What to visit in Madrid in 2-3 days or a week? Main attractions and descriptions, ticket prices 2023, how much do excursions cost, when is it better to go? What to see in the vicinity of Madrid, travel routes – in the review of good Time for Trip.
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. That doesn’t prevent it from staying in the dense shadow of Barcelona – in the tourist sense, of course.
At the same time, the flow of foreigners going through the terminals of the giant Barajas Airport is growing year by year. But, alas, a significant part of this river has pronounced business aspirations. Some people come to numerous scientific congresses and conferences also.
The number of tourists attracted by the sights of Madrid is obviously not as large as it could be. Not least because many don’t know what to do in the capital of Spain, in addition to visiting the Prado or, maybe, two other museums of the “Golden Triangle”. And, perhaps, trip to the Escorial.
Meanwhile, there are more than enough interesting places in Madrid that are worth visiting and detail exploring. And if you quickly get tired of palaces and museums, then perhaps you will enjoy a gastronomic tour of the capital’s bars. After all, cooking tapas today is also a kind of art!
Best Time to Visit Madrid
In fact, choosing the “right” time to travel to Madrid is very important. Because in this case there is a pronounced seasonality. And if you aren’t inclined to hang out or take part in festive events and carnivals, you should approach the planning of dates of such a trip with caution.
For example, the beginning of May in Madrid and in general the last month of spring is an extremely busy period in the capital of Spain . On May 2, the City Day is celebrated with pomp. And on the 15th, the celebration of St. Isidro’s Day begins.
During this period, it is better for tourists who are calm, focused more on the museums of Madrid and other attractions, not to meddle here.
It gets a little calmer in June, but it gets hot on the streets too. And starting from the second half of July and in August, the Spanish capital empties.
Tourists don’t like too hot and very dusty weather. And the people of Madrid themselves go on vacation en masse to the south, but more often to the north coast. To the beaches of Santander, San Sebastian and others little towns in Cantabria, Basque Country, Asturias.
On October 12, Spain annually celebrates a national holiday, Columbus Day, the main festivities are held in the capital. So millions of Spaniards come to see the parade and processions in Madrid.
It is lively here at
Christmas and New Year
up to the “Day of the Three Kings”, the city tends to have fun, not work.
Although in general, the Madrid winter is absolutely not a tourist time. Not that it’s too frosty, but it’s cloudy and quite chilly. In a full sense, the weather is chilling to the bone – the Spaniards themselves, and foreign tourists, don’t like it.
Unless very few of them are happy to come from freezing northern Europe, USA and Canada to some kind of spring. And in the middle of winter, walk through the streets and park at +7-11 °C.
And they are right – this is how you can see the real Spanish capital, not the ostentatious one. To absorb its aura and feel the rhythm, to visit hidden attractions of Madrid that glossy guidebooks don’t even suspect. Well, or even plunge into the depths of the history of the city as part of a excursion!
- 7-Day Weather Forecast by AEMET – aemet.es/en/…/madrid.
Where to Stay
We won’t offer a specific recipe that guarantees an inexpensive settlement near the city center. The working scheme looks trite: you need to constantly monitor the options and book the best one in advance.
At the same time, it is frivolous to expect to find something cheaper than 80-90 € per night. In any case, in popular periods like the beginning of May or June.
We recommend you Slow Suites Luchana, a clean apartment with good reviews in a respectable residential area of Chambery. From where it is easy to get to the very center of Madrid!
A small studio Suites Viena Plaza de España in a designer house in the Arguelles area is also very good. It is located next to the Oeste Park and the Debode Temple, the shops on Gran Via are easily accessible on foot.
Even the discerning traveler will like the comfortable Apartments El Rastro on Calle Carnero within walking distance from Plaza Mayor.
The Apartments Puerta Del Sol-Rastro, a couple of minutes walk from the Puerta del Sol, are very good and therefore in demand. For this reason, we recommend booking them a few months before the trip!
Top Attractions of Madrid
The main rule is not to get hung up on one thing! After all, Madrid, despite the established reputation, is very diverse. And to understand it, you will have to walk a lot.
The trio of Madrid’s main museums is widely known outside of Spain. And, surprisingly, not each individually, but all together.
Only the Prado can be considered self-sufficient, and known from others. But the Thyssen-Bornemissa and Reina Sofia museums are mainly known as components of the famous Madrid “Golden Triangle of Arts”.
The Prado is definitely worthy of a long visit – it is one of the largest art museums in the world. And it is difficult to inspect all its treasures in less than 1 day. Even if you decide not to save money and splurge on an experienced guide.
The other two top Madrid meetings are attended at will! The Thyssen Museum, a private collection purchased by the state, has an excellent selection of paintings of both classical and Impressionist paintings.
But the Queen Sofia Museum specializes in contemporary art. There are many works by Picasso and Dali, the masterpiece of the collection is the famous “Guernica”.
A single Paseo del Arte Ticket will allow you to save a lot on visiting all three sanctuaries of Madrid culture. Its cost in 2023 is about 35 €.
A subscription is purchased at ticket offices. And, by the way, it allows you to go inside without waiting in line. But you will have to pay extra for temporary exhibitions (if desired).
Individual tickets: 15 € – Prado, 12 € – Thyssen, 10 € – Sofia. It is absolutely natural to take 2 or 3 days to visit these undoubted sights of Madrid.
We highly recommend paying a visit to two small but extremely interesting
Joaquin Sorolla (Paseo del General Martínez Campos, 37) and Serralbo (Calle Ventura Rodríguez, 17). The latter, by the way, is located just 600 meters from the Royal Palace.
The Sorolla Museum is the former home of the most famous Spanish Impressionist, filled from ceiling to roof with his paintings. And Serralbo is the former residence of a real Spanish grandee. Where the luxurious interiors of the XIX century have been preserved and various antiques collected by the owners, the marquises of Serralbo, are on display. antiques.
A visit to each of these two museums of Madrid for an adult visitor costs only 3 €!
Churches and Monasteries
The main, but too new, Cathedral of Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena in Madrid will be seen by any tourist who will take the trouble to walk through the halls of the Royal Palace. Because they are very close – you just need to cross the square.
In addition, we advise you to pay a visit to the Cathedral of St. Francis the Great, a powerful building built in the second half of the XVIII century. The exterior facades of the building do not abound in decor, according to the old Spanish tradition, they are rather harsh than attractive.
But inside – everything is luxurious, the decoration was not stingy. Paintings on religious subjects ornamenting the walls and the altar belong to the brush of geniuses: El Greco, Velasquez, Goya.
From the Royal Palace to the Cathedral of St. Francis on the Calle de Bailén you will walk in 7-8 minutes!
The current Royal Monastery of the Incarnation next to the Royal Palace is worth visiting to those who know Spanish. Since the visit is only possible as a part of a group with a local-speaking guide.
An English-speaking tourist will be upset. And no wonder – there are so many interesting and literally unique things inside, and not everyone can find out the details.
But there is a way out! For 75-80 euros you will be given a really boring tour in the Monastery of the Incarnation in the Shakespeare language.
If the Incarnation Convent is visited at will, then a small church
Ermita San Antonio de la Florida
which is located between the Manzanares River and the Western (Del Oeste) Park, we strongly recommend that you include in the list of things to see in Madrid. Especially if you are not very limited in time.
After all, inside the church is painted with magnificent frescoes by Francisco Goya on the theme of the life of St. Anthony. The great artist himself is buried here. He worked in a very peculiar manner, which many art historians consider to be transitional to impressionism.
The ancient Egyptian Temple of Debod is just a few minutes’ walk from the church. By the way, completely original, built in the II century BC. It was donated by Egypt to Spain in gratitude for the rescue of the Abu Simbel complex during the construction of the Aswan Dam.
Squares and Palaces of Madrid
Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol are real icons of the city. The first one is famous for the architecture of the surrounding houses – a single ensemble was created in the XVII century and has not been rebuilt since then!
The Puerta del Sol, created on the site of the ancient city gate, is now considered the main one in the city. The Town Hall building, the emblem of Madrid, the sculpture “Bear and strawberry tree” are stationed here.
The “Zero kilometer” of Spain is built into the paving stones of the Puerta del Sol. From which all distances in the country are counted!
A rare tourist doesn’t know about the royal palace, the
Palacio Real de Madrid
towering over the Sabatini Gardens. And every first person takes a walk through its halls and galleries in general!
Often not on their own – a guided tour of the halls will replace a small university course on the history of Spain and the arts. And it will allow you to learn a lot of really interesting facts
An independent visit will cost 12 €, you will have to pay another 4 € for an audio guide. Admission is free for children under 5 years old. The palace is open daily from 10 to 18 (until 20 in summer) and seven days a week.
The palace and the cathedral, the famous squares, the Prado Boulevard are connected by a direct route about 4 km long. Follow the Calle Mayor – Carrera San Jeronimo.
Streets and Parks
The main shopping thoroughfare of the capital, Gran Via Avenue, you will not miss in any way. It is most convenient to walk along it immediately after visiting the Thyssen-Bornemissa Museum – the famous triangular intersection of Gran Via and Alcala is a 5-minute walk away.
After visiting the Prado, a visit to the Buen Retiro Park looks like a natural continuation of the walk. These are real green lungs of the city, a popular place for Sunday rest among the Madridians themselves.
Surroundings of Madrid
The Escorial palace-monastery, according to the Spaniards, is the “Eighth Wonder of the World”. And the main attraction near Madrid, which is simply impossible not to see. Inside, you can explore the interiors of the royal palace and the library, visit the monastery premises, the Royal Chapel and the Reliquary.
The entrance ticket to the complex costs only 10 €, the Escorial is closed on Mondays. You will have to drive from Madrid for at least an hour in a north-westerly direction, the distance is about 60 km.
The former summer royal residence of Aranjuez is also closed on Mondays, but is open on the rest of the week. The character is much more positive: here you have light architecture and an abundance of windows and gardens with lots of fountains. An adult ticket costs 9 €.
Aranjuez is located south of Madrid, the distance is about 50 km. And you can overcome it, for example, on the “Strawberry Train”, Tren de la Fresa. A train with old cars of the XIX century and a real steam locomotive. Tren de la Fresa walks, however, only from spring to autumn.
Manzanares el Real Castle in the city of the same name north of Madrid (~53 km) is a real medieval fortress dating back to the XV century. The citadel belonged to the noble Castilian Mendoza family. It is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 to 17.30 (18 – on weekends and holidays), the ticket costs 5 €.
The city of
73 km southwest of the Spanish capital, is a real treasure trove of medieval art. It is here that the best works of the famous El Greco, the great Spanish artist of Greek origin, are kept.
In Toledo, you should also visit the local Alcazar and the cathedral, a real miracle of Gothic architecture. Walking around the city to heighten the effect, do not forget that it was in Toledo that the main stronghold of the Spanish Inquisition was located.
From the center of Madrid – about 70 km. The bus will cover the distance in 1.5 hours, the AVE express train – in just 30 minutes.
There is many to see in
a city 80 km north of Madrid. A giant ancient Roman aqueduct, an Alcazar, a beautiful Gothic-style cathedral, the country residence of the Spanish kings of the Bourbon dynasty, La Granja de San Ildefonso – such a number of attractions is simply unwise to ignore
We especially recommend getting out to the town of Siguenza, in the province of Guadalajara, which is 130 km northeast of Madrid. The carefully guarded Middle Ages still live there: a Romano-Gothic cathedral, an Arab fortress turned into a parador hotel today, houses built of massive cobblestones, paving stones on the streets…
In the spring, a “Medieval train” is specially allowed here from Madrid. It rarely runs, and therefore can be counted among the unique attractions of the region. Get acquainted with the schedule and prices here – www.esmadrid.com/en/medieval-train-siguenza.