Planning a trip to Madrid? How many days in Madrid you should spend depends on what you want to explore. 

Madrid is known for its vibrant culture, lively atmosphere, and historical sites. It is a city of seven million people and beautifully mixes modern European life with Spanish heritage.

From world-class museums to vast parks and trendy boutiques, you’ll find plenty to fill your itinerary. Madrid’s history is visible in its monuments and landmarks. Each visit is sure to be memorable.

You’ll find a unique blend of the old and new in Madrid. Embrace everything it has to offer. Like many other travelers, including me, you might fall in love with Madrid’s atmosphere, culture, and rich history.

I lived in Madrid for two years and experienced its charms. I wrote about why Madrid is worth visiting in a separate article. There are plenty of reasons to put Madrid high on your travel list.

Hi, I’m Timon!

I’ve experienced the heartbeat of Spain firsthand. Over the last five years, I’ve immersed myself in the dynamic cities of Spain, truly living the Spanish way. My insights into this beautiful country are rooted in genuine experience.

How Many Days Should You Stay in Madrid?

The duration of your stay in Madrid will depend on a few factors. These include your interests, travel pace, and available vacation time. Let’s dive into these aspects.

First, let’s talk about interests. Madrid is full of art, history, and food experiences. Some of the must-see places are the Prado Museum and Reina Sofia Museum. Also, don’t miss the Royal Palace and Almudena Cathedral. If these excite you, plan for at least 3 days. 

Are you a football fan? It’s the most popular sport in Spain, so you might want to catch a match at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, home of Real Madrid C.F. This could require a longer stay. Make sure to check when they play a home match before booking.

Next, consider your travel pace. Some people like to keep moving and see as much as they can. Others prefer to take their time and enjoy the atmosphere. For fast-paced travelers, 2 days could be enough to see the major attractions.

But you will need to choose what to see carefully. If you like a slower pace, plan for 3 days. This allows you to explore different neighborhoods, relax in Retiro Park, and enjoy Madrid’s food.

How much vacation time do you have? If it’s a weekend trip, pick your favorite attractions. Spend a day at places like the Prado Museum and Plaza Mayor. Use the second day for other interests. Even a weekend trip can give you a good taste of Madrid.

One Day in Madrid

Begin your day with a stroll through Puerta Del Sol. This popular square is both a local and tourist favorite. Be sure to check out the iconic buildings around.

Next, explore the grandeur of the Royal Palace of Madrid. This historical palace offers a glimpse into Spain’s royal past. It is a true architectural delight. And while you’re there, make sure to take a look at the other side. Here you will find the Almudena Cathedral, which was ultimately completed in 1993.

Afterward, pay a visit to the lively Mercado de San Miguel. This bustling market is known for its tasty tapas and fresh produce. It is an ideal spot to sample local Spanish cuisine.

Plaza Mayor Madrid

Your next stop should be Plaza Mayor. This magnificent square is rich in history and architecture. It’s a great place to soak in the local culture.

Follow up with a visit to the Prado Museum. As Spain’s premier art gallery, it features works from renowned artists like Velázquez, Goya, and El Greco. Alternatively, you can opt to visit the Reina Sofia Museum instead.

In the evening, experience Madrid’s tapas culture. You can try various local flavors at bars and restaurants.

End your day with a Flamenco show in Madrid. Experience this traditional Spanish dance form. It’s a vibrant cultural experience that will stay with you.

Remember, one day in Madrid gives you only a taste of the city. There’s much more to explore. The city’s charming neighborhoods, rich culture, and historical landmarks will likely call you back for more.

2 Days in Madrid

Madrid Puerta de Espana Buen Retiro Park

Your first day in Madrid was filled with excitement. You visited historic landmarks like the Royal Palace and Plaza Mayor. 

You also enjoyed some of Spain’s art and history at the Reina Sofia Museum or Prado Museum. The day ended with a sampling of Madrid’s vibrant tapas culture and a flamenco show.

On your second day, explore Madrid’s unique neighborhoods, Lavapiés and Barrio de las Letras. These areas offer a blend of history and modern appeal. Local boutiques and vibrant street art are aplenty here.

Later, take a peaceful break at Retiro Park. This green oasis in the heart of Madrid is perfect for a stroll. Also, don’t miss the iconic Plaza de Cibeles. Its stunning architecture is a sight to behold.

As the day comes to an end, visit the Templo de Debod and Plaza de España. The ancient Egyptian temple offers a unique contrast against Madrid’s modern skyline. Plaza de España is a bustling spot with its famous monuments and vibrant atmosphere.

To sum up, a well-planned itinerary is key to making the most of your 2 days in Madrid. This fascinating city has a wealth of experiences waiting for you.

3 Days in Madrid

The Bernabeu football stadium

You’ve covered a lot in your first two days in Madrid. You’ve seen the Royal Palace, walked the historic plazas, and experienced Madrid’s world-class museums.

Day three is all about the road less traveled. Madrid’s brimming with hidden wonders, and it’s time to explore them.

Day three is your chance if you didn’t have the opportunity to visit both the Prado and Reina Sofia museums. Choose one and get ready to be amazed. You could also see the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, better known as the Thyssen. It’s another great spot for art lovers.

After a feast of art, why not delve into the world of sports? Consider taking a tour of the Bernabeu Stadium, the ground of Real Madrid C.F. It’s a sight to see even if you’re not a football fan!

Next, venture into the trendy districts of Malasaña and Chueca. Take your time. Wander through these neighborhoods to truly immerse yourself in local culture.

End your three-day Madrid adventure by ticking off any remaining items on your list. Madrid’s magic lies in its details.

With diverse attractions, there’s always more to see and do in this vibrant city. This trip will definitely leave you wanting to return.

When Should You Visit Madrid?

Palacio Real in Madrid

The time of year can affect your stay. Madrid’s weather varies, with hot summers and cold winters. The best time to visit Madrid is in spring or fall. The weather is nice, and there are not that many tourists. 

If you’re visiting in summer, plan for more time. You’ll need it to see everything while dealing with the crowds. Also, bear in mind that the temperatures can get extremely hot. Meaning you’d probably want to have more breaks in between.

In conclusion, the length of your Madrid stay depends on several factors. These are your interests, travel speed, available time, and the season. Considering these, you can figure out the perfect trip length. Madrid offers something for everyone. No matter how long you stay, you’ll have a great time.

Guided Tours in Madrid

Madrid is Spain’s capital. It’s a vibrant city known for its art, history, and parks. Madrid offers a range of guided tours for visitors.

Art Museums 

Madrid Museo del Prado with Velazquez statue

Art fans should consider museum tours. Madrid has world-class art museums. Tours will let you explore the city’s artistic culture in-depth.

  • Prado Museum: Spain’s major art museum is globally renowned. The museum showcases European art from Goya, Velázquez, and El Greco. Guided tours of the Prado offer insights into its rich history and masterpieces.
  • Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum: It exhibits European paintings from the 13th to the 20th century. Tours here guide you through different styles and periods. You’ll see everything from Gothic and Renaissance art to Impressionism and Surrealism.

Historical Sites 

facade of Madrid royal palace

Madrid also has historical landmarks. These tell the city’s fascinating past. Tours help you explore these landmarks better.

  • Royal Palace of Madrid: It’s the official home of the Spanish Royal Family. A tour will take you through its grand rooms, galleries, and gardens.
  • Puerta del Sol: Madrid’s central square is full of history. This walking tour will introduce you to its monuments. You’ll see the famous Tio Pepe sign, the Bear and the Strawberry Tree statue, and the Kilometre Zero plaque.

Parks and Gardens

Retiro Park in Madrid

Alongside its bustling urban life, Madrid’s parks and gardens provide a serene escape for locals and tourists alike. Guided tours will help you discover the beauty and history of these green spaces:

  • Retiro Park: As one of Madrid’s largest parks, Retiro is the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll, boat ride, or picnic. A guided tour covers noteworthy monuments like the Puerta de Alcalá and the Palacio de Cristal, a beautiful glass pavilion that hosts art exhibitions.

To explore Madrid’s enchanting green spaces, consider taking a guided bike tour that combines several parks and gardens into one outing.

Lesser-Known Madrid Spots

Direction signs to popular landmarks in Madrid, Spain

As you plan your trip to Madrid, consider allocating some time to explore lesser-known spots in the city. These hidden gems can provide a unique and authentic experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in local culture. 

Hidden in plain sight, the Palacio de Cerralbo, located in the heart of Chamberí, might often be overlooked. This 19th-century mansion-turned-museum was the residence of the Marquis of Cerralbo and his family. 

Stepping inside feels like traveling back in time. The wealthy interior showcases a vast collection of art, antiquities, and personal belongings, evoking the lifestyle of a high-society family in late 19th-century Spain. 

For a quiet retreat amidst the city, visit the Royal Botanical Garden of Alfonso XIII. Tucked away behind the Complutense University of Madrid, this hidden oasis feels like a secret garden. 

Wander down the peaceful pathways, admiring the diverse flora and fauna, or relax on one of the inviting benches. This little-known location offers a serene escape from the bustling city streets, and it’s a perfect spot to unwind and recharge during your Madrid adventure. 

And while we’re on the topic of unique experiences, attending a live flamenco show in Madrid is a great experience to remember.

Let’s not forget about our food lovers! Ever heard of Restaurante Botín? It’s not just any restaurant. It’s the oldest restaurant in the world that’s still running! Imagine tasting history with every bite. If you’re into food and prefer to learn a thing or two, you might also want to try a cooking class in Madrid.

By venturing off the beaten path and exploring these lesser-known spots in Madrid, your trip will become a more memorable and enriching experience. 

Day Trips from Madrid

Madrid is a city full of culture. But there’s more to explore. You can take day trips from Madrid, such as the ones below.

Alcazar of Toledo

Toledo: This city is 70 km south of Madrid. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once, it was Spain’s capital. Christians, Jews, and Muslims have influenced this city. You can see this in its architecture, artwork, and cuisine.

A Madrid to Toledo day trip is highly recommended, offering a deeper dive into its rich history and cultural fusion.


Segovia: Another UNESCO-listed city. It’s just 90 minutes from Madrid. The city has a Roman aqueduct and a fairy-tale castle. The Gothic-style Segovia Cathedral is stunning.


Ávila: A small town 100 km northwest of Madrid. It’s known for its medieval walls. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has cobblestone streets. Visit the Cathedral of Ávila and the Basilica de San Vicente.

Including some of these trips in your itinerary will make your visit to Madrid more comprehensive and memorable. Plan your time accordingly, check for transportation options, and embrace the opportunity to explore beyond Madrid’s city limits.

Public Transportation and Getting Around

Train in a metro station in Madrid

Navigating Madrid is a breeze with its range of public transportation options. These choices can aid in your smooth journey through the city. By using public transport, you can save both time and money.

Before choosing your transport, compare your options. Consider both prices and convenience. Not all options suit all travelers. If you prefer having a vehicle at your disposal, exploring Madrid car rental options can provide flexibility and convenience during your stay.

Airport Transfers

Upon arrival at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport, several transportation options are available to get you to the city center. 

One of the most convenient options is the Airport Express Shuttle, which links the airport with the city center in 40 minutes for just €5. This shuttle runs 24 hours a day and accepts card payments.

Metro System

Madrid’s metro system is a smart way to explore the city. It’s efficient and ideal for reaching tourist sites. It operates from 6 am to 1:30 am. During morning rush hours, trains depart every 2 minutes. After midnight, they run every 15 minutes.

On weekends, the frequency of trains is less. Still, the metro provides a convenient mode of transport. It links all the significant parts of Madrid. It’s perfect for a self-guided city tour.

To save on transport, consider the Tourist Travel Pass. This pass gives unlimited access to public transportation. It’s economical and allows quick exploration of Madrid. Using it makes traveling easy, especially to popular places.

When planning your day, choose your visiting times carefully. Mornings and late afternoons can be less crowded. This strategy works well for famous sites. 

For instance, visiting Plaza Mayor early in the morning is a good idea. It’s less crowded then. You’ll get to enjoy the historical ambiance without much disturbance.


Taxis can be a convenient option for a more private and comfortable transportation experience. 

You can easily find a taxi at designated taxi ranks or by hailing one on the street. It’s important to keep in mind that taxis can be more expensive than public transport, but they offer greater flexibility in terms of travel times and destinations.

Uber in Madrid

Uber is an available option for travel in Madrid. However, it’s less popular than in some other countries. Locals and tourists often use other ways to get around. Metro, buses, and taxis are more common choices.

Nonetheless, Uber can still be useful. It’s handy for rides at unusual hours or when you prefer a private car. It can meet specific travel needs.

Before choosing your transport, compare your options. Consider both prices and convenience. Not all options suit all travelers.

Practical Information

Madrid how many days traveling

Language and Communication

In Madrid, the official language is Spanish. However, many locals can speak English, particularly in the service and tourism industry. 

While exploring the city, you should not have too much trouble finding Spaniards who can communicate in English. However, learning a few basic Spanish phrases can make your stay more enjoyable.

Money and Currency

The currency used in Madrid is the Euro (€). You should exchange your money before arriving or at the airport to avoid any inconvenience. 

Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, but carrying cash for small purchases or if a place doesn’t accept cards is always a good idea. 

Here are some average prices for everyday expenses:

ItemPrice Range
Meal at a Restaurant€10 to €20
Cappuccino€1.50 to €3
Public Transportation€1.50 to €2
Taxi (1 km)€1 to €1.50

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a must. It provides coverage for unexpected events. These could include sickness, accidents, or even lost luggage. Also, it helps when you need to cancel your trip. 

It’s crucial to find a policy that fits your needs. Be sure it covers what you’ll be doing on your visit.

Madrid is generally safe. Yet, it’s always wise to prepare for potential issues. Having a good travel insurance policy can help. It allows you to travel with confidence. So, you can focus on enjoying the city’s vibrant life.

How many days in Madrid: FAQ

How many days are sufficient for a Madrid trip?

The number of days required for a Madrid trip depends on your interests and itinerary preferences. Generally, at least 2 days is recommended to see the main attractions, but spending up to 3-4 days can give you a better experience.

What can you do in Madrid in 2 days?

In 2 days, you can focus on the major highlights of Madrid. Visit the Royal Palace, the Prado Museum, and Retiro Park. Explore the neighborhoods of Barrio de las Letras and Malasaña, and indulge in tapas at local bars.

What is a good itinerary for 3 days in Madrid?

A 3-day itinerary allows you to explore more of Madrid’s attractions. In addition to the 2-day itinerary, you can visit the Reina Sofia Museum, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, and the Temple of Debod. Take a day trip to nearby destinations like Toledo or Segovia.

What is a good itinerary for 4 days in Madrid?

With 4 days in Madrid, you can dive deeper into the city’s culture. Start with the 3-day itinerary, and devote the additional day to visiting lesser-known attractions or taking a guided tour. Explore local markets like El Rastro, and experience Flamenco shows in the evening.

Final Thoughts: How many days in Madrid

Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas in Madrid

Madrid, Spain’s capital, is rich in history and culture. To enjoy the city’s main attractions, at least 2 days is recommended. This time frame allows for the exploration of key sights and nearby destinations.

Madrid’s Prado Boulevard is an art lover’s paradise. It hosts world-renowned museums like the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofía, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza. Here, you can marvel at works by famous artists and appreciate Madrid’s artistic heritage.

Exploring the city’s neighborhoods is a must. Malasaña is trendy, Barrio de la Latina is historic, and Chueca is vibrant. These areas showcase Madrid’s unique architecture, delicious cuisine, and lively streets.

Make time to visit Madrid’s rooftop bars. These offer breathtaking views of the city’s skyline. It’s a perfect way to end an evening.

Your stay in Madrid promises unforgettable experiences. Embrace the city’s energy, delve into its history, and let its charm captivate you. Regardless of your stay’s length, Madrid will leave a lasting impression.

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