Madrid is often overshadowed by its northerly neighbor Barcelona. There seems little reason for this though – with delicious food, beautiful museums, and tons of shopping, the capital of Spain deserves its own spotlight of fame! Madrid has an amazing fusion of history and modern, urban lifestyle. We felt it varied quite differently from Barcelona actually. Madrid had more of a large city feel to us, which is something we definitely enjoyed on our visit.

Madrid at sunset

What To Do

We spent four days in the capital of Spain eating amazing food, visiting museums, walking around the different neighborhoods, and enjoying some late nights at the many clubs and bars that populate the city. Here’s a few things that we recommend:

Visit the Royal Palace

Although it’s the official residence of the Spanish royal family, they actually don’t live here anymore. It is now only used for state ceremonies. At 1,450,000 sq ft, you could get lost in here all day! You can take guided tours or self tours of the grounds. We opted for a self-guided tour. Stephen’s favorite part of the Royal Palace was the Royal Armory, which houses a collection of medieval weapons and armour. We spent around 3 hours here.

Royal Palace of Madrid

Mercado de San Miguel

This is one of the most beautiful food markets we’ve ever seen! Home to a bunch of restaurants and food stalls, we ate here until our stomachs almost burst! It’s a fun place to relax for a couple hours and people watch.

Museo del Prado

The Museo del Prado is one of the best museums in Europe and boasts a huge collection of classical art that spans some of the most recognizable artists of many centuries. We opted for a self-guided tour with headphones. We spent about 2 hours here.

Puerta del Sol

The most famous plaza of the city and probably it’s busiest. It once hosted bullfights, markets, symphonies, and even executions! Now it’s home to many shops, cafes, and restaurants. It also has a lot of very talented street performers that keep you entertained!

The beautiful Puerta del Sol

Where To Eat

You really can’t go wrong in Madrid. The food here is amazing and it’s everywhere! Here are some of our favorite places we ate at:

  • Mercado de San Miguel
  • San Gines Chocolateria (chocolate and churros!)
  • Brunch Club
  • El Minibar (amazing tapas)
  • Maricastana

Where To Stay

We stayed at a very cute Airbnb located right off of Gran Via Sol, which is a street located right in the heart of downtown Madrid. There were a ton of shops and restaurants located within walking distance. We highly recommend staying near here or at this location if it’s your first time visiting Madrid. Here is the listing on Airbnb: Duplex Gran Via-Sol

Our Airbnb located right in the heart of downtown!