Madrid: What to See in One Day (Ultimate Itinerary)

As far as premiere cities in Europe are concerned, Madrid is near the top. This metropolis of 3.2 million inhabitants showcases the best in Spanish history and culture. You could spend weeks touring Madrid and still not see everything this amazing city has to offer. Here are seven Madrid attractions that you can see in a one-day itinerary.

Start your day with a Spanish breakfast

If you arrived in Madrid late the previous night, you’ll want to eat a hearty breakfast before starting your day-long tour. A popular breakfast dish is ‘Tosta con tomate’ or toast with tomato along with eggs, orange juice, and coffee.

Explore the city’s Barrios

Madrid has hundreds of neighborhoods known locally as barrios. If you have an hour or two to spare, wander around one of these barrios and experience their unique culture. Small shops. Restaurants. Densely – populated tenement housing with balconies overlooking the buzzing streets below. Yes, this is a free way to see different areas of Madrid. Some of the barrios most frequented by expats include hipster haven Malasana, La Latina as well as the trendy and vibrant Chueca, home of the city’s gay community.

Visit markets

A great way to familiarize yourself with Madrid is by exploring the city’s colorful markets. These markets are always alive with the smells of locally – cooked food such as tortilla, patatas bravas, and tapas as well as crafts and a wide variety of items. The most popular markets are Mercado San Miguel, Mercado San Anton, and Mercado Idelfonso.

Retiro Park

If you happen to be walking through downtown Madrid and want to relax in a beautiful outdoor setting, Retiro Park is the best place to be. One of the most well-known parks in Madrid, Retiro has lots of greenery and even forested areas. Check out the multicolored flowered gardens or walk the paths around the homemade lake and exquisite fountains. If you’re looking for other things to do while you’re in Retiro, it’s worth taking half an hour to go inside Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace) or the Palacio de Velázquez.

Prado Museum

View some of the finest historical and modern art masterpieces in Spain. Prado Museum is easy to get to within the downtown Madrid area. If you happen to be in town on a Sunday morning, you’ll be able to get in for free. Come take in the works of art from iconic Spanish painters such as Sorolla and Fortuny and Goya. The museum also hosts exhibitions where modern artists show off their work.

Botanical Gardens

The Madrid Botanical Gardens are located close to the museum. This sanctuary of lush greenery in the midst of a concrete jungle was established by Charles III in 1755. There are thousands of flowers, shrubs, and ancient trees as well as walking paths.


Spaniards enjoy a couple of drinks and some small finger foods after 10 P.M. in a time-honored tradition known as tapas. Tourists often visit different bars where they partake in tapas with locals. It’s a truly Spanish experience that you will not want to miss out on.

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