A week flies by when you’re having fun so here’s a little guide to help you pack as much as you can into your 7-day stay in Madrid: from a visit to the Prado and a tour of the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium to an evening relishing tapas in the San Miguel Market.
Today is a great day to discover the Art Walk, with free admission to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (from 12 noon to 4pm), the Reina Sofía (7pm to 9pm) and the Prado (from 6pm to 8pm). Have a bite to eat in the Literary Quarter and spend what’s left of the day shopping around Sol and Gran Vía.
Pay a visit to the Palacio de Cibeles, Madrid’s city hall, check out their exhibitions and then make your way up to the CentroCentro observation deck to enjoy stunning views of the city. Take a walk along Paseo del Recoletos till you reach the Mafpre Foundation, which always hosts fantastic temporary exhibitions, or to the stunning National Library located opposite. Continue down Paseo de la Castellana to the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium and go on a tour that includes the Real Madrid changing rooms. If you fancy a drink or a bite to eat, stop by one of the many restaurants or afterwork bars in the Azca area.
Kick off the day venturing into the Hapsburg part of Madrid. Start off at Plaza de Ópera square and go around the Teatro Real opera house to Plaza de Oriente. After you’ve taken a look at the statues of Spanish monarchs that line the square, pay a visit to the Royal Palace – the largest in Europe – and La Almudena Cathedral. Take a well-deserved rest in the Sabatini Gardens and then make your way to the Oeste Park which houses the Templo of Debod. If you fancy a spot of shopping, then you can walk across Plaza de España – where you can take a photo next to the popular monument to Cervantes -, and head to Calle Princesa, one of the city’s top shopping areas. Another option is to return to Plaza de Ópera and from there wonder down to Mercado de San Miguel. Located next to the Plaza Mayor, one of the city´s top sights, this cast-iron gourmet market is filled with stands serving delicious tapas and a selection of drinks to wash them down.
Just because you’re in a city it doesn’t mean that you need to forget about enjoying some nature. Madrid is one of the greenest capitals in the world and is home to two wonderful parks. El Retiro Park, situated in the centre of the city next to the Puerta de Alcalá gate, is a firm favourite among the locals. Casa de Campo, to the west of Madrid, is one of Europe’s largest parks and can be reached by cable car from Paseo del Pintor Rosales.
For many, the weekend gets underway on Thursday and you’ll find a thriving nightlife scene in lots of areas of the city: Malasaña, Chueca, Triball, the Literary Quarter, Princesa…
If your legs are begging for a break but you don’t want to miss Madrid’s landmarks, then why don’t you jump on the Madrid City Tour? This hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus offers two routes and has audio guides in 13 languages.
The end of the working week is the perfect excuse for friends and work colleagues to meet up for cañas (small beers). You can expect bars to be even fuller than usual from around 3pm, in particular in the centre and in areas packed with offices.
One weekend a month the Railway Museum (Paseo de las Delicias 61) hosts the Motor Market, a new European-style flea market that combines second-hand items with hand-crafted objects and gastronomy. Not far, lies the Casa Encendida, a multi-purpose cultural centre hosting visual art exhibitions, film cycles, concerts and stage productions every day of the week.
In the evening you can choose to watch one of the many shows being staged across the city, see a film in the cinema, go to a concert or enjoy an evening of flamenco at a tablao.
On the morning of the last day of the week, the one place you won’t want to miss is the Rastro flea market. Open only on Sundays and public holidays, it spreads out along Calle de Ribera de Curtidores and surrounding streets. Once you’ve honed your haggling skills and filled your suitcase with all kinds of knickknacks, it’s time to join the other crowd in La Latina for a few drinks and snacks.
In the afternoon you can go for a stroll along Madrid Río Park and then make your way to Matadero Madrid, a slaughterhouse-turned-cultural centre. If you are a footie fan and Atlético Madrid are playing that evening, then Vicente Calderón is right there waiting for you.
From one of the largest Royal Palace in Europe to Real Madrid's stadium, discover the city's most popular sights and attractions.
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