Cities like Madrid, sprawling and dynamic, are true gems in this world. The energy that drives the city is likely to spirit you away. Yet, even with all the time in the world to see the sights of Madrid, you’re still going to feel rushed when it comes to truly enjoying the best attractions. There’s simply too much to do. That’s why the travel pros at Flyavel picked the greatest attractions in Madrid and put them in this list—so you can have the best possible experience in Madrid.
1. A Visit to the Prado
A must-see. The Prado is arguably one of the most essential museums in the world, because it has a superior collection of Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces. Names like El Greco, Velazquez, Rembrandt, van Dyck, Titian, Botticelli, and Tintoretto can all be found here. The artist with most works on display, however, is Prado in the Spanish Romantic Goya, whose paintings have become a major cultural point of reference for Spain.
2. Retiro Park
While there’s no lack of greenery in Madrid, some parks are far more peaceful and refreshing than others. One of the best is Retiro, just a short distance from the Prado museum. Children and adults love walking the shaded paths, visiting the Grand Pond, and venturing through the pavilion that was built during the Philippine Exhibition in 1887.
3. The Sights of Gran Via
To absorb the sights and sounds of Madrid is to stoll the Gran Via. This is the main vein of the city, and so you will find art, shopping, culture, nightlife, film theatres (like Capitol and Callao Cinemas), and even Madrid’s best nightclubs all along this road. Be sure to check out the Telefonica Building that was built in 1928 and was one of the world’s earliest skyscrapers.
4. All the Museums and Galleries
Aside from the Museo del Prado, Madrid has a glut of art, history, and culture to dive into. Check out the Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza to complete the Madrid Art Triangle. Once you’ve done that, it’s time for the vertical gardens at CaixaForum. There are also smaller art galleries that are as scintillating as the bigger museums, such as the Ivorypress by Elena Ochoa, Suso33, or the BoaMistura.
Of course, you can also go on a monument and statue scavenger hunt, since there are a plethora of them in Madrid. Start with the ‘El Oso y el Madrono (The Bear and The Strawberry Tree) sculpture before visiting the Plaza de la Independencia and beyond.
5. Treasure Hunting in El Rastro
If you plan on being in for the weekend, then here’s something you can’t pass up: a real Spanish flea market. On every Sunday in the Embajadores neighbourhood, stalls pop up exploding with secondhand clothing, jewellry, records, souvenirs, street food, and more. The reason? El Rastro, the oldest and the most famous flea market in all of Madrid. While you’re there, venture down the side streets for hidden antique gems.
6. Plazas and fountains
In Spain - and especially in Madrid and Barcelona (read up on our guide to Barcelona
), the cities feature amazing plazas and fountains. They are a popular meeting point, offer some refreshment in the hot summers and some even feature fountain shows which are simply amazing to see. You should definitely make time to visit La Plaza de Cibeles. Sculpted in 1782, the fountain in the middle of the plaza has become an icon of the city. It is also said to have been unofficially adopted by one of the most famous football clubs in the world - Real Madrid. You see, whenever the team wins the Spanish league or the Spanish Cup, the plaza is filled with Real Madrid fans who come there to celebrate - and oftentimes, even the team players join them in celebrations! You should also make sure you visit the Plaza de España, Las Fuentecillas or Four Fountains, or the Neptune fountain. Believe us, you'll be glad you did ;)
Madrid is a never-ending festival full of flamenco, churros, and art. Follow the beat of the music and dance your way through this fascinating city. You’re never going to want to leave once you’ve tasted all that can be offered after visiting these best attractions.