Heading to Madrid, but don’t have much time to spare? We’ve got you covered with a jam-packed 48-hour itinerary, so you can really make the most of your trip. From vintage tapas markets, through to sunset at Egyptian palaces, here’s your guide to Madrid.
9 am Breakfast
Start the day with a classic Spanish breakfast of churros dipped in thick chocolate. Churros are donut-like pastries that are shaped like a stick. They are fried until they’re lightly crispy, before being dusted with sugar. Churros are best eaten dipped into a cup of thick chocolate. You can find small cafes selling churros con chocolate, bread, coffee and fresh orange juice on nearly every street in Madrid. Pick a spot close to your hotel and fuel-up for the busy day ahead.
10.30 am Get Your Bearings
Begin your day at Plaza Mayor, the city’s main square. The Plaza Mayor is a historic square surrounded by buildings that are centuries old. Over the years it has seen bullfights, public executions and war. Explore the square and soak in the history. Walk the surrounding winding streets, exploring the shops and narrow lanes. Head to the nearby Plaza de Sol, Madrid’s busiest square before heading back to Plaza Major.
1.30 pm Vintage Lunch
A short walk from Plaza Mayor is the historic Mercado de San Miguel, which was established in 1907. The food market, which was restored in 2009, features a traditional glass and wrought iron design and is one of Madrid’s most popular tapas courts. Grab a glass of sangria and hop from tapas bar to tapas bar until you are full. Try a Spanish tortilla (a thick omelet made of eggs, potato and onion), the succulent chorizos and a plate of pimientos padron (small green peppers cooked in olive oil and salt).
3.30 pm Park Time
Spend the afternoon lounging in El Retiro, Madrid’s main park. The park was created in the 19th century and features beautiful floral displays and miles of green grass. There are plenty of shaded spots for you to escape the sweltering afternoon sun and there’s a stunning lake in the center of the park – hire a rowboat, or pedalo, and enjoy the serenity. After a few hours spent relaxing, head back to your hotel to change your clothes and get ready for the evening ahead.
7 pm Flamenco Show
Flamenco is a dance that embraces the soul and passions of Spain, and there is no better place to watch a traditional flamenco show than in the country’s capital city. Top places to see Flamenco shows include Cardomomo Tablao Flamenco, Corral de la Morería and Cafe de Chinitas. The price of a flamenco show varies from $40-$65 and the price includes a free drink.
10 pm Dinner and Drinks
Madrileños (people from Madrid) eat late! Head to the barrio of La Latina and a street called Calle Cava de Baja. The narrow road is filled to the brim with small tapas taverns. Hop from one tapas tavern to the next until you’re full — and enjoy a few glasses of sangria, or beers, along the way. The bars are open late, so if you’re in the mood to party, this is a great place to start before heading to the neighborhood of Chueca, which is known for its amazing bar-scene.
10 am Europe’s biggest flea market
After a morning of more churros head to Rastro Flea Market. Try to plan your trip to Madrid so that you are there on a Sunday. El Rastro Flea Market is the biggest of its kind, with nearly 4,000 stalls that sprawl through the streets of Madrid every Sunday. El Rastro Market was originally established as a food and goods market in the Middle Ages. Today, the market is known for its cool vintage and antique goods. So come ready to hunt for a bargain!
1 pm Lunch
Head to Cafe Murillo, the chic cafe behind the Prado Museum and grab lunch, a cake and a juice — you’ll need the fuel before an afternoon of walking around a museum.
2 pm Visit A Museum
Madrid is known for its amazing collection of museums — but with only 48-hours in the city, it’s best to concentrate your time on just one or two museums. The Prado Museum has one of the finest collections of art in the world, with masterpieces from the likes of Velazquez, Goya and El Greco. It’ll take a few hours for you to see the best bits in the museum.
5.30 pm Egyptian Temple Sunset
Head to the Templo de Debod, which is an Egyptian Temple from the second-century that was gifted to Spain. The temple has amazing views of the nearby mountains and it’s the perfect place to grab a beer or a coffee and take a seat to watch the sunset.
8 pm Last Supper
Head to the hip Mercado de San Ildefonso, which is a three-storey food market in the neighborhood of Malasaña. The market has an outdoor terrace, and you can grab small bites to eat from the different stalls. Try the different varieties of ham and chorizo and wash it down with more sangria.
Need a place to stay for your trip to Madrid? We have tons of options for you, from cool Airbnb apartments, through to budget hostels. Check out all accommodation options in Madrid.