EXPLORING MADRID

Madrid packs in a fantastic array of historic museums and monuments, parks and gardens, plus great shopping, dining and nightlife. You’ll be spoiled for choice whatever your interests and however long you spend in the city. Here are some ideas for two and four days of sightseeing and fun in beautiful Madrid.

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Two Days in Madrid


Day 1

Morning

Enjoy a coffee on the Plaza Mayor, Madrid’s showcase square, before strolling east to the Paseo del Prado and the magnificent Museo Nacional del Prado. There’s too much to see in one visit, so select some highlights.

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Plaza Mayor is the city’s grandest and most famous square.
Afternoon

After lunch, head to Parque del Retiro to enjoy a stroll through the beautiful gardens, before walking down to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía to see Spain’s premier collection of modern art.

Day 2

Morning

Take a guided tour of the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales, a sumptuously decorated 16th-century convent for blue-blooded nuns, then stop at the Mercado de San Miguel for lunch.

Afternoon

Sip a coffee on the handsome Plaza de Oriente, before heading into the Palacio Real, one of the largest palaces in Europe.


Four Days in Madrid


Day 1

Morning

Head out early to Madrid’s biggest attraction, the Museo Nacional del Prado. Spend the morning admiring one of the world’s finest collections of European artworks, and don’t miss Goya’s “Black Paintings”, or Las Meninas by Velázquez.

Afternoon

Amble through the narrow streets of Madrid’s historic heart to the elegant Plaza Mayor, then visit the opulent, aristocratic convent of Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales.

Day 2

Morning

Spend a morning with the enigmatic Lady of Elche and other archaeological gems at the Museo Arqueológico Nacional. Then pick up some picnic goodies, perhaps at Pastelería Mallorca, and head for the gardens of the Parque del Retiro.

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Parque del Retiro offers a leafy escape from the bustle of the city, with a boating lake, formal gardens and entertainment for all generations.
Afternoon

The early Italian Madonnas and works by the French Impressionists provide soothing company at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza. The garden café is an idyllic spot for refreshment and rest.

Day 3

Morning

If you’re in Madrid on a Sunday, make an early visit to the El Rastro flea market. Spend the rest of the morning in the extravagant Palacio Real, whose gilded salons are decorated with exquisite paintings and tapestries.

Afternoon

Visit the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía to admire Picasso’s masterpiece, Guernica, along with works by Dalí, Miró, Gris, and contemporary artists including Eduardo Arroyo and Miquel Barceló.

Day 4

Morning and afternoon

Spend the whole day at the splendid royal monastery, basilica and palace complex of El Escorial. Between admiring the surprisingly simple apartments, the ornate basilica and the magnificent library, head for the glorious gardens to enjoy a picnic (if you come prepared), or a late lunch afterwards at one of the restaurants in San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

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El Escorial is a magnificent complex of royal palace, basilica and monastery.
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