Let’s just hope you’re not one of them, because what many (too many!) people don’t know is that Madrid is actually the capital of Spain, instead of Barcelona – but don’t worry, we don’t blame you. We assume it’s due to Barcelona’s popularity that people think this is the capital. However, cities such as Valencia and Malaga have been getting way more popular as well in the past few years. Anyway, today we will talk about the capital of Spain, the 7 best places to visit in Madrid.
7 places to visit in Madrid
Whether you are on a city break, on long holidays or studying and living in Madrid, you should definitely have visited the following places.
1. Palacio Real
Palacio Real is the Royal Palace and the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, although it’s not their real home today. It is a monumental building that was built during the 18th and 19th centuries. Normally it’s open to the public but it’s also being used for state ceremonies.
You can discover the many unique rooms of the palace yourself with a guided or unguided tour. Besides the rooms, there’s also the possibility to see the art exhibition that the Royal Palace houses. There are tickets available for 10€ for adults, and 5€ for children between 5-16 years old and for 65+.
2. Plaza Mayor
This is the heart of the old center of Madrid, the square from where you can start discovering all the charming districts Madrid houses, one of the symbols of the city. The most important square of Madrid is a completely pedestrianized rectangle measuring 120 x 94 meters.
You can access the square from one of its ten entrances, most of them in the shape of an arch. Many events take place at the square such as the local market on Sunday where you can buy typical Spanish souvenirs. The most important building that the square houses is “La casa de la Panadería”, today it’s a tourist information point but before that it had many different functions such as Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando or the Royal Academy of History. It attracts a lot of attention due to the mural paintings of its façade.
3. Retiro Park
The Retiro Park, Parque del Retiro in Spanish and known as El Retiro, is the most important park of Madrid. It is huge and located in the middle of the city center. The park was designed for the royal family but nowadays you can relax in the grass, have a run, listen to musicians and a lot more. It is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle from the city; have a picnic before you start your sightseeing tour again or just to enjoy the nice Spanish weather.
Some places you should visit within the park: Palacio de Cristal, Paseo de la Argentina or the artificial pond; this pond is the first thing you see if you enter the park through la Puerta de Alcalá.
4. Gran Via
The most famous street of Madrid; they began with the construction in 1862 and they finally finished in 1929. It was one of the most important constructions of Spain. Nowadays you will basically find restaurants, fashion stores and cinemas here and you can find this street in the Salamanca district and the Argüelles district. There is a reason why they gave it the nickname “Madrid Broadway”, discover and live the amazing ambiance yourself!
5. Museo del Prado
The Prado Museum is one of the most important museums of the world as well as the most visited. You can find the museum in the eponymous street, El Paseo del Prado, in a 18th-century Neo-Classical building. It was opened as a museum in 1819 and nowadays it is a display of the world’s richest works by the great European masters such as Velázquez, Raphael, Goya Rubens, and Bosch, among other major Italian and Flemish artists.
Tickets for the museum are 15€, buy them in advance to be sure you can visit this unique and famous place.
6. Templo de Debod
The Temple of Debod is an ancient Egyptian temple that was built in de 2nd century BC. Why it’s located in Madrid today? Due to the consequent threat posed to several monuments and archeological sites in Aswan, where it was originally built, UNESCO decided to save this unique temple and donated it to Madrid, since Spain helped saving the temples of Abu Simbel. The temple was rebuilt in Madrid and it is located in the West Park, near the Palacio Real.
The entrance is free but it’s closed for the public on Mondays and some bank holidays. Find more about opening hours here.
7. El Rastro Flea Market
This is THE open air flea market of Spain, held every Sunday between Calle Embajadores and the Ronda de Toledo. Here you can find a great variety of products, both new and second-hand. In addition to the stalls in the main street and charming adjacent streets, some local antique shops are also open during the flea market on Sunday. Take into account that it has been a very popular market for years and there will be many people, but it’s going to be an entertaining walk for sure!
Enough reasons why you should visit the capital of Spain! Do you think there are some of great places to visit in Madrid missing? Let us know!