Madrid is not only the capital but also the most popular city in Spain besides Barcelona. The city belongs to the most historical capitals of Europe. Besides many different historical monuments and buildings, Madrid offers a lot of variety, especially for shopping enthusiasts and party people. But also families with children can have a great time with the many excursion and entertainment offers in Madrid. No wonder Madrid is becoming more and more popular as a destination for a city trip. In our Madrid travel tips we will tell you which sights you shouldn't miss out on.
La Puerta del Sol is one of the most famous squares in the city and probably the most popular meeting place for Madrileños. The square is the central starting point for many city tours and can be very helpful to orientate yourself within the Spanish capital between the sights of Madrid.
Among other things, the famous clock tower is located in the square as part of a building known as the Real Casa de Correos. The building was originally built in the 18th century as part of the Post Office and today serves as the seat of the President of the Autonomous Community of Madrid. The Clock is the famous clock that all Spaniards look at spellbound on New Year's Eve and at midnight eat a grape at each of the twelve chimes. This is a Spanish custom on New Year's Eve and is said to bring good luck.
The Plaza Mayor is surrounded by residential buildings with a total of 237 balconies and nine entrances. Around the square, there are archways with small shops and restaurants. Every Sunday a small market is held in the arcades with stamps, old postcards, and coins. There is also a Christmas market in the square during the Advent season, and from time to time you can see plays, concerts, or other events.
But be careful: Here, it is quite expensive and clearly aimed at tourists, a local would hardly settle down here.
Right beside the Plaza Mayor there is the Mercado San Miguel. This old market, which is mostly made of glass and iron, was built in 1916 and completely renovated in 2003. On 2 floors and almost 1.200 m² you will find a lot of fresh food but also delicious dishes and snacks.
The Palacio Real, the royal palace, is the official residence of the Spanish royal family and therewith also one of the most famous sights of Madrid. But the royal family does not live there and the palace is only used for special occasions and events. If the king is there can be recognized by the fact that then two flags - instead of only one - are waving on the roof of the building.
Opposite is the catholic Almudena Cathedral, which was only completed in 1993. It was built in neoclassical style and is very modern. Its interior was designed by the painter Kiko Argüello in a pop art design. Admission is free, but a small donation is still welcome.
Madrid's Prado Museum is one of the world's leading art galleries, with more than 3,000 paintings, 5,000 drawings, 2,000 prints, 1,000 coins and medals, and some 2,000 other works of art. The crème de la crème of the art painters' guild is represented, by Velázquez and Goya to Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Rubens, Dürer, Titian, Gainsborough, and other creators of sophisticated works of art from all over Europe.
The Muralla Árabe, also called La Muralla Musulmana de Madrid, is the remnant of a fortification built in the 9th century. It was built at the time of Muslim rule on the Iberian Peninsula - hence its name. The remains of the wall are considered to be the oldest still existing construction in Madrid.
The Templo de Debod is an Egyptian temple, which originally stood at Debod on the west bank of the Nile. The Egyptian government gave it away to Spain in 1968 to save it from flooding. The Temple of Debod was rebuilt in Madrid on a former site with military barracks and has been accessible free of charge since 1972. Moreover, from the location of the temple, you can see one of the most beautiful sunsets in Madrid!
Not far from the temple of Debod is the Plaza de España with the two prominent high-rise buildings Torre de Madrid and Edificio España. In the middle of the square, there is a monument showing the Spanish poet Miguel de Cervantes looking down on his two famous novel characters Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.
As you can see, Madrid offers a variety of important sights, history, and beautiful buildings. We have put together many more in our itinerary below to give you the best Madrid experience!
Best time to travel to Madrid
The hot and dry summer months with average temperatures of approximately 25 degrees Celsius are contrasted with relatively cool winter days in Madrid. But the temperatures in Madrid rarely fall below zero degrees. Thereby, the Spanish capital is suitable for a city trip during the whole year.