In This Post
- This is an overview of the activities we most enjoyed during our five nights, six days in Madrid, Spain. We include the city’s UNESCO Heritage sites and a variety of activities, including museums, strolls through historical sites and a picnic at the largest city in the park.
- The basics
- At-a-glance activities
- Madrid’s UNESCO World Heritage sites
- Day 1: Arrive to Madrid & settle in
- Day 2: Historical Madrid
- Day 3: Park & Museums
- Day 4: Architecture & Shopping
- Day 5: Fútbol/Soccer
- Like this:
This is an overview of the activities we most enjoyed during our five nights, six days in Madrid, Spain. We include the city’s UNESCO Heritage sites and a variety of activities, including museums, strolls through historical sites and a picnic at the largest city in the park.
- City: Madrid, Spain
- Stay: Around Plaza Mayor
- Transport: Madrid has excellent public transportation with its metro system and bus lines. Most of the sites listed here are within two to four metro stops of one another.
|Day 1||Arrive to Madrid & Settle In|
Map of Locations
|Day 2||Historical Madrid|
–>Madrid Historic Core Walking Tour
–>Puerta del Sol
–>Calle de Postas
–>Lunch at Mercado de San Miguel
–>Churros & chocolate at Chocolatería San Ginés
–>Jardines de Sabatini
Map of Locations
|Day 3||Park & Museums|
–>El Retiro Park
–>El Prado Museum
–>El Reina Sofia Museums
Map of Locations
|Day 4||Architecture & Shopping|
–>Walk down Gran Via from Plaza de Espana to Banco de Espana
Map of Locations
–>Real Madrid Santiago Bernabéu Stadium Tour
–>Catch a Real Madrid game if it’s season
Map of Locations
|Day 6||Depart for Segovia|
–>Pick up rental car in Madrid City Center (Atocha Station)
–>Drive to Toledo en route to Segovia
–>Free Walking Tour in Toledo
Madrid’s UNESCO World Heritage sites
Madrid’s UNESCO sites are not located directly in the city center. You must take a private car or public transport to access them. If you have a half day of time, we recommend incorporating some of these sites into your pans.
|Monastery and Site of the Escorial||Spanish royal site that served a central role in the Christian world|
|University and Historic Precinct of Alcalá de Henares||First example of a planned university city; founded in 1499; birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes|
|Aranjuez Cultural Landscape||The landscape includes advanced horticultural designs|
|Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe*||This transnational composite nature site encompasses forests in 12 European countries|
Day 1: Arrive to Madrid & settle in
Stretch your legs by walking around the neighborhood, and enjoy tapas and wine on a patio while people watching.
Day 2: Historical Madrid
This walking tour of Madrid’s historic core brings you to the city’s gems.
|Puerta del Sol: Renowned central square|
Calle de Postas: The street that was Madrid’s former economic nervous system
Plaza Mayor: This plaza dates back to the Hapsburg period (1600s). It’s gone through a number of changes over the years. Today the plaza, some 129 meters in length and 94 meters in width, is ringed by cafes, shops and tourist outposts.
Mercado de San Miguel: Next to Plaza Mayor is this indoor market that used to be a big central market before it fell into disrepair. Bought by a foodie and turned into a hip spot with lots of restaurants and stalls, the food here is delicious and surprisingly cheap considering its downtown location.
Churros & chocolate at Chocolatería San Ginés: A must when you’re in the city. Madrid’s oldest chocolateria has been serving up these delicious treats since 1894.
Almudena Cathedral: This cathedral dates back to 1879 and was built on the site occupied by Madrid’s first mosque.
Royal Palace: Home to Kings of Spain from Charles III to Alfonso XIII, still serves as the official residence for the Royal Family. Changing the guard is held on Wednesdays and Saturdays, weather permitting.
Jardines de Sabatini: Part of the Royal Palace, these gardens were built in the 1930s.
Day 3: Park & Museums
The three museums featured here are considered Madrid’s museum golden triangle. Take a break by picnicking at El Retiro Park. If you don’t have enough energy for three museums in a single day, save one for the next day.
|Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum: This is the best private art collection in Europe. It houses XIX – XX century art ranging from Impressionism to pop art.|
El Retiro Park: Madrid’s version of NYC’s Central Park. Spanning 125 hectares and housing more than 15,000 trees, there’s plenty of space to picnic, walk, people watch and a lake for paddle boating. Crystal Palace (a structure made completely out of glass) features a rotating collection of art exhibits.
Prado Museum: One of the world’s best museums. Houses works from Spanish (El Greco, Velázquez, and Goya), Flemish and Dutch (Rubens, van Dyck, and Brueghel), Italian (Botticelli, Tintoretto, Titian, Caravaggio, and Veronese), and German (Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, and Baldung Grien) artists. Free on weekdays from 6-7PM.
El Reina Sofia: This museum is home to Pablo Picasso’s Guernica and art by Miró, Kandinsky, Dalí, and Bacon.Free admission on Monday, Wednesday-Saturday from 7pm to 9pm and Sundays from 1:30pm to 7pm.
Day 4: Architecture & Shopping
Stroll down Gran Via to see architectural styles from the 1910s, 20s and 30s and stop in to boutiques and shops along the way. Visit any of the museums you might have missed the previous day.
Day 5: Fútbol/Soccer
Madrid has two major teams: Real Madrid & Atlético Madrid. We focus on Real Madrid, a force on the Spanish and wider European fútbol scene. If you have the opportunity, go to a live match, and if the team is playing out of town, catch the game with locals at a bar.
|Harvard reports that Real Madrid “is one of the 20 most important brand names and the only one in which its executives, [and] the players, are well-known…there are an estimated 287 million people worldwide who follow Real Madrid.”|
Real Madrid Santiago Bernabéu Stadium Tour
Tour through Bernabéu Stadium, Real Madrid’s home stadium.Views of the pitch, dressing rooms, player tunnel, press room and museum are included in tour entry fees.
Connect this itinerary:
- Spain in 5 Weeks — Country Itinerary
- Toledo, Spain in an Afternoon — Activity Recommendations
- Segovia, Spain in an Afternoon — Activity Recommendations
- A Schengen Area Europe Itinerary — 13 Countries in 90 Days
- Portugal in 4 Weeks — Country Itinerary
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