mayor
The San Miguel Market is a covered market where you'll find all the tipycal spanish food, gourmet delicatesens and a great atmosphere to taste many different flavours.
More information: San Miguel Market
9. Arganzuela Footbridge
Designed to link the neighbourhoods on the right and left banks of the Manzanares river, was designed by the french architect Dominique Perrault.
More information: Arganzuela Footbridge
10. Debod Temple
Is an ancient Egyptian temple that was dismantled and rebuilt in Madrid. I really liked to visit it during the night because it had a kind of mystical vibe.
More information: Debod Temple
How to visit Madrid?
If you are on a quick trip you can visit Madrid’s highlights in 2 days:
- First day (walk in the City Center): you can start at the 1) Prado Museum, then walk around 2) El Retiro Park and afterwards go north to see the 3) Puerta de Alcala and Plaza de Cibeles. At the end of the avenue you’ll find 4) La Gran Via which you can walk west to get to 5) The Royal Palace of Madrid. From there you can walk south to 6) Almudena Cathedral and watch the sunset on the hill. Finally, in the night you can walk east to 7) Plaza Mayor and San Miguel Market.
- Second day (by metro, taxi or walking - a lot!): you can start by having breakfast or lunch in 8) La Latina, then go south to see 9) Arganzuela Footbridge, and finally finish by visiting 10) The Debod Temple (in the night preferibly).