Best Things To Do In Madrid

Share This Post:

Madrid is Spain’s capital and the best city to immerse yourself in Spanish culture and live life as one of the Madrileños (Madrid locals). Madrid doesn’t have the beaches of Barcelona and Valencia but makes up for it with opulent tree lined avenues, grand architecture and a sense of authenticity. With our guide to Madrid you will be able to enjoy Madrid like a local.

El Retiro Park

El Retiro park once belonged to the Spanish royal family and it still retains its air of grandeur. With tree lined avenues to stroll along, beautiful statues to admire and a pretty rose garden to explore you’ll manage to while away a few hours here. Bring along a picnic and enjoy in the shade of one of the 15 000 trees in the park or hire a rowing boat and enjoy the park from the tranquility of the water.

El Retiro Park in Madrid Tree Lined Regal Avenues with Beautiful statues and fountains

El Retiro is open from 6am until midnight from April to September and from October to March is open from 6am but closes at 10pm.

Rose Garden in Parque El Retiro with Fountain and arches of roses

San Miguel Market

If you love food as much as we do then you will be in heaven at Mercado de San Miguel. The hardest part of visiting this amazing food market is deciding what to eat, there are so many different options, from traditional Spanish fare to some of the hottest new food trends such as delicious filled bao buns.

Food at Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid

It can get very busy so finding a seat is tricky but there are plenty of places to perch while you enjoy your food and soak up the atmosphere. However, if you are there on a Tuesday from 1st March 2024 they take bookings for tables in the evenings click here to find out more.

San Miguel Food Market in Madrid Spain

Calle de Cava Baja For Tapas

Another one for the foodies, Calle de Cava Baja, in La Latina neighbourhood, is a street full of amazing tapas places. Take a leisurely stroll down this colourful little street and you will find over 50 tapas restaurants. It is famous for having the best tapas in Madrid so makes the perfect place for a tapas crawl.

Tapas At Calle De Cava Baja Madrid

All the tapas bars had a lively atmosphere, with locals and tourists mixing and enjoying tapas with a glass or two of wine.

Cava Baja Tapas Madrid La Latina

Palacio Real

Palacio Real (the Royal Palace) is the largest palace in western Europe and is definitely the grandest building in Madrid. Unusually, it is open to the public even though it is the head of state’s residency.

Palacio Real The Royal Palace In Madrid Surrounded By Gardens

There is a great atmosphere around the palace with musicians and street performers entertaining the visitors. You also have sweeping views of the countryside surrounding Madrid.

View From Palacio Real The Royal Palace in Madrid

This view is due west so makes the perfect spot to watch the sunset over Madrid.

Chocolate & Churros At Sin Ginés

Sin Ginés Chocolatería is an institution in Madrid. It was established in 1894 and is famous for its rich melted chocolate and freshly fried churros. Just writing about them is making my mouth water!! Surprisingly Sin Ginés is open 24 hours and it’s always busy as churros make the perfect snack anytime of day or night.

Chocolateria Sin Gines Madrid Churros

They were so good that we went twice during our three day stay.

Plaza Mayor

Right next to Sin Ginés Chocolateria is Plaza Mayor a grand central square in the oldest part of Madrid. There are cafes and restaurants on all sides of the square so it makes the perfect place to people watch while enjoying a refreshing drink or a spot of tapas.

Plaza Mayor In Madrid

Visit A Roof Top Bar

There is a plethora of roof top bars to choose from in Madrid, often on the top floor of hotels, but sometimes hidden in more unusual places such as above bag shops. They are one of the best places to enjoy a glass of cava or a cocktail while enjoying a refreshing breeze and taking in the stunning views. Away from the hustle and bustle of the streets below you can relax and take some time out.

Roof Top Bar Madrid Gran Via

El Rastro Flea Market

There’s only one thing to do on Sunday morning in Madrid; head straight to El Rastro Market. This sprawling open air market spreads out across the streets of La Latina with more than 700 stalls, perfect to discover all sorts of hidden treasure.

Sunday Morning at El Rastro Market Madrid

It’s not only great to pick up a bargain or some souvenirs, it’s also a place for Madrileños to meet and grab a coffee or a bite to eat in one of the many cafes and tapas bars close by.

Coffee stop in La Latina with El Rastro Market in the background

We found Madrid to be a wonderful city to explore and would definitely return as we didn’t have time to do everything during our stay. We loved that beneath Madrid’s regal exterior a relaxed, laid back vibe can be found around every corner.

Laura Mills bio pic
Written by Laura Mills

Laura loves travelling across the UK and abroad. She has two children and a husband who are often her travel companions. Beach holidays, cosy cottages, treehouse adventures and brunching are just a few of her favourite ways to spend her travel time.