What to see in Madrid in 3 days
Madrid is a city full of culture, everywhere you will see different kinds of art that cover the Spanish capital. Many of the places to visit in Madrid are free, since they’re public and outdoors.
There are so many places to visit in Madrid, so it may be difficult to decide what to see. Here I will tell you those that were essential for me in a 3-day visit.
Top 10 Attractions
1- Retiro Park
For me, it’s one of the most beautiful parks I’ve ever been to. It’s located in the heart of Madrid. This 1868s open park encloses different styles of landscaping and architecture.
The most visited points of the park are:
- Pond: Entering the park through the door of Alcalá, is the first thing you will see. You can sail in a rental boat if desired, something that many couples or families usually do.
- Alfonso XII Monument: What most attracts the people’s attention of the pond is the tremendous monument at the bottom, which personifies – through King Alfonso XII – the Spanish homeland.
- Crystal Palace: This palace of the year 1887 it’s next to a small lake, and was built to be a greenhouse, but eventually it was used to hold temporary art exhibitions.
- Parterre: I’s a garden added to enrich the park, (reminds me a little of the Palace of Versailles gardens in my opinion)
These are just some of the main attractions of the park, but among its 125-hectare area you can also see rose bushes, the Velázquez Palace, the deck of the statues, fountains, the botanical path and an observatory, among many other things.
2- Royal Palace
Also known as the Palacio del Oriente (Eastern Palace), today it continues to function as the official residence of the Royal Family, although they live in the Palacio de la Zarzuela.
Beyond the Palace itself, the surroundings deserves a good time to visit them. Some of the highlights are the Almudena Cathedral, the Royal Theater, the Sabatini Gardens and the Campo del Moro Gardens (they are from the Middle Ages).
Ticket Price: € 13
Free: Monday to Thursday from 16hs to 18hs between October to March – and between April to September from 18hs to 20hs.
Audioguide: € 3
3- Temple de Debod
Located in Plaza de España, this Egyptian treasure of more than 2000 years old is one of the main attractions of the city.
This temple was a gift from Egypt to Spain after the help provided during the salvation of the temples of Nubia.
4- Plaza Mayor
Really close to the Royal Palace and Puerta del Sol, is this big Plaza, the city’s historic center.
Surrounded by more than 200 balconies and 9 entrances, the Plaza is an icon of the city’s past and present.
The Plaza Mayor changed its semblance and its functions depending on the history’s momenty. It went from being the center of the Court and a Villa, to becoming the historical and tourist point that is today.
If you plan your visit to Madrid during Christmas, this is the main point to go, it’s filled with Christmas stalls and markets of all kinds.
5- Prado Museum
It’s the best-known museum in Madrid, and contains pieces of art by Velázquez, Goya and Rubens, among many others.
You can do a guided tour, or buy only the ticket there and visit it on your own.
Guided tour Price: € 39 (there’re several ticket options in the Museum’s website)
General ticket price: € 15
Free: Monday to Saturday from 18hs to 20hs / Sunday and holidays from 17hs to 19hs –> you should go with extra time, since long queues form.
To keep in mind: It’s a museum exclusively of art, but I’m one of those who believes that these things must be seen, at least once in life, as part of the general knlowledge.
6- Gran Vía
Ideal for walking, shopping and see the most emblematic buildings of the city. The Gran Vía is the main street of Madrid, and therefore, the busiest.
It communicates the neighborhoods of Salamanca and Argüelles, and it had several names before the oneit has today.
It used to be called “Broadway in Madrid” because of the number of cinemas there were in the past, although today there are very few left.
7- Puerta del sol
It’s the main square of the city, and where Kilometer 0 of the routes of Spain is located. In the square, the building that stands out the most is the Post Office (and is also the oldest), which has a tower with a clock, emblematic of the area.
8- Puerta de Alcalá
Located in Plaza Independencia, this is one of the five doors that formerly gave access to the city of Madrid, and today is a essential monument of the place.
9- Market of San Miguel
This market preserves its original structure. It’s very close to the Plaza Mayor, it’s ideal to have something t lunch in the many gastronomic places inside.
10- Almudena Cathedral of Madrid
Located in the Plaza de Almudena, and near the Royal Palace, this Cathedral is a visit that I strongly recommend, its interior is absolutely beautiful, its for free, and it won’t take too much time.
Today it’s the most important religious building in Madrid, and was consecrated by Pope John Paul II.
Entrance is for free
Ticket for the Museum and Dome: € 6
From the Airport
From the Airport (Terminals 3 or 4) the subway goes directly to the city.
It’snecessary first to buy a “Multi” rechargeable card right on the machines, and its value is € 2.50 and you can charge it the necessary value (right there you will choose the values depending on the amount of trips).
- Single ticket value: € 1.50 (plus € 3 fare from/to the Airport)
Other places of interest
- Reina Sofia Museum
- El Rastro Market (only Sundays and holidays)
- Plaza de Cibeles
- Gourmet Experience Balcony at El Corte Inglés (besides eating something, you can go out to its terrace to have a nice panoramic view of the city)