Best Things to do in Madrid, Spain

Spain’s capital, Madrid, is known for its vibrant lights, mouthwatering tapas, and lively street life. Although this gorgeous city may not have the beach life of cities like Valencia or Barcelona, it more than makes up for it with its rich history and sense of local flavour. Spend a few days touring attractive markets world-famous art galleries, and spending endless hours on restaurant terraces, much like the inhabitants of Madrid do. Use this comprehensive guide to enjoy all the most significant things to do in Madrid.

11 Things to do in Madrid

Spain’s most prominent and capital city is Madrid. It is truly a city for living, not just a tourist destination like Barcelona. Therefore, it’s the ideal location to experience Spanish culture and satisfy your need for “culture” while travelling.

Three days is the best time to fit in all of Madrid’s main attractions. If you have a few extra days, extend your stay and take advantage of some beautiful day trips from Madrid to places like Segovia, Toledo, or Valencia.

El Retiro Park

El Retiro Park is a stunning natural area in the city’s center that has been inducted into the UNESCO World Heritage List. With almost 15,000 trees in the park, you may find lovely, expansive gravel avenues shaded by massive horse chestnut, oak, and cypress trees. The oldest tree discovered here was initially planted in 1633!

Wander around El Retiro and take in all the stunning monuments, well-manicured hedges, and rose gardens. The park belonged to the Spanish royal family until it was opened to the public in the late 19th century. Incredibly, this park is a public resource for the community, and its majesty gives the impression that it may still be the Royal Gardens.

Activities in El Retiro

Locals from Madrid congregate at the park during the evenings and weekends, engaging in various physical activities such as rollerblading and running. During Madrid’s longer, brighter summer evenings, it’s the ideal spot to unwind under the tree canopy. That’s why we suggest coming here in the late afternoon after a whole morning of sightseeing with a picnic.

There’s a lovely lake in the middle of El Retiro where you can rent boats and take in the park from the peace of the water. Here, they even provide kayaking instruction! Take in the stunning palaces and the Alfonso XIII monument, which consists of the striking columns that face the lake.

El Retiro Opening Times

October: March, 6 AM to 10 PM; April, 6 AM to midnight; September,
Travel by metro to the “Retiro” station, then set off on foot to reach El Retiro Park.

Palacio de Cristal in Madrid

The center of El Retiro Park is home to Palacio de Cristal, well known as the Glass Palace. This stunning glass conservatory, shaped like a Greek cross, is 22 meters high and nearly seems to be floating over the sea. Gorgeous horse chestnut trees encircle it. These hues’ brilliant reds and oranges are unique to witness in the fall!

The Palace was once home to exquisite plants and animals in a greenhouse. But now that the Reina Sofia Museum holds it, it is a unique venue for annual art shows.

Moreover, admission is free, making it an excellent activity in Madrid. Explore its exquisite ceramic tile flooring and the remarkable glass and cast iron framework supporting the structure. After that, sit on the quaint steps down to the lake from the Palace.

Palacio Cristal Opening Times

October to March 10 AM – 6 PM and April to September 10 AM – 9 PM. Major Spanish holidays are closed.

 Atocha-Renfe Station in Madrid

Since most train stations are the only places to board trains that will take you to your next destination, they could be more attractive to visit. Atocha Station is the exception, though! A magnificent tropical garden with unusual plants and trees that grow to enormous heights and nearly reach the top of the station’s roof arch can be found at this fantastic stop. It’s unusual to witness this jungle inside an industrial station, making it one of Madrid’s most unusual activities!

More than 7000 plant species worldwide, including Asia, South America, and Australia, can be found in the botanical gardens. Additionally, there are information signs so you may learn more about each plant.

In Madrid, it’s a free activity to consider. Alternatively, to take in the vista of a beautiful garden, come to the station thirty minutes early if you’re travelling someplace in Spain.

October: March, 6 AM to 10 PM; April, 6 AM to midnight; September,
Travel by metro to the “Retiro” station, then set off on foot to reach El Retiro Park.

Street Art

Madrid is home to some of the world’s best art museums, so it should be no surprise that it’s a creative city. Street art is everywhere; some are more noticeable than others, like the massive paintings covering the sides of buildings. Some pieces, such as the tiny sculptures or artworks tucked away on doorways or in little streets, are more subdued.

This is another free activity in Madrid that’s great for fans of modern art and an excellent opportunity to see the city’s different neighbourhoods. The most significant areas are Embajadores, La Latina, and Malasana.

A street art tour is a great way to learn more about the histories of various pieces.

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