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Madrid is full of so many interesting things to see and do, so it was hard to choose what to visit in the city! During our visit to Spain, we only had one day in Madrid. Even though we didn’t have much time, we made the most of it by checking off the top of our Madrid bucket list and visiting the top attractions and things to do in Madrid! Here is our guide on how you can see the top things to do in Madrid in one day and tips for visiting Madrid!!
If you’re looking to get a more in-depth and local experience in Madrid, consider booking a local guide!
How to Spend One Day in Madrid
Spain is well known for having it’s subcultures and atmospheres, depending on where you’re traveling within Spain. Unlike Barcelona, which is very modern and colorful in terms of culture, Madrid is full of elegant boulevards and parks like Paris.
Visit an Egyptian Temple
To your surprise, Madrid is home to an Egyptian Temple! The Temple of Debod dates back to the 2nd century BC and was in honor of the Egyptian god Amun and the goddess Isis. The Temple was donated to Madrid as a gift and conservation effort by the Egyptian government. Because of the floods from the Aswan Dam, the Temple was dismantled and reconstructed in Madrid’s Cuartel de la Montaña Park. Conservation efforts restrict visitation inside the Temple; however, you can observe its beauty from the park. Visiting this Temple makes for a unique thing to do in Madrid!
Address: CALLE FERRAZ, 1 28008 MADRID
Metro Access: Plaza de España (lines 3 and 10) and Ventura Rodríguez (line 3)
Friday 10AM–2PM, 6–8PM
Tuesday 10AM–2PM, 6–8PM
Wednesday 10AM–2PM, 6–8PM
Thursday 10AM–2PM, 6–8PM
Eat Some Churros
This is probably one of the most touristy things to do in Madrid, but it’s so worth it! If you want to try the most well-known Churros in Spain, visit Chocolatería San Ginés. Open 24/7/365, this cafe has been an icon in Madrid since 1894. With its green and white walls and rich chocolate aroma, San Ginés will satisfy your sweet tooth. For a reasonable price of 5 Euro, you get some churros and a cup of hot chocolate (that I shamelessly ate with a spoon). We ended our 24 hours in Madrid by getting some churros!
Take a Picture at Puerta De Sol
Puerta del Sol, or Gates of the Sun, began as one of the gates for the city during the 15th century and today it’s one of the happening squares in Madrid. Full of street artists and musicians, this square is the center of Spain’s radial roads! Here at New Years, the famous clock strikes twelve and the traditional eating of the Twelve Grapes brings in the new year.
Tour the Football Club
If you’re a football (ie soccer) fan, take some time to check out the Real Madrid football club! You can read more about a tour of the club from Seeking the Spanish Sun here!
View Picasso’s Guernica
Picasso’s Guernica makes its home in Madrid. If you’re going to visit one of the art museums in Madrid, visit the Reina Sofia museum to see this thought-provoking piece. Guernica, painted in 1937, responds to the Nazi bombing of a small town called Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. Guernica depicts pain, tragedy, and the suffering of war. Interpretation of the piece is up to the viewer, as scholars have a wide range of opinions. Take a look for yourself at the Reina Sofia Museum. You can also see some of Dali’s famous works at this museum! The Prado Museum is also another amazing art museum in Madrid.
Learn at the National Archaeological Museum of Spain
Our day in Madrid was very rainy, so we decided to visit a museum. With so many to choose from (ie Natural History Museum, the Prado to name a few) we finally chose the MAN and it did not disappoint! The National Archaeological Museum of Spain (or MAN) walks you through human history from the beginning of time to the birth of early Spain, and into the modern era. It was very easy to spend most of the day in this museum!
Address: C / Serrano, 13 28001 Madrid
Cost: 3 Euro
Metro Access: Line 4: Serrano Station Line 2: Retiro Station
From Tuesday to Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Sundays and holidays, 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m
Where to Stay in Madrid:
The Hat Madrid Hostel
The Hat, a Madrid hostel, has a very indie, millennial vibe to it. The decor is rustic modern, which makes you feel like you’re in a place designed by the one and only Chip and Johanna Gains. Plus, there’s a rooftop bar with amazing sangrias. Again, every twenty something’s dream for accommodations.
The rooms were for 6 people with a private bathroom. The beds were incredibly comfortable. Like the most comfortable beds, we stayed in during our entire Grand Tour of Europe trip. Each bed featured had a storage bin and outlet. You were also provided very large storage lockers.
The breakfast wasn’t the best, with only cereal and some bread. It was a little frustrating how there wasn’t much seating in the lobby to eat.
In terms of location, it was great for us! We were able to walk everywhere that we wanted to go within half an hour. We were able to walk to the National Archeological Museum, which is very close to the Prado Museum and Retiro Park. This Madrid hostel is in a great central location for our needs! If you’re looking a for a hip, close to everything hostel, The Hat would be great for you!