You Need To See These Magical Places Before You Leave Madrid

Madrid Skyline | © ESB Professional/Shutterstock
Madrid Skyline | © ESB Professional/Shutterstock
Photo of Lori Zaino
22 November 2018

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

Building, Park
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The Palacio de Cristal at night
The Palacio de Cristal at night | © Felipe Gabaldón/ Wikipedia
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 rooftop of the Círculo de Bellas Artes

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Cocktails
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The skyline of Madrid from the rooftop of the Circulo de Bellas Artes | © SAQUIZETA/Shutterstock

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.

Plaza Mayor

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.

Outdoor drinks in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid | © Madrid Destino Cultura Turismo y Negocio

Templo of Debod

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.

Debod Temple, Madrid, Spain | © neftali/Shutterstock


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).

Teleférico | © S-F/Shutterstock

Museo Reina Sofía

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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.

Palacio Real

Building, Historical Landmark
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The Sabatini gardens and a view of the Royal Palace | © Lori Zaino

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.

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