What to See in Madrid in One Day

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Bar Crawl Madrid

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Madrid is a vibrant city full of history, culture, and stunning architecture. If you only have one day to explore this bustling capital of Spain, worry not! With careful planning and prioritization, you can experience some of the city’s most iconic attractions. Here’s a guide to help you make the most of your day in Madrid.

1. Start Your Day at Plaza Mayor

Begin your day in Madrid with a visit to Plaza Mayor. This historic square dates back to the 17th century and is surrounded by beautiful buildings with picturesque balconies. Enjoy a cup of coffee at one of the charming cafes while soaking in the atmosphere. Don’t forget to snap some photos of the stunning architecture and the central statue of King Philip III.


  • Visit early in the morning to avoid crowds.
  • Take a guided tour to learn more about the history of Plaza Mayor.

2. Explore the Royal Palace

After Plaza Mayor, head towards the Royal Palace, which is just a short walk away. This grand residence is the official home of the Spanish royal family but is now primarily used for state ceremonies. Take a tour of the palace interior to admire the lavish rooms, artwork, and exquisite architecture. Don’t miss the stunning views of Madrid from the palace gardens.


  • Book your tickets in advance to avoid long queues.
  • Consider opting for an audio guide to learn more about the history and significance of each room.

3. Wander Through Retiro Park

After immersing yourself in royal splendor, take a leisurely stroll to Retiro Park. This expansive green oasis is perfect for a relaxing afternoon. Walk around the beautifully landscaped gardens, rent a rowboat on the lake, or simply find a quiet spot to sit and people-watch. Don’t forget to visit the Crystal Palace, a stunning glass structure housing art exhibitions.


  • Pack a picnic to enjoy in the park.
  • Visit the rose garden during the spring months for a colorful display.

4. Indulge in Spanish Cuisine

No visit to Madrid is complete without indulging in the city’s culinary delights. Head to a traditional tapas bar and sample an array of small plates, such as patatas bravas (spicy potatoes), jamón ibérico (cured ham), and tortilla española (Spanish omelet). Wash it down with a refreshing glass of sangria or a local craft beer.


  • Try the famous Churros con Chocolate for a sweet treat.
  • Ask the locals for their favorite tapas bar recommendations.

5. End Your Day at Puerta del Sol

As the sun sets, make your way to the vibrant Puerta del Sol. This bustling square is the heart of Madrid and is known for its iconic clock tower and the famous statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree. Join the locals in the evening tradition of eating grapes as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. Take a leisurely stroll around the area and soak in the lively atmosphere before bidding Madrid farewell.


  • Don’t miss the Kilometer Zero plaque located in Puerta del Sol.
  • Visit during the holiday season to experience the festive lights and decorations.

While one day may not be enough to experience everything Madrid has to offer, this itinerary provides a glimpse into the city’s rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture. Customize your trip by including other notable attractions such as the Prado Museum, Gran Via, or the Temple of Debod if time permits. Madrid welcomes you with open arms, so make the most of your day in this captivating city!

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What to See in Madrid in One Day