Madrid Top Ten

I cant believe it’s our last week in Madrid! We’ve been in Spain for just over 2 months, so I figured it was about time I share a little more detail on the city that’s been my home.

Let me start off by saying, Madrid is a big city. There is so much to do, see, and eat, and so many different neighborhoods to explore that each have their own unique style. If I were to share everything this city has to offer, it would be a never-ending post. Just trying to pick out which pictures to share on this post was almost impossible. (Let’s just say I narrowed down my first round of picks to my favorite 85! HA!) With that said, here’s my “Madrid Top Ten.”

1. The Royal Palace of Madrid

Words and pictures can’t even capture how magnificent this palace is. While the exterior is incredible, you absolutely MUST check out the interior (100% worth the cost of entry)! Each room is so unique; every wall, ceiling, and surface of every room are covered with details. No photos are
allowed inside, but trust me, it’s mind blowing

2. Retiro Park

This enormous park is always buzzing with people. . .running, biking, sunbathing, having a picnic, or even rowing boats in the small lake. Get lost on all the paths, and explore all the different gardens throughout the park (you may even find a few peacocks roaming around). Two of my favorite places in/around the park: the Crystal Palace (Palacio de Cristal) and the Royal Botanical Gardens of Madrid (Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid).

3. The Golden Triangle of Art

While there are many museums in Madrid, perhaps the most famous are the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza, and the Reina Sofía. These 3 art museums make up the “Golden Triangle of Art.” My personal favorite was the Thyssen-Bornemisza because it had a wide assortment of art styles from Van Gogh to Monet to Picasso (and many more), but each museum has something special to offer.

4. Roof at Circulo Bellas Artes

Get a bird’s eye view of Madrid at the Roof at Circulo Bellas Artes. For a small fee, you can take the elevator up and get a great view of the city. There’s also a bar and restaurant and plenty of areas to lounge around once you make it to the top.

5. Take the Teleférico to Casa de Campo

Hop on the Teleférico (cable car) for a nice, leisurely ride over to Casa de Campo, Madrid’s largest public park. Take in the views, and enjoy some time away from the city center!

6. Rosaleda Gardens

If you’re lucky enough to visit in the spring, visiting the rose garden is a must! An explosion of blooms in every color! Pictures don’t do it justice!

7. Temple de Debod

Probably one of the most interesting and random sights of Madrid, the Temple de Debod is actually an Egyptian temple that was dismantled and rebuilt in Spain. The temple also offers a great view of the Royal Palace and Casa de Campo.

8. Real Madrid Fútbol Games

Soccer is HUGE in Spain, so it’s only fitting to attend a game! We were lucky enough to see the last home game of the season, and Madrid won 6-0!

9. Check out all the Plazas

Madrid is full of communal squares, so it’s definitely worth checking out a few. Perhaps the most famous are Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor. Others worth exploring are Plaza de Toros las Ventas (where you will see the famous bull ring), Plaza de Cibeles, Plaza de Oriente, and Plaza de Olavide (fun fact: we lived here!)

10. Try all the Food

And last but certainly not least, save room for all the food! Be sure to try some traditional dishes like paella, tapas, sangria, and chocolate con churros to name a few! Check out THIS POST for a complete restaurant guide.


  • Although the city is huge, it’s definitely walkable (but you will get your steps in).
  • Another great mode of transportation: the metro! It’s one of the best!
  • TIPPING: Not really required or expected, but it doesn’t hurt to leave 10%, especially if it’s at a nicer place or if the service is excellent. BUT CASH ONLY! Don’t add a tip onto your credit card payment.
  • Spanish is the official language, and while you will find that many people also speak English, don’t expect it. It’s a good idea to learn some basics or have your Google Translate app handy!
  • Get on Spanish time: Lunch is typically between 2-4pm, while dinner starts around 9pm!
  • Be cautious of pick pockets, especially in crowded tourist areas.

If you ever have the chance to visit Madrid, it’s absolutely worth the stop. Even if it’s only a day or two. . .pick your must-see sights and hit those! It’s impossible to do everything in one visit, so don’t shy away from visiting if you think you won’t have enough time to see it all. Heck, I was here 2 months and I know there’s even more that I didn’t see!

So after checking out what I consider the “Top 10” of Madrid, has the Spanish city found it’s way onto your bucket list? Share your thoughts in the comments!

– Courtney


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