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Madrid, Spain: The Perfect 4-Day Itinerary

 

After spending some time in Madrid, I have the perfect 4-day Madrid Itinerary for you! If you’re looking for exciting nightlife, a good art scene, or just a beautiful city to walk around and enjoy caña’s and tapas in, Madrid is a great spot for you. Whether you follow my itinerary to the T or use it to plan your own perfect Madrid itinerary, I think you’ll have a fantastic time in this city!

Day 1(Arrival)

Take a bus from the airport to the O’Donnell station, the Plaza de Cibeles station, or the Atocha station for only 5 euro. These buses are yellow and pick up right in front of the airport. The ride is only about 45 minutes and they arrive every 15 minutes. This is the cheapest option, but you can see all transport options here.

Explore your neighborhood!

The Best Spot for Delicious Paella in Madrid! | Lots of Lora

This is always the first thing I recommend doing when you arrive in a new place. It’s important to familiarize yourself with your area so you can always find your way back and so you can scope out cool places or good deals nearby. Research helps, but a lot of the time, the coolest spots are ones you didn’t plan to find or go to at all. Take a stroll, grab a beer, and get accustomed.

Walk through La Latina

 We happened to be staying only about a 10-15 minute walk from La Latina so this was pretty convenient for us. La Latina is one of the liveliest neighborhoods in Madrid, making it a perfect addition to your Madrid itinerary. It is filled with good food and good bars and on the weekends, the streets are filled at all hours of the night. This neighborhood is always a good area to head to if you’re looking for some excitement, food, or drink.

Cantina La Traviesa for dinner

Enjoy a delicious paella here with a glass of wine. We prefer the paella mixta. Make sure you have at least 2 people in your party in order to share!

 

Day 2 in Madrid

Try some tortilla for breakfast

Spanish tortilla is nothing like the tortilla you might use to make a burrito. It’s about an inch thick and made with eggs and potatoes. It’s a perfect, filling breakfast. Different places make it in different consistencies so make sure to try out a few different places during your stay in Madrid.

Plaza Mayor

This area and La Puerta del Sol are very popular tourist areas. Despite this, most people will tell you that there is still plenty of good food around this popular site.

La Puerta del Sol

Sol is just a little down the way from Plaza Mayor and is always busy. This area is very centrally located so you’ll likely end up here again as you walk through the city, or if you take the metro.

Corona bar

If the tourist crowds have tired you out and you’re craving a nice, cool cerveza, this trendy spot should be your next stop. Beautifully decorated and very popular at night as it hosts events, it’s tranquil and relaxing during the afternoon. Only corona products are served, which you can enjoy while lounging on the large pillows surrounded by greenery.

Thyssen- Bornemisza Museum

This museum is one of the three famous museums in Madrid. Personally, I think it’s a must-add to your Madrid itinerary. It has a great mix of older art in styles like Baroque and Renaissance, as well as art from Impressionist, Surrealist, Cubist, and Contemporary styles. They have several Van Gogh’s, Picasso’s, Monet’s, Rauschenberg’s, and much more. This museum, like the other two, is very large. You definitely want to make sure you have the time and energy to go through it! If you might want to go a second time, consider using their free hours to your advantage.

Cuevas El Secreto for dinner

This spot is very centrally located and has yummy food, good music friendly service, and good prices for a full dinner.

El Son

Hurry home after the museum so you can take a little siesta before heading out to a salsa class at El Son at 10:30. Even if you know how to salsa, going to the class allows you free entrance to the club afterward. If you opt to skip the class, the entrance fee is usually about 10 euro.

Day 3 in Madrid

El Palacio Real

Visit El Palacio Real in Madrid! | Lots of Lora

Head to the palace early to get in easily and take your time looking through the lavishly decorated rooms. Pictures are not allowed inside, but you can take some great shots outside in the courtyard! 

Prado Museum

This is a great museum if you love older art, especially Renaissance and Baroque style art. This museum houses Spanish, German, Flemish, and Italian art mainly and has many Velasquez and Goya pieces.

Parque El Retiro

Just a 15-minute walk from the museum, the park is the perfect place to end your day. Grab a picnic lunch from the store and relax on one of the lawns. This park is huge and has some sites within it, such as a crystal palace. Even if you don’t see any sites, it’s still a wonderful place to spend time and relax. You can even rent bikes outside the park to ride around on!

Day 4 in Madrid

Boat ride in Parque El Retiro

Must Visit in Madrid: Parque El Retiro | Lots of Lora

If the lines were too long the day before, get to the park early so you can take a boat out on the water. It’s only 8 euro for 45 minutes!

Reina Sofia

This museum is more than an art museum. It has a lot of contemporary and modernist pieces, including Picasso’s famous “Guernica,” as well as pieces and exhibits that are historical and political. It definitely takes some time to go through, and because of the importance of the context of the pieces, this is a museum where you might want to shell out for an audioguide so that you get the most from the experience.

 

Flamenco

Flamenco started in the Andalucia region of Southern Spain and was adapted into a gypsy tradition. Original flamenco was only vocals, although it later began to include the dance that we all connect with flamenco today. There are many places you can go to see Flamenco in the city, but we went to Essential Flamenco for the authentic feel of their show.

The entire show (with a free drink) is 35 euro, but if you happen to catch a promoter on the street, you can get a flyer to get in for only 25. The show takes place in an intimate cellar and really is fascinating.

Clubbing/Bar hopping

If you’ve still got some energy left in you after the Flamenco show, head to some bars in La Latina, or go to Madrid’s most exclusive 7-floor club later in the night. This is a fun addition to your Marid itinerary! Kapital’s 7 floors all feature different themes, which make it suitable for just about everyone’s style of partying. Make sure to dress to impress (they have a very strict dress code), and don’t expect to get in here without your passport if you’re not a Spanish citizen. Madrid has excellent nightlife and is always lively on the weekends, so take advantage of it! Plan some bar-hopping or clubbing into your Madrid itinerary!

Departure

Take one last stroll through your neighborhood or visit a last site if you have the time before heading to a station to catch your bus back to the airport!

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