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Looking for the best things to do in Madrid? From the delicious food at Sobrino de Botín to riding the AVE, here's why you'll never be bored!

8 Best Things to do in Madrid

If there is one thing synonymous with Madrid, the capital of Spain, it is its elegant boulevards and expansive parks. If your itinerary to Europe includes a stopover in Madrid, plan to do the most in this gorgeous city. Check out the eight best things to do in Madrid:

Attend a State Ceremony at the Royal Palace

The Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish royal family in Madrid, yet it is only for state ceremonies. Located in downtown Madrid, at Calle de Bailén, this largest royal palace in Europe has 3,418 rooms covering 1,450,000 square feet. It features 18th-Century architectural designs, including a grand staircase carved out of a single piece of marble, a majestic display of the royal armory, and the Campo del Moro Garden with hedges, thundering fountains, and exotic plants.

things to do in madrid

Sample Street Food at the San Miguel Market

Are you on a food tour in Madrid? If so, include the San Miguel Market on your list of must-visit places. Indeed, this popular traditional market is famous for its street foods comprising fresh ingredients from every corner of Spain. At least 33 vendors line up to sell their daily harvests and rare cuisines. Also, you can take part in food exhibitions, culinary fairs, and food courses.

Explore Plaza De Mayor

Plaza De Mayor is an old town square and one of the prettiest open spaces you’ll ever see in Madrid. The wide opening is surrounded by bars, terraces, restaurants, and souvenir markets. Then, come for a relaxing stroll through one of the ten archways on the square. Enter one of the market stalls and shop for holiday lights and decorations. Better still, explore the local cuisine in one of the bars or restaurants.

Ride the High-Speed Train

If you plan to visit Barcelona, Valencia, Cordoba, Seville, or Malaga from Madrid, travel in style via the high-speed rail service. Madrid to Barcelona AVE trains by Renfe have several departure times each day. They are luxurious, efficient, and said to get you to your destination faster than flying.

things to do in madrid

Eat and Drink at Famous and Historic Restaurants

No trip to Madrid is complete without sampling local foods at one of the city’s historic restaurants. Indeed, Madrid has a rich heritage revolving around its food and history. Here, you will find some of the oldest and still running restaurants in the world.

For example, Sobrino de Botín holds the Guinness World Record as the oldest restaurant in the world. Stop in for lunch and sample their specialty: roast suckling pig. Other historic restaurants in Madrid include Taberna Antonio Sánchez, a traditional bullfighting tavern, and the evocative Lhardy restaurant.

Museo Nacional Del Prado

Museo Nacional Del Prado is a two-centuries-old national art museum in the heart of Madrid. Come and discover some of the finest artwork dating back as early as the 12th Century. Indeed, typical art pieces at the Prado Museum include sculptures, paintings, and rare works belonging to the Spanish Royal Family. And to complete your Spanish cultural tour, visit the Museo Reina Sofia and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. These are the other two museums forming the Golden Triangle of Art.

Visit the Palacio De Cristal

Here is a stunning architectural gem for that picturesque sightseeing tour. Palacio De Cristal is an elaborate greenhouse surrounded by enchanted-looking plants. It features a 22-meter-high glass dome supported by an iron framework and a brick base.

That way, the glass palace, complete with ceramic decorations, mirrors the Crystal Palace in London. And every fall, Palacio De Cristal becomes impressive as the surrounding trees shade their leaves and radiate the autumnal light. Hence, the palace is a popular tourist destination for weddings and romantic picnic getaways.

things to do in madrid

Go On a Sporting Pilgrimage to the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium

Madrid is home to Real Madrid, a record-breaking football club in Europe. If you support the club, visit its home base at the 85,000-seater Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. Here, a panoramic view, trophy collection, dugouts, dressing room, and a presidential box await you. You will learn about Real Madrid’s history and triumphs and experience the field where some of the world-famous football players made history.


The best way to explore Madrid is by planning ahead.  Be sure you book all the places you want to visit in advance to avoid last-minute rush. With all the time you will save, you can learn some basic Spanish to help you blend in with the locals.

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