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View of Madrid and Almudena Cathedral, Madrid

Two days in Madrid

Madrid

Discover the capital city


With this two-day itinerary you can discover some of the most interesting places in Madrid and make the most of your time if you are only visiting for a weekend. You'll spend 48 unforgettable hours in one of the liveliest cities in Europe.

DAY 1:

The first day focuses on two of the most historical neighbourhoods in Madrid. We suggest a stroll through the streets of the Austrias district first and then the Bohemian Las Letras neighbourhood.

Morning in the Madrid de Los Austrias

A perfect spot to begin getting to know Madrid is its famous Puerta del Sol. It is always full of life and is where you will find the iconic “Bear and the Strawberry Tree” statue, the delicious cakes of La Mallorquina and a plaque marking kilometre 0, the central point of Spain. From here, you can head to Plaza Mayor, which turned 400 years old in 2018, and have a drink on its terraces or in the nearby San Miguel market – one of the several historical markets that have been restored in the capital to offer all types of gourmet products. 

Left: Puerta del Sol square/ Centre: Plaza Mayor square/ Right: Royal Palace in Madrid

If you walk down Calle Mayor you will soon reach the charming Plaza de la Villa, and finally the impressive complex of the Almudena Cathedral, the Royal Palace, the Teatro Real and the Plaza de Oriente. This is, without doubt, the most impressive spot in Madrid!

Tapas and literature in the Las Letras neighbourhood

The Las Letras neighbourhood is located between Plaza de Santa Ana square and Calle de las Huertas. It is famous because the most famous writers of the Spanish Golden Age lived here. In fact, you will find the tomb of Cervantes in the Convent of Las Trinitarias, as well as the Lope de Vega Museum-House. Strolling through these streets filled with old bookshops, theatres and shops is a really lovely experience. And if you look down you will also see some of the most emblematic dates of these writers inscribed on the ground.

Left: Plaza de Santa Ana/ Right The Las Letras neighbourhood, Madrid ©Vivvi Smak

This neighbourhood is also well-known for its tapas bars. It is full of traditional taverns where you can try the typical Madrid stew, patatas bravas and Iberian ham, as well as different international cuisines.

Sunset and night of flamenco

To welcome the night, why not head up to one of the most fashionable viewpoints in Madrid: the Círculo de Bellas Artes rooftop. We can guarantee that the views of the sunset are unique and you can also make the most of it by having a cocktail or even dinner up there. If you prefer to indulge, you can do this at one of the restaurants in Madrid with a Michelin Star. And if you want to end up at a flamenco tablao, there are many famous ones to choose from in the centre. Prefer a different type of music? You will also find several bars with live jazz shows.

Places not to be missed

What to see


DAY 2:

The second day is a cultural day because Madrid has some of the best museums in the world. It is impossible to leave without also checking out its most famous street: Gran Vía, ideal for shopping or going to a musical.

Morning: Paseo del Arte or visit to the Bernabéu

Starting from Atocha station you can walk along the entire Paseo del Prado. It is also known as the “Paseo del Arte” because this two-kilometre stretch of road is home to the museums containing some of the most significant works in history: the Reina Sofía National Art Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Prado Museum. All of these museums deserve a lengthy visit, but if you only have a weekend, the best option is to spend a couple of hours in the Prado (don’t forget to look at the “Las Meninas” by Velázquez!) This area is also where you will find the Royal Botanical Gardens and the most famous park in Madrid, the Buen Retiro Park. The Paseo del Prado together with the Retiro Park and its surrounding area make up the UNESCO World Heritage site “The Landscape of Light”. It is difficult to fit it all in one morning, so choose the plan that appeals to you most.

Left: Entrance to the Thyssen Museum © JJFarq / Centre: Patio of the Reina Sofia Museum © ItzaVU / Right: Statue of Velázquez in the Prado Museum, Madrid

Are you a bigger fan of football than art? If that’s the case, you might prefer to spend the morning taking the Bernabéu Tour around the legendary Real Madrid stadium.

A selfie at Plaza de Cibeles and on Gran Vía

At the end of the Paseo del Prado you will come across the distinctive Plaza de Cibeles square, with the Fountain and the City Hall creating an image that is worth being photographed. You can climb up to the terrace of the Cibeles Palace (the City Hall) to take in the great views or have a drink. The sixth floor also has a restaurant with a menu that is bound to appeal to you, but if you are looking for a more economical option then the centre of Madrid is full of good spots.

Tourist taking a selfie at the Cibeles fountain, Madrid

After taking a look at Puerta de Alcalá in the background, walk along Calle de Alcalá until you reach Gran Vía. This is the Madrid avenue par excellence, full of shops, cinemas and theatres, and where you absolutely must take a photo of the Edificio Metrópolis or under the Schweppes sign.The end of this street leads to Plaza de España square (with its statue of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza) and the Templo de Debod, which is the only Egyptian temple in Spain and undoubtedly the best spot in Madrid to watch the sunset.

A musical night

Retrace your steps and grab some dinner in one of the restaurants on Gran Vía or close by so that you can then go to any one of the great musicals that take place on this street. For example, did you know that “The Lion King” has been a hit here since 2011?

If you still think the night is young, you will then be able to continue with some drinks in a bar, because Madrid has no shortage of bars with so much history that stars such as Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly have passed through their doors. If you are looking for a more alternative vibe, check out the neighbourhoods of Malasaña and La Latina.

Places not to be missed

What to see


Tips and recommendations

One comfortable and easy way to get to know the city is on board a Madrid City Tour tourist bus. There are also tourist maps of the metros and city buses which will help you get about Madrid with ease.You can sign up for guided tours, which are organised by the local government or by different companies.If you're travelling with your family, don't miss out on all these plans.If you've got more time, some of the most famous trips from the capital are to Aranjuez (you can take the Strawberry Train), Alcalá de Henares (on the Cervantes Train) or to San Lorenzo de El Escorial (on the Philip II Train).

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