Sneak your way inside a royal fairy tales visiting Madrid’s lavish Palacio Real. Of all the things to see in Madrid, the Royal Palace is the most extravagant. Imagine a jewel box the size of a, well, palace. After the former Moorish fortress burned down in 1734, the Spanish king Felipe V decided to build a palace in its place. A palace that would make its European counterparts look like dwarfs. However, Felipe died before the palace was finished, so it only boasts 2800 rooms; A mere quarter of the original plan! The architecture, as well as the royal art collection, are absolutely sublime. If you have a chance to visit, don’t miss it!
Prado is one of Madrid’s essentials, it being one of the best art galleries in the world. Its collection contains incredible 7000 pieces of art by renaissance and baroque masters of which 1500 are on display. Representing Spain there are works by Velázquez and Goya; Italian talents show through paintings by Titian, Caravaggio and Botticelli and the likes of Rembrandt and Rubens represent the low countries. Out of all the places to see in Madrid, Museo del Prado holds a special place as an abstract window into the Spanish soul. Beware, Prado is truly grand. Remember to give yourself enough time to enjoy it!
A stone’s throw away from Plaza Mayor sits a culinary cloud nine, Mercado de San Miguel. This lovely art nouveau market has been around since 1916 and will continue satisfying taste buds of locals and travelers alike for many years to come. Despite a number of grocery stalls, it’s less of a produce market and more of a gastronomic/foodie destination. Here, you can nibble of tapas or order more substantial plates. Everything here is tempting. Other places to visit in Madrid can wait for a while. Get yourself a glass of beer (caña), wine or vermouth and set out on a tour across the tastes and smells of Spain.
Many people don’t consider Madrid as a city with strong architectural identity, mainly because it lacks that signature landmark of what is Colosseum to Rome or Sagrada Familia to Barcelona. Nonetheless, Madrid’s architecture is far from poor. From neighborhood to neighborhood, it guides you through Spain’s architectural (hi)story that shaped lifestyle of its inhabitants.
Here, you will come across anything from medieval structures, royal palaces, baroque facades, extravagant buildings of belle epoque as well as daring contemporary creations. Things to see in Madrid will take you on a ride through history without the inconvenience of overbearing crowds.
When talking about art, again, Madrid is not the first city to pop into one’s mind. But don’t be fooled. There aren’t many cities that boast such generous artistic roots. To a great extent, we can be grateful to Spanish royals and aristocrats who nurtured and harnessed art be it from Spanish or foreign artists.
If you have a weak spot for art, figuring out what to do in Madrid won’t take long. Works by Goya, Velázquez, Miró and Dalí hang on the walls of the city’s grand galleries including the Museo del Prado and Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
Madrid nightlife comes in sharp contrast to the subtle delights of fine art galleries. Its streets are peppered with classic Spanish bars, chic cocktail bars and an eclectic selection of nightclubs. The diversity is united by non-stop action. Each barrio (neighborhood) gives off a unique vibe allowing you to find the perfect fit for your idea of nighttime entertainment. Relax and let the bohemian atmosphere sweep you off your feet.
Madrid is a place to eat well whether your tastes are classic, international or downright extravagant. In past decades, the city ventured beyond its delicious yet humble local cuisine and transformed into one of Europe’s main culinary hubs.
Whether you are looking for the heartwarming classics or feats of creativity and innovations, Madrid truly won’t disappoint. Moreover, the city offers you a unique opportunity to taste the best of all Spanish regions. Better yet, unlike other metropoles, food in Madrid is not overpriced. Or, to put it differently, you can find fresh and incredibly delicious food at very low or reasonable prices.
Did Spain’s capital spark your interest? If so, browse the page to discover fun places to visit and things to do in Madrid. It’s a trip you won’t forget.