Plaza Mayor, what to see in Madrid

Top 10 Best Things to Do in Madrid Spain

Madrid is the city of art museums. It is as rich as Paris in art collections. Its monumental history may not as prolific as Rome but it is definitely mind blowing. It is one of the few cities in Europe that brings all sort of creativity and innovation in culinary culture. If you talk about nightlife, then Madrid has no match. It is also a great place for shopping. Things to do in Madrid should be a very big list given the glorious background and elegance of the city.

Madrid is a city that will welcome you wholeheartedly without any hesitation. What to do in Madrid will be depend on how much you know Madrid. Here is our list of top 10 best things to do in Madrid.

Best Things to Do in Madrid Spain:

Let’s find, what to do in Madrid?

10. Museo Reina Sofia

Best Things to Do in Madrid Spain, Museo Reina Sofia
Museo Reina Sofia | image credit – Wikimedia/Adam Jones

Museo Reina Sofía museum has an enormous collection of modern arts. It is the place where the last century’s one of the most famous artwork “Guernica” is displayed. Remodeled and converted from an 18th century hospital, it is now one of the top places to visit in Madrid. The museum is mainly focused on Spanish art, especially two greatest modern artists Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí.

These two are not only acclaimed by art connoisseurs but also popular among general people for their mastery and mystery.  It has also excellent display of avant-gardes and neo-avant-gardes. Beside Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, there are also displayed many world famous artists work. Visiting this museum is one of the best things to do in Madrid.

Also Read: Top 10 most fascinating travel places in Spain

9. Mercado de San Miguel

Mercado de San Miguel, places to visit in Madrid
Mercado de San Miguel | image credit – Wikimedia/Daniel Dionne

Although Mercado de San Miguel has a long history, it has not become one of the best places to visit in Madrid until it was purchased and then renovated and reopened in 2009 by private investors. It is a market adorned with monuments and countless shops. The significance of this market is not just the availability of different items. It is a place enriched in quality and visiting it is one of the best things to do in Madrid.

The main aim of the market is not only ensuring product quality but also secure excellent shopkeepers, professionals, experts and enthusiasts in their respective sectors. The market also aims to build a rich Centre for Culinary Culture where people of different tastes could get their best. Coming here is one of the best things to do in Madrid.

Also Read: Top 10 best shopping destinations in the world

8. Temple of Debod

Temple of Debod, Madrid tourist attractions
Temple of Debod | image credit – Wikimedia/Choniron

The Temple of Debod was erected 15 kilometers south of Aswan in Upper Egypt. It was built in the 2nd century BC by Adikhalamani, the Kushite king of Meroë and dedicated to the goddess Isis. The reason, it is in Madrid is that it was a gift from Egypt to Spain for saving the Abu Simbel temples. Visiting this is one of the best things to do in Madrid. It is one of the rarest Egyptian monuments that are reserved outside of Egypt.

The orders of the gateways are not the same as the original site. The night view of the temple has a completely different appeal. The temple and the gates are illuminated and it creates a superb reflection in nearby pool. Visiting it is one of the best things to do in Madrid.

Also Read: Top 10 oldest temples in the world

7. Plaza de Cibeles

Plaza de Cibeles, what to see in Madrid
Plaza de Cibeles | image credit – Flickr/Ivo Jansch

One of the Madrid’s prominent symbols, Plaza de Cibeles is one of the best places to visit in Madrid. It depicts the goddess of fertility and nature, Cybele puling by two lions on a chariot while holding a scepter and a key. It is surrounded by several Neo-Classical style buildings. Plaza de Cibeles with its fountain is one of the major Madrid tourist attractions and has become symbolic monuments of the city.

The fountain of Cybele has become the celebration of triumph in Spanish league like La Liga or Copa del Rey for the football club Real Madrid. It was designed by Ventura Rodríguez in the reign of Charles III. The other major constructions in the square are Banco de España, Linares Palace and Buenavista Palace. Visiting it is one of the best things to do in Madrid.

Also Read: Top 10 best tourist places in Europe

6. Puerta del Sol

Puerta del Sol, what to do in Madrid
Puerta del Sol | image credit – Wikimedia/multisanti

There is no way to skip the busiest and most famous square from the list of one of the best things to do in Madrid. It is located in the heart of Madrid and a place of celebration of New Year. Thousands of people gather here to celebrate New Year’s Eve each year. The square was originally almost semi-circular in shape in the 15th century when it was a gate. It got its current look for the major renovation work carried out between 1854 and 1860.

In 1997, a large equestrian statue of King Carlos III was built here. A 20 ton statue depicting a bear eating fruits from a tree is also here. The Bear and the Strawberry Tree represents the high number of bears that were found nearby areas. It is one of the top places to visit in Madrid.

Also Read: Top 10 largest and famous city squares around the world

5. Gran Via

Gran Via, things to see in Madrid
Gran Via | image credit – Wikimedia/Felipe Gabaldón

The Gran Via offers you one of the most exotic nightlife in Europe. It is known as Spanish Broadway.  It is one of the most important shopping areas in the city. But it gains the attention of the tourists for its lavishly decorated grand buildings. The architectural design is unique and brilliant. No wonder why it is in the list of best things to do in Madrid.

The notable buildings are the Telefónica Building, the Edificio Grassy, Metropolis Building, the Capitol, Callao Square and so on. It is quite a display of early 20th-century architecture. If you love shopping, there is no way you can miss this place. Since the end of the ninetieth century, it plays an important part for the city.  It should be always in your list of best things to see in Madrid.

Also Read: Top 10 destinations for solo travelers

4. Retiro Park

Retiro Park, places to visit in Madrid
Retiro Park | image credit – Flickr/Gregorio Puga Bailón

You will not find so easily a garden like the glorious gardens of El Retiro. Retiro Park is adorned with landscaped lawns, marble monuments and elegant building. There is nothing better to refresh mind than coming this excellent park. Although the park has been existed since 16th century, it was not opened to the public before 1868. Since then, it is a wonderful place to come in holiday with family and friends.

The most beautiful and prominent features of the park are the Estanque del Retiro (“Retiro Pond”), a large artificial pond, the Rosaleda rose garden, Fountain of the Fallen Angel, a statue inspired by John Milton’s Paradise Lost, the Palacio de Cristal (“Crystal Palace”), a glass pavilion, the Paseo de la Argentina and so on. Visiting this park is one of the best things to do in Madrid.

Also read: Top 10 best family vacation destinations in Europe

3. Prado Museum

Prado Museum, Madrid tourist attractions
Prado Museum | image credit – Flickr/Wenjie, Zhang

Prado Museum is one of the rarest gems in Europe. It is the main Spanish national art museum. It displays one of the world’s finest collections of European art. From the 12th century to the early 19th century, it features the different phases of artwork evolving in Spain as well as Europe. It is without a question the best single collection of Spanish art and not many museums are out there to challenge this museum. There is no way to shake it off from the list of best things to do in Madrid.

Based on the collection of Spanish Royal, this one of the major Madrid tourist attractions has around 7,600 paintings, 1,000 sculptures, 4,800 prints and 8,200 drawings. The notable works in the museum are A Scholar (1631), by Rembrandt, The Lute Player (c. 1596), by Caravaggio, Game of Bowls (1908), by Henri Matisse, Pond at Montgeron (1876), by Claude Monet and so on. It is one of the best things to see or in Madrid or things to do in Madrid.

2. Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor, what to see in Madrid
Plaza Mayor | image credit – Flickr/Hi I’m Santi

A few Spanish blocks away from Puerta del Sol, The Plaza Mayor is a central plaza. It is probably one of the prettiest open spaces in Spain. It has a combination of picaresque historical tales, marvelous architecture and vibrant street life. The construction of the square was started by Felipe II but inaugurated in 1620 during Felipe III’s reign.

Visiting this is one of the top things to do in Madrid. It bears the testimony of many glorious days as well as bad days of Madrid. Many accused heretics were killed here during Spanish Inquisition. It is a rectangular shaped plaza surrounded by mostly three-storey buildings. There is no way to miss this excellent plaza from the list of best things to do in Madrid or things to see in Madrid.

1. Palacio Real

Palacio Real, what to do in Madrid
Palacio Real | image credit – Wikimedia/Fernando García

Palacio Real is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family. It is a giant palace, the largest palace in Europe by floor area. It has an immense collection of artwork. It must be listed in one of the top things to do in Madrid. It has more than 2,500 ornately decorated rooms.

The palace was built in 1764, on the site of a 9th-century Alcázar. It is now only used for state ceremonies. It is a sorrow that tourists have not full access to the castle. Only 50 of the structure’s elegant rooms are open to the public. This palace should always be on the list of what to see in Madrid.

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