Madrid is unlike other European capitals or large cities around the world with iconic buildings or magnificent sightseeing spots. The city is different, and if you spend some days in Madrid, you will discover why.
Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. You can read our disclosure here.
Madrid is the second largest city in Europe (only surpassed by Berlin) and is situated in the heart of the Iberian peninsula. Some 6.5 million people live here. Spend 3 romantic days in Madrid and you will be very surprised to discover what this city has to offer.
If you visit in April, you will experience a very pleasant 18°C / 65°F and in addition, the green areas and parks will be blooming with spring flowers.
Spain is famous for numerous things; it’s delicious cousine, fine arts, renouned football clubs, city of Barcelona, the Canary Islands, Mallorca etc. In some ways, at least to us, the capital city of Madrid was hiding in the shadow compared to Barcelona.
How to get to Madrid
For the most part, flying to Madrid is most convenient. You can find reasonably priced airline tickets to the Madrid Barajas Airport from most European capitals.
Furthermore, you can get to Madrid using train on the high-speed rail connections called AVE. The lines are operated by Renfe from where you can buy tickets. Travel distance from Barcelona is only 2.5 hours.
Must sees in Madrid for 3 days
You can experience Madrid in 3 days and still have enough time to discover and explore the city. Even if you are not a great arts fan, there is still plenty of noteworthy places to visit during your stay.
Top 10 places to visit in Madrid:
1. Royal Palace
“Palacio Real de Madrid” is the Royal Palace in Madrid. It’s history dates back to the 8th century where Muhammad I founded it. If you stay around the old city centre, the palace is within walking distance from most hotels. The palace is truly a beautiful place and well worth a visit.
2. Gran Via
If you are in the mood for a bit of shopping while spending your days in Madrid, you should visit the Gran Via. Here, you can find shopping malls, boutiques with international brands as well as hotels and movie theaters. Some call this street the Spanish Broadway.
3. The Prado Museum
Whether you love art or not, the Museo Nacional del Prado is a must see when spending some days in Madrid. The museum contains perhaps one of the finest collection of European arts and by many considered one of the finest arts museums in the world. Remember to book your tickets in advance as the waiting queues can be quite long.
4. El Rasto flea market
Every Sunday, along Plaza de Cascorro and Ribera de Curtidores from 9 AM to 3 PM, you can experience the open air market of El Rastro. To begin with, the market primarily sold used items and antiques, but nowadays the stalls sell new items as well as clothing, jewelry, hand bags etc.
The market is charming and has plenty of atmosphere. As a rule of thumb though, you should keep your belongings and wallet close by as the area has been known to attract the unwanted attention of pickpockets. Walk to the La Latina neighborhood for some lunch tapas and a cold beer after you have finished your morning purchases.
5. Market of San Miguel
The “Mercado de San Micuel” is a covered market dating back to 1916. Tease your senses in this mecca of smells and sights. You can find and taste wines, cheese, olives, different tapas to your hearts content.
6. Main Square
You have to experience the “The Plaza Mayor”. This plaza served as the main market square in the city when it was built in the 15th century. Settle down on one of the restaurants and find a spot of sunlight. Enjoy a well served glass of wine or sangria. In the square center, you will spot the bronze statue of King Phillip III from 1616. Various entertainers roam the square, bringing an extra dose of charm to this place.
7. Buen Retiro Park
The El Retiro is the largest park in Madrid you can visit and was formerly owned by the royal family. It’s name refers to a ‘pleasant retreat’ and during a hot summer’s day, you will find the park just that. There, you can enjoy shade under the trees or perhaps take a row boat onto the lake. By the way, you must not miss out on a visit to the extraordinary crystal palace.
Read more about our visit in the El Retiro here: Fun and Love in Parque del Retiro.
8. Santiago Bernabéu Stadium
Your girlfriend might not find the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu particularly romantic, but if you are a football fan, then don’t miss out on a quick visit. Capable of hosting more than 80,000 people, this stadium will undergo some cool renovations until 2023 which will add a rooftop.
9. Flamenco show
When you think of Spain, you might also think of ‘flamenco’. A woman in her red dress, aggressive guitar plays and a beat you can feel. It is a traditional artistic and passionate musical expression that originates from southern Spain such as Andalusia and Murcia. Many smaller venues across Madrid offers flamenco shows and you should not miss out. If you can’t find any, ask the locals for guidance.
10. Enjoy a drink on a rooftop bar
For the most part, a romantic stay is not really romantic without a couple of nice drinks and pleasant conversations. You can get an overview of the city and enjoy the sun from one of the many rooftop bars across the city.