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Discover Madrid with our self guided walking tour

Madrid, the New York of Spain. A visit to this capital of Spain will definitely leave an unforgettable impression. In our case, this city really stole our hearts and we certainly hope to go back here more often to discover more of this lively and grand city. Because in addition to all the beautiful sights, it is also really a foodies paradise and eating is something we love to do.

The sights of Madrid are pretty close together and you can therefore discover a large part of the sights on foot.

We have mapped out several walking routes for you in Madrid, which you can divide over several days of your Madrid city trip.

We call this first walking route the Plaza Mayor walking route and it takes you past some of the most important sights of Madrid.

The route is a total of 5.7 kilometers and a 1.11 minute walk according to Google Maps. However, in practice you will lose a little more, because all the side streets of, for example, the Gran Via and the Malasena district are certainly worth a look.

Plaza de Espana, the starting point of our walk through Madrid

The Plaza de Espana is a large square in the center of Madrid. The square is located on Gran Via, Madrid's main street. In this square you can admire a statue in honor of the writer Miguel de Cervantes and it contains some of his novel characters. Our walk will also end in this square.

Gran Via, the New York of Madrid

The Gran Via in Madrid is the main street. Especially on this street you can taste the atmosphere of New York and Broadway. Both left and right of the street you will find several theaters with dozens of different shows and musicals. And of course there is no shortage of shops on the Gran Via.

Puerta del Sol, the gate to Madrid

Via the Gran Via we walk to the Puerta del Sol, a famous square in Madrid. The route to Puerta del Sol takes you through several shopping streets with dozens of shops.

Translated, the name of this square means the gate to the sun and it is therefore the gateway to various activities, shops and restaurants in Madrid. The main attraction in this square is Madrid's coat of arms, namely the bear reaching for a strawberry tree. During a visit to Madrid, a photo with this bear is actually a must-do, even if it is a bit corny.

Plaza Mayor, the largest square in Madrid

From the Puerta del Sol we walk to the Plaza Mayor of Madrid. Here we again walk along some more nice restaurants and terraces. El Plaza Mayor is the largest square in Madrid. In the past, executions and bullfights were held here, but today it is a cozy place with several restaurants and terraces. Because it is a popular attraction in Madrid, the terraces and restaurants here are a bit more expensive, so I personally would prefer to sit 1 or 2 blocks away. But the Plaza Mayor is of course a square that you must see during a visit to Madrid.

Mercado de San Miguel, tapas paradise in Madrid

Mercado de San Miguel is a 1-minute walk from Plaza Mayor.

You will find covered markets everywhere in Spain, such as this Mercado de San Miguel. The difference with most other markets in Spain is that the Mercado de San Miguel is not so much about selling fresh products, but more about eating the most delicious tapas. If you haven't eaten anything yet, this is definitely the place to have a nice lunch. Look for a table in the middle of the hall and browse the different stalls in the market hall and try the different tapas.

Casa de la Villa, the town hall of Madrid

We continue our walking route through Madrid to the Casa de la Villa. Casa de La Villa, Madrid's town hall built in the 17th century, is located on the Plaza de la Villa of the same name. At the moment it is no longer in use as a town hall, but has been from the 17th to the 21st century. Surprisingly, this building has also served as a prison. The most notable focal point of this building is probably the coat of arms of Madrid which adorns the facade, a stone carving.

Plaza Oriente, the first glimpse of the Royal Palace of Madrid

We continue our walking route through Madrid to Plaza Oriente. This square offers a view of El Palacio Real, the royal palace of Madrid. This square was designed in 1844. It is a landscaped garden with statues and a fountain in the middle.

Catedral de la Almudena, the main church of Madrid

Despite the fact that this is a really beautiful church to see, it is actually a little known church in Spain. Why this church is not as popular as other cathedrals in Spain is not entirely clear, because it really is a beautiful church to see. Both the calm, cool exterior, as the impressive Gothic interior are really beautiful.

El Palacio Real, the royal palace of Madrid

On the other side of Catedral de Almudena you will find El Palacio Real. This is perhaps Madrid's most famous and beloved landmark, the Royal Palace of Madrid.

El Palacio Real is currently no longer used as a residence by the royal family, but only for business and ceremonial occasions. El Palacio Real is the largest palace in Western Europe with more than 3,000 rooms and is really impressive in size. Just like in England, you can also see the changing of the guards at the gate of the palace here.

El Palacio Real is partially open to the public and you can visit for a fee. We think that is absolutely recommended, because the palace inside is really very grand. Every space feels lavish and basically just like you see in movies. You really can't imagine growing up in such an environment as a child.

Buy your tickets for El Palacio Real HERE.

Sabatini Gardens, the gardens of Madrid's royal palace

The next stop on our walking route through Madrid is the gardens of El Palacio Real, Sabatini Gardens. These gardens, which are part of the royal palace, are freely accessible to the public. You can enjoy walking on the hiking trails here and the views of the El Palacio Real from the Sabatini Gardens are truly phenomenal.

Malasaña, the hipster district of Madrid

Malasaña is one of the youngest and hippest neighborhoods in Madrid. You will mainly find nice bars, street art, special shops and nice coffee shops here. Malasaña is arguably the district with the most photogenic spots in Madrid. Some examples of these are La Bicicleta, Casa Julio and Calle de Fuencarral.

Plaza de Espana, Rooftop Bar RIU Hotel for the best view over Madrid

From El Palacio Real we walk back to the Plaza de Espana. But this time to go to the Rooftop bar of the RIU hotel. The Rooftop bar of the RIU hotel offers a 360 degree view of Madrid. Our tip is to visit this Rooftop bar at sunset, because the pink-orange colors certainly give the view over Madrid that little bit extra.

Looking for other things to in Madrid, Click HERE.

The end of our walking tour through Madrid

When you have walked this walking tour through Madrid you have been able to see some of the most beautiful sights of Madrid and you have also been able to taste the atmosphere of this impressive city. Because wow, this city is so cool. We will soon share a second walking route through Madrid with you, so keep an eye on our travel blog for more great tips for your city trip to Madrid.


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