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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.