Gran Via in Madrid to see

10 things to see in & around Madrid

The best sights, monuments and activities in Madrid & Surroundings

Kasper Christiansen
Text & photos: Kasper Christiansen
April 10th, 2020 (revised version)

Spain's largest city and the capital (with 5 million inhabitants) offers a wide range of interesting options to the visitor: Madrid is one of Europe's liveliest cities, where you will find great restaurants, bars and discos. If you are a football fan, don´t miss a match between Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid at the Bernabeu or Vicente Calderón stadium.


The Prado Museum

Prado is considered one of the world's 10 best museums and it is the most visited museum in Spain. Some of the most important European art history paintings are part of their collections: Las Meninas by Velázquez (1656), The Noblement with his hand on his chest by El Greco (1580), The three Graces by Rubens (1630-35) or The third of may in Madrid by Goya (1814).

The Prado Museum
The Prado Museum - the photo shows one of Francisco Goya's Masterworks, Dos de Mayo


The Retiro Park

In the enormous Retiro Park (El Parque del Retiro), you can enjoy (for free!) one of Madrid's green oasis. The park is located just a few minutes’ walk from the Prado Museum and the historical city center. It has around 125 hectares and is home to over 15.000 trees. During the 15th century, the park belonged to the Spanish Monarchy but later, from the late 19th century, it finally became a public park.

Retiro Park
The Retiro Park - Madrid's beautiful park, close to the historic city centre


The Royal Palace (Palacio Real)

The “Palacio Real” is the former residence of the Royal family. The building was used by the Spanish Kings until the 14th century, when it became the nowadays Alcázar fortress. The building was designed by Filippo Juvara and comprises over 3000 rooms. It is possible to visit the Royal Palace (8 € / person for groups).

The large square next to the Royal Palace, the “Plaza de Oriente” (Oriental square), was originally built as a monumental place for ceremonies, where Francisco Franco gave, on the 1st of November 1975, one of his most important speeches, just before his death three weeks later.

The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace and Plaza del Oriente in Madrid


The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium

Santiago Bernabeu - Real Madrid's home - is a must during your visit to Madrid. The Bernabeu stadium was inaugurated in 1947 and is Spain's second largest stadium (after Barcelona's Camp Nou).

If you are not able to watch a soccer game here, you might be interested in visiting the museum where you will be able to get close to some of the club's legenday players. The visit costs 23 € / person.

The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium
The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium - Real Madrid's home field


The wine region D.O. Vinos de Madrid

Just 45 minutes’ drive from Madrid, you will find a wine region that combines beautiful landscapes and excellent wines.

Not too many people know about this region, but it is home to several producers of top quality wine. Wineries like Bernabeleva, Marañones, Regajal and Comando G are among the best in the region.

If you are interested in vistiing these wineries, we organize Wine Tours to D.O. Vinos de Madrid for private groups.
D.O. Vinos de Madrid
The wine region D.O. Vinos de Madrid


Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor

La Puerta del Sol (literally “the sun’s door”) is the official city center of Madrid, where all the main streets meet and from where all the Spanish radial roads are measured. In the square, it is placed the “Bear and the Tree”, symbol of Madrid, and the famous clock, where millions of Spaniards eat the twelve traditional grapes to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

Plaza Mayor is one of Madrid's main squares. This portico lined square is located in the so-called Hapsburg Madrid, the old and most charming district of the city. The square is a popular gathering place, perfect to take a coffee or a “bocadillo de calamares” (calamari sandwich).

Puerta del Sol
Puerta del Sol - a nice square in the center of Madrid


The San Miguel Market

The San Miguel Market is a beautiful food market close to the Puerta del Sol, where you can taste typical and seasonal products. Probably the best place to try Spanish ham, cheeses, wines, fruit, vegetables, olives, and so on. 

The market also has some small food stands with daily self-made and fresh dishes, totally recommended to have lunch or dinner.

The San Miguel market
The San Miguel market


The Thyssen Bornemisza Museum

Another excellent museum in Madrid, and the second largest private art collection in the world (after the collection of the English King's House). The museum has an amazing collection of art from approx. year 1000 approx. 1950. Among the museum's main works are paintings by Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, Rembrandt and the impressionists Degas, Manet as well as van Gogh and Paul Gaugin. Thyssen-Bornemisza also has works by Titian, Tintoretto, and Caravaggio and several excellent paintings by the Spanish painters El Greco and Goya.

The Thyssen Bornemisza Museum in Madrid
The Thyssen Bornemisza Museum in Madrid


Charming luxury hotels

Madrid has nearly 500 hotels and 25 of them are 5 stars rated. Generally, the hotels in Madrid have good prices, so there is no excuse to not have a luxury experience true in Spain's capital. Standard prices for 4-star hotels are around 100 € / night, while 5-stars hotels start from 150 € for one night incl. breakfast.

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Read more about some of Madrid's best hotels.

The Thyssen Bornemisza Museum in Madrid
One of Meliá's luxury hotels in Madrid


Day Trips to Ávila, Toledo, Segovia...

From Madrid, there are several interesting cities within reach by car or bus. We highly recommend excursions to the historic city of Toledo, featuring works by El Greco, great restaurants and a charming medieval old town.

Also Segovia, a fascinating city, known for its well-preserved Roman aqueduct and the royal palace.

The Thyssen Bornemisza Museum in Madrid
Roman ruins - The Roman aqueduct in Segovia
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Read more about our Private Sightseeing Tours in Spain

Tours in Madrid

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