Very good, you have good taste in getaways. You may not have much time but you know what you want. I like your style, that’s why I’m going to help you not to waste a second of your precious time.
Follow me to enjoy a route that will take you to the most important and mythical places in the capital. Put on comfortable clothes, get ready to walk and enjoy a city that will always welcome you with open arms. But first, how can you get to the heart of the city?
What transport did you use to get here?
If you arrived by plane, these are the options for getting to the centre:
-Metro: It takes half an hour for the metro to take you from any terminal to Nuevos Ministerios station. From there you can connect with lines 6 and 10. You can also take the suburban train to Atocha or Chamartín. This trip can cost you around €5, depending on the final destination.
– Train: From T4, and for less than €3, there is a train that will drop you off at Chamartín, Nuevos Ministerios or Atocha.
– Bus: From T1, T2 and T4 there is an Airport Express bus. It costs €5, runs 24 hours a day and you can be in the centre in about 40 minutes. It stops at O’Donnell, Plaza de Cibeles and Atocha.
– Taxi: Taxi fares are around 30 euros.
– Private transport: When you leave the terminal they will be waiting for you with a sign with your name on it and will drop you off at your accommodation. Fares are similar to taxi fares.
If you have made the journey by bus:
If you are coming by bus from anywhere in the country, you will most likely end up at one of these three main stations. Here are the ways to get out of them and head for the centre in search of things to see, and maybe a bite to eat.
–Estación Sur de Madrid, Calle Méndez Álvaro, 83
Metro: Méndez Álvaro (Grey Line, L6, Circular) Direct exit at the bus station.
-Avenida de América Station, Avda. de América, 9
Metro: Avda. de América (Orange Line, L7); (Grey Line, L6, Circular); (Purple Line, L9); (Brown Line, L4). Less than 5 minutes walk.
-Conde de Casal Station, Plaza Conde de Casal, 5
Metro: Conde de Casal (Grey Line, L6) Less than 5 minutes walking.
Safety Tips in Madrid
A Sturdy Bag. If you are carrying a handbag, make sure it has strong straps and place it with the strap across your body. Also, if you go to a bar or restaurant, keep it as close as possible and always in sight.
Follow the Madrileños. Move like the locals. Go to the tourist sites but also eat and socialise where the locals do. The experience will be better and safer.
Make Copies. If you must carry important identity documents, make copies and keep them in a safe place. That way, if you are robbed, you will still have your IDs even if they are not originals.
Cash. Don’t carry all your cash with you. Carry your card and some cash but don’t carry all your physical cash.
Say NO to bum bags. As fashionable as they are, it’s not a good idea. They tend to give away the fact that you’re a tourist, and they’re easy to open without you noticing. Better to carry your backpack in the front or your handbag in a cross-body bag.
Where to spend the night in Madrid
Man please! The best place to spend the night is our hostel in the heart of Madrid, in the Barrio de Las Letras. We have the best location, the best price and, no doubt about it, the best atmosphere to spend a unique stay. Don’t hesitate to take a look at our website and become a real cat.
Madrid in one weekend, Let’s go!
We are going to start our first day in Puerta del Sol. It’s the best starting point because it’s central, it has monuments all around and, if you’re staying with us, it’s right next door. It’s all advantages. Once you get there, you must stand at Kilometre 0 and watch the roads go off in all directions. If you raise your head you will see the Casa de Correos with the mythical clock that we see every end of the year.
Turn around a bit and you can take a picture of the statue of the Bear and the Arbutus, symbol of the city. You will also see a statue of Carlos III on horseback and just in front of it, one of the most representative posters of the city; the Tío Pepe. Remember that if you want to have breakfast, a quick coffee or simply feel like a true Madrileño, you’re very close to the Chocolatería San Ginés. But if you have a sweet tooth, then go to La Mallorquina. In both cases, I recommend getting up early.
After breakfast and photos, look for Calle del Arenal, which will take you to the Teatro Real. Just in front of it you have the Plaza de Oriente. By the way, I hope you have a mobile phone with enough battery and space because these two days are going to be non-stop with photos and videos. This square has two particularities; one is its monument to Felipe IV and the other is the great building behind it, the Palacio Real.
This building is majestic and spectacular. If you have the time, and the desire, don’t hesitate to visit its more than 200 rooms on a guided tour. Just opposite the Palace you will see the Almudena Cathedral, the most important religious building in Madrid. These two buildings face each other in the Plaza de la Armería. Did anyone say photo?
We will leave this historic place by taking Calle Mayor, another of the capital’s legendary streets. Here you will come across the Plaza de la Villa, where you will see the building that until recently served as the town hall. A few metres further on you’ll come to the Plaza Mayor itself.
If you want to enter the square through the main entrance, look for the Arco de Cuchilleros. Here you will find the Statue of Felipe III, guarded by historic buildings. After your photo session, it’s time to eat! The area is home to the best calamari sandwiches in the country. So enjoy something typical, affordable and quick. We recommend great classics such as La Campana, Bar Postas or La Ideal, all close by and of great quality.
If you are allergic to squid, no problem. Next to the Plaza Mayor you have the San Miguel Market which will give you a hundred more options for a bite to eat. Take a stroll around and recreate your sight and prepare your palate.
Everybody happy with our lunch? Well, follow Calle Mayor to get to where we started this morning. At Puerta del Sol you will take Calle Preciados to get to Plaza del Callao. It’s a non-stop from well known place to even better known place. Speaking of well-known places, welcome to Gran Vía.
Whichever way you turn right now, you’re going to find places that are real tourist attractions. We have decided, for now, to turn left, and let Gran Vía lead us to Plaza de España.
It’s a fantastic place to rest for a few minutes. It was a test. There is no rest here. If evening is already falling, it’s the perfect time to go to the Templo de Debod via Calle de Ferraz. It is more than 2,200 years old and was a gift from Egypt to Spain. And now Madrid is giving it to you.
To see a sunset like few others you’ve ever seen, head to the back of the monument and there you’ll find the Mirador de la Montaña, with views of Almudena Cathedral and the whole area of the Royal Palace. The sun is setting, but you don’t feel like resting yet. You know the way, so go back to Gran Vía and enjoy its lights, people, shows, theatres, food and atmosphere. You have all the ingredients to enjoy a unique night. See you tomorrow!
How did those bodies get up, did you misbehave last night? I’m glad, that’s the way I like it. But I don’t want sleepyheads on my team. Come on up, Madrid is waiting for you. Let’s start again at Puerta del Sol because you’re right next door sleeping with us.
You can walk down Calle Alcalá towards Cibeles or, if you want something new, take metro line 2 to the Banco de España stop. Whether you’re a Real Madrid fan or not, the Cibeles statue is a must-see. But not only for the fountain itself, but for everything around it.
You will find the Palacio de Linares, Banco de España, Palacio de Buenavista and Palacio de Cibeles. The latter is where the Madrid City Hall is located. On the right hand side, as you come from Calle Alcalá, you’ll find the Paseo del Prado, a must-see and the most expensive box in Monopoly. There must be a reason for this.
On the left hand side you will see the Plaza de la Lealtad, with the Monument to the Fallen and the Madrid Stock Exchange behind it. If you continue along the Paseo you will come across the Neptuno fountain, in the Plaza Cánovas del Castillo, a place of celebration for Atlético de Madrid fans. Guarding it you’ll find the two most luxurious hotels in the city; the Ritz and the Palace. Photo moment? #Ritz #Palace #IstayatCATS
A few steps away you’ll find the Prado Museum, one of the best museums in the city and the country. There, in addition to the temporary exhibitions, you’ll find works by the great masters of painting; Velázquez, El Greco, El Bosco, Goya and Rubens. This is one of those places where you could lose yourself for hours.
After this art high, next to the Museum you will find the Royal Botanical Gardens. Go as far as Atocha station and turn left. There you will be on Calle Alfonso XII. Go straight on and you will see the large Retiro Park on your right hand side. Look for and photograph the Estanque Grande with the great Monument to Alfonso XII, the Palacio de Cristal and the Rose Garden, these are the must-see sights. Whether or not to hire a boat on the pond? It depends on how much time you have and how much you want to see more. After a couple of hours, at the most, we continue.
Leave the Retiro through the access to the Plaza de la Independencia and you will come across the most representative monument of the city; the Puerta de Alcalá. There it is, the Puerta de Alcalá. Let yourself be carried away by the song by Ana Belén and Víctor Manuel and take some photos, play the song in the background on YouTube, eat a calamari sandwich… Take a good look at yourself, you’re a real Madrileño, a real cat.
At this stage of the trip you have to start making decisions, some of them painful. Let’s be honest, you’re not going to have time to see all of Madrid. I know, you didn’t see it coming, but that’s the reality. So it’s up to you how to take what’s left. Are you a museum lover and did you enjoy the Prado? Don’t hesitate, run to the Museo Reina Sofía or the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza.
Are you a fan of monuments? Then take the metro, lines 1, 9 or 10, to get to Plaza de Castilla to enjoy the Kio Towers, also known as the Gateway to Europe. Continue along the Paseo de la Castellana until you reach the 4 towers that crown the sky above Madrid and Spain. You will be left with your jaw unhinged.
It goes without saying that if you are a football fan, you have to let yourself be carried away to the Santiago Bernabéu or the Cívitas Metropolitano. It doesn’t matter which team you love, these two masterpieces of engineering are two more monuments to take into account in the city.
Finally, if you happen to be in Madrid on a Sunday, set aside a few hours to visit the Embajadores neighbourhood. This is where they set up the famous Rastro. Hundreds of stalls around Plaza de Cascorro, along the wide street Ribera de Curtidores, up to Ronda de Toledo and Embajadores.