Madrid – This bustling international city in Europe has a lot to offer. From gigantic museums like Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Royal Palace of Madrid and the El Rastro market which offers a local Spanish shopping experience to settling for a laid back evening at the Plaza Mayor or tasting the delicious tapas at El Tigre – Madrid city has a lot to offer. We have handpicked some of the top things to do in Madrid that will give you an idea as to where to go and what to see. Take a read!
1. Mercado San Miguel
The Mercado San Miguel market, which lies on the outer area of Plaza Mayor, is the ideal place to purchase some wine, cocktail or indulge in delicious coffee and snack or pick few cooking ingredients from the available fruit, seafood and meat stalls inside the market and later treat yourself for a self-cooked meal. The atmosphere inside the market is vibrant throughout and the food stalls have some of the best finger food you’ll ever come across in Madrid. Visit this place to satisfy your gastronomic needs!
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2. Plaza de Cibeles
One of the most famous plazas in Madrid, Plaza de Cibeles is located close to Calle de Alcalá and Paseo del Prado. The architecture will have you stunned for real. The Palace of Communications used to be a post office but right now, it serves as the city mayor’s office. Take a closer look at the fountain and you’ll find intricate art work on the Roman Goddess Cybele. The Spanish football teams look up to this Roman goddess so much so that every time the national football team of Spain or Real Madrid football club win a major trophy, a parade is hosted till the end of Cybele statue and the players hoist the team’s flag as an act of respect.
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3. Museo del Prado
Museo del Prado is one of the most renowned art galleries in Europe. The museum is home to 7000 paintings of Museo del Prado, out of which 1500 are currently on display. Once you are inside the museum, collect the free plan map from the office desk which will help you navigate through the rooms and the sophisticated artworks present in the gallery. The western wing of Prado which used to be a hub spot for scientific research was later converted into one of Napoleon’s cavalry guardhouse. As fancy as it sounds, we aren’t kidding when we say a visit to Museo del Prado is one the top things to do in Madrid.
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4. Retiro Park
Located in Madrid’s centric region, Retiro Park is where you have the best of nature get to you with the green gardens, promenades, lakes and playgrounds. The Retiro Park used to house Felipe IV’s palace and it’s set of gardens. Inside the park, you have the Palacio de Cristal aka Crystal palace which boasts of art exhibitions, boating and amazing gardens. You can also entertain yourself during weekends by witnessing a puppet show in their open-air theatre.
5. Puerta del So
Puerta del Sol is filled with fountains, shops, restaurants and people. The arena comes to life at nights with people looking to party in the topnotch bars of Madrid. The constant hustle and bustle will persist through the day, with street performers and protesters taking centre stage. If you feel like shopping, visit the Sol metro stop. Puerta del Sol is also a connection point to Spain’s National 6 roads making it all the more reason to be listed under the top things to do in Madrid.
6. Santiago Bernabeu
The Real Madrid football club is referred to as the Spanish giant for a reason. With 11 European cups to boast about and a huge fan base who worship the players, you must take the stadium tour in Santiago Bernabeu even if you don’t follow football. With 85,000 seating capacity, a visit to Real Madrid’s holy place is definitely one of the top things to do in Madrid. During your stadium tour, you will get to witness the beautiful views at the stadium and peek into the dressing room, dugouts, presidential box and the trophy showcase.
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7. Royal Palace of Madrid
Royal Palace of Madrid was once the home to Spain’s royal family during the mid-1700s to 1900s. Even though the royal family doesn’t reside here anymore, the palace is still considered as their official residence. Housing 3000 rooms, Royal Palace of Madrid is Western Europe’s largest royal palace with an in-house armoury and royal pharmacy. Whilst you’re here, do explore the Campo del Moro Gardens and Sabatini Gardens that are situated near the palace.
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8. El Rastro Market
If you are close to the La Latina metro station, take a stroll to reach Calle de las Maldonadas – home to one of the most famous flea markets in Spain. The El Rastro Market was set up in the 15th century at Plaza de Cascorro and used to extend only till the streets of Calle San Cayetano and Ronda de Toledo. However, merchants later started selling their goods even on Calle San Cayetano street. From household items and souvenirs to Moroccan leather hand-stitched bags, clothing and jewellery, the El Rastro Market offers them all and more at reasonable prices – thus making it one of the top things to do in Madrid. Beware! The El Rastro Market opens only on Sundays and on public holidays from 9 a.m. till 3 p.m.
We know for a fact that there are plenty more things and places which will make your trip to Madrid a memorable one. We here at Pickyourtrail have what it takes to make it extra special. Don’t believe us? Get started with us over here already!