What to see in Madrid in 2 days
A capital city the size of Madrid needs a degree of planning if you are to achieve your aim of seeing the essential sights. By following this itinerary, you will achieve that because we’ve combined visits to iconic buildings, such as the Royal Palace and the La Almudena Cathedral, with two great museums, such as El Prado and the Thyssen-Bornemisza. As well as culture, you’ll find time to fit in a stroll through the Parque del Retiro, go shopping and explore gourmet establishments such as the San Miguel Market, right in the heart of the city. The evening we leave up to you: would you like to attend a flamenco show or would you prefer to dine in a Michelin-starred restaurant?
In Madrid, you can have the time of your life over two days, although you’ll need a few more to recover from the excitement of exploring all the capital’s attractions.
Itinerary day 1
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
The Royal Palace, built on the orders of Philip V, has stood majestically in the Plaza de Oriente since the eighteenth century. The La Almudena Cathedral is right next to the Royal Palace, so it is a good opportunity to see the venue where the wedding of Felipe VI and Letizia Ortiz was held.
12:15 PM - 1:00 PM
This beautiful green space scattered with flower beds, sculptures and fountains is a good place to stop off for a rest before moving on to visit the Teatro Real. This splendid nineteenth-century building offers guided tours from 10:00 AM until 1.00 PM.
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
The calamari roll is one of the highlights of Madrid’s cuisine, and the traditional place to eat it is in the Plaza Mayor. The Plaza has witnessed much of Madrid’s history over the past 400 years, since the time of Philip III.
3:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Thanks to its location and imposing presence, the Puerta de Alcalá cannot be ignored. This was one of the five royal gates to the walled city of Madrid. This great triumphal arch was built in the Neo-classical style, and was designed by Francisco Sabatini.
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
This is the vast green lung of the capital and the favourite place for families to relax and have fun since the nineteenth century. This visit is highly recommended if you want to rest, go skating, go for a boat ride, or visit its art centres.
6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
If you enjoy shopping, the axis formed by Calle Serrano, Calle Velázquez and Calle Claudio Coello is a focal point for exclusive and glamorous brands. Scattered among the shops are numerous cafés and quality restaurants.
9:00 PM - 11:30 PM
The city is considered the capital of flamenco thanks to the excellence of its tablaos. Visit the Corral de la Morería, one of the best flamenco establishments in the city. Attend a dinner-show because it’s an unforgettable experience.
Itinerary day 2
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
It is considered the best art gallery in the country, thanks to its wide collection of Spanish art. There are several possible tours, depending on the time you have available; choose the one that appeals to you most, but do not miss the great works by masters such as Velázquez and Goya.
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
We suggest you also visit this museum, even if you’ve been to El Prado, because it has some great ancient art works. And if that doesn’t appeal to you, why not take the chance to have a wander around the lively Barrio de las Letras?
1:40 PM - 2:00 PM
This is one of Madrid’s busiest nerve centres. Dominated by the Fountain of the goddess Cybele, the square is surrounded by iconic edifices such as the Palacio de Cibeles, the Palacio de Linares, the Palacio de Buenavista, and the Bank of Spain.
2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
This is the favourite area for Madrid’s residents to go out for tapas, or to be caressed by the sun’s rays on one of the district’s terraces. We can recommend you try the fried eggs at Casa Lucio, in Calle Cava Baja, because they’re truly awesome.
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
This huge landscaped space is surrounded by iconic skyscrapers such as the Edificio España and the Torre de Madrid. The statue of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza presides over this constantly-changing scene which has become the site of several five-star hotels.
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
The Parque del Cuartel de la Montaña offers the best views of the sunset anywhere in Madrid. It is a joy to stroll through this green space, and gaze at the Temple of Debod, which was brought, stone by stone, from Egypt, to be rebuilt here.
9:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Boasting the best, undisputed views of Gran Via from the rooftop of the Barceló Torre de Madrid Hotel, this restaurant serves up beautifully prepared local and national cuisine, with an international twist.
11:30 PM - 3:00 AM
If you choose Malasaña, start at the 1862 Dry Bar, a cocktail bar set in a mansion dating from 1862. From there on, you can really begin to enjoy the night. In Chueca, you will also find a good atmosphere in the LGBT+-friendly bars.