Ever asked yourself the question “Is Madrid worth visiting?” Well, you wouldn’t be the first one. And I certainly did.
I even answered myself that I don’t think it is. Luckily, my path crossed with Madrid several times through festivals, layovers, visits to the embassy, and so on.
Over the course of the years, I’ve gotten to know Mardid pretty well and what I thought was just another city turned out to become an awesome city.
Definitely, in the shadows of more interesting and historically attractive cities like Barcelona and Seville, there are still several good reasons to visit Madrid.
So, is Madrid a good place to visit for you or not? In this post, I’ll answer all your questions so that you can decide whether it’s the right place to visit for you or not.
Read on to find out why visit Madrid Spain (or not.)
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Table of Contents
Reasons to visit Madrid
Art and Museums
Madrid is home to world-renowned art museums and whether you need to escape the cold of Madrid in winter or the heat of the summer, you’ll find it worth browsing the city’s museums.
The Prado Museum boasts an unparalleled collection of European masterpieces, spanning from the works of Goya and Velázquez to the iconic Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights.” Make sure you book this guided tour of the museum to skip the line and see the highlights.
Equally significant is the Reina Sofia Museum, a modern and contemporary art hub, where Picasso’s emotionally charged “Guernica” takes center stage. This museum invites you to explore the evolution of Spanish art, featuring works by Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró. I highly recommend booking tickets in advance.
Beyond these renowned institutions, Madrid’s artistic tapestry extends throughout the city. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum showcases an extensive private collection, offering a comprehensive journey through art history. Make sure you secure a guided tour of the museum.
I highly recommend this walking tour that includes entrance to the Royal Palace and the Prado Museum.
Madrid is jam-packed with incredible architecture and even though you’re not specifically interested in architecture, you’ll appreciate the beautifully decorated buildings in the city.
Explore Madrid’s historic neighborhoods such as Barrio de las Letras and Lavapiés, where you can discover stunning architecture, charming squares, and historic buildings like the Royal Palace and Almudena Cathedral. These alone are reasons why visit Madrid.
The Royal Palace, an emblem of grandeur, showcases Baroque and Classical styles, while nearby Almudena Cathedral seamlessly blends traditional and modern influences.
The city’s architectural charm extends to the elegant Plaza Mayor, a meticulously designed 17th-century square surrounded by regal facades.
Madrid’s streets unveil a blend of Moorish, Gothic, and Renaissance influences, ensuring that each cobblestone and archway echoes the city’s captivating journey through time.
Puerta del Sol
Considered the symbolic center of Spain, Puerta del Sol is a bustling square surrounded by historic buildings, shops, and restaurants. It’s also the location of the iconic clock whose bells mark the traditional eating of the Twelve Grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
This iconic square brims with life, surrounded by architectural gems, shops, and vibrant restaurants. You can explore the statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree, symbols of Madrid, and witness the bustling activity that defines this central hub.
Whether day or night, Puerta del Sol promises an immersive experience and among many reasons to go to Madrid.
Plenty of green spaces
In Madrid, you’ll discover a haven of tranquility and natural beauty in its parks, inviting you to escape the urban bustle whenever you need a nature fix (I can’t be the only one needing to escape the city when sightseeing?)
Retiro Park is the most popular park in Madrid. It beckons you with lush greenery, a serene lake for rowing, and sculptures like the Crystal Palace.
El Capricho Park offers a delightful escape with its manicured gardens and whimsical structures. I also enjoyed strolling through Casa de Campo, Madrid’s largest park, though a little outside the city center. There, you’ll find a sprawling landscape, and a cable car for panoramic views.
Top foodie destination (Even for Vegans!)
Madrid offers a diverse and delicious culinary scene. Don’t miss the chance to try traditional Spanish dishes like paella, tapas, and churros with chocolate.
As a vegan, I can say that the city is a heaven for vegans, especially compared to the Andalusian cities. There are plenty of vegan restaurants and cafés and many places have vegan options on the menu.
Madrid comes alive at night with its vibrant nightlife. Experience the lively atmosphere of tapas bars, enjoy live music in Malasaña, or dance the night away in one of the city’s many nightclubs.
Whether sipping cocktails on rooftop terraces or reveling in the rhythm of flamenco, Madrid’s nightlife won’t disappoint.
If you’re a football fan, catch a match at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, home to Real Madrid. The energy and passion of the fans make it an unforgettable experience – we’re talking one of the country’s biggest teams here!
Even if you don’t manage to time your visit with a football match, you can visit the stadium, which I highly recommend.
So, is Madrid worth visiting for shopping? Absolutely yes! Madrid is a shopper’s paradise with a vast variety of shops and boutiques. The Gran Via is known for its upscale shopping in opulent buildings.
Renowned for its upscale and exclusive shopping, the Salamanca district is home to luxury brands and designer boutiques. Calle Serrano, in particular, is famous for its high-end fashion and jewelry shops.
If you’re looking for something unique, head to El Rastro, one of the oldest and largest flea markets in Europe, which is a treasure trove for unique and quirky finds.
Malasaña is mainly known for its vibrant nightlife, but it also offers a bohemian atmosphere with a range of vintage shops, concept stores, and local designers.
No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find it in Madrid’s diverse neighborhoods!
Cultural Events and Festivals
Madrid hosts numerous cultural events and festivals throughout the year. Events like the San Isidro Festival, honoring Madrid’s patron saint with music and dance, and the Veranos de la Villa offer a glimpse into the city’s lively and diverse culture.
Madrid also hosts an epic and colorful Pride celebration that transforms the streets into a vibrant celebration of diversity and inclusivity.
Madrid’s Gran Via
Gran Via is Madrid’s iconic avenue, boasting architectural marvels with its blend of early 20th-century and contemporary styles.
The bustling boulevard, known as the “Spanish Broadway,” is lined with theaters, shops, and vibrant street life. It’s a great place for shopping, entertainment, and people-watching.
Whether you spend one day in Madrid or longer, Gran Via is a must to add to your itinerary.
Wander through the charming neighborhoods of Madrid, each with its own unique character. From the bohemian atmosphere of Malasaña to the upscale Salamanca district, there’s something for every taste.
Lavapiés offers a multicultural vibe, blending history with diverse cuisines and art, and is easily one the best places to stay in Madrid for first timers.
Barrio de las Letras, or the Literary Quarter, preserves the legacy of Spanish literary giants, with narrow streets and historic charm.
Chueca, Madrid’s LGBTQ+ hub, radiates inclusivity and a lively atmosphere. Each neighborhood contributes to Madrid’s diverse identity which you will get the chance to experience if you spend at least 2 days in Madrid.
Experiencing the different vibes leaves no doubt: Madrid is worth visiting. And not only for a quick visit, but it’s worth spending time in the city uncovering the different layers.
Easy Day Trips
The city’s central location makes it a perfect hub for day trips to nearby destinations. Day trips from Madrid by train to nearby destinations like Toledo, Segovia, and Ávila which are all incredible historical destinations are a must.
But the fast train, make it possible to go on a day trip from Madrid to Valencia with only 2 hours travel time. You can easily see Valencia in a day by booking a guided tour of the city. I also highly recommend taking a bike tour of the City of Arts and Science.
Conclusion: Is Madrid worth visiting?
Summing up, there are plenty of reasons to visit Madrid, Spain. It’s a big city with plenty of art and culture.
Besides, you will find a new epic place to eat and drink every time you go out – if you don’t get hooked and end up going back to the same places time after time. I challenge you to try somewhere new! Madrid has so much variation to offer.