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
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sol – Gran Via – Fuencarral
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.
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!).
Puerta de Alcalà – Retiro
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.
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!