Spain’s capital city is filled with magical spots that you absolutely have to see before leaving. From rooftop bars to palaces, monuments to museums, Madrid has so many wonderful places that you simply can’t miss. There are really too many to count, so here’s a list of the best ones you should definitely make time for.
Palacio de Cristal
A palace made up almost entirely of glass, the Palacio de Cristal is located in the picturesque Retiro Park on a bed of green grass, surrounded by trees and flowers. One of Madrid’s most emblematic structures, the building dates back to 1887 but is now used to house temporary modern art exhibits from the Reina Sofía. Make sure to stop inside to see the sunlight streaming through the glass panes.
The top floor of the culture centre Círculo de Bellas Artes offers some of the best panoramic views of the city. It’s one of the few rooftops that allows for uninterrupted views of Madrid in all four directions. Spot the Retiro Park, Cibeles, the Casa de Campo Park – you can even spot mountains in the distance on a clear day. The rooftop costs €4 to visit and you can also purchase drinks and snacks while enjoying the views.
Madrid’s most famous square is surely the Plaza Mayor. Famous for its 237 balconies facing the centre of the square, being surrounded by the bright red buildings is a magical experience. Even better, relax at one of the many cafes with outdoor seating to enjoy a cold beer on a warm summer day.
It may seem a bit strange to see an Egyptian Temple in the European city of Madrid, but you won’t regret checking out the famous Templo of Debod. A gift to Spain from Egypt, try to see it at sunset, when you can bring your own drinks, sit in the grass and admire the temple with a stunning backdrop of red and orange beyond.
Madrid’s cable car, the teleférico, is a unique way to see the city centre and surrounding areas. Dating back to 1969, the cable car transports passengers at 130 feet above the ground, offering incredible views of the Palacio Real, Almudena Cathedral and Madrid’s distinctive rooftops. You can take it one-way or round trip, starting from either the Casa de Campo, Madrid’s largest park, or from Pintor Rosales, closer to the city centre (€5.90 round trip).
Madrid’s most famous modern art museum, Reina Sofía, is full of amazing exhibitions. Here you can see the original ‘Guernica’ by Pablo Picasso – depicting the horrors of the Spanish Civil War – as well as an extensive Salvador Dalí collection, featuring his most famous paintings such as the famous dripping clocks.
One of Madrid’s most important landmarks, the Royal Palace, is one of the largest palaces in Europe. A majestic building with an impressive entrance featuring limestone statues of over 44 Spanish royals, you can visit the inside for €10 or simply wander around the outside admiring the regal architecture. Just outside the palace are the Sabatini gardens, which feature bushes and trees trimmed into small mazes set around ponds, flower beds and statues.