The attractions of Madrid are, above all, great museums with rich collections of European art, as well as large squares and vast parks. It is also a city of elegant boulevards and busy streets. For many people, Madrid also has two local football teams – Real and Atletico, and the famous Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.
There are many more of these lures for tourists here, after all, the capital of Spain is the second most visited city in this country, next to Barcelona.
Madrid attractions and monuments
Madrid is a bustling capital city, even after dark. There are many bars and restaurants open until late at night and trendy clubs. The city offers a lot of attractions, but there is nothing to count on very old historical architecture. Madrid became the capital of Spain only in 1561. Yes, you can find some interesting churches and other objects that are worth visiting.
However, the second face of the Spanish capital is already very modern, full of skyscrapers, elegant shops and fashionable hotels.
So let’s start exploring Madrid with our travel guide.
What is worth visiting in Madrid?
The most visited historical part of Madrid is divided into two parts – the older with denser buildings (known as the Habsburg Madrid) and the newer one, where the buildings are spread over a much larger area (known as the Bourbon Madrid). Both in the older and newer parts we will find some of the greatest attractions of the Spanish capital.
That is why both are worth visiting.
Visiting Madrid itself is quite easy, as most places can be easily reached on foot. The main monuments and attractions are located relatively close to each other, so it is best to get to the center by metro, and then walk to the points of interest on the tourist map of the city. Madrid is a good destination for a weekend getaway abroad. However, you need a little more time to explore the Spanish capital than two or three days.
A big plus is the fact that Madrid is a city that can be visited almost all year round (from April to October) due to the favorable weather conditions that prevail here.
Moving on to what exactly is worth visiting in Madrid, Square Mayor is definitely such a place. This is one of the most famous squares in the Spanish capital. It has a rectangular shape and is surrounded by three-story tenement houses with arcades. Mayor Square is considered one of the most beautiful in Spain.
See on the map of Madrid how to get to this square:
It was here that the coronations of kings took place, as well as executions, corrida and theatrical performances.
Currently, there are restaurants, shops and cafes. The center of the square is decorated with a statue of Philip III on a horse.
However, what attracts tourists to Madrid the most is the so-called Museum Triangle. This is an area that includes three Madrid museums that are definitely worth visiting – the Prado Museum, the Queen Sofia Art Center and the Thyssen-Bornemisz Museum. All three are world-class and feature rich collections of European art over the years.
The Prado Museum is the most famous of all three. It is distinguished by the world’s largest collection of classical painting. Among the many outstanding works, you can admire the works of: Titian, Raphael, Rubens, Bosch, El Greco, Goya and Velazquez. More than five thousand paintings are exhibited in over 100 halls.
See how to get to the Prado museum in Madrid:
Including examples of Spanish art throughout the 12th to 19th centuries.
Queen Sophia Art Center
Another morsel from the Triangle of museums is the Queen Sophia Art Center, located in the former San Carlos hospital building from the 18th century. It boasts a rich collection of contemporary art. On site you can admire the works of artists such as Joan Miró, Salvador Dali, Francis Bacon and Pablo Picasso. Especially the image of the latter artist is a magnet for visitors.
It is, of course, about Guernica, a work created for the World Exhibition in 1937, which was held in Paris.
The third worth visiting object from this group is the Thyssen-Bornemisz Museum. In it, we can find a rich collection of paintings from the Middle Ages to the present day. Among them, paintings by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Renoir, Rubens, Caravaggio, Titan, Durer, El Greco, and Claude Monet.
Interestingly, many people say that the Thyssen-Bornemisz Museum is better and more interesting than the Prado.
But it is without doubt the most impressive private collection of works of art in the world. Right after that belonging to the British royal family.
These are not all the monuments and attractions you can find in Madrid yet!
Tourist attractions of Madrid
One of the attractions worth seeing in Madrid is the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
The world-famous Real Madrid team plays here. This facility was built on the site of the old Chamartín Stadium. The name of the stadium was given in honor of the former long-term president of the team – Santiago Bernabéu, distinguished in the history of the club.
The facility can be visited, because tourists have access to a cloakroom, a conference room, a bench and a museum with preserved cups and a ball from the 1950s.
See how to get to the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid:
Another tourist attraction in Madrid is also the Retiro Park, the green lungs of the Spanish capital. The perfect place to relax after a day of sightseeing. The park covers over 120 hectares with 18,000 trees and seven thousand shrubs.
In addition, there is a monument to Alfonso XII located at a pond, where you can swim with rented boats, as well as a British-style Crystal Palace. It used to be just a large greenhouse, and today it hosts temporary art exhibitions.
Chocolateria San Gines
Another attraction in Madrid is the famous Chocolateria San Gines. This is a place that is over 120 years old. The traditional café is open 24 hours a day. You can try a typical Spanish dish – churros served with liquid chocolate.
Usually, long lines form in front of the building, despite take-out options. The atmosphere of this cafe is also created by its interiors with nostalgic photos of people who have eaten here. That’s why everyone wants to go inside and place an order.
See how to get to Chocolateria San Gines:
There were attractions and interesting places, so now it’s time for the monuments of Madrid.
When it comes to the monuments of Madrid, there aren’t many of them dating back to the Middle Ages. Which, of course, does not mean that there are no old buildings to visit in the city. One of the greatest monuments in Madrid is undoubtedly the Royal Palace – Palacio Real.
Royal Palace – Palacio Real
It is the official seat of the King of Spain, but the entire royal family lives in a more modest residence. The building dates from the 18th century and represents a baroque architectural style. At least from the outside, for there is splendor inside. The royal palace stands on the highest hill in the city, where there used to be a Moorish fortress.
See the map of Madrid on how to get to the Royal Palace:
Inside, it is worth visiting the Throne Room, the Banquet Hall and the Gasparini Room, as well as the Blue Bedroom, the Smoking Room for men and the adjacent Yellow Room for ladies. In addition, you can walk to the palace gardens or see the Royal Armory and the Royal Carriage Museum.
Another interesting monument on the map of Madrid is the Almudena Cathedral, completed in 1993, when it was consecrated by Pope John Paul II. Inside, it is worth visiting the underground crypts where deserving citizens of Spain were buried.
Temple of Debod
Quite an unusual monument in Madrid is the Debod temple. It is a building that comes straight from Egypt and was given to the Spaniards in exchange for merits and saving other temples from destruction. The whole thing consists of the main building and two gates (once there were three of them) and came here from the town of Debod, located on the Nile.
This temple was dedicated to the Egyptian gods – Amon and Isis. It is located on a hill in the Parque de la Montaña, which offers panoramic views of the oldest part of the city.
Interesting places in Madrid
One of the most interesting places in Madrid, especially for antiques lovers, is El Rastro, the largest flea market in the Spanish capital.
Up to 3,500 stalls can be displayed here, which are located along the streets that cross the Plaza de Cascorro. In addition to ancient items, you can buy original souvenirs from Madrid, such as jewelery made of ceramics and leather goods.
Ham Museum – Museo del Jamon
Another interesting place in Madrid is undoubtedly the Ham Museum – Museo del Jamon. Its external appearance can confuse many people because it looks like an ordinary butcher’s shop. Inside, in addition to getting to know the history of making the most famous Spanish ham, you can also buy and taste products with the addition of this cold meat.
What’s worth seeing in Madrid?
One of the most interesting places in Madrid is definitely the Atocha train station.
Its external appearance does not differ much from the overall landscape, it is a brick, glass and cast iron building. What is most interesting is inside. In the middle there is a botanical garden, full of tropical greenery. Several hundred species of plants and palm trees have been gathered here.
In addition, at the Atocha station there is a pond with fish, which once housed a herd of turtles.
Puerta del Sol
Another place worth seeing in Madrid is tourists’ favorite square – Puerta del Sol. Its name comes from the solar gate that once stood here. Nowadays, the place is full of shops and restaurants, which makes it crowded. The square houses the statue of Charles III on a horse and the city’s symbol – the statue of a bear climbing a strawberry tree.
The most important building is Casa de Correos, plus a clock, the famous neon Tio Pepe advertisement (entered in the register of monuments due to its age) and the zero point (zero kilometer) from which roads to other cities in Spain are marked.
The Plaza de Cibeles square is home to another famous landmark of Madrid, the Palacio de Comunicaciones. It is a building of extraordinary beauty that used to be the main post office. Today it is the seat of the city authorities and the mayor of Madrid. In the middle of Plaza de Cibeles, it is also worth paying attention to the goddess Cybele’s fountain.
Tourist map of Madrid attractions
The tourist map of tourist attractions in Madrid will allow you to locate all the monuments and interesting places that are definitely worth visiting and visiting while spending your vacation or on a trip in Madrid:
See also the official website of Madrid for more information about the monuments and attractions of Madrid.
What are your favorite places and monuments in Madrid? What attractions do you necessarily visit every time you go on a trip to Madrid? We are waiting for feedback on the forum.