Madrid: 1 day guide

Madrid 1 day guide - The cat, you and us

Part of my family lives in Madrid, so our visits to the capital city are quite frequent – not as much as I would like, but still… However what I have failed to explain before is that, in fact, they live 1h from the city center (Madrid metropolis is very wide), so we usually work on 1-day plans to spend some time exploring Madrid. That’s why we thought it would be fun to create a 1-day guide of Madrid for all of you similarly of what we plan for ourselves!

Unlike our other guides this one plans you a complete route with stops and recommendations, hope you enjoy the walking virtual tour!

Palacio Real – Plaza España

La Almudena Madrid - The cat, you and us

Start the day at Palacio Real, the official residence of the Royal family that is not really inhabited but only used for ceremonies.The Palace surroundings are a perfect example of what Madrid can offer in terms of architecture and with the nearby la Almudena catholic cathedral. Then walk towards Plaza España, a main garden square where you will see more representative architecture of the city and the Cervantes statue (the most famous Spanish writer of all times, author of Quixote).

Debod Temple

Debod temple Madrid - The cat, you and us Debod temple Madrid - The cat, you and us

Next to Plaza España you can climb towards the Debod temple, an Egyptian gift to Spain as a thank you note (a big one) for rescuing the Nubian temples. It’s considered twins with the one in the Metropolitan Museum in New York City because they were gifted together for the same reason. If it’s summer take into account that there is not a shadow available and pack water (face palm on me).

Debod temple Madrid - The cat, you and us

I’m sure all the walking must had some effect by now, so what about a stop for a delish lunch? You can eat a burger at Goiko grill on Princesa st. as we did! Super yummy burger with wonderful options such as caramelized banana and names such as “Elvis Presley” or “Kevin Bacon”, can’t praise it enough.

Goiko Grill - The cat, you and us Goiko Grill - The cat, you and us Goiko Grill - The cat, you and us

All burgers come with fries and two dipping sauces.

Conde Duque

On the left you will find yourself at Conde Duque, a trendy neighborhood in Madrid. Several local business here are focused in delivering local and organic food. You could grab a gourmet picnic stash, at the cheese shop at Queseria Cultivo and some handmade bread at Panic.

Red Vespa Madrid - The cat, you and us

Malasaña neighborhood

Malasaña - The cat, you and us

Keep walking south and you will be visiting Malasaña neighborhood. Malasaña is one of those districts that has a very authentic old town feeling and it’s experiencing a renovation to host new young business owners with cozy modern cafes and homemade-ish creative shops.

Malasaña - The cat, you and us

We loved the charming atmosphere of the neighborhood and we couldn’t resist a refreshing stop at Lolo, where you will find fresh fruit ice pops that will be your best companion while walking around.

Lolo polos artesanos, Madrid - The cat, you and us

Lolo’s front store is irresistible, isn’t it? So is the ice pops display, we both had a strawberry mojito.

Lolo polos artesanos, Madrid - The cat, you and us

Sol – Gran Via – Fuencarral

Calle del barco, Madrid - The cat, you and us

On your way to the famous Gran Via make sure to take Calle del Barco, a very interesting street where you will stumble upon some graffiti art. My favorite was the black & white wolf, gorgeous!

After taking a peek to Gran Via, the most famous street in Madrid where all the musical theatres are located – it’s like Broadway street with a (very) Spanish touch – avoid the tourist crowds by taking Fuencarral street, which is also busy because is where locals go shopping.

Gran via - The cat, you and us Gran via - The cat, you and us

In Fuencarral you will find lots of stores, but my favorite is Kling (of course, you already know that, half my dresses come from there!) but I also can’t never resist a quick stop at the swedish candy store Oomuombo. What you could never ever miss is Mistura ice-cream parlor. Not in the mood for an ice-cream? nevermind! you will find fresh fruit juices and coffee, so don’t mis it. If you fancy an ice-cream you are in for a treat, Mistura has a mild marble countertop where they mix their homemade ice-cream flavour of your choice with the toppings. I chose matcha with cookies and cream with fresh strawberries (still can remind how fresh they were! not those softies too sweet ones) while Dani went for matcha with chocolate chips and watermelon with cookies (not the most brilliant combo this one, but alas, the boy is a little weird, ha!).

Mistura, Madrid - The cat, you and us Mistura, Madrid - The cat, you and us

Puerta de Alcalà – Retiro

Puerta de Alcala - The cat, you and us

The best way to spend your late afternoon and evening is visiting el Retiro. We do have a dedicated post for this spot in Madrid, so I won’t ramble about it again, don’t worry! We think that the best way to end a wonderful visiting day in Madrid is having a dinner picnic here with your Conde Duque cheese and bread buys. On the way to the park you will see the neo-classical monument called Puerta de Alcalá, which was one of the five main entrances of the city back on the 19th century.

El Retiro - The cat, you and us El Retiro - The cat, you and us

The Retiro park has a convenient train stop nearby called Atocha with many train & subway connections which will surely bring you back to your hotel room with sore but happy feet.

Of course, you should spend more than 1 day in Madrid, because I’m missing so many great things here as its many museums: Museo del Prado, Museo Reina Sofia, Caixaforum, Museo Thyseen, eating recommendations or shopping like the famous Rastro market. But I think you have a pretty bunch of interesting things to see in here as a start-off!

See you soon Madrid! We are ending the post with a google map that includes all the mentioned stops. If you have more questions or would like to add your own recommendations please do, we would love to read them or be of help!

Share this adventure


  1. Mariko ADDS...

    Definitely saving this for when we finally travel to Spain (first up is the UK, Spain is next…) And yay for including a map! I love the map creation function, it makes trip planning so much easier and fun.

    24th September 2015
    • We reply...

      Your travel plans look brilliant indeed :) :) We nowadays can’t plan a travel without using the “my map” function, so useful! We then download it on our phone so we can have it offline but with the gps functionality.

  2. Lucila ADDS...

    Caram, que currada la guia! Espero que no us mengéssiu tots els gelats el mateix dia ;-)

    Mariko, if you come to the UK and are interested in videogames (as I see in your blog), you should definitely come to Nottingham — we have the first and only videogames arcade in the country! I could also show you some nice tea shops if you want :-)

    24th September 2015
    • We reply...

      Jajajajaja merci! Doncs vam fer els polos i mistura el mateix dia :) molt bo tots dos!

  3. petra ADDS...

    I miss Madrid. thanks for the travel tips :)

    25th September 2015
    • We reply...

      Hope they will be useful! Big hug Petra! :)

  4. Jane Y. ADDS...

    i am crossing everything in hopes that this will be useful for me one day! in the meantime, i loved reading about it and looking at pictures as well!

    25th September 2015
    • We reply...

      :) Madrid is always a good idea, so is Barcelona, so make sure to include us in your European wishlist ;)

  5. Fiona ADDS...

    This looks like such a fun 1 day guide :) I’d want to try and jam in as much as I could too! Love the graff and the shop fronts and the cute iceblocks all lined up in their colours

    27th September 2015
    • We reply...

      I think it’s quite a local-meets-some-touristy-hotspots kind of guide ;) I fell in love this time with Madrid’s shops and restaurants. Oh! And we even went to a musical during the evening :)

Leave your comment

  • (will not be published)

(*) Comments are moderated, we will approve it soon!