Madrid is undoubtedly a city with unlimited things to do and places to see. However, it’s understandable that not every one of us has all the time in the world to explore this fascinating city. Even if you only have a weekend in Madrid, it’s definitely possible to do a little bit of everything. Whether you’re into sightseeing, photography, nightlife, cuisine, or shopping, this weekend guide will help you get the most experience out of Madrid in a limited amount of time. Be sure to feel energized and ready to explore the city when you come because Madrid doesn’t slow down for anyone!
Day 1 – Friday
Start your first day in the city center of Madrid. Head over to the Royal Palace of Madrid early in the morning if you want to explore inside, as the lines can get pretty long. Here, you’ll see the beautiful architecture of the grand palace and get a sneak peek of royalty if you get a chance to go inside. You can also walk in the gardens, while listening to accordion music played by local musicians.
Next, visit Plaza Mayor, the historical plaza, where you can enjoy a meal at one of the various restaurants, or just walk around and enjoy the atmosphere. By Plaza Mayor is Gran Vía, considered the most famous street in Madrid, where you can do all the shopping you want, or just admire how fascinating the buildings are. There’s plenty of European clothing shops as well as restaurants from a variety of cuisines.
For entertainment and a taste of Madrid culture, go check out a flamenco show. I would recommend Flamenco las Tablas, one of the best in Madrid, where you can experience authentic flamenco in an intimate setting with great dancers and live music.
After enjoying the performance, try one of the hundreds of tapas bars in the city. At some bars, you can pay as low as €3 for a drink which sometimes comes with a side of food (that alone can fill you up). At other bars you can order a tapa of patatas bravas, jamón, chorizo, paella, croquetas, and much more, for reasonable prices!
Royal Palace of Madrid
Cost: €11; €5 for persons under 25
Flamenco las Tablas
Cost: Starting at €29
Day 2 – Saturday
Congrats on your first day in Madrid! For the second day, start by going to Retiro Park, Madrid’s prettiest and most famous park. Here, you can take a stroll or ride a bike through the park or even row a boat around the lake. Regardless of what you do, you can expect to be surrounded by beautiful flowers and plants, as well as monuments and sculptures everywhere you go.
Close by is the Golden Triangle of Art, the three famous museums of Madrid: The Prado, the Reina Sofia, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza (another is CaixaForum which is also nearby). At these museums, you can see world famous paintings by artists such as Pablo Picasso and Francisco Goya.
For an amazing view of the city, go to Terraza Cibeles. It’s a rooftop terrace and bar where you can see breathtaking views of Madrid. And if you’re wondering what to do for the night, I’ll tell you that Madrid is the real city that never sleeps. No matter what time of the night, you’ll always have something to do. Madrid is known for its nightlife, especially the discotecas. If you’re around the Retiro area, I would recommend Teatro Kapital which has seven floors of all types of music.
Day 3 – Sunday
To begin your last day in Madrid, start your morning bright and early by going to El Rastro, which is a market held every Sunday and is one of Madrid’s oldest traditions. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, handmade goods, or cheap clothes, this market sells pretty much everything you’d expect to be at a market for good prices, but don’t forget you can always bargain for cheaper!
Before leaving the city, be sure to try churros con chocolate, a popular dessert in Madrid, which is just as it sounds – deep-fried dough dipped in delicious chocolate sauce. There’s plenty of churrerías around the city for you to choose from. My personal favorite is Chocolatería San Gines, which has been around since the 1800s. It’s extremely popular and has even been visited by tons of celebrities.
For your last night in Madrid, head over to Malasaña, a neighborhood known for its cool restaurants and bars, usually frequented by young people. Ojalá is one awesome and unique restaurant-bar that brings Californian vibes to Madrid with its beach decor and… sand! You can literally sit in the sand as you enjoy your food and drink. The great thing about Malasaña is that it has tons of creative restaurants and bars waiting for you to try. And there’s your weekend plan! Of course, there are plenty of other amazing things for you to experience, but if you have the chance to try some of these things, your stay in Madrid will surely be worthwhile.
Calle de la Ribera de Curtidores, 28005 Madrid
Hours: Every Sunday 9am-3pm