Put it like this: Madrid was my first destination abroad, I had 4 days and a half to spend in Madrid, and then we would go to Mallorca. And in 4.5 days we (I was there with my whole family) wanted to explore the whole city, all the main attractions, or at least as many as we can fit in them.
I won’t put the whole itinerary here, I would happily do if anyone wants me to :), however, I will list my favorite places, and those that I think should not be missed while in Madrid.
Behold; the Top Places To See In Madrid:
1- Palacio Real and Catedral de la Almudena
Sitting right beside each other, it is definitely worth visiting the biggest palace in Madrid, or actually the biggest Royal Palace in all Western Europe!
Right in front of it sits the beautiful “Catedral de Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena”. Getting its name “Almudena” from the Arabic origin “Al Mudayna” which means a castle.
Both places are opened for visits most of the year, but check their schedules before your visit to make sure it is opened while you are there.
El Retiro Park is a very big park that is not far from the city’s main attractions, and is full of attractions itself. From the “Paseo de la Argentina” to “Palacio de Cristal”, and the lakes, fountains and countless statues; it is worth a lunch picnic and a quick stroll around the park to see all of those attractions.
3- Atocha Train Station
If you’re arriving/leaving Madrid by train, then make sure to have at least an extra hour to explore this train station. If you’re not connection to Madrid via train, Atocha is one of the Top Places to See in Madrid, beautifully built and also home to a breathe taking botanical garden, in addition to a shopping mall, a night club and various cafes.
It is also within walking distances of “Parque Del Retiro”, “Reina Sofia museum” and “Real Jardin Botanico”. So you will not be wasting the day 😉
4- Santiago Bernabeu
Whether you’re a fan of “Real Madrid C.F”, you’re their rival and you cheer for “FC Barcelona”, or you don’t enjoy football at all, Santiago Bernabeu is one of the Top Places to See in Madrid. You get to take a complete tour within the museum of the stadium showing all the old cups that the club holds as well as some historical pictures, and even “historical shoes”. Then to a tour to the insides of the stadium, where the players get to rest and shower and where the boards for the leaders to put the plans are. Followed a quick visit to where the team sits to actually watch the match, and get ready to go and play at any second. To the press room, and then to the actual stadium seats where you get to check how the stadium looks like from various directions. It was definitely worth visiting and one of the main highlights of Madrid even if you’re not a soccer fan.
5- Puerta del Sol
One of the main squares and the most central square in Madrid, surrounded by many narrowing streets full of bars and shops for everything, Puerta del Sol is also where you’ll see the famous “El Oso y El Madroño” (the Bear and the Strawberry Tree) statue, which many youngsters in Madrid consider it their meeting point before hanging out.
6- Plaza Mayor
Not far at all from Puerta Del Sol, this is the main square in Madrid, which has a very rich history dating back to the 1600s. Full of beautiful cafes under its arches, it is an amazing place to rest for a bit and taste some wine and tapas (it is a bit more expensive than the rest of the Madrid though).
7- Gran Via
Gran Via is Madrid’s most famous street, starting in Plaza de Alcala and crosses the city to Plaza de España, it is considered the most commercial district in Madrid, full of bars, restaurants, cinemas, theaters, banks, hotels and shops. It also represents the main place for Madrid’s night life, staying up later than most of the city.
8- El Rastro
If you happen to be in Madrid on a Sunday, then one of the Top Places to See in Madrid is El Rastro. It is not “a place”; it’s a market which is put every Sunday, selling anything from second hand items and clothes to accessories to souvenirs to printed t-shirts. It is a great place for cheap shopping and also seeing a different side of Madrid that you haven’t seen, very crowded and full of stalls and small shops with Spanish and non Spanish immigrants selling their goods there.
Have you been to Madrid? Have you seen those places? Are there more Top Places to See in Madrid that I have missed? Please share them!