Top 10 Madrid Tourist Attractions


It's hard to argue that the breathtaking Spanish capital is one of the most amazing cities in Europe, and to spend a day just aimlessly roaming its lively streets is among the best things to do in Madrid. This amazing city is full of incredible sights, nice landmarks, and hidden gems, waiting to be found. To help you start your city exploration, we've made this list of the top Madrid attractions you can't miss during your Spain travel coupled with the most remarkable things to do in Madrid.

1. Royal Palace of Madrid, Madrid
Palace of Madrid, Spain

The Royal Palace of Madrid was once the most important building in the city. It occupies the area of 135.000 sq m (1.450.000 sq ft), making it the biggest royal palace in Europe. Although this palace is still the official residence of the royal family, today it's mainly used for ceremonial purposes. The palace is among the most popular attractions in Madrid, and if you think that its facade is impressive, wait until you go inside! The building houses 3418 rooms and all of them are decorated with the most expensive and luxurious materials such as mahogany and marble.

Read more
2. El Retiro Park, Madrid
Crystal Palace, Madrid

The most famous park in the city, El Retiro is a wealth of amazing Madrid attractions. Exploring its vast gardens, you can easily spend the whole day looking for such hidden gems as the Jardines de Cecilio Rodriguez, enclosed gardens where peacocks live, or the Rose Garden, featuring 4000 blooming roses of all possible sizes, colors, and shapes. But a place you should definitely put on your travel agenda is the spectacular Palacio de Cristal. This iconic building is made almost entirely out of glass and houses amazing seasonal art exhibitions.

3. Plaza Mayor, Madrid
Plaza Mayor, Madrid

Located in the heart of the city, the Plaza Mayor is an integral part of any "What to See in Madrid" list. Although the project of the famous square was complete back in 1577, its construction didn't begin until 1617. The first ceremony that took place on Plaza Mayor in 1619 was the beatification of the city's patron saint, San Isidro Labrador. Since then, the square has seen its fair share of historic events, served as a bullfighting location, witnessed the steadfastness of the Spanish Inquisition, and now became one of the most visited sights in Madrid.

4. Golden Triangle of Art, Madrid
Prado museum, Madrid

Madrid is a dream city for any culture-enthusiast, boasting some of the best exhibitions and museums in the world. But what shines the most among them all are the Reina Sofia Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, and the Prado Museum, together making up the Golden Triangle of Art. Any art-lover strives to travel to the Spanish capital to explore these significant sights of Madrid. But if you have time to visit only one of the golden trio, we recommend going to the Prado Museum to admire its incredible collection of pre-20th-century Spanish art.

5. Plaza de Cibeles, Madrid
Plaza de Cibeles, Madrid

The Cibeles Square with the spectacular palace and the neo-classical fountain, representing goddess Cibeles riding a lion-drawn cage, is one of the most popular Madrid attractions for tourists. Back in 1782, the spectacular fountain wasn't just a beautiful decoration. It was among the major suppliers of freshwater until it was moved to the center of the Cibeles Square in 1895. Nowadays, the fountain is known to any Real Madrid fan as the location where the football club celebrates its triumphs, hanging the club's flag around the Cybele statue.

6. Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Madrid
Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Madrid

Speaking of football, there is one more "must-see" in Madrid if you are the city's renowned football club fan - the grand Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. The amazing building witnessed some of the most iconic moments in the history of football. For example, it hosted the final of the 1964 European Cup when Spain won the title of European Champions for the first time in its history. Apart from the international sports events such as FIFA and UEFA, the building also hosted numerous concerts of the world-famous bands, including The Rolling Stones, Madonna, and AC/DC.

7. Puerta de Alcala, Madrid
Puerta de Alcala, Madrid

One of the most iconic Madrid sights to see is the impressive Puerta de Alcala. The landmark's name translates as the "Door to Alcala". Back at the times when Madrid was a walled city, this gorgeous arc was one of the five doors, allowing travelers from Aragon, Catalonia, and France to enter scenic Madrid. Once, Puerta de Alcala even served as a part of the seasonal migration of livestock route. To honor this heritage, once a year the city holds the Trashumancia Festival, featuring 2000 ships parading through the heart of Madrid and the picturesque arc.

8. Atocha Station Tropical Garden, Madrid
Atocha Station Tropical Garden, Madrid

The Atocha train station is also among the best places to visit in Madrid. And what makes it so unique is not even the fact that it's the largest and among the oldest train stations in the city. What crownes it a "one-of-a-kind" tourist attraction is its fantastic tropical gardens. They feature over 7000 tropical plants from all over the world, including the coffee plants from Africa, cacao plants from Central America, and Japan's Ginkgo biloba plant. The garden's small artificial ponds house over 22 species of turtles and fish, and are beautifully decorated with lilies.

9. Almudena Cathedral, Madrid
Almudena Cathedral, Madrid

One of the youngest additions to the city, the glorious Almudena Cathedral is definitely worth stopping by during your Madrid sightseeing. Its construction was quite a bumpy ride. The permission to build the temple was given back in 1868, but it wasn't until 10 years later when the foundation stone was finally laid. But then the Spanish Civil War happened and the construction was abandoned until 1950. And even though the magnificent cathedral was finished by 1930, it couldn't be considered complete until it was consecrated by the Pope and it happened only in 1993.

10. Puerta del Sol, Madrid
Puerta del Sol, Madrid

And last but not the least among the "must" places to visit at Madrid is the charming Puerta del Sol. This well-known square boasts the status of the center of the city and has the Casa de Correos stone slab, marking the official start of the six national Spanish roads, to prove it. While you are there, don't forget to take a picture with one of Madrid's symbols, the bronze statue of a bear, eating from a strawberry tree. The square's Clock of Puerta del Sol is the official timekeeper of Spain, orchestrating the famous tradition of eating the 12 grapes every New Year.