Unforgettable Travel Company

10 Best Things to Do in Madrid in 3 Days

Spain is the birthplace of some of Europe’s most fascinating settlements. From thriving seaside cities to impenetrable medieval strongholds drenched in history and culture, each boasts its own special attributes that continue to attract visitors year after year. 

And, without a doubt, Madrid is one of Spain’s most vibrant and bucket-list cities. As the capital and most populated destination in the country, Madrid’s packed with some of Spain’s most iconic landmarks, oozes sheer opulence, and is rich in Spanish history and heritage that we all know and love. 

Whether you’re an art aficionado who seeks to visit some of the most celebrated art pieces in the world or someone who desires the finer things in life by sampling the city’s famed luxury shopping scene, there’s a wealth of opportunity hidden within Madrid’s bustling main squares and thriving backstreets. 

Should you be looking to jump feet first into one of Europe’s cultural capitals, Madrid is a fantastic option from the range of destinations in Spain that you should add to the top of your list. Whether you’re wanting to spend a long stint or a short, but sweet, weekend in Madrid for your getaway, you’ll never find yourself short of activities, sights, and scenes to keep you occupied. 

We, here at Unforgettable Travel, feel that three days is a perfect length of time to spend in Madrid to sample the best of the attractions and culture that the city has to offer. This is why we’ve outlined the top 10 best things to do in Madrid should you be looking for inspiration on how to spend your three days in Madrid for your next European break.

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Day 1

Spend your first day in Madrid getting to grips with your surroundings. Staying central is your best bet as you start to learn the layout of this city and peel back its layers whilst you visit some of the top sights in Madrid. 

Venture Through Puerta Del Sol 

As you begin your day of sightseeing in Madrid, why not start in one of the busiest destinations in the whole of the city? 

The Puerto Del Sol is Madrid’s grand square. Translating to ‘Gate of the Sun’ in English, the renowned square was built in 1967 and, throughout history, it has been one of the city’s largest landmarks and a hive of activity. Be sure to check out the House of the Post Office, and the statue of the Bear and Strawberry Tree, which is the coat of arms of the city.

And the square is a destination for which one of Spain’s most iconic New Year’s traditions is celebrated. For it contains the famous clock tower on the Post Office building where, at midnight, Spaniards consume 12 grapes on each stroke of the clock as a means of welcoming the New Year. So, if you’re lucky enough to spend New Year’s eve here, be sure to mark the celebrations at this top attraction in Madrid. 

Have A Bite To Eat At San Miguel Market

Located a mere seven-minute walk from Puerto Del Sol, you’ll find San Miguel Market. Situated in an iconic cast-iron building with food vendors and artisanal cuisine around every corner, this local food market is a spectacular example of Spain’s long-standing market culture. 

Open from 10 am until 2 am from Sunday to Thursday, and from 10 am until 1 am on Fridays and Saturdays, you can stop by for a bite to eat from any one of its fresh seafood, tapas, gourmet meats, and cheese stalls. 

This market is of the best things to see in Madrid, and, of course, harbors some of the best things to eat! 

Stroll Along Gran Via

Leisurely venture on a 15-minute stroll and you’ll find yourself at Gran Vía, or “Great Way” street. Having gained a reputation as the Spanish Broadway, it may be unsurprising to hear that this street is lined with hotels, movie theatres, and shops galore. 

You’ll no doubt pass by the Metropolis Building, one of the street’s most iconic buildings showcasing the Beaux-Arts style in its architecture, giving it its unique appearance. After admiring this landmark’s grandeur, simply stroll along the rest of the street and soak in the sights, sounds, and scenes of everyday Madrid life. 

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Day 2

Now that you’ve leisurely discovered some of the best places to see in Madrid, you can begin to diversify your trip by exploring some of its most fascinating, and in some cases surprising, attractions. 

Admire The Ancient Temple of Debod

Commence day two of your adventures in Madrid with a visit to a somewhat unexpected site. The Temple of Debod is an ancient Egyptian Temple, built in 200BC in Nubia, Egypt. It was dismantled and reconstructed in the 1970s in Madrid as part of an International Campaign to save Nubia’s monuments. 

It is situated in Cuartel de la Montaña Park, one of Madrid’s most popular public spaces, and is one of the only standing Egyptian monuments that can be found outside of Egypt. 

The temple itself has several rooms that you can visit in its complex. One of the most interesting that you can visit whilst here is the Adijalamani Chapel, which features walls adorned with scenes of ancient Egyptian Gods and kings. 

The temple is open from 10 am until 7 pm every day apart from Mondays.  

Explore El Madrid de Los Austrias

El Madrid de Los Austrias, translating to The Madrid of the Austrians, is the name used to refer to Old Madrid or the city’s oldest center. The area was built during the Habsburg Dynasty, which spanned from the early 1500s until 1700, and is home to some of the most must-see places in Madrid city. 

The Plaza major is one of these sites. Known to be the heart of the city, it was the center of Old Madrid during the Habsburg Dynasty and is surrounded by historic architecture. 

The Royal Palace is also nearby, which has been home to the Kings of Spain for centuries and now houses the current royal family. It is one of the city’s most grand buildings, undoubtedly making it one of the top sights in Madrid. 

Whilst you may feel that the outside is impressive, you can purchase tickets to view the inside and explore each of its opulent and lavish rooms at your leisure, which you may find to be even more impressive! The palace is open every day from 10 am until 6 pm and tickets can be purchased on its official website

Ride The Teleférico

Not far from the Royal Palace you will find the Teleférico, or, the cable car, at Paseo del Pintor Rosales Station. This is one of the best ways of sightseeing in Madrid, offering you a bird’s eye view of the city as you are hoisted high above its sites and scenery. 

You can ride the cable car to Casa de Campo, which travels over one of the greenest areas of the city and boasts unrivaled panoramic views. More details of the times, dates, and rates of the experience can be found on the Teleférico de Madrid website.

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Day 3

On your final day experiencing the best of Madrid, you’ll be discovering the must-see sites in the eastern area of the city. Expect a day filled with visiting attractions that will help you gain a better understanding, and experience, of Madrid’s unique culture and heritage. 

Discover Retiro Park

As one of the largest parks in the city, it’s only right that you add Retiro Park to your list of top places to visit in Madrid during your trip. 

This UNESCO World Heritage site is a verdant oasis filled with activities and attractions that could keep you entertained for a whole day, at least! Since the 19th century, it’s been a popular public park open to residents and tourists alike, with 15,000 trees and over 125 hectares of green space on offer to explore. 

We’d recommend heading to the Lago Grande, or the Park Lake, where you can hire rowing boats to gain a new perspective of the park from its waters and to sunbathe in pristine weather. 

Equally, the Glass Palace is another of the most beautiful places in Madrid that you can’t afford to miss here. The 19th-century construction hosts temporary art exhibitions year-round and is a fantastic example of cast-iron architecture from this period. 

Uncover Art and Relics in The Museo Nacional del Prado

Whilst there’s a world of opportunity to explore in Retiro Park, you’ll have to reign it in if you’re looking to tick off some more top sights in Madrid throughout today. Your next stop lies only a short distance from the park and is the city’s most prominent national art gallery. 

The Museo Nacional del Prado is Madrid’s main art museum and is widely known to possess some of Europe’s finest art collections. Some of which date back to as far as the 12th century, and are all closely linked to Spain’s long-standing history. 

With roughly 3 million visitors coming through its doors every year, it has long been regarded as one of the most prestigious art museums in the world. The museum is open from 10 am until 8 pm on Mondays to Saturdays, and from 10 am until 7 pm on Sundays. Tickets can be purchased on its website

Watch a Flamenco Show

And when considering things to do in Madrid at night, what better way to end your three days in Madrid than by seeing one of Spain’s most iconic art forms? 

Flamenco originated in Andalucia between the 9th and 14th centuries and has since worked its way around the whole of Spain, and the world. Known for its mystery and romance, this musical style is well worth watching a production of during your visit to Madrid to end your stay on a high.

Only a short walk from Museo del Prado you’ll find Cadamomo, known to be one of the city’s best Flamenco shows. It hosts multiple shows throughout evenings every day of the week, with more information available on its official website.

Ready to Start Planning?

If you want to ensure you’ve lined up the best things to do in Madrid for your next visit, here at Unforgettable Travel we offer an array of spectacular Spain itineraries, some of which visit Madrid. Our specially-crafted tours allow you to uncover the best of the wealth of offerings that Spain’s vibrant and diverse settlements have to offer. Cut out the need for stressful planning and instead let our specialist travel experts take the wheel and help you choose the best tour for you.

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