How is it possible for you to come to the capital and only stay for 24 hours? We didn’t know whether to be angry that you only came for a day or flattered that you came even though you only had one day. We have marked the second option. Thank you. And on top of that, we’re going to help you.
We’re going to leave you a little route so that, back home, you can talk about Madrid as if you were just another Madrileño.
So put on your comfortable shoes, those that are supposed to be for the gym but that you haven’t worn yet, and get ready for an express but very complete tour.
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.
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.
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 1 day
Let’s go! I hope you know that this is going to be hard and a real non-stop, but it’s going to be worth it. Before we start let me be your grandmother and ask you; Have you had breakfast? Well, don’t even think about starting with an empty belly. So let’s start at Puerta del Sol, for several reasons.
It’s easy to get to as it has several entrances, it’s surrounded by good places to have breakfast and it’s very close to your favourite place to stay in the capital. That’s right, Cats Hostel. Fancy a mythical place to have a coffee? If you wander around a bit, you’ll find Chocolatería San Ginés very close by. Now that’s a great place to start off on the right foot. But if you have a sweet tooth, then go to La Mallorquina.
In Puerta del Sol you’ll find the Casa de Correos, the huge building you’ll see as soon as you arrive, with the clock we look at every New Year’s Eve at the top. At the foot of the building you’ll find kilometre zero. And at one end of the square, the statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree, the symbol of the city. You can also take photos of Carlos III on his horse and Mariblanca, a 17th-century Italian sculpture. If you turn around and turn your back to the clock, you will see the Tío Pepe sign. A true classic of the city. But come on, let’s get a move on, you’ve had your fill of breakfast.
We have decided to start here because of the breakfast spots. Then we will do the route back, so if you are one of those who have a sandwich in your backpack and want to get straight into the action, you can start the route from El Retiro. That’s where we are heading now. So you decide the starting point, you’re sure to visit both places.
You can get to the Retiro by metro. From Puerta del Sol to Retiro there are only a couple of stops on line 2. Yes, you’ll see Puerta de Alcalá when you get off, but just look interesting and go straight to Retiro. It’s not your time for Puerta de Alcalá yet. 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-sees. To rent a boat on the pond or not? 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.
Exit at the entrance to the Plaza de la Independencia. And now you’re really there. In the centre of the square you will see the famous Puerta de Alcalá. Again photo moment and continue along Calle de Alcalá where another great monument awaits us; La Cibeles. Whether you are a Real Madrid fan or not, this place is a must-see. But not only for the fountain itself, but for everything that surrounds it.
Surrounding the Cibeles you will find the Palacio de Linares, Banco de España, Palacio de Buenavista and the Palacio de Cibeles. The latter is where the Madrid City Hall is located. If you can, visit it, and if you have regular time, go ahead but take a few seconds to enjoy your surroundings, you are very close to the heart of Madrid.
Follow Calla Alcalá and try to control that almost irrepressible impulse that will take you to Gran Vía if you turn right. No! Hold on a bit. That one will come later. You’re about to reach the Círculo de Bellas Artes, where you’ll have a surprise. A cold beer, or soft drink, awaits you on the rooftop of this building. The views are spectacular; the Gran Vía and the Metrópolis building in the foreground. If you don’t want to consume anything, it will cost you €4 to go up. But hey, while you’re there….
After this stop to brighten up the view, and the liver, let’s go to Plaza del Sol. If you left this point and you already have all the photos, say hello to the Bear and the Strawberry Tree, and we continue. Did you start in El Retiro? Stop here, as we mentioned at the beginning, and then we resume our march.
Keep going, don’t get distracted because now comes another main course. If everything has gone as it should, your stomach will be telling you that you need a bite to eat. This is the perfect time to go to the Plaza Mayor. Don’t doubt which is the best entrance: the Arco de Cuchilleros. In the most mythical square of the capital you will find the Statue of Felipe III guarded by historic buildings.
After the 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 of which are close by and of great quality.
If squid or sandwiches are not your thing, 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 eyesight and prepare your palate.
Happy belly? Good, but I hope you’re not too full because now it’s time to move. Back to the main artery of Calle Mayor to go to our next destination. Follow it all the way to the end and you’ll be left with your mouth wide open. You’ll know you’ve reached your next destination because you’ll see the Catedral de Santa María la Real de la Almudena; the spectacular Almudena Cathedral. It is a unique construction and an emblem of the city. Isn’t that enough? Just behind it sits the jewel in the crown; welcome to the Palacio Real.
This was the official residence of the King and Queen before they moved to the Zarzuela Palace. If you have enough time, don’t miss the inside. To save time and queues, we recommend you book your tickets online beforehand. But if the calamari sandwich wasted your time, seeing it from the outside is a real spectacle. Stand between the entrances to both buildings and enjoy a place that will leave you speechless.
If you continue in the same direction, you’ll find the Plaza de Oriente on the right, and a few metres ahead, the Sabatini Gardens on the left. Places that are crying out for you to bring out your photographer’s soul. Do you still have any memory left in your phone? Can Instagram accept any more of your poses? Then let’s finish off the day.
Continue straight on to the Plaza de España and its monument to Cervantes. It’s a fantastic place to rest for a few minutes. It was a test. You can’t rest here. If evening is already falling, it’s the perfect time to go to the Temple of Debod. Walk past the Church of Santa Teresa and San José to get to the temple. 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 the Almudena Cathedral and the whole area of the Royal Palace. The sun is setting, but you don’t feel like resting yet. Well, the time has come, let’s go to where the city is most illuminated; Gran Vía.
The famous avenue begins just 10 minutes away on foot and is home to legendary buildings such as the Grassy and Telefónica. You can also enjoy musicals, theatres and shows. Are you hungry again? Then you’re in the right place for a bite to eat, a drink and a fantastic night out.
We hope you enjoyed our mini express tour and this city which is always full of fantastic places to see and enjoy. Will we see you again for a longer visit? We look forward to seeing you.