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What to do in Madrid’s City Centre in just 1 or 2 days?

icon calendar 12 February, 2024
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If you find yourself planning a weekend escape to Madrid or are a first-time visitor unsure of what to do in Madrid’s City Centre in just one or two days, fear not. We present you with a detailed guide to exploring the iconic landmarks and must-visit places that Madrid has to offer within a short timeframe.

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Did you know that touring Madrid on a hop on hop off bus is one of the most efficient ways to navigate the historic center? Whether you have a day or two to spare, consider opting for a sightseeing bus ticket. Not only will it save you money on public transportation, but it will also minimize waiting time on transfers. The added bonus? Stops at all the crucial points of interest in Madrid.

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Remember, you have the flexibility to start your route in the order we suggest or mix it up – the choice is yours! With Madrid City Tour’s hop on hop off bus, you can begin your exploration wherever and whenever you want, given our buses run every 10-15 minutes, with stops at key tourist attractions in Madrid.

If you’ve got your tickets ready, let’s start our journey!

1. Art Triangle

No visit to Madrid is complete without exploring at least one of the three museums that make up the “Art Triangle of Madrid.” Board our sightseeing bus at the nearest stop and hop off at Stop 1 (Prado Museum) or 17 (Botanical Garden) on the Historic Route; or at Stop 1 (Plaza de Neptuno) on the Modern Route.

We recommend starting your exploration here to allow ample time to savor at your own pace the treasures within three of Spain’s most important museums.

Prado Museum

The Prado, with its marvalous architecture, stands as a tangible testament to the artistic legacy that Madrid offers its visitors.

The Prado Museum, known as one of the world’s most important museums, houses an impressive collection of European art from the 12th to the 19th centuries. From the majestic works of Velázquez to the unparalleled paintings of Goya, each room is a journey through Spain’s rich artistic history. To truly enjoy it, we recommend opting for a guided tour with a professional local guide who can explain every detail of the works you’ll see during the tour.

Remember, you can enjoy a 20% exclusive online discount for your guided visit to the Prado by applying our code MW20.

Reina Sofía Museum

Display in the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid

Continuing our journey, we head to the Reina Sofia Museum, home to Picasso’s famous masterpiece “Guernica.” This contemporary art museum not only showcases the work of prominent Spanish artists but also provides a unique insight into global art from the 20th century. Temporary exhibitions and the modern architecture of the museum create an immersive experience that transcends time and space.

If you want to visit the Reina Sofia and the Prado with a professional guide, consider checking Juliá Travel‘s website to save on a combo that includes tickets and a guided tour.

Thyssen – Bornemisza Museum

Juliá Travel's guide explaining a painting to a group of tourist in the Thyssen- Bornemisza Museum in Madrid

Completing this art triangle is the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, welcoming us with a collection spanning from the Renaissance to modern art. This museum, located in the Villahermosa Palace, offers a unique perspective, complementing Madrid’s artistic narrative. The diversity of styles and eras, from the Flemish primitives to the impressionists, ensures that every visitor finds a personal connection to Madrid’s cultural richness. You can purchase your tickets on the official website of the museum. But if you want to enjoy a more private experience… visit Juliá Travel’s website and book your private guided tour now!

After completing your museum route in Madrid, we recommend taking a stroll through the Cibeles Fountain, an icon of Madrid located just a few meters from the museums.

If you’re traveling with children, an option they’ll love and that will help you rest a bit is Retiro Park, located a short walk from Cibeles. Inside the park, you can enjoy a boat ride on the lake, feed the ducks, or simply relax in the shade of the trees.

2. Historical Center of Madrid

Our guide on what to do in Madrid would be incomplete without a mandatory stop in its historical center. If you already have your tickets for Madrid City Tour’s hop on hop off bus, remember to get off at Stop 7 or 15 (depending on where you come from) on the Historic Route, as these are the closest stops to the center. If you take the buses on the Modern Route, you can get off at Stop 15, which will leave you a few meters from Puerta del Sol.

With a route that covers Gran Vía and Puerta del Sol, the Historical Center comes to life with its elegant shops and bustling energy. Hop off the sightseeing bus and explore the boutiques and tapas bars that adorn these iconic streets. Don’t forget to take a photo with the well-known sculpture of “El Oso y el Madroño,” a symbol of Madrid. We also recommend including in your visit iconic corners of Madrid, such as Plaza de la Villa and Mercado de San Miguel.

Visiting Plaza Mayor, the heart of the Historical Center, is a must on this tour. This iconic place will transport you in time with its majestic architecture and lively atmosphere surrounded by local restaurants and bars.

The historical center of Madrid is a living testimony to the city’s rich history and offers an unforgettable experience for those seeking to immerse themselves in the essence of the Spanish capital.

3. Temple of Debod

View of Temple of Debod in Madrid during the sunset

Feel the magic of Egypt in the heart of Madrid! After a morning filled with art, head to Stop 5 at Plaza de Cibeles or Stop 2 at Puerta de Alcalá (if coming from a stroll through Retiro) and board the Madrid City Tour sightseeing bus. Enjoy panoramic views of the streets of downtown Madrid as we reach our next point on the route: the Temple of Debod, located at Stop 11 of the hop on hop bus.

The Temple of Debod, an ancestral gift from Egypt to Spain, stands as a cultural oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of Madrid. This archaeological treasure, moved stone by stone from the banks of the Nile to its current location in Parque del Oeste, offers visitors a unique connection to the ancient Egyptian civilization.

4. Royal Palace of Madrid

The Royal Palace of Madrid is one of the city’s most important monuments and a must-visit during your trip to Madrid.

Couple taking photos at the Royal Palace of Madrid

This imposing baroque building served as the residence of the Spanish monarchy from the 18th century until the early 20th century and continues to host significant national and international events.

You can’t miss the opportunity to admire its luxurious rooms finely decorated with antique furniture, such as the Throne Room or the Gala Dining Room. If you want to learn every detail of its construction and history, we recommend taking a guided tour of the Royal Palace of Madrid with a local professional guide. Get a 20% discount by applying our code MW20 before payment!

5. Tapas Bars and Restaurants at La Latina

Metro Stop Sign in the Neighborhood of La Latina

Wrap up your day in the vibrant neighborhood of La Latina, renowned for its tapas bars and restaurants that offer a delightful showcase of Spanish cuisine. Indulge in authentic flavors, replenish your energy for the next leg of your adventure.

To reach La Latina, simply hop on Madrid City Tour’s hop on hop off bus along the historic route and disembark at Stop 14, Gran Vía de San Francisco 8. From here, you can head to any of the restaurants and pubs in this district and relish in the gastronomic and bohemian charm of Madrid.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide on what to do in the center of Madrid. The city presents countless options to explore, and while we could share a thousand more ideas, we trust this guide will help you make the most of your visit 🙂. Surely, there’s a desire to discover more, but don’t worry! We’ll save that for your next journey 😉✈️.

Oh, and if you want to enjoy exclusive discount codes for tours and guided visits in Madrid, be sure to check out our ‘What to Do in Madrid’ section.

📷 Share with us on social media the other places you recommend in the center of Madrid, tag us in your photos, and enjoy Madrid to the fullest!

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