How To Spend 24 Hours in Madrid, Spain

See Madrid in 24 hours with this handy guide| © Madrid Destino Cultura Turismo y Negocio
See Madrid in 24 hours with this handy guide| © Madrid Destino Cultura Turismo y Negocio
Photo of Lori Zaino
21 April 2017

You could spend weeks in Madrid and not see it all, but if you’ve got just 24 hours, here’s a quick guide to packing in as many unique sights and experiences as you can.


Start the day as you mean to go on, with a hearty breakfast of fried sugary dough sticks dipped in chocolate: churros. Tourists love the Chocolatería San Ginés, but for a more local vibe, try the famous chocolate café Valor.

Chocolate and churros | © Madrid Destino Cultura Turismo y Negocio

Next, work off some of those calories with a brisk morning walk through the famous Retiro Park. Don’t miss seeing the Palacio de Cristal, a building made almost entirely of glass.

The Palacio de Cristal on a fall afternoon | © Lori Zaino

Head past the towering Puerta de Alcalá monument and through the Plaza de Cibeles to admire the stunning Neoclassical architecture Madrid is famous for. Walk down the famous Gran Vía street, checking out the many theatres and the famous gold-gilded Metropolis building. Turn right and head up Calle Fuencarral for a little light shopping. Many of the small streets in the area will take you past quaint cafes or cute boutiques to pop into. Stop at the three-floor food market Mercado de San Ildefonso and grab a quick snack.

A view of Gran Via | © Lori Zaino


Stop at any spot with a Menú del Día – a daily lunch menu offering a drink, starter, main course and dessert for a fixed price, often between eight and 15 euros, depending on the day of the week. Restaurants usually have small chalkboards on the street outside the restaurant advertising the daily offer. After lunch, head down to the famous Prado Museum to get your art fix in: see masterpieces by the likes of Goya, Velázquez, Bosch and more. Then, walk down to check out some of the most famous attractions in the city, such as the Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, the Royal Palace and the Cathedral.

Museo del Prado, Paseo del Prado, s/n, 28014 Madrid +34 902 10 70 77


Catch the sunset at the Tempo de Debod, an Egyptian temple perched on a small hill. Bring your own beer or wine to share with friends as you enjoy the sun dipping below the horizon. One the sun is down, head over to Calle Ponzano to enjoy some tapas and drinks. There are plenty of nightclubs in that area if you want to keep the party going. If you’d prefer a sit-down, try the trendy Bar Galleta, with dinner sittings at 8.30 pm and 10.30 pm.

Bar Galleta, Calle Corredera Baja de San Pablo, 31, 28004 Madrid +34 619 83 05 03

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