After spending nearly one week in Spain’s capital, I discovered world class museums, ate delicious tapas, and enjoyed Madrid Fashion Week! I was able to discover the highlights of Madrid by leveraging the Madrid Card and going on the Madrid City Tour, organized through esMADRID (the official tourism website for the City of Madrid).

Of everything I did, below are my recommendations on must do’s in Madrid. If you have limited time and you want to make sure you hit the highlights, stick to these and you can’t go wrong!

  1. Prado Museum –  Known for housing many famous pieces, the ones that stood out to me were: The Garden of Earthly DelightsLas Meninas, La Maja Desnuda paintings (in order below). Also note that museum admission is included in the price of the Madrid Card. There are MANY museums in Madrid, I particularly enjoyed this one since I actually knew these pieces and wanted to see them for myself in person! It would be worth taking a look at what the other museums nearby have to offer as well if you have extra time.
  2. Explore Malasaña – Madrid’s “hipster” neighborhood, there are  boutique vintage shops, trendy cafes, and mural street art scattered about. I definitely recommend a  stroll through this area to get away from the crowds of tourists and for some laid back vibes (seen here exploring with my blogger friend Anna from Europe’s Little Secrets).
  3. Circulo de Bellas Artes – During sunset, head to the top of the Circulo de Bellas Artes for great views of Madrid! On the rooftop, you can enjoy a cocktail or two at the bar and relax on lounge chairs or high top tables as you look out onto views of the city.
  4. The Royal Palace – Go to the Royal Palace during golden hour for good views of the Palace and explore the nearby gardens called the Jardines de Sabatini. You will also be a short distance walk to the Temple de Debod, another amazing spot to see the sunset.
  5. Puerta de Alcalá Gate & Buen Retiro Park – A trip to Madrid would not be complete without a stroll through El Retiro Park, the largest park in the city of Madrid. Home to over 15,000 trees you can set up a picnic here, explore the Glass museum or even hire a rowboat to explore the lake!

    Have you ever been to Madrid? What would you recommend to other travelers passing through with limited time? Please share in the comments section below.