Spend a perfect week in and around Madrid!
As Spain’s capital and largest city, Madrid offers a lifetime’s worth of things to see, do and experience. However, if you’re just passing through, we think 7 days in Madrid is perfect for getting to know the city. You’ll be able to see all the iconic tourist sights as well as step off the beaten path and see how the locals live. Ready? Here’s your plan for 7 days in Madrid that you will never forget!
Day 1: Sightseeing in the city center + food tour
Start off the morning at Plaza Mayor, one of Madrid’s most famous squares—if not THE most famous. Take some time to stroll around and get some great pictures without the tourist crowds that will inevitably fill the square later in the day!
From there, head to Mercado de San Miguel (Plaza de San Miguel, s/n) for breakfast. Like Plaza Mayor, this buzzing market gets packed in the afternoon and evening. However, as the vendors are just opening up shop first thing in the morning, there’s hardly a soul in the place. Starting off your 7 days in Madrid with a relaxing breakfast here is the best of both worlds. You’ll be able to experience Madrid’s most iconic market in peace and quiet—you may even have the place to yourself!
After that, continue up Calle Mayor towards Almudena Cathedral (Calle de Bailén, 10) and the Royal Palace (Calle de Bailén, s/n). These must-see sights are among the most important stops you’ll make during your 7 days in Madrid! Although Spain’s royal family actually lives in a smaller palace just outside Madrid, the Royal Palace is still considered their official residence and used ceremoniously. The grandiose interior will take your breath away!
Insider’s Tip: Be sure to reserve visits to monuments and museums, such as the Royal Palace, online in advance. Nobody likes waiting in long lines!
After visiting the palace, be sure to take some time to explore the beautiful surrounding area. Plaza de Oriente just opposite the royal landmark is a beautiful place to sit and relax. If you continue a bit north, you’ll eventually make it to Plaza de España and the Temple of Debod. This is a real ancient Egyptian temple that was relocated to Spain brick by brick! Head behind the temple for amazing views of the cathedral and Casa de Campo park.
Whenever you get hungry, be sure to take some time for a leisurely lunch (Spanish style!) at one of our favorite places to eat in the city center. Walk off your lunch on bustling Gran Vía, Madrid’s main thoroughfare and home to some of the city’s most iconic buildings. Make your way to the one and only Puerta del Sol, one of the plazas you must see during your 7 days in Madrid! It’s home to the geographic center of Spain (kilómetro cero) and the famous bear statue.
End the first of your 7 days in Madrid with our Tapas Like a Local Tour! This small group evening tour will show you the ins and outs of Madrid’s world-famous tapas scene. You’ll taste some of our favorite tapas and meet the people behind them at some of our favorite family-run bars. Additionally, you’ll leaved armed with valuable knowledge about how to eat like a local during the rest of your time in Madrid!
Day 2: Museums & markets
It’s the second of your 7 days in Madrid! Take this day to appreciate a few of Madrid’s fascinating museums. Madrid is home to the world-famous “art triangle” composed of three of the world’s finest art museums: the Prado (Paseo del Prado, s/n), the Reina Sofia (Calle de Santa Isabel, 52), and the Thyssen (Paseo del Prado, 8). Even if you’re not much of an art fan, you’ll be able to appreciate the incredible quality of the collections housed at these three museums. All three are relatively close (15 minutes or less walking distance), making this the perfect way to spend a day full of culture.
Get some fresh air between museum visits at Parque del Buen Retiro, the most famous of Madrid’s plentiful green spaces. Marvel at the sunlight dancing off the glass in the crystal palace and enjoy a relaxing boat ride on the small but beautiful lake inside the park.
A long day of walking around museums and the park is bound to make you hungry. Grab lunch at the nearby Mercado de Antón Martín (Calle de Santa Isabel, 5). Despite its unbeatable location in the city center, this market is nothing but local. Many of Madrid’s markets are home to great bars and restaurants, and Antón Martín is no exception. Some of our favorites here are El Tarantín de Lucía, Fiaschetteria La Saletta and Yokaloka for great seafood, Italian and sushi respectively!
As evening approaches, be sure to catch a glimpse of the Puerta de Alcalá and Plaza de Cibeles, home to a stunning, historic building that now houses Madrid’s city government. Catch the sunset from the top of the Círculo de Bellas Artes building (Calle de Alcalá, 42). It’ll set you back a few euros to get up there, but the drinks, vibe and view are second to none.
Day 3: Salamanca, shopping & soccer
Spend the third of your 7 days in Madrid appreciating its rich modern culture! Start the day off with a fabulous brunch in the ritzy Salamanca neighborhood. After that, take some time to stroll down some of the city’s most stylish avenues. Spain’s shopping culture is iconic, and there’s no better place to appreciate that than within the Salamanca neighborhood.
This beautiful barrio is home to some more spectacular museums, such as the National Archaeological Museum (Calle de Serrano, 13) and the National Museum of Natural Sciences (Calle José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2). Try to take some time to visit one (or both!) and learn something new about the fascinating world we live in. The science museum is particularly great for kids!
Even if you’re not much of a sports fan, be sure to head to Santiago Bernabéu Stadium (Avenida de Concha Espina, 1), home of the Real Madrid soccer team. Take a tour of the stadium to get a sense as to how this team has shaped the culture of Spain’s capital and beyond. The visit will take you all across the stadium, from panoramic views to a walk through the locker and press rooms to stepping out onto the field itself. If it’s soccer season during your visit, be sure to stick around for a game!
Day 4: Day trip to Toledo
Madrid has so much to offer, but sometimes you need a break from the busy city! Now that your 7 days in Madrid are about halfway up, take advantage of the city’s proximity to some of the most beautiful parts of Spain. There are so many amazing cities and towns within reach thanks to the AVE, but the quintessential day trip from Madrid is definitely Toledo.
With its medieval streets, Roman remnants and influences from each of the three major world religions, Toledo will transport you back in time. It’s packed with history and culture, but small enough to see in a day. It also boasts a fantastic foodie culture and is said to be the birthplace of marzipan!
Day 5: Chueca & Chamberí
Now that you’re back in the capital, take today to explore two of Madrid’s most authentic, off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods. Start the day in peaceful Chamberí, one of the most truly local barrios left in Madrid. Hardly any tourists make it up this way. The streets are filled with the same vibrant local life that has been there for decades.
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast in picturesque Plaza de Chamberí, then head to one of the most fascinating (and possibly haunted!) places in Madrid: Andén 0 (Platform 0). Once a stop along the Madrid metro, the station has been out of use since 1966. This fascinating station still looks much the same as it did when it opened in 1919, with antique furniture and billboards. It’s also completely free!
After taking some more time to stroll around Chamberí, head south to trendy Chueca. As the unofficial capital of Madrid’s LGBT scene, this bohemian barrio is renowned for its open, accepting culture. Pop into Mercado de San Ildefonso (Calle de Fuencarral, 57) for a bite to eat. Then, it’s time for a shopping spree! Chueca is full of hip little boutiques where you can find some of the most unique keepsakes and souvenirs.
End the fifth of your 7 days in Madrid with some vino! Chueca is full of fantastic places to enjoy great wine. We love the wine tastings at Reserva y Cata (Calle Conde de Xiquena, 13). If you want to do a little wine shopping, head to Vinoteca Vides (Calle Libertad, 12) for one of the most diverse selections in the city.
Day 6: La Latina & Lavapiés
Your 7 days in Madrid are almost up! Start off your penultimate day by grabbing breakfast in La Latina. This picturesque neighborhood is full of charming squares that are perfect for relaxing. Join the locals and order a coffee to start your day off right!
If your sixth day happens to fall on a Sunday, head to the famous El Rastro flea market! A quintessential part of local life in La Latina, you definitely need to fit El Rastro into your 7 days in Madrid.
Grab lunch on Calle Cava Baja, one of Madrid’s most happening tapas hotspots. All the bars are guaranteed to be packed, so get there a little early if you must! After lunch, make your way to picturesque Plaza Tirso de Molina nearby. This is the perfect place to start exploring Lavapiés, a colorful neighborhood with rich ethnic diversity.
There’s always something happening in Lavapiés, so your best bet is to simply see where the vibrant streets take you. When in doubt, head to La Tabacalera de Lavapiés (Calle de Embajadores, 53). This former tobacco factory now houses a unique cultural space with modern art exhibitions, documentary screenings, poetry readings, concerts and more. The best part? Anyone can submit a proposal for an exhibition or event that they’d like to organize at La Tabacalera, making it a true collective space.
Lavapiés is also a great place for an afternoon or evening pick-me-up. The large number of Moroccan immigrants in the neighborhood mean that you’re never too far from a traditional Arabic-style tea house. One of our favorites is Tetería Casablanca (Calle de Atocha, 101), where you can enjoy a delicious variety of spiced teas. Another unique café is La Gatoteca (Calle Argumosa, 28), where you can sip your tea in the comfort of several furry friends! It’s Spain’s first cat cafe, where you pay a small fee for entry. In return, you get a free drink, wifi access, reading material and more. And—of course—time spent with their friendly cats!
Day 7: Casa de Campo Park
Your 7 days in Madrid are up! Spend your last day in Spain’s magical capital relaxing and enjoying the fresh air at Casa de Campo (Paseo Puerta del Angel, 1), Madrid’s largest park (and one of the largest in Europe as well). Once a royal hunting estate, it later became a battlefield during the Spanish Civil War. Luckily, today the atmosphere at the park is much more peaceful! Spanish families love coming here to spend the day due to the wide variety of activities.
With more than 1,700 hectares of things to see and do, you’ll never be bored at Casa de Campo. Visit the zoo and say hola to animals from all seven continents. The city’s amusement park is full of thrills and fun for all ages. If you’d like a more active day, the park offers plenty of space for running, biking, swimming, tennis, soccer and more. All of this is surrounded by beautiful Mediterranean flora and fauna, making you feel like you’re worlds away from the bustling metropolis that is Madrid.
End your 7 days in Madrid with a ride on the Teleférico cable car over the park. Originally part of the amusement park, it has since become an attraction all its own. The 2.5-kilometer journey will give you a breathtaking bird’s eye view over the western part of the city. The ride lasts just 10 minutes but will give you views to remember for the rest of your life.