It is almost impossible to summarize in a few lines everything there is to see in Madrid. But you can read here what is essential to visit if you decide to get to know this spectacular city that leaves no one indifferent.
The capital of Spain is the most visited city in the country, receiving more than 7 million visitors a year, and it is also the fourth most visited city in Europe. Madrid is a city where you always have something to do, a city where it is impossible to get bored and where there are plans for all tastes and pockets (what to do in Madrid, for free).
In this article we are going to talk about the best things to visit in Madrid. We do not want to make a typical list of places and monuments to visit, but we have divided them into neighborhoods and areas with the greatest tourist interest that you can visit visiting all its charms.
Routes through Madrid for days
To make your visit easier, depending on the days you have to visit Madrid, we offer you a series of tours so you don’t miss anything. From a fleeting one-day visit, in which you will get to know the most important things, to a one-week visit in which you will discover the best things to see in Madrid.
- What to see in Madrid in 1 day
- What to see in Madrid in 2 days
- What to see in Madrid in 3 days
- What to see in Madrid in 7 days
And if you travel with the little ones, here we make a summary of the best things to visit in Madrid with children.
The main neighborhoods to see in Madrid
Madrid of the Austrians
The so-called Madrid de los Austrias is an area in the center of the city that can be considered the cradle of the capital. It is the old medieval layout where the town arose and it is possibly the area where there are more points of interest.
In this central area you will find beautiful squares and the most typical traditional buildings, which you will be able to see walking through some streets that became famous in the world during the reign of the Habsburgs, begun by Carlos I and culminated by Felipe II when in 1700 he moved the court to Madrid.
Some of the most important places you can visit in Madrid de los Austrias are the Royal Palace or the Plaza Mayor, points of interest that are essential on a visit to Madrid.
Sol neighborhood and Gran Vía
The most central of all the neighborhoods and perhaps the best known in Madrid. This is the Barrio de Sol, the place where the Puerta del Sol is located and one of the most commercial areas of the city. Strolling through this neighborhood is one of the best things you can do in Madrid enjoying its atmosphere.
It was designed in the 19th century and everything revolves around the Casa de Correos, the building that everyone looks at every December 31st. Separated from Puerta del Sol by Calle Preciados and Plaza del Callao we have Gran Vía, another of the main streets to walk in Madrid and possibly the best known in the city.
Gran Vía is a street with more than 100 years of history where you should look straight ahead looking for its shops and theaters but also looking up admiring the centuries-old buildings and their rooftops. At one end of the Gran Vía is the Plaza de España, another of the places you cannot miss in the city. Nearby is the Temple of Debod.
Calle de Alcalá is the longest in Madrid and one of the longest in Spain. It is no less than 11 kilometres, but its first section, the one that goes from Puerta del Sol to Parque del Retiro, has an enviable beauty that will make you go through it with your mouth open admiring each of its buildings.
As soon as we start walking we will find the Palacio de la Equitativa or the Círculo de Bellas Artes to continue with the Bank of Spain, cross the Plaza de Cibeles and reach the Plaza de la Independencia where the Puerta de Alcalá is located. From there you arrive at the Barrio de Salamanca, very commercial and with stately buildings that will surprise you.
These are just some of the wonders that you can find on Calle de Alcalá, but the list is endless, so the best thing is that you enjoy the walk, being surprised by one of the best streets in Madrid.
Paseo del Prado and the Retiro Park
The tandem formed by the Paseo del Prado and the Parque del Retiro is known as the Landscape of Light since they were recently named World Heritage. And it is that this area is one of the most beautiful in Madrid.
On the Paseo del Prado we find some of the best museums to see in Madrid as well as interesting buildings, the most beautiful fountains in Madrid and various monuments that you will find throughout your journey until you reach the Retiro Park.
If you want to know other parks to visit in Madrid, you can read our article on the best parks to enjoy in Madrid.
Remember that the museums of Madrid are by themselves a great incentive to visit the city and in the Paseo del Prado we find the main museums of the city.
Neighborhood of the letters
Attached to Paseo del Prado is one of the most interesting neighborhoods that we can find in Madrid. We are talking about the Barrio de las Letras, in whose streets some of the most important writers in the history of Spanish literature lived.
It is one of the most charming neighborhoods in Madrid where we can find great architectural gems such as the Congress of Deputies or the Basilica of Jesús de Medinaceli, but the most interesting thing about the neighborhood is walking through its picturesque streets and feeling like Lope de Vega and Cervantes who were residents of the neighborhood.
In addition, it is a neighborhood with a wide range of leisure activities thanks to its bars, pubs and restaurants that you will find especially on Calle de las Huertas and Plaza de Santa Ana.
La Latina and Lavapies
Located to the south of the Sol neighborhood, we find another of the most charming neighborhoods that we can visit in the city. We are talking about the neighborhood of La Latina. In this beautiful neighborhood we can find everything, from imposing basilicas to churches with a lot of history through special streets and buildings that will not leave you indifferent.
The main monument that we can visit in the La Latina neighborhood is the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande, but we can also admire the Church of San Pedro el Viejo or stroll through emblematic streets such as Cava Baja or Plaza de la Paja.
We can also go to the Teatro de La Latina or get lost in El Rastro if it’s Sunday. And of course, enjoy the atmosphere of an area of the city that is becoming more and more popular, like the neighboring Lavapiés neighborhood where you can also admire some streets with a curious multicultural atmosphere and where the typical corralas and dozens of painted walls stand out. in a great sample of urban art.
The Paseo de la Castellana
Not everything we can visit in Madrid dates back several centuries. We also have the Paseo de la Castellana, a true wonder of 6 kilometers in length in which skyscrapers and modern buildings alternate with very interesting palaces that you should not miss.
Along with Paseo del Prado and Paseo de Recoletos, it forms an axis that runs from north to south of Madrid where you can admire buildings as modern as the Kio Towers, the complete Cuatro Torres Business Area (although there are now 5 towers) or AZCA and the Torre Picasso, which are joined by the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, whose tour we totally recommend.
Further south we find several palaces and monuments until we reach the Plaza de Colón, where we can also visit two museums: the National Archaeological Museum or the National Library, which culturally complete a walk where there are also the Museum of Natural Sciences or the Center of Canal Art Exhibitions.
Chueca and Malasana
We end our tour of the best neighborhoods to see in Madrid in two of the most interesting neighborhoods in the city, Chueca and Malasaña, and where some of the best leisure areas of the capital are found, alternating with charming streets, palaces and very interesting squares. And one of the best places to go shopping in Madrid.
Chueca is one of the fashionable neighborhoods in Madrid, known above all for its LGTB atmosphere, but in which we must also highlight its cultural offer, its commercial activity (highlighting Calle Fuencarral) and historic buildings such as the Casa de las Siete Chimeneas or the Longoria Palace. We also find museums such as the Museum of Romanticism or the essential Museum of History of Madrid.
Next to it we find the Barrio de Malasaña, one of the most historic neighborhoods in Madrid and at the same time one of the most modern. From here we must highlight the Plaza del Dos de Mayo and Calle Manuela Malasaña, as well as its great cultural offer and the urban sculptures that you will find in different corners of the neighborhood.
What to visit in the Community of Madrid
Although the city of Madrid has many points of interest and you will never finish having seen everything and enjoying each of its corners, you may also want to take an excursion to one of the nearby places, which you can go to by public transport or in your own car. Or even if it is your second visit to Madrid.
If you have your own or a rental vehicle, what we also recommend is to take one of the routes by car through Madrid that we suggest.
You can find more information about the best things to see in Madrid on its official tourism page.