The list of Madrid attractions can seem daunting on your first visit, regardless of how many days you plan to spend in the city.

There are fabulous sights to see in every corner of Madrid. The broad range of architectural history provides a sumptuous backdrop to city life. Here you can admire medieval mansions, royal palaces, Spanish contemporary skyscrapers, and sober red brickwork Baroque complexes.

In fact, Madrileños are so proud of their city that their motto is “de Madrid al Cielo”. In other words, after Madrid there is only one remaining destination ­–Heaven.

 

Here is a list with a few ideas to give you some interesting sights to start with.

Museums. Madrid museums are some of the most visited in the world, especially its famous art galleries. The Prado, Thyssen and Reina Sofía showcase the best works of French and other European painters over the centuries. But when you just have a few days, the real challenge is choosing which ones to visit during your holidays.

Monuments. Madrid’s history, spirit and people make it a unique place. Although it is one of the youngest cities in Spain, it remains the imperial capital and heart of the country, with a monumental architecture and an unexpected classicism.

Landmarks. In every neighborhood of Madrid landmarks remind us of the city’s incredible past and impressive artistic and architectural heritage.

History. Mayrit, the city’s old name, was made up of the Arab term “Mayra” (mother, matrix) and the Iberian suffix “it” synonym of “place”, by the Moors arriving to the region. This is only a short fragment of Madrid’s long and fascinating history, as many of its monuments prove.

Churches. Make sure you visit some of the old churches that are scattered around the center of Madrid. Despite they are not as impressive as in other Spanish cities (Seville, for instance), several historic temples are definitely worth a visit.

Squares. Apart from the Plaza del Sol, the biggest square in Madrid, you shouldn’t miss another very well known one, the Plaza Mayor – a magnificent example of the 18th century architecture. But there are many more charming plazas yet to be explored.

Markets. Every district in Madrid has a local food market selling an immense range of products. These mercados are essentially a hybrid between grocery stores and farmers markets, and are great places to experience how Madrileños shop, and even have a coffee in between.

Parks. Besides its light, Madrid is also known due to its green spaces. There are several gardens and parks where you can picnic, row on a boat, stroll and play games. Sit and relax in one of them if you feel exhausted of exploring the city.

Sports. The city is passionate about sports and holds some major sporting events every year. While football is the most popular one (with teams Real Madrid and Atlético), tennis, basketball, running, cycling also draw the supporters’ attention.

Skyline. In the last few years, the city’s profile has changed quite a bit with some new skyscrapers added to the panorama. While there are not lots of rooftop terraces to get up to and see the city from above, the Círculo de Bellas Artes and CentroCentro offer great Madrid skyline views.

Leisure. Similarly to the rest of Spain, Madrid is one of the most child friendliest destinations in Europe. Children and teenagers will be delighted with a large number of fun activities and sights. Actually, the bigger kids can enjoy some of these attractions as well!