What to see in Madrid: a quick welcome guide

Are you wondering what to see in Madrid? Many people starting the Camino de Santiago will make Madrid their first stop, as it has one of the biggest airports in Spain. Although it doesn’t get as much attention as Barcelona, Madrid is a lovely city to spend a couple of days, with lots to offer. Today, I’d like to share with you a couple of tips and tricks to make the most of your stay here.

How to get from Madrid airport to the city center

From the airport, its quite simple to arrive downtown:

  1. . The simplest way if you are staying downtown is a yellow bus that takes you from the airport to Cibeles and Atocha. It’s a 24 hour service and costs 5 euros.
  2. The fastest way to get to downtown is to take metro line 8 to Nuevos Ministerios. It stops in Terminales 1-2-3 and Terminal 4. You might need a couple of transfers to arrive to the specific stop you need, but it’s very simple to use.
  3. If you arrive in Terminal 4, you can take a Cercanías train to Atocha, quick and easy.
  4. Finally, you can take a taxi or Uber, Cabify. It’s more expensive, but quite convenient as it drops you off exactly where you need.

Where to stay

The options are endless: hotels, hostels, b&bs, Airbnbs… Depending on your budget, choose one that fits your criteria, but try staying within walking distance of Sol, as it is the centerpoint from where you can see the whole city.

What to do in Madrid

Despite being a large city, the downtown of Madrid is quite small and it is a pleasant and comfortable area to walk. There are many different neighbourhoods and things to see, so my main recommendation is to wander and get lost. There are countless secret places that are waiting for you!

My favorite things to do in Madrid

Visit a rooftop terrace and have a drink or even swim in a rooftop pool. There are many options available: Oscar, Círculo de Bellas Artes, Corte Inglés Callao…

Walk down the Gran Vía at night. This busy road during daytime slows down, all buildings are lit and you can really appreciate the architecture.

Discover El Retiro, a beautiful green area in the heart of Madrid. My favorite spot is, without a doubt, El palacio de cristal.

Stroll through Malasaña and enjoy its little shops and coffee houses. The streets are quieter and you will also get to see traditional Madrilenian architecture.

Enjoy the museums and cultural centers of the capital. Many of the museums like the Prado, Reina Sofía, Caixa Forum, La Casa Encendida or Sorolla are even free at certain times, don’t miss them!

Watch the sunset from the Debod temple. Bring a picnic, sit on the grass and enjoy one of the most stunning views in Madrid.

Go to the Rastro market on a Sunday. This flee market is always packed and having a drink in La Latina on a sunny Sunday morning is just fabulous.

Have a chocolate con churros in San Ginés or 1883. This activity is ideal on a winter afternoon or after a night out!

Stroll through Madrid Río and discover the Matadero art center and visit it’s greenhouses.

Discover the cultures of Lavapiés. This multiculutral neighbourhood is home to Indian, Senegalese, Moroccan restaurants and shops.

Step on the epicenter of Spanish roads, the km. 0, in Sol. It’s a touristy thing to do, but I love taking that picture and feeling in the heart of Spain! And don’t miss the “Oso y el Madroño”, another iconic sculpture in Sol.

Celebrate San Isidro (May 15). This dressed as a chulapo in the San Isidro Park.

I hope you enjoyed this walk with me through Madrid, I’ll soon post more about what to do in this beautiful city, meanwhile, you can check out this map of places to see in Madrid:


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