Updated: Apr 14, 2020
Madrid is a city to which I come back regularly. I used to go there for business and pleasure and I have recently spent there a week with my parents in order to show them around, as visiting Madrid was one of their dreams.
From world’s leading museums to trendy bars, through Santiago Bernabeu, bullfighting, tapas and flamenco – Madrid is a city that never gets boring. In fact, it’s one of the cities that I wouldn’t mind living and working in – as people are friendly and professional and the weather is great!
Below my Top 10 for the capital of Spain:
1. Museo del Prado
One of my favourite museums in the world with one of the most important paintings for me – “Las Meninas” – from the great Diego Velázquez. You can admire not only the best Spanish painters but also European / World’s best artists, including Goya, El Greco, Rubens, Rembrandt, Titian, Caravaggio etc.
Together with Reina Sofia and Thyssen Museum, the “Golden Triangle of Art” makes for a real feast for museum and art lovers. Several days recommended to enjoy it all thoroughly!
Address: Paseo del Prado, s/n, 28014 Madrid, Spain & https://museumdelprado.com/
2. Bodega de los Secretos
It may come as a surprise to have a restaurant at #2, especially one that is not so widely advertised. Bodega de los Secretos is a real SECRET! Located in the center of town, slightly hidden, it is a real gem that I discovered living two steps away from the restaurant.
The food is spectacularly good, as is the ambience. You go underground to a very cosy space that is both private and charming. The owner is very welcoming and was able to accommodate us with special care and he also gave us a guided tour around the restaurant, including its history, legacy and impact. Absolute must-do!
Address: San Blas Nº 4, 28014 – Madrid & https://www.bodegadelossecretos.com/en/
3. Reina Sofia
Modern, 20th century art museum, which perfectly compliments Prado and Thyssen. One of the best collections of modern paintings of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. Absolutely inspiring and cannot be missed!
Address: Calle de Santa Isabel, 52, 28012 Madrid, Spain & www.museoreinasofia.es/en
4. Mercado San Miguel
Locals’ favourite. In fact, I was brought here two days in a row by two different friends of mine who were born in Madrid. The place is buzzing and you can try tapas-style specialties from numerous artisan stands. Wine and other alcoholic beverages can be bought here too – making it a perfect spot for groups and one of the best “pit-stops” in the city (especially due to its proximity to Plaza Mayor). I visit every time I go to Madrid and you should do too! 🙂
Address: Plaza de San Miguel, s/n, 28005 Madrid, Spain & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_of_San_Miguel
5. Thyssen Museum
I find it incredibly hard to put Thyssen as #5 as, in many ways, it directly competes with Prado for #1. With over 1,600 paintings, it was once the second largest private collection in the world after the British Royal Collection. You can find works of Van Gogh, Monet, Rodin, Rubens, Renoir and numerous others.
All 3 Museums are absolute must even for those who do not like museums that much (my parents are in this group and they loved all 3). If you are on a budget, it is worth to monitor the “free entrance” days and hours to enjoy the museums without having to pay around 20 EUR for each one.
Address: Paseo del Prado, 8, 28014 Madrid, Spain & www.museothyssen.org
6. Azotea del Circulo (Rooftop terrace)
With impressive views over Madrid (the cover photo is taken from there), Azotea is an ideal spot to have a drink and watch the sun set. Lively atmosphere, great vibe and good-looking people come here to mingle and take Instagram-worthy pictures. I’d recommend this place for a drink and cigar or for booking a table for bigger groups.
Address: Calle del Marqués de Casa Riera, 2, 28014 Madrid, Spain & https://www.azoteadelcirculo.com/
7. Santiago Bernabéu
Football fans would certainly put Santiago Bernabéu as #1 as it’s one of the most famous stadiums in the world, the place where Real Madrid – arguably the best football team in the world – plays.
You can visit the stadium with a tour or just enjoy the coffee / beer at Real Madrid Café where you can also take some pictures with the beautifully cut football pitch.
Address: Av. de Concha Espina, 1, 28036 Madrid, Spain & https://www.realmadrid.com/en/santiago-bernabeu-stadium
8. Royal Palace (Palacio Real)
Royal Palace, the official residence of Spanish Royal Family, is very impressive and attracts numerous tourists. The palace has 135,000 m2 of floor space and contains nearly 3500 rooms, making it the largest royal palace in Europe by floor area.
Truly royal collection of furniture, tapestry, frescos and paintings by artists such as Caravaggio, Francisco de Goya and Velázquez.
Address: Calle de Bailén, s/n, 28071 Madrid, Spain & https://entradas.patrimonionacional.es/en-GB/informacion…/palacio-real-de-madrid
9. Plaza Mayor
One of the most famous and beautiful squares in Madrid, located few blocks away from another famous plaza – Puerto del Sol. Magnificent square with Philip III statue in the middle. Take some pictures with this wonderful background.
Address: Plaza Mayor, 28012 Madrid, Spain & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plaza_Mayor,_Madrid
10. Retiro Park
The main park in Madrid covering over 125 hectares and boasting more than 15,000 trees. Take some time to unwind and stroll around this magnificent park, filled with beautiful sculptures and monuments, galleries and a peaceful lake. True oasis in the heart of Madrid – also recommended for a run.
Address: Plaza de la Independencia, 7, 28001 Madrid, Spain &
I find Madrid to be a perfect mix of sightseeing, soaking in the sun, culture, art and history, as well as enjoying the buzz of nightlife. Personally I like it more than Barcelona and visit regularly. A city that you can never get bored in, with warm weather and open people, delicious Spanish food and wonderful views thanks to its numerous rooftop bars. I could imagine myself living in Madrid. Espana te da la vida!
What are your favourite cities for both work and play? Let me know in the comments below.
Enjoy & safe travels!
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