How To Have An Awesome Weekend In Madrid, Spain

Planning a weekend trip to Madrid and want to make the most of it? It’s an awesome Spanish city filled with so many things to see, do, explore, and eat! Fortunately, you can fit a lot of the best things to do in Madrid in 3 days. I was lucky enough to have a “local” show me around, so I got the inside scoop 😉

Read on to learn how to have an awesome weekend in Madrid, Spain…

Tour the Royal Palace of Madrid

The Royal Palace was one of my favorite things to see in Madrid! The rooms are extraordinarily decorated. You aren’t allowed a camera in most of the places in the palace, but trust me, this one is definitely worth seeing.

I recommended buying tickets ahead of time online. You can get them here.

What to see in Madrid - Inside the Royal Palace of Madrid

Visit the Almudena Cathedral

The Almudena Cathedral is across from the Royal Palace and worth checking out since you are already there. It is free to enter, though donations to the church are encouraged. 

Just look how incredibly ornate and beautiful the Catedral de Almudena is inside:

Take a Walk in El Retiro Park

El Retiro Park in Madrid covers over 125 hectacres and boasts more than 15,000 trees! It’s a beautiful park and makes for a great afternoon or morning walk.

The Retiro Pond is a large artificial lake in the middle of the park. You can rent boats and paddle around, or just relax and sit along the edge enjoying the view.

How to have an awesome Weekend in Madrid - Retiro Park Lake

The park is also home to a number of fountains, some more than 100 years old!

My favorite part of Retiro Park is next up on the list…

Visit Palacio de Cristal

The Crystal Palace (Palacio de Cristal) is located in Retiro Park, not too far from the pond. It’s a beautiful all-glass building that was built in 1887. 

How to have an awesome Weekend in Madrid - Palacio de Cristal del Retiro

Entry is free, though you may have to wait in line. It is very popular with tourists and photographers, and it’s not hard to see why!

How to have an awesome Weekend in Madrid - Crystal Palace in Retiro park

Stroll Down Gran Via

Grand Via is a major street located in central Madrid and is home to some of the best shopping in the city, many large hotels, and countless restaurants. 

It is said Gran Vía is like the Champs de Elysees of Madrid and is also often called the “Spanish Broadway.” One of the most famous buildings on Gran Vía is the Metropolis Building:

Explore Plaza Mayor

In the heart of Madrid, the Plaza Mayor is a major public square with several restaurants and shops in the area. It’s worth a quick stop while touring around Madrid.

How to have an awesome Weekend in Madrid - Plaza Mayor

Grab a Bite at Mercado de San Miguel

Mercado de San Miguel is one of the oldest markets in Madrid — it’s over 100 years old! Located near Plaza Mayor, it’s one of the most popular markets with tourists.

What to do in Madrid - Mercado de San Miguel

It’s a great place to grab lunch or a snack, as it has over 30 vendors that sell freshly prepared tapas, hams, olives, baked goods, beer, wine, and more.

How to have an awesome Weekend in Madrid - San Miguel Market

If you’re looking for a less touristy market, check out Mercado San Antón in Chueca neighborhood  or Mercado San Ildefonso in Malasaña

Try Allllll the Tapas

On the topic of markets and food… When in Spain, you HAVE to try all the tapas! Some of the most popular are: Patatas Bravas, Croquetas, Jamón Ibérico, Tortilla Española, manchego, chorizo, and pulpo. You cannot leave Spain and not have the Jamón Ibérico, it’s hands down my favorite!

Madrid Spain Tapas Jamón Ibérico

Drink like a Spaniard

Anytime I travel I like to try not only the food of the place I’m visiting, but also the drinks too! Gin and tonics are huge in Madrid, and there are so many different combinations and recipes. If you go to any bar in the city, they will usually have at least 8 different gin’s available. Order Nordés if you want to try a local gin! 

Gin and Tonics in MAdrid

Of course, you have to try the Spanish beers too! The most notable are: Estrella Damm (my favorite), Estrella Galacia, Mahou, and Alhambra. When ordering, ask for a cerveza caña if you want a small, and cerveza doble if you want a large (or double).

How to have an awesome Weekend in Madrid - rooftop bar at sunset

Visit a World Famous Art Museum

Museo del Prado  is considered to have one of the best collections of European art in the world. It has thousands and thousands of works of art, including pieces from Diego Velazquez, Francisco Goya, and more!

Reina Sofía Museum, another hugely popular art museum in Madrid, boasts around 20,000 pieces of art. In fact, it is Spain’s national museum of the 20th-century art! It includes pieces from Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.

Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum is the third museum that makes up Madrid’s “Golden Triangle of Art.” It has over 1,600 paintings and was once the second largest private collection in the world! They also have a great little cafe that is great for a post museum beer 😉

Stroll through Plaza de Cibeles

Plaza de Cibeles holds one of the most iconic buildings in Madrid (pictured below). Believe it or not, it was once the city’s main post office! It’s a beautiful square definitely worth walking through on a weekend trip to Madrid.

What to see in Madrid - Plaza de Cibeles

Hang at Rooftop Bar at Sunset

You MUST enjoy a drink at a rooftop bar in Madrid, preferably at sunset. It is a great way to enjoy the views of the whole city!

Check out Puerta de Alcala

Puerta de Alcala is a beautiful monument in the Plaza de la Independencia. It is one of the oldest arches in Europe, older than the Arc de Triomphe in Paris even!

Check out the Temple of Debod

Temple of Debod is a Egyptian shrine that was originally erected in Egypt itself in the early 2nd century BC. In the 1960s, to save the temple from being destroyed by flooding, it was relocated and rebuilt in one of Madrid’s parks, Parque del Oeste.

How to have an awesome Weekend in Madrid - temple of debod

When I was visiting, all the water around the Temple of Debod was drained, but the photo above is what it normally looks like. Everyone says the best time to visit is at Sunset.

Visit Puerta del Sol

Puerta del Sol is literally the center of Madrid and is one of the busiest places in the city! It’s filled with shops, restaurants, monuments, fountains, etc.

Explore Malasaña Neighborhood

Malasana is a cool, hipster neighborhood in Madrid full of unique shops, trendy restaurants and cafes, and lots of urban street art!

Enjoy Some Luxury in The Salamanca Neighborhood

If you’re interested in doing some luxury shopping, check out Madrid’s Salamanca neighborhood! It also has some great dining options too!

Eat at the Oldest Restaurant in the World

Casa Botín is the oldest restaurant in the world! It has been open since 1752 and is most known for it’s roast suckling pig. Definitely book ahead of time if you want to eat here on your Madrid trip!

Catch a Real Madrid futbol game

It’s no secret Spaniards are crazy about their futbol! If it’s futbol season, try and catch a Real Madrid game at the famous Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.

How to have an awesome Weekend in Madrid - see a Real Madrid game

Hope this post was help while planning your weekend trip to Madrid! Was there anything else you would add? Let me know in the comments!

xx Chels

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One thought on “How To Have An Awesome Weekend In Madrid, Spain

  1. Great read. Definitely covered a lot of the best things to do in Madrid, it’s one of my favourite European cities 🙂

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