Madrid travel guide: all you need to know for your visit to the Spanish capital

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What we talk about in this article

Discover the lively capital of Spain with this Madrid Travel Guide. Find out what to do and what not to miss in the city. Our detailed itinerary takes you from iconic landmarks like the Royal Palace and Prado Museum to lively tapas bars and bustling markets.

This comprehensive guide is your go-to resource for navigating the streets of Madrid. Uncover the best neighbourhoods, stay in fine hotels or the best hostels & find hidden gems. Immerse yourself in the local culture with high-quality and exciting tours. In short: make the most of your adventure in this enchanting city.

Where to rest your head? Best places to sleep

When you’re planning a trip, an important thing to think about is where you’ll sleep. Luckily, Madrid has loads of places to stay, whether you’re watching your wallet or want to splurge.

From well-equipped hostels to really cool and unique boutique hotels & straight out luxury hotels, there is plenty of choice. It’s quite important where you stay, because it can really make or break your visit.

Where to stay in Madrid

If you’re uncertain about where to stay in Madrid, this guide offers the perfect starting point.
Explore the finest districts and neighbourhoods for an overnight stay as you discover Spain’s capital. Each area has its pros and cons and a distinctive atmosphere. Choose an area where you feel good and that is close by the attractions you want to explore. 

Already have a preferred type of accommodation in mind? Continue scrolling for more inspiration!

The best hostels in Madrid

Choosing a hostel can be an ideal option under certain circumstances. It’s a budget-friendly solution for those mindful of their expenses or solo travellers eager to connect with others. While a romantic getaway might justify the splurge on more expensive accommodations, backpacking across Europe on a budget practically calls for staying at a cost-effective hostel.

Madrid has some exceptional hostels, though it’s wise to steer clear of the less reputable ones, which are unfortunately quite common. To aid your decision-making, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of Madrid’s top hostels, complete with their advantages and drawbacks, so you can choose wisely.

Unique boutique hotels in Madrid

Boutique hotels have been catching our eye for a while now, and it’s easy to see why. We’ve seen that a lot of travellers are on the hunt for this kind of unique stay that offers something different from your usual big-chain hotel experience.

Madrid is a real gem for this, with its awesome selection of unique and charming boutique spots. Each one has its own special vibe, promising a one-of-a-kind experience and a warm welcome.

Stunning luxury hotels

Checking out this Madrid travel guide for a special trip with your partner, lover, wife, family, or someone special? Why not treat yourselves to a luxury hotel stay in Spain’s capital? Madrid has some seriously swanky luxury hotels where you’ll feel like royalty.

Check out the top luxury hotels in Madrid!

What to pack for Madrid?

Preparing for a trip abroad often brings up a recurring question: What should I pack for my journey to Madrid? To address this dilemma, we’ve created a comprehensive packing list specifically for Madrid. Choosing comfortable clothing for every season and bringing the right assortment of electronics can make your stay that more enjoyable. 

What to do in Madrid?

When you’re out exploring a new city, you could just roam around without a plan, letting the city surprise you with its hidden gems. Or, you could do a bit of homework and map out your own adventure. Even better, why not find some awesome itinerary online, like this one, and just go with the flow?

To really get into the vibe of the place, signing up for a guided tour can be a game-changer. Taking a deep dive into Madrid’s rich culture and history with a guide can give you a whole new perspective. There are tons of amazing tours out there, so you’re sure to find one that ticks all your boxes.

A 3-day itinerary for Madrid

We’ve crafted a fun 3-day itinerary for exploring Madrid. This ready-to-use guide is filled with must-see attractions for your visit.

The itinerary is drawn from our personal experience, researched and refined during our visits. We’ve designed it to be easily navigable on foot, with a little help from public transportation here and there, ensuring a seamless exploration of the city.

While it’s tailored to our discoveries, it remains flexible, allowing you to infuse it with your own preferences and interests. Here’s what to expect:

Day 1

Kick-start your trip by exploring Madrid's history and atmosphere. Your first day is a cultural journey, blending historical grandeur with modern vibes.

Day 2

This day will offer you a glimpse into Madrid's artistic flair and serene beauty, from its stunning museums to its picturesque parks.

Day 3

On your last day, explore Madrid's modern side. Visit vibrant markets, see stunning architecture, and enjoy modern twists on traditional cuisine.

Best walking tours in Madrid

Ever feel like you’ve been walking forever, but somehow missed all the cool spots? To make sure your walks really count, and you don’t skip any must-see sights, having a knowledgable guide can make all the difference. They know all the important places and the hidden spots too.

Walking tours are hands-down the best way to get to know a new city. More than once, local guides have shown us the top spots to eat or the prettiest backstreets you’d never find on your own.
So, let’s dive right in and show you the top walking tours in Madrid.

Best food tours in Madrid

Travel is more than just checking out landmarks and attractions; it’s about diving deep into the experience. To really get what a country is about, you have to try the local food and specialities. Saying you’ve been to Madrid but haven’t dug into its food scene? That’s not the full picture.

The best way to dive into a country’s food culture? Go for a guided food tour. Check out our top picks for the best food tours in Madrid and get ready for an epic food adventure.

Awesome Madrid bike tours

Hitting the streets of Madrid on a bike is a super cool way to see what the city’s all about. It’s not just about getting a fresh look at the Spanish capital; it’s also about zipping around to see more stuff in less time.

Cruising through Madrid’s cute neighbourhoods and busy squares lets you dive into the local vibe and catch the city’s energy. So, make sure to check out these awesome Madrid bike tours

Best wine tours in and around Madrid

Heading out on a wine tour in or around Madrid is an awesome way to spice up your trip to this lively city. These top wine tours are a cool chance to dive into the region’s deep winemaking roots while enjoying some amazing wines.

You get to wander through beautiful vineyards, get the lowdown on how wine is made, and try out different wines. Plus, chatting with the local winemakers gives you a peek into the wine’s cultural and historical vibes in Spain. 

Best Segway tours in Madrid

Exploring Madrid on a Segway is super fun! Segway tours mix adventure with culture, letting you zip through the city’s cool alleys and big streets with zero effort. Forget dragging your feet or getting jammed in traffic—you’ll be whizzing around, seeing all of Madrid’s awesome sights in a cool and different way.

Plus, you get local experts telling you all the interesting bits about the city. Imagine gliding from the stunning Cibeles Palace to the gorgeous Retiro Park and hitting all the must-see spots. Segway tours are an epic way to see the city and have a blast doing it.

Best day trips from Madrid

Got some extra days in Spain? Seize the opportunity to explore beyond the capital. We’ve rounded up some cool ideas for day trips and stuff to check out. Here are a few other awesome places to visit.

Best day trips from Madrid

Spending just three days in Madrid barely scratches the surface, especially if you aim to experience all the exciting sights the city offers. Ideally, you’d have additional time to explore the surrounding area.

The region is packed with tons of cool attractions and activities that you really shouldn’t miss. A good travel guide to Madrid will clue you in on all these awesome experiences, making sure you don’t miss a thing.

To address this, we’ve curated a list of the best day trips from Madrid, complete with all the details you need to transform your day trip into an unforgettable adventure.

Expand your trip!

Want to explore more beyond Madrid? Spain is a perfect country for road tripping, but you can also be a bit more adventurous and choose for a train trip through Spain!

There’s a lot more to see and do in this country, so make sure to check out our itinerary and road trip ideas!

Practical information

Now that you’re equipped with an overview of the best districts, you know in which hotel you want to stay, and you have a list of thrilling activities, let’s delve into the practical aspects of this Madrid travel guide.

How to plan an international trip

This travel guide’s got you covered with all the info on Madrid, but planning a trip is about more than just research. If you’re scratching your head over how to sort your itinerary, flights, train bookings, car rentals, and all that, check out our international trip planning guide. It’s packed with tips on picking your destination, booking flights, deciding when to go, and more, to help you nail down a solid travel plan.

Travel Insurance: just in case

Have you arranged your travel health insurance yet? If not, I strongly recommend you do. Echoing the timeless advice of your mother, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

We won’t belabour the point, but for your convenience, here’s a link to an article that allows you to compare the top travel insurance options for your Madrid adventure: compare the very best travel insurance.

How to pay? Get a prepaid travel card

Heading abroad always leaves you wondering if the ATMs will play nice with your card. Back in the day, our Belgian card got hit with a 5€ fee every time we took out money overseas. That hassle got us to switch to a prepaid travel card, the N26, which we now use all the time because it’s just so handy and efficient.

For those considering alternatives, here is a list of some of the best international travel cards available: the best international travel cards.

Wrapping up - Your Madrid Travel Guide - all you need to know

This Madrid Travel Guide has got you covered with a lot of info you need to plan your trip, so you can start planning now. But hey, we know we’re not perfect. Missed something? Found the guide a bit light on details? Drop us a comment. We’re all about getting better with your feedback. Here’s to making your Madrid trip epic!

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The best travel insurance for Europeans

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