There's no shortage of amazing things to do in Madrid. Known for its iconic fashion, endless shopping, renowned museums, and lively theater scene, Madrid already has all the makings of a trip to remember. But that's not all; this city also has fantastic restaurants, colorful markets, ample sporting events, an abundance of cultural heritage, and a nightlife that is truly legendary. So whether you are looking for the time of your life or just a relaxing vacation with light shopping, Madrid won't disappoint. That said, here are ten memorable things you should do in Madrid to keep your itinerary stacked with excitement for days.
10 Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofía
Contemporary art lovers are in for a real treat at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. This famed museum is not only home to some of Pablo Picasso's and Salvador Dalí's most breathtaking works of art, but also a treasure trove full of 20th-century Spanish art. So if you have always wanted to cross this legendary museum off your bucket list, now is the time. With the contemporary classics, video installations, and modern free-form displays, you don't have to be an art snob to appreciate these beautiful works of art here. If you do decide to stop by, make sure to arrive early as this is one of Madrid's most popular museums.
9 Plaza De Toros De Las Ventas
It almost goes without saying that bullfighting is a cultural pastime in Spain. Thus, there is really no reason not to check out Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas while in Madrid. Located in the Salamanca district, Las Ventas is an iconic Moorish design landmark that should make your memorable vacation itinerary. Even if you prefer not to watch bullfighting, there are several arena tours available sans the main spectacle. That said, for those looking for the complete experience, bullfights are typically held from mid-May to late October, so get your tickets early if possible because the good seats sell out fast.
8 Madrid Teleférico
A great alternative to a city walkabout, the Madrid Teleférico is Madrid's cable car service that spans the entire city and crosses the river. Not only does this service help locals avoid extra traffic on their commutes, but it is also an incredible way to see the city for tourists. An added bonus is that travelers can snap some amazing photos, enjoy the city/river views, and check out the nearby amusement park or zoo (Casa de Campo). So if you're feeling adventurous, why not try something different and get a bird's eye view of Madrid.
7 Palacio De Liria
A true sight to behold, Palacio de Liria is a must-see for anyone visiting Madrid. This stunning Madrid residence of the Dukes of Alba is packed with neoclassical and important artwork like Goya's portrait of the 13th Duchess of Alba. This impressive abode is also home to an expansive library that includes handwritten work from Christopher Columbus (the most extensive collection in the world, in fact). What's more, this fantastic library has the first edition of Don Quijote by the famous Miguel de Cervantes. So, if you're a history buff and lover of all things literature, then Palacio de Liria is definitely worth a tour.
6 Madrid Atocha Train Station
Anyone looking for some good old-fashioned people-watching will enjoy an afternoon at the Madrid Atocha Train Station. This working train station is a favorite mode of transit for many residents and travelers passing through Madrid. However, the real draw of Atocha is in the spectacular atrium. A lush botanical garden with over 5,000 plants spanning 400 different species livens up this otherwise ordinary train station. There are also dozens of shops, dining outlets, and daily happenings that make this urban complex a hub of excitement and activity.
5 Palacio De Cibeles
Yet another must-see palace in Madrid is none other than the Palacio de Cibeles. Located just beyond the famed Paseo del Arte, this gorgeous building has a rich history and was once the city's Telecommunications Palace. Today this architectural wonder houses the Madrid City Council and has a cultural center that hosts regular concerts, events, and exhibits. So, there are more than a few ways to make some memories here. Even if you are short on time, at the very least, take a stroll past this grand structure, so you can enjoy the view and possibly catch the ongoing fantastic fountain/light show.
4 Santiago Bernabéu Stadium
Whatever you choose to call it, soccer or football is definitely another beloved national pastime in Spain. Visitors can join in on the fun here by catching a game at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. Named for the team's long-running president, this stadium is known as the real home of Madrid. This larger-than-life soccer temple is always jam-packed, buzzing with palatable energy, and is an excellent activity for the whole family. So, catch a game or take a behind-the-scenes tour at the very minimum if you're in the area.
3 Temple Of Debod
The Temple of Debod is a stunning Egyptian structure from the 2nd century BC that is another must-see. Located on a picturesque hillside in Cuartel de la Montaña Park, this temple was gifted to Spain by the Egyptian government. A true world marvel, the Temple of Debod has intricate decorative motifs and projections that tell the story of this historical wonder. So if you've ever wanted to see a piece of the ancient past up close in all its glory without having to go all the way to Egypt, now you can in this beautiful park in Madrid.
2 El Rastro
At first glance, checking out a flea market on vacation might not seem like a memorable excursion. But, chances are, you've never been to El Rastro. This famed flea market is a favorite throughout Europe and is a boho-chic/hipster's dream come true. With endless shops, vendors, and hidden gems, visitors can't help but fall in love with all the one-of-a-kind souvenirs, priceless antiques, artwork, unique clothes for sale, and so much more here. That said, El Rastro is only open on Saturdays, and it's worth getting there early if you want to snatch the best deals.
1 Museo Nacional Del Prado
Last but not least, one of the main attractions in Madrid and undoubtedly one of the most famous museums in this area of Europe—Museo Nacional Del Prado should absolutely be on your memorable activities itinerary. Here visitors can marvel at the vast display of Spanish and European art. Del Prado is also home to enormous collections of paintings and sculptures from the biggest names, including Diego Velazquez, El Greco, and Francisco Goya—just to name a few. So, don't forget to also carve out some time in your eventful vacay for this legendary museum.