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Hola and welcome to Madrid, the capital city of Spain. A young city by European standards, with an energetic and adventurous vibe that is highly infectious! Madrid is engulfed in culture and rich when it comes to art, with the city being home to some of the continent’s best art museums showcasing masterpieces by Renaissance and Baroque artists! You can spend hours walking through tiny neighborhoods made up of gorgeous plazas that date back to the 16th and 17th century, and find in these whimsical by-lanes, tiny restaurants, and quaint cafes that whip up some of the most delectable meals you've ever had! The city wakes up late and stays up way past midnight, with pubs and restaurants buzzing with people living their best life! If you wish to pack art, architecture, food, and fun into one single place- that place would be called Madrid!

Photo by Quique Olivar / Unsplash

We have curated this travel guide to get you all caught up with the best things to do in Madrid and all the places that you must visit while you’re in Madrid! But before we jump into the juicy details about all things touristy, let’s address a few important questions –

Best Time to Visit Madrid?

Street in Madrid, golden hour. people walking, bike
Photo by Robert Tjalondo / Unsplash

Summer in Madrid extends from June to August which is the peak tourist season with maximum footfalls. This leads to a dramatic increase in the price of hotels and flights. Therefore, the best season to visit Madrid would be duringspring and fall which is the time between April to the end of May and September to the end of October. The weather remains pleasant, crowds are low and the deals are fantastic!

How big of a budget would you need?

Madrid metro has many lines and is very crowded on weekdays
Photo by Eleni Afiontzi / Unsplash

Madrid can be an expensive city to visit during the peak season. However, if you're travelling on a budget, some good tips to save money would include – visiting during the off season, staying in hostels or Airbnb apartments, getting a Madrid tourist card that offers free public transport, entry to some museums along with discounts at some nightclubs and restaurants!

Now that the whens and hows have been answered, let’s get started with the Ultimate Madrid Travel guide-

1.     Take a free walking tour

A bus driving by at night and a wonderful long-exposure capture in the beautiful city center of Madrid Spain. Please consider adding credit to the link in my bio :-).
Photo by Mike Swigunski / Unsplash

Free walking tours are simply the best way to get to know more about the history of the city and to capture its vibe and culture! Join a walking tour where a local guide will give you insights about all the places that you visit and perhaps even some insider tips about where you can find the most delicious food or some off the radar beautiful places that are infrequently visited by the general public!

2.     Visit the Royal Palace

The Royal Palace is truly a majestic sight to see! Built in the mid-1700s, the grandeur and sheer scale of the Royal Palace will take your breath away! Showcasing exquisite influences from the Renaissance and Baroque period in its construction, the palace now displays masterpieces made by Renaissance artists such as Goya, Caravaggio, and Velazquez. Apart from this, also put on display are the personal weapons used by Charles V in the 16th century.

3.     Almudena Cathedral

Built right next door to the Royal Palace is the architecturally stunning Cathedral of Madrid. It took over a hundred years to build this gorgeous cathedral, all with its ethereal Baroque style exterior! The cathedral is simply beautiful and it also offers some fantastic views over the city.

4.     Grab a coffee at Plaza Mayor

The cobbled streets of Plaza Mayor that are sequenced by historic three-story-high buildings, holds centuries of history! Built way back in the 15thcentury, Plaza Mayor is Madrid’s main square. The buildings are lined with café’s, with tables laid outside. Grab a coffee and watch the happening city of Madrid go by!

5.     Mercado de San Miguel

Originally built in 1916, and recently reconstructed with plenty of new restaurants and food stalls; this market is an absolute favorite amongst the locals! Mercado de San Miguel lies close to Plaza Mayor and is the best place to be in to catch the vibe of the locals and grab some fresh produce, affordable drinks, and tapas!

6.     Take a stroll in Puerta del Sol

Another one of Madrid’s important and grand squares is Puertadel Sol. Along the side of this square sits the famous post office building with a clock at the top. According to the tradition, on New Year’s Eve, you are supposed to eat one grape for each chime of the clock for good luck!

7.     Take a food tour!

Madrid is easily every food lover’s dream! With fresh produce in all its grocery markets and restaurants that serve simply mouthwatering dishes, it would be a shame to leave the city without taking a food tour! Food tours will most likely ace the list of the top favorite things you did in Madrid. These tours are informative, super delicious, and will leave you with a filled belly and a smile on your face!

8.     Find a picnic spot in El Retiro Park

El Retiro Park is truly a green oasis set in the middle of a bustling city! This beautiful park covers 350 acres, all with walking paths, water fountains, monuments, and even a small lake where you can rent a rowboat! Don't forget to pack a picnic to eat while you enjoy the greenery in El Retiro Park.

9.     Visit the Palacio de Cristal

As the name suggests, Palacio de Cristal is a white structure made out of glass set in a white iron framework. The Palacio is simply beautiful and almost ethereal. The Crystal Palace also features a rotating art collection that can be enjoyed along with the view of a large lake situated right beside the Palacio.

10.See Flamenco dancers

Flamenco is Spain’s most famous style of dancing since the 19th century and is extremely captivating and enjoyable to watch! Many bars and restaurants in Madrid organize Flamenco shows that you can watch as you enjoy your delicious Spanish meal. And if you’re interested, feel free to learn some Flamenco and sport a few moves!

11.Watch a Football Match at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium

Spaniards take their football matches pretty darn seriously, and rightly so! Real Madrid, their home team is one of the most famous teams in the whole world! So if you’re into football or simply want to experience the Spanish football craziness, do watch a match at Santiago Stadium if there is one being held during your vacation in the city!

12.Visit the Royal Botanical Garden

Take a stroll in the Royal Botanical garden that houses around 90,000 varieties of plants, over 1,500 trees, thousands of flowers in beautifully landscaped gardens, fountains, and serene lakes! A morning stroll in the garden will truly soothe your soul and refresh your mind!

13. Museums!

Talking about museums, our top favorites include the National Archeological Museum and the Naval Museum of Madrid. The National Archeological Museum houses an incredible collection of archaeological finds from across the Iberian Peninsula from the Greek and Roman periods, along with artifacts from Egypt and Mesopotamia. Whereas the Naval Museum will take you for a walk down memory lane, teaching you about the nation’s rich naval history!

14.Let’s talk art!

You cannot talk about art without mentioning The Prado, which is one of the best and most popular art galleries in the world! The Prado displays a spectacular collection of masterpieces dating back to the 18th century, made by artists such as Goya, Velazquez, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Bosch, and El Greco!

Up next is the Reina Sofia Museum, the second museum that is a part of Madrid's Golden Triangle of Art. The Reina Sofia Museum displays works made by artists of the 20th century such as Picasso, Dali, Joan Miro, Joan Gris, and Eduardo Chillida.

The third museum of Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art is the TyssenBornemisza Museum of Art which displays works of English and German artists such as Hans Holbein, Hans BaldungGrien and Albrecht Dürer along with the works of Renaissance masterslike Tintoretto, Veronese, Rembrandt, VanDyck!

Botanical Garden in Madrid Atocha Train Statino
Photo by Mindaugas Petrutis / Unsplash

Madrid exceeds all expectations and offers truly unforgettable experiences to all its visitors! All of these unforgettable experiences that you create deserves to be captured in the best manner possible, and for that we recommend you to hire professional vacation photographers from Travographer. Hire one of our photographers to follow you around as you create beautiful memories in this vibrant and artistic city!Our photographers are the best at what they do and are locals; hence they'll know all there is to know about the best locations for an incredible photoshoot!