What to visit in Madrid in 2 days: the essentials

Are you looking for an exotic, dynamic, and sunny destination? No doubt, Madrid will be perfect! The Spanish capital is often forgotten, in the shadow of its cousin Barcelona. Yet Madrid has a lot to offer to its visitors. This is what we are going to show you in this article! Here are the city’s top attractions that you must visit in Madrid in 2 days.

What to visit in Madrid in 2 days?

Being a capital, visiting Madrid in 48 hours will require making choices in your visits. Although everything is easily accessible by metro, you will not be able to see everything. So here are the places you shouldn’t miss for your first-time visit in Madrid.

what to see in madrid royal palace palacio real
What to visit in Madrid in 2 days: Palacio Real or the Royal Palace

1. The Royal Palace

If you had to visit only one monument, we recommend you go to Palacio Real. The Royal Palace is no longer the official residence of the king today, it’s now used for protocol and tourist functions.

It is twice as big as the Palace of Versailles so you will need to plan enough time to visit it. Count between 2 and 3 hours.

The Royal Palace in Madrid is also one of the largest palaces in Europe to date. It’s a prestigious place that will dazzle you! We recommend you book your tickets online to better prepare for your quick visit in Madrid.

You can visit the Royal Palace for free from Monday to Thursday starting at 5 p.m.

2. Almudena Cathedral

Located right next to the Royal Palace, you can drop by the Almudena Cathedral, where admission is free (based on a donation). And a small secret: you can visit the Cathedral Museum and access the roof of the Cathedral where you will discover one of the most beautiful views of Madrid (a 360 view of the palace, the mountains, and Madrid!)

3. The Royal Gardens

After this morning’s visit in Madrid, nothing better than going to a park to relax! Next to the Royal Buildings, you will find the Campo Moro, the royal gardens of the palace, where you can stroll through the alleys and see some friendly animals. If you prefer something closer, you can visit the Sabatini Gardens, with the royal stables.

Templo de Debod Madrid in 2 days
What to visit in Madrid in 2 days: Templo de Debod

4. Templo de Debod

If you wish to continue your visit in Madrid towards the Sabatini Gardens, you can go back up to the Templo de Debod. Well known to tourists for its unusual appeal, this is an Egyptian temple. The place is very photogenic and the summer atmosphere is very pleasant.

5. Plaza Mayor

This square with the beautiful Puerta del Sol, ocher facades, and a central statue of Felipe III is the Plaza Mayor. He’s the monarch who had ordered the completion of this place.

It’s in one of these outgoing alleys that you can eat in Tapas restaurants and try the famous Bocadillo de calamares.

6. Mercado San Miguel

The San Miguel Covered Market is located just off the Plaza Mayor. Because it’s a gastronomic market, the tapas are more elaborate than in a traditional restaurant but also much more expensive. It’s very pleasant to walk around and see its magnificent metallic architecture.

If you are looking for a market where you can eat in a more local atmosphere, try the Mercado San Ildefonso (Malasaña district) or the Mercado Anton Martin near Calle de Atocha.

7. Puerta Del Sol

In 2022-2023, Puerta Del Sol will be under renovation, therefore completely closed. As soon as it opens its doors again, you can enjoy this very cultural place where tourists and locals mingle. Do not miss to find Kilometer 0 with the bear, and the sea buckthorn, the 2 symbolic elements of Madrid.

visit to Madrid in 2 days Plaza de España
What to visit in Madrid in 2 days: Plaza de España

8. Plaza de España

Recently renovated, Plaza de España is located at the beginning of the Gran Via. Here, you can admire the building called Edificio de España. This building was the tallest skyscraper in Europe in the 1960s, and in Madrid until 1985. Today, it’s’ a luxury hotel with a very popular 360 rooftop.

What are the best things to do in Madrid?

places to visit in madrid retiro park

After seeing all the architectural must-sees, there are a few things you shouldn’t miss when visiting Madrid. First, you must take the time to visit one of the many museums in Paso del Arte. The Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza, the Reina-Sofia… all of them have a specific cultural particularity. You choose which one interests you most!

When passing by Paseo del Arte, stop at Parque del Retiro. Go on a boat trip on the estanque or just visit the alleys on foot to discover the casita del pescador or the rose garden! In summer, the Retiro is the place where Madrid locals go for some shade, for a picnic, or even for a morning jog.

Finally, before your departure, you must go to Cardamomo to see a Flamenco show. Although Andalusia is the cradle of this dance, in Madrid you can enjoy quality shows. For us, it’s a must visit in Madrid in 2 days.

Where to stay in Madrid?

It’s always a question travelers ask themselves, as they want to stay in the best neighborhood – one that is central, quiet enough to sleep in, and not too expensive! You should know that in Madrid, all neighborhoods are very safe. The evening metro is very secure so you can take it after your evening in the center to reach a more distant area where your hotel is located.

There are very good hotels on the Gran Via and the perpendicular streets which allow you to have peace. The Malasaña district is also very nice to spend the weekend in Madrid. The hyper center is super practical to easily return to between 2 visits. And if you want to get away with a lower price, look towards the Bullring of Las Ventas, the district of Chambéri, or near the Paseo de Castellana.

We hope this article will help you organize your visit in Madrid in 2 days!

About the authors

emilie and alice guest post writers on the travel bunny blog

Emilie and Alice moved to Madrid five years ago with their small family. They felt like they had made it home when they arrived there and that feeling never passed. Very quickly, they had the desire to create a project of their own: a travel blog for French visitors in Madrid: Vivre Madrid.

You too can become a guest blogger on The Travel Bunny. Just submit a free guest post.

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