Madrid is one of the most iconic cities you will ever visit in Europe.
The Spanish capital is home to delicious food, rich history, art galleries, historical sites, and numerous entertainment centers spread across the city.
The emir Muhammad built Madrid, then known as Mayrit, at the end of the ninth century AD.
The city came to prominence during the Arab dominion of the Iberian Peninsula but eventually fell under Christian control when the Christians recovered Spain.
In 1083, King Alfonso I established Madrid in its current location in Spain.
In 1329, King Fernando V convened the renowned Court of Madrid for the first time.
Before this, the Spanish Inquisition was one of the darkest periods in Spanish history.
Following the Reconquista, in the 14th and 15th centuries, Jews and Moors joined forces to form Moreria, a significant population in Madrid that still exists today.
In 1808, the Spanish War of Independence, in which they fought Napoleon and his old allies in France, began in Puerta de Sol.
As a result of these events, the Plaza Dos de Mayo and other patriotic monuments have been created in Madrid.
In 1835, the prestigious University of Alcala de Henares relocated to Madrid.
After the inclusion of the Faculty of Science, the institution was renamed Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
Madrid is an important archaeological hub where ancient artifacts and animal remains have been uncovered along the banks of the River Manzanares.
Madrid is recognized as one of Europe’s most advanced, cutting-edge, and beautiful cities.
It has a flourishing local arts scene, a loud nightlife, and constant reminders of the city’s rich history.
This article will enlighten you about the top ten things to do in Madrid to ensure you have a fantastic experience in the city.
A visit to the Royal Palace
The Royal Palace of Madrid is home to the monarch of Spain and is the largest palace in Western Europe.
The castle was built in the mid-18th century for King Philip V and sat on the ruins of the Moorish Alcázar fortress, which was razed to the ground in 1734.
The palace is a magnificent display of neoclassical and baroque architecture; however, the real spectacle lies inside the building.
The castle has a collection that includes the works of Goya, Velázquez, and Caravaggio, weapons used by Charles V in the 1500s, and the only Stradivarius string quartet in the world that you would love to get a photograph of.
Besides the relics of history, the palace has beautiful silverware, timepieces, and frescoes, and the impressive royal collection is incredibly captivating and will amaze you.
A trip to Madrid would not be complete without a visit to the royal palace, and I recommend it as your first destination.
A visit to the Gran Vía
Gran Vía is a lovely location to stroll through if you want to get a true sense of the city.
The neighborhood is a lively thoroughfare that is frequently active until the early hours of the morning.
This area serves as the center of Madrid’s entertainment, business, and cultural activities and is a popular destination for revelers across Europe.
During the day, the Gran Vía is congested with people visiting the malls, high-street stores such as H&M and Zara, and premium boutiques.
Couples can be spotted holding hands as they leave for the theater or evening show.
Many of Madrid’s best nightclubs are located on this street and transform the entire street into a magnificent light display after dark to attract clients.
Moreover, as you roam around the Gran Vía keep an eye out for the massive Telefónica Building, a pioneering skyscraper built in 1928.
A trip to the Mercado San Miguel
Mercado de San Miguel is a famous tourist market built of highly decorative glass and cast iron.
The market complex is close to Plaza Mayor and dates back to 1916 when it was built.
With about 200 stalls, San Miguel is the largest municipal bazaar in Europe.
Fresh market produce is a beautiful place to source some of Spain’s best produce, including paprika, saffron, and cava.
In 2017, authorities refurbished the market to upgrade the quality, cleanliness, price points, ingredients, and customer experience of the food, drink, coffee, and takeaway items.
San Miguel is famous amongst food enthusiasts because of its diverse selection of dishes and bustling, thrilling atmosphere.
Here you can purchase wine, a cocktail, juice, or coffee, munch on a variety of ready-to-eat tapas, or purchase food from the fruit, fish, and meat vendors for a meal at home.
The Plaza Mayor
The Plaza Mayor is a vibrant square in Hapsburg, one of Madrid’s historic destinations.
Before it became the modern metropolis with vast avenues and boulevards, Madrid was made up of narrow passageways and lanes.
Plaza Mayor replaced the former Plaza del Arrabal, which housed Madrid’s most famous market until the late 16th century.
When the Spanish court migrated from Toledo to Madrid in 1561, King Philip II began planning a redesign of the plaza.
However, King Philip III sought out Juan Gómez de Mora to complete the project and provide architectural continuity to the open space.
While you’re there, stop for a bite to eat on one of the sunny patios, pick up a souvenir, see the street performers and artists at work, and learn about the city’s rich history.
In addition to neighborhood celebrations and local festivities, there would be bullfights, coronations, and the occasional auto-da-fé during the Spanish Inquisition.
Flamenco is a popular dance with origins in Andalusia, Murcia, and Extremadura; Madrid is home to some of the country’s famous tablaos (flamenco bars).
These unique dance venues came up in the 1960s and have witnessed some of the country’s most famous artistic performances by some of the best flamenco dancers.
Flamenco is a style that displays intensity and passion through sevillana rhythms and cante jondo rhythms of gladness and joy, which appeals to viewers of all cultures.
The city offers a range of performances weekly, from numerous shows in the city’s theaters to little song and dance recitals in tablaos that you will enjoy.
Flamenco performers that travel the world to captivate audiences begin in Madrid, the heart of the flamenco record industry.
Today’s tablaos allow guests to experience flamenco in its original form while enjoying a nice meal or drink.
Chocolate and Churros at San Ginés
The Chocolatera San Ginés, situated off the Puerta del Sol, has been selling churros and hot chocolate.
The building was built in 1890 as a restaurant and inn, but it wasn’t until 1894 that San Gines began selling its world-famous chocolate and churros.
Churros are long sticks of dough comprised of water, salt, and flour.
The dough is tossed into a hot oil pan, deep-fried, swirled with a very long post, and sugar sprinkled on top.
Spanish hot chocolate is one of the most delicious beverages you’ll ever taste, perfect for winter.
The hot chocolate is served thick and steaming in Spanish, perfect for dipping churros in.
Once you start dipping this calorie-dense treat, you may devour a few churros sticks without even realizing it.
The best part is that you can quench your chocolate and churros cravings anytime because the chocolate shop is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Journey to the Wanda Metropolitano and Santiago Bernabéu
Madrid is a footballing destination for all fanatics across the world.
The Spanish capital is home to the most successful club in the world, Real Madrid, located at the Santiago Bernabéu.
A tour of the 85,000-seat facility will give you a bird’s-eye view of the stadium.
You will see the dugouts and exciting stuff like the trophy collection, press area, and presidential box.
The Santiago Bernabéu has been home to some of the greatest players in history, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Figo, Kaka, Beckham, Di Stefano, and Sergio Ramos.
The stadium hosts the world’s most intense rivalries between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The Wanda Metropolitano is home to Atlético de Madrid, another tremendous European club and Real Madrid’s biggest city rival.
The club shares an equally rich history but with fewer trophy successes.
The stadium was built in 1997 but was renovated and renamed from Estadio Olímpico de Madrid to Wanda Metropolitano when it was reopened in 2017.
The stadium has a seating capacity of 68,000, and its captivating view is something you would enjoy.
Puerta del Sol
The Puerta del Sol square, located in the city’s center, is one of Madrid’s famous marvels.
The courtyard serves as the starting point for all significant radial highways in Spain and a junction for some of the city’s oldest and busiest streets, including the Mayor, Arenal, Alcalá, and Preciados.
The start of all key radial roadways in Spain is marked with a stone slab on the sidewalk in front of the Casa de Correos’ main door.
On the other side of the square, you may find a replica of the La Mariblanca monument at the start of Calle Arenal, which leads to the Teatro Real opera house.
The third giant statue in Puerta del Sol, placed in the center of the square, depicts King Charles III of Spain on horseback.
The legendary Oso y Madroo is situated across the street from the court at the beginning of Calle Alcalá, Madrid’s longest boulevard.
You will enjoy traversing the Puerta del Sol, primarily due to its significant navigation role in Madrid.
An Excursion to the National Archaeological Museum
The National Archaeological Museum houses one of the world’s most important antique collections.
Its pieces range from the pre-historic period to the nineteenth century and include implements and artwork from Mediterranean cultures.
The museum is located in the heart of the Salamanca District.
It investigates a variety of global art historical eras, such as Greek ceramics, Visigoth votive crowns, and Spanish Islamic ivory, that the more prominent museums do not cover on the nearby Art Walk.
Despite being at least 2,500 years old, the best of these Iberian jewels and sculptures appear to be spanking new.
The Lady of Elche is a female bust with coils covering her ears and an extremely elaborate headpiece.
This museum takes you on a journey through Spain’s rich history, with rare treasures collected throughout the country.
The abundance of unique artifacts dating back before the Roman Empire may astound you.
Stroll Through Retiro Park
The Retiro is Madrid’s park filled with spectacular and luscious gardens and is located east of the Prado.
The park was a royal estate until the end of the nineteenth century when it was opened to the public.
The pond in the park, located in front of the iron and glass pavilion, was built to host the Philippine Exhibition in 1887.
The bald cypress trees, rare swamp trees, become a magnificent golden brown in the summer, bringing a new lease of color to the park.
Kayaking on the Grand Pond near the Alfonso XII monument on a lovely afternoon is a terrific activity for you and your family, especially for young children.
The oldest tree in the neighborhood, a Montezuma Cypress encircled by an iron fence, was planted in 1633, and we highly recommend you visit.
Madrid ranks highly among the most beautiful cities, alongside Rome, Paris, Milan, and Athens, among many others.
Almost every aspect of the town and its people has a rich history.
There are things to do in Madrid that you as a tourist ought to fulfill to get the whole experience of being in the city.
Whether you want to go out for drinks or to a dancing bar, the Madrid experience is unlike any other place; that will leave you with numerous tales to share.
The numerous museums and art galleries exhibit various artworks that date from the pre-historic period to more recent pieces.
Moreover, the pieces come from multiple cultures that you will enjoy across the Mediterranean region.
Many residents in Madrid believe football is the heart of the city because of how the city comes alive when Real Madrid plays.
Being home to the most successful club in European history, watching football from the Santiago Bernabéu elicits a feeling of belonging among its fans.
However, if you’re not a Real fan, there are several other clubs that you can support.
The culinary culture in Madrid is a unique experience that draws food enthusiasts worldwide.
The markets, cafés, and restaurants across Madrid offer special delicacies and snacks renowned for their rich and distinct flavors.
Generally, Madrid is the ideal destination for any tourist, and visiting the great city will be extremely special if you’re knowledgeable in Spanish history.