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3 Days City trip to Madrid, complete itinerary

Are you planning a city trip to Madrid? And you have no idea how you need to spend these days? Check out our schedule for a visit to Madrid. Madrid is a very big city and there is a lot to see and do. Still, you can see Madrid's main attractions within 3 days, while also enjoying the countless shops and restaurants in this vibrant city.

Why Madrid is an excellent destination for a city trip?

Madrid is not as popular among tourists as other cities, such as Paris, London or Barcelona. That's because Madrid doesn't have the big and important sights that these cities do have. Madrid has no Sagrada Familia or Eiffel Tower and yet we think Madrid should definitely be on your list of city trips you want to do. Because this bustling capital of Spain has so much more to offer than you might expect.

Besides the fact that there are some beautiful historical highlights to admire in Madrid, it is also a real foodies paradise, where you can eat the most delicious tapas. In addition, there are also countless shops in both the center and in the hipster districts, such as Malasena, with the more unique shops. And if you don't feel like the bustle of the city at all, there are also the beautiful parks, where you can really relax.

Day 1, the heart of Madrid

The first day of Madrid takes us to the most important historical sights of Madrid.

Plaza de Espana, the start of our first day through Madrid

In one of our previous travel blogs, we set out a walking tour for you through the heart of Madrid. This walking tour starts at Plaza de Espana and takes us past the following sights;

De Gran Via, the main street of Madrid

This street runs through the center of Madrid with the theaters to the left and right of the street. In this street you immediately know why Madrid is called the New York of Spain.

Puerta del Sol, the gate to Madrid

Literally, the name of the square means the gate to the sun. This square is of course not the gateway to the sun, but it is indeed the gateway to many attractions in Madrid. From this square streets lead to El Retiro Park, but also, for example, to El Palacio Real, the royal palace of Madrid. Not to mention all the shops, restaurants and bars that are located in the side streets of this square.

Plaza Mayor, the biggest square in Madrid

The Plaza Mayor is Madrid's main historic square. In the past, executions and bullfights were held here, but today it is a pleasant square with restaurants, shops and terraces.

Mercado San Miguel, delicious tapas in Madrid

Mercado de San Miguel is a market in Madrid full of market stalls, selling the most delicious tapas. Find a table in the center of this market hall and pass the various market stalls to try out the different tapas. Mercado de San Miguel is a good place for a nice lunch.

Casa de la Villa, the historic town hall of Madrid

Today Casa de la Villa is no longer used as a town hall, but it did so from the 17th to the 21st century. This historic building was even a prison. Especially the city coat of arms at the front of Casa de La Villa will attract your attention.

Plaza de Oriente, a place of tranquility overlooking El Palacio Real

On the way to El Palacio Real you walk across Plaza de Oriente. Created in 1844, this square is a place of tranquility in the city, but is of course best known for its view of the Royal Palace of Madrid.

Catedral de la Almudena, de ondergewaardeerde kerk van Madrid

Catedral de la Almudena stands right in front of El Palacio Real and is Madrid's main church. We think the church is very undervalued, because this church is really beautiful to see, but does not enjoy the well-known like other churches in Spain. You can also admire the church from the inside.

El Palacio Real, the royal palace of Madrid

El Palacio Real is perhaps Madrid's most famous attraction. The Royal Palace is the largest palace in Spain with more than 3,000 rooms. It is a very impressive palace and if you have the opportunity, I would definitely visit the inside as well. Because every room is lavish and truly royal, as you see in the movies.

Buy your tickets for El Palacio Real HERE

Sabatini gardens, the royal gardens of Madrid

These gardens, which are part of El Palacio Real, are freely accessible to the public. And especially the views that these gardens offer of the royal palace are spectacular to say the least.

Malasaña, the hipster district of Madrid

Malasaña is one of the youngest and hippest neighborhoods in Madrid. This neighborhood is wonderful to stroll through. The shops and restaurants here are slightly hipper and different than in the other districts of Madrid. And this district guarantees some beautiful Instagram photo spots.

RIU hotel Madrid, for a beautiful view

After a lovely stroll through the Malasana district, you can relax on the roof terrace of the RIU hotel Madrid. In our opinion, this Rooftop bar is the most beautiful roof terrace in Madrid and offers a 360 degree view over the city. As an added bonus, there is even a glass bridge that you can walk across if you dare.

Click HERE for more information about RIU hotel Madrid.

Temple of Debod

Temple of Debod is an Egyptian temple in Madrid. This temple dates back to the 2nd century BC and was transported to the Madrid. It is certainly a special attraction in Madrid, because it is something you would not expect at all in Madrid. Especially at sunset this Egyptian temple is really worth a visit. The sun sets right behind this temple, which gives the temple a magical look.

Adres: C. de Ferraz, 1, 28008 Madrid

If you want to know more about the walking route we followed on this first day in Madrid, read our blog HERE with the exact route and more information about the sights on this route.

DAY 2, a moment of tranquility in the middle of the bustle of Madrid

Day 2 we go from the heart of Madrid a little more to the outskirts of Madrid. The highlight is El Retiro park. We have already written a blog for this day with a self-guided walking route, which you can follow step by step. This walking route takes you past the following sights;

Puerta de Alcalá, Madrid's instagram spot

We start this tour at Puerta de Alcala. Close to El Retiro Park, this gate is a popular photo-taking spot and an important landmark in Madrid. As far as we are concerned, this gate is not even that special and it is located on a very busy square with a lot of traffic, but it belongs on the list of the most important sights of Madrid.

Prado Museum, the most impressive museum in Madrid

The Prado Museum is perhaps the most beautiful and important museum in Madrid and is often compared to the Louvre in Paris. Just like in the Louvre, you can mainly view classical works of art here and just like the Louvre, the Prado Museum is really immense. Prepare for your visit, because you can quickly get lost in Prado Museum and there are certainly works that you really don't want to miss.

Buy your tickets HERE

Palacio de Cibeles, one more palace in Madrid

The Palacio de Cibeles is another palace in Madrid and in our opinion is perhaps the most beautiful building in Madrid. The facade of this palace is really impressive and best admired from across the street at Plaza de Cibeles. Palacio de Cibeles is open to the public free of charge and also has a terrace with beautiful views over Madrid.

Plaza de Santa Ana, a village square in Madrid

On this square you will find the Teatro Espanol, the oldest theater in Spain. Next to the Teatro Espanol, it is actually just a very nice and cozy square. A lovely place for a snack and a drink.

Atocha, the green station of Madrid

Atocha station is a real surprise. Besides the fact that it is a beautiful building from the outside, especially the inside is a big surprise. Atocha Station has its own botanical garden. A green oasis of peace in the middle of the station. This is also a popular spot among Instagrammers.

El Retiro park, the highlight of our second day in Madrid

In El Retiro park you can enjoy yourself for at least half a day or maybe even a day. This park was once created for the royal family. And there are several kings who each designed their own part of this park. That is why there are many different styles to discover in this park. You can enjoy a picnic in the shadows, stroll through the rose garden, row across the lake or gaze at the Crystal Palace. You can read more about this park HERE in the blog we wrote about El Retiro Park.

Watch the sunset at one of the many rooftop bars

There are several rooftop bars in Madrid. Earlier in this article we wrote that the roof terrace of the RIU hotel Madrid is our absolute favorite. This is also a real famous hotspot in Madrid, so booking is wise, because the queue can sometimes be quite long. The sunset from this rooftop bar with 360 degree views over the city is truly spectacular. Because of the orange and pink colors of the sunset, the view over the city is really something.

You can read more about this walk along the highlights on day 2 HERE.

If you missed our first walking route through Madrid, click HERE.

DAY 3, Enjoy an extra day in Madrid

On day 1 and 2 you have seen the most important sights of Madrid. But that of course does not mean that you have seen everything of Madrid. I would definitely use this third day for shopping and enjoying all the terraces. Just enjoy the atmosphere in Madrid a little extra.

If you still really want to have a goal on day 3, here are some suggestions;

The Reina Sofia Museum, modern art in Madrid

The Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid is a museum of modern art. You will mainly find works of art from the 20th century here. Besides the Prado Museum, this is perhaps the most popular museum in Madrid. The best way to explore this museum is to start at the top and go from top to bottom. In high season it can get a bit crowded in this museum.

Buy your tickets HERE

Adres: C. de Sta. Isabel, 52, 28012 Madrid

Thyssen - Bornemisza museum, even more art in Madrid

Another museum in Madrid is the Thyssen - Bornemisza museum. This museum has more than 1,000 works of art, including German, Russian and American works of art. But there are also works by Van Gogh, Renoir and Titian. You will find this museum in the west of El Retiro Park.

Buy your tickets HERE.

Adres: P.º del Prado, 8, 28014 Madrid

Visit a Flamenco show, the dance of Madrid

Or go crazy and do a Flamenco course. The Flamenco dance is simply part of Spain, mainly in southern Spain. But in Madrid this dance has become also very popular. When you do a city trip in Madrid, you can't skip a visit to a Flamenco show. The Flamenco shows are usually dinner shows. They are certainly not always cheap, but you are guaranteed to have a nice evening. Our favorite show can be seen at Tablao Torres Bermejas, close to the Puerto del Sol. This show is considered one of the most important flamenco shows in the world.

Buy your tickets for World's best Flamenco show HERE

Lavapiés and La Latina, the suburbs of Madrid

Madrid of course has a lot of nice neighborhoods to discover. The Lavapiés district is known for its diversity. Different cultures come together here and that is clearly noticeable when you walk through this district. La Latina is a very traditional neighborhood. Here you can relax on a terrace. It is mainly the colorful street art that attracts attention in these districts.

Convent of Descalzas Reales, a convent in the center of Madrid

Convent of Descalzas Reales is an old royal palace, which was turned into a monastery 500 years ago. The wealthy widows who took refuge here soon made this monastery one of the richest monasteries in the world. It is said that you can see part of the cross of Jesus here and you can also see paintings by Titian and Brueghel.

Visit the Madrid Zoo or any of the other theme parks in Madrid

The Madrid Zoo is a really nice zoo. Located in the hills of Madrid, this animal park is certainly a surprise. In addition to koalas, pandas and a reptile center, this zoo also has a Dolphinarium. This is certainly a fun trip to do with children. In addition to a zoo, there are many more fun theme parks in Madrid to go to, such as Parque de Atracciones Madrid, Parque Warner Madrid or Aquopolis Villanueva, for some cooling off during the hot summers in Madrid. A lot of choice if you want to do something fun and exciting.

Buy your tickets HERE


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