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What are the top things to do in Madrid?

Wondering what the top things to do in Madrid are? You're not alone! Madrid is an amazing city and there are many great things to do. We visited the Spanish capital in the spring of 2019 and had a great time exploring. We checked out the vibrant Plaza Mayor area, tried local food traditions and wandered through the amazing museums. Every day was a total treat!

Our recommendations

In a video from our recent trip we combined our favourite activities into a recommendation for one way to spend one amazing day in this mega cool city. Do them all at once, or spread them out over your visit! We think you'll find everything you need including great spots for coffee, culture, tapas and cocktails.


We think the best way to start your day is with a great coffee! Head over to Belus to do exactly this. Whether your preference is café con leche, cappuccino or a straight up espresso, you won't be disappointed.

If churros are more your thing, check out the popular Chocolatería San Ginés. The churros alone are worth the visit! One thing to know in advance is that you'll be elbow to elbow with other tourists as this place is listed in everybody's Madrid list.

Now it's time to start exploring the city. Be sure to check out the areas around Plaza Mayor, Puerto del Sol and Palacio Real. We really enjoyed the open spaces around the palacio in particular, including the Sabatini Gardens and Plaza Oriente.

We didn't go inside the palace, but this is an option for tourists. If you're interested in exploring inside, you can get your tickets at the Patrimonio Nacional website.


We recommend heading to the awesome Mercado de San Miguel for lunch. Here you can try a number of different dishes, all under one roof! You can have a little bit of everything here, from olives and empanadas to tortilla de patata, coffee and sweets! It's truly a foodie goldmine! It can be busy with tourists though so plan your lunch a little earlier or later than usual to help avoid the crowds.

When you're filled up and ready to take in some culture you'll find that Madrid has many great things to offer. Two recommendations we have for great museums to check out are Museo del Prado and Reina Sofia. We were lucky enough to visit them both and loved them equally. At the Prado you can explore masterpieces from a variety of different eras and in many different styles, while Reina Sofia is perfect for seeing spectacular modern pieces, including Picasso's Guernica.


Is there any better way to cap off your day than with a delicious meal and tasty drinks? We think not. Two great places for dinner that we discovered were Bahiana Club and La Musa Latina. Bahiana Club offers a relaxed hipster vibe on a quiet side street. The atmosphere is warm and inviting and the meals are fresh and delicious. For a more bustling atmosphere and tasty tapas, both classic and with a twist, La Musa Latina is your place!

If you're still not ready to call it a night, stop at one of the plazas near Iglesia San Andrés and find a spot to sit. There are many great places here to grab a mojito, a cerveza or perhaps one more glass of sangria!


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