Things To Do In Madrid Spain in 2024 (What to expect, Tips)

A couple of years ago, I spent 4 days in Madrid, fell in love with the city and in this post, I list my things to do in Madrid Spain.

Written by: Soumya Nambiar

Last Updated on:

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It is difficult to choose where to go in Spain. There are so many must-visit places in Spain and it was hard for me to choose just one. Most people assume that there is not much to do in the capital of Madrid but that can’t be further from the truth. In this post, I write about some of the things to do in Madrid and why I fell in love with Madrid. I ended up spending 4 days in Madrid and falling in love with the city. That is why I feel that #MustSeeMadrid is definitely an apt tagline for the city.

Things To Do In Madrid Spain / How I fell in love with Madrid

I get frequent queries from my readers on what to do in Madrid and in this post, I am writing about what to do in Madrid in 4 days.

Some of the best things to do in Madrid Spain:

I sulked for exactly one day. I was robbed the night I landed in Madrid and I spent most of the next day moping in my room. The only time I went out that day was when I went to have some lunch and collect the money my brother in law sent me. I also did my laundry in the hostel that day since I was still not ready to venture out on my own.

Recommended Read – My Experience at a Spanish Police Station

But once I decided that I was just being stupid to stay all the time holed up in my hostel room, I decided to explore the city on my own. I mostly walked and I loved walking all around Madrid. Even though the Royal Palace of Madrid was more than 30 minutes by walk from where I was staying, I still ended up walking back and forth. So let me take you around some of the things I saw in Madrid while I walked.

Almudena Cathedral in Madrid Spain:

This is one of the first places I visited. It is a gorgeous cathedral and I spent a long time here taking in the beauty of the place. It is also massive and only a portion of it is open to the public.

Royal Palace of Madrid:

Even though it is the official residence of the monarchy, it is currently used only for state ceremonies. Around 20 rooms of the palace are open to the public but most people refuse to visit the interiors since that involves paying a fee of around 10-15 Euros per person. All residents of EU and Latin America can actually visit the Royal Palace of Madrid free of charge, every day between 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM. The timings change based on the season. So, please check their website before you go. Photography is permitted only in some common areas inside the Royal Palace of Madrid. The day I went, it was free for all.

Find out more and book your Royal Palace tickets here.

Photo of the Royal Palace in Madrid. This is the largest palace in Europe by floor area. From outside it is a massive cream building.

Temple of Debod, Madrid Spain:

Did you know that there is an Egyptian temple in Madrid, Spain? In 1960, due to the threat owing to the construction of Aswan Dam in Egypt, there was a need to save this temple. At that time, Egypt gifted it to Spain for helping them preserve other temples in the region. The entire temple was dismantled and assembled in Madrid, Spain.

It is right next to the Royal Palace of Madrid. I heard of this place from my roommates who had heard that it is a beautiful place to visit in Madrid, Spain. They also knew that we had to go during sunset. Since it was right next to the Palace, I decided to walk there in the afternoon and was disappointed. It was not that impressive during the day.

But we then caught a metro train in the evening to see the monument during dusk. Since it was Summer, the sunset only post 9:00 PM and we had to wait to see the magic. That is when I fell in love with the place. It was gorgeous beyond words and you can see why from the pictures. I wish I had a travel tripod to capture this glorious sunset.

This is the photo of Temple of Debod, a reconstructed Egyptian temple in Madrid just before sunset.
This is the photo of Temple of Debod, a reconstructed Egyptian temple in Madrid just after sunset.

Buen Retiro Park and the Crystal palace, Madrid Spain

Did you also know that “Madrid is the European city with the highest number of trees and green surface per inhabitant and it has the second highest number of aligned trees in the world, with 248,000 units, only exceeded by Tokyo” – Source Wiki

Buen Retiro park is one of the largest parks in the city and it is a perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon in. It is huge and it is quite easy to get lost here. I spent a couple of afternoons here doing nothing but reading. It is really green and don’t forget the Crystal palace while you are here.

You can also go boating in the lake in front of the Monument to King Alfonso XII in the summer. The whole park is beautiful and I definitely got my much-needed peace here. There is nothing like fresh air to get you out of a bad mood.

Prado Museum, Madrid Spain

Prado Museum is right next to the park. I am in love with visiting museums and the Prado museum has a gorgeous Spanish art collection. Entry is free on weekdays after 5:00 PM in the summer for everyone. The wait time was only 15-20 minutes and I didn’t mind waiting in line to see some amazing art. Photography is only allowed in the common areas.

The museum is quite huge and I kept getting lost inside. I know I am directionally challenged.

Find out more and book your Prado Museum tickets here.

Riena Sofia Museum

Another museum I loved visiting was the Reina Sofia museum and it is mainly for 20th Century art. Again entry is free on all weekdays between 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM. I still preferred the Prado Museum but if you have time don’t miss out this museum.

Find out more and book your Reina Sofia Museum tickets here.

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People watching in Plaza Mayor And Puerto Sol, Madrid Spain:

Even though most of the restaurants around the Plaza Mayor are quite expensive, I used to go here to just sit there and watch people pass by. Also, be extra careful in these areas since this is where most people (including myself) got robbed. There are lots of street performers and they are usually a distraction for people to rob you. I also went shopping around Gran Via for a purse since that was something I was robbed of.

Nevertheless, it is a really nice area to just watch people.

Plaza Mayor is a huge plaza in Madrid, Spain. It is a red building covering four sides of a plaza and this is a photo of it during blue hour

Mercado De San Miguel, Madrid Spain

Madrid is definitely a foodie capital and I found so many options for vegetarians here. But my favourite place to find tapas was Mercado De San Miguel. The energy of that place is really infectious and do head out here if you are looking for tapas and drinks. Also don’t forget to eat some churros when you are in Madrid.


Flamenco show in Madrid

This is one thing I missed during my trip to Spain and hopefully, I will get to see it once I finally go to Seville. I had to cancel my plans to go to Seville and that was where I wanted to see a Flamenco show. Madrid also has many options but I never got to see one.

Find out more and book your Flamenco tickets here.

Madrid is full of colorful buildings and this is a photo of a pink, yellow and other buildings

Day Trip To Toledo from Madrid/ Things to Do Near Madrid:

My friends at the hostel advised me to go to Toledo but I never got my chance to go there since I never got up early when I was in Madrid. But if you do have time, I have heard Toledo is a gorgeous place and you should definitely check the place out.

Find out more and book your day trip to Toledo here.

Salsa dancing in Madrid, Spain

When my hostel mates asked me to join them to go salsa dancing, I was really hesitant since I had an early morning bus to catch to Barcelona. But they finally ended up convincing me and it was so much fun.

Even though I was initially awkward (trying to not look like a klutz) and found it weird to dance with strangers, I finally let go of my inhibitions and I had a fun night. We were out till 5 AM on a weekday. I don’t remember where we went but it was walking distance from my hostel. All I remember was that the place was lined with pubs and dancing clubs.

Football Fans in Madrid

I am not someone who follows football. But for Real Madrid fans, there are tons of things to do in Madrid starting with the Royal Madrid museum in Bernabéu Stadium.

Hope I have covered some of the fun things to do in Madrid Spain. I spent 4 days in Madrid and it is one of those cities that captured my heart once I allowed it to. Learn more about things to do in Madrid with kids.

Getting to Madrid Spain:

It is after all the capital of Spain and many major airlines fly from Mumbai to Madrid non-stop. It is also accessible by train and bus to most European cities. I caught a train from Huelva in Spain and I caught a bus to Barcelona from Madrid. Driving will be a problem since parking is so difficult to find in the city.

The best area to stay during your 4 days in Madrid Itinerary:

There are numerous choices to choose from but one of the best places to stay in Madrid is ‘The Hat Hostel, Madrid’. I know I am biased but it is still one of the best hostels I have stayed in. It is extremely clean and they have a super awesome staff who were extremely helpful and were there for me when I really needed them. They are also located just behind Plaza Mayor, one of the best areas to stay in Madrid since it is so centrally located. The Hat, Madrid also conduct some fun activities and I ended up going to a beer tasting party and a pub crawl organized by them. They had a free walking tour every morning but I never got to go on one of those.

In case, you do not want to stay in a hostel, then you can choose one of the many hotels around Gran Via or Puerto Sol. There are many budget hotels in Madrid and this triad of Gran Via, Puerto Sol and Plaza Mayor is one of the best areas to stay in Madrid.

Weather in Madrid Spain:

The weather in Madrid was just perfect. Summer had not yet begun but it was not too cold either. The place reminded me of my home city, Bangalore in that aspect. I mostly wore jeans here or dresses with tights.

Some more Madrid Travel Tips

Is 2 days enough for Madrid?

I know a lot of people who spend only 2 days in Madrid and that definitely is not enough for the capital of Spain. I would recommend a minimum of 3 days to visit all the important attractions of Madrid.

What is Madrid best known for?

Madrid is definitely known for its culture, historical buildings and food. Madrid has a lot more to offer and you should go visit Madrid at least once in your life to experience all that Madrid has to offer.

Things To Do In Madrid Spain

Find my recommendations for guide books on Spain.

Guidebooks for Spain

Traveling to Spain and need more guidance on which books to read? These are our recommendations for you to read before you go.

Recommended: 25+ European itineraries


Looking to book your trip now? Find some of my favorite resources I use while booking my trip. You can also find my travel gear here.

Book Your Flight

I am a Skyscanner fan when it comes to booking international flights. I use Makemytrip and Yatra for domestic flights.

Book Accommodation

Booking  , Agoda and Hotels are my go to resources for booking hotel accommodation and I use Airbnb for booking my homestays. I also compare prices on Tripadvisor always. Another one I always use is Expedia.

Travel Insurance

As an Indian, I prefer ICICILombard and I am always insured when I am traveling outside India. In addition, I have used World Nomads and SafetyWing for some of my trips.

Book Tours

I do go on a lot of day tours especially when I am traveling solo and love going on road trips with my husband.. Depending on convenience, my choices are Viator or Getyourguide.

About Soumya Nambiar

Soumya Nambiar here. I am an avid traveler, travel blogger, vegetarian foodie and entrepreneur from Bangalore, India who grew up in Tanzania, Africa. I have been to more than 60 countries and in this blog, I write about my personal experiences as an Indian traveller around the world as well as my struggles as a vegetarian. I can be reached at [email protected].

25 thoughts on “Things To Do In Madrid Spain in 2024 (What to expect, Tips)”

  1. I know that a terrible experience like being robbed can stay with you and cloud your view of a place. However I am so pleased you were able to overcome that on the basis that this could have happened anywhere. I love cities like Madrid where you can walk and enjoy so many attractions and lovely experiences that are not part of your everyday landscape. Great tips and list of attractions as well as some lovely photos. This makes me want to visit also.

  2. Sorry to hear about the awful start to your trip! I was in Madrid in March and it was definitely one of my favorite cities I’ve been to. Sounds like you had a great trip, despite the awful start!

  3. We’ve visited much of Spain but have somehow not gotten to Madrid yet. My daughter had a bad experience there, too, which has made me wary. Your photos are beautiful, though, and are making me want to give it a chance. I’m sorry to hear about you being robbed.

  4. I was robbed in Spain too, and so sorry that happened to you- it is very disheartening. Glad you could still go out and enjoy salsa with friends. The Prado is magnificent! Toledo is really worth the trip too, so recommend that to you if you re-visit Madrid 🙂

  5. This is such an informative post, it’s easy to see why you fell in love with the area. You’re photos really transport me there! I commend you for sharing your bad experience, and not blaming the whole city for it. I think it is as important to share negative experiences as well as positive so others can learn from mistakes or know what to expect from an area. Robberies and break ins can happen anywhere. We tend to lose sight of that when we travel and get in vacation mode 😉

  6. Oh gosh, I’m so sorry you got robbed! I love though how you didn’t let that incident destroy your experience in Madrid. That takes a lot of gumption. Gorgeous photographs, I loved seeing Madrid through your lens!

  7. I would love to visit Madrid one day, it looks like a beautiful city. Such a great tip about Europeans being able to visit the palace for free at certain hours, I never knew that. Glad the robbery didnt change your opinion on Madrid.

  8. So sorry to hear about you getting robbed. I am going to Barcelona next month and a lot of people have warned me to be careful there too. Its scary. I am glad you managed to moved past it and enjoy Madrid

  9. I also coupled some great things to do in Madrid and it looks like we all came down almost to share the same things. I really love your post and I’m glad despite all, you still gat the love for Madrid. We just have to keep an eye of the things a little more.

  10. Thank you for sharing the good and bad you experienced in Madrid. More travelers need to be honest so that others can learn from their experiences. These things humble and teach us valuable life lessons.

  11. Sorry to hear about the robbery, but good on you for getting over it quickly! The salsa dancing sounds like a lot of fun; had you ever done it before or did you have to learn the moves when you were there?

  12. I am not sure if I’d be able to enjoy the rest of my trip if I were in your situation. You were courageous. Your brother in law was really nice to send you money.
    I like that you visited a lot of museums. I just checked out your article about the vegetarian restaurants. They all look cozy and lovely.

    Iza c/o Fill My Passport

  13. I’m so glad that you were able to put the robbery behind you and carry on with your trip. It must have been an awful experience. Madrid looks absolutely stunning; I love the palaces and I had no idea there was an Egyptian tomb there. I’m with you – it looks much better at night.

  14. You sure visited some good sites in Madrid to balance it out from the bad experience. I was lucky enough to watch a Flamenco show in Madrid and it was a memorable night, although I lost my photos of the show which I secretly took, I guess that’s karma! I didn’t know about the Temple of Debod right next to the Royal Palace, the next time I’m in Madrid I’ll check it out.

  15. Good to know that the weather of Madrid was akin to that of
    Bangalore. I love pedestrian friendly place. Sad to hear that you were robbed.
    Would like to know more about that story. It will help your readers to be
    better prepared.

  16. I am sorry to hear about you being robbed. That is horrible and I need to read your other post about what happened. Going back to Madrid though, I’m sure it was such a lovely city given that you still rave about it despite of what happened to you. The Royal Palace is opulent and the level of detail on the architecture is just amazingly beautiful. Would want to explore the market square too, it seems like such a great spot to walk around!

  17. I’m so sorry to hear you got robbed in Madrid. My boyfriend got robbed there too, and I just got robbed in Paris 2 days ago :/ while on my way to vacation. So I know how traumatized you might have felt the following days. I’m glad you managed to enjoy the city anyway. It’s a beautiful city!

  18. Yes, I read that post about you being robbed. Madrid is a beautiful city, visited it twice but won’t mind another couple of visits. 🙂
    I love this post of yours. So neatly done with details. Your Table of contents look very good, gives an organized feel. 🙂 Great idea. I might copy you on this. 😉
    I can see your style of writing has improved a lot over time. Keep it up girl.

  19. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an extremely long comment but soon after I clicked submit my comment didnt appear. Grrrr effectively Im not writing all that more than once again. Regardless, just wanted to say amazing weblog!

  20. It’s really brave of you to “get over” what happened to you ! It’s amazing how it didn’t make you hate the city and that you had some many fond memories of the city anyway !

  21. Your experience is truly inspiring and out of mundane. Unlike generalizing the issue, you stepped out to explore the attractions, made your experience memorable. This post gives a positive vibe about Madrid, negating the anti social elements. I already sent this resourceful and inspiring quote to my friends. Every country has the issue of anti-social elements; however, few of these faults would not undermine the centuries old image of any country. I have been to Barcelona in 2014; definitely I will plan a vacation to Madrid, if time permits me in 2018 or by second half of 2019.
    Once again Thanks for resourceful post.


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