Planning your time in Madrid should be one of your first priorities once you have decided your destination. To travel smartly, your first decision must be determining how many days you should spend in Madrid, especially if you are a first-time visitor.
You could visit Madrid for weeks and still not see half of what’s interesting. With so many things to see and do, plan wisely and avoid cramming in everything on one visit, otherwise you will end up exhausted.
Holidays are not meant to be stressful, running from one place to the next, but rather relaxing so organize your time in Madrid meaningfully to have a rewarding trip. After all, isn’t it the point of traveling?
One day is simply not enough. Madrid is a very popular European city that draws millions of visitors every year. It’s filled with world-class museums, historical monuments, parks, theaters, top-notch restaurants, and a population that never seems to sleep.
If for whatever reason, let’s say a layover, you only have 24 hours to spend in Madrid get ready because it’s going to be a very busy day. Try to have an early night beforehand and keep all your energy, you are going to need it.
With two or three days you may have time to scratch the city’s surface and visit some of main attractions. However, you will have a hard time choosing among a rather long list of the “must-sees” and you won’t be able to wander around some of Madrid’s charming neighborhoods.
Let’s say that two or three days will give you the chance to have a general overview of the city, visit a couple of museums and partially enjoy the best Madrid has to offer. Stick to the essentials and you’ll be fine.
A satisfactory first-time visit might take four days, ideally five. That should be enough to help you have a good idea of what Madrid is all about. There will probably be something you have not got around to yet. But remember, you simply can’t see everything on your first visit.
What’s Madrid best virtue? It’s so diverse that it has something for all types of traveler. So the good news is that you will always have something to do according to your tastes. The bad ones is that, again, you’ll have to leave something for a future trip.
There is easily enough in Madrid to keep you busy for a week. During that time, navigate the city like a Madrileño, stroll around some eclectic and vibrant areas and have a good idea of the impressive gastronomic offer that the city has.
La Latina, a predominantly pedestrian area, has a magic atmosphere along twisted streets and framed squares. The neighborhood is crowded with young and old people enjoying open bars, food and company all year round.
Chueca, the gay neighborhood, is hip, lively, fun and funky. Actually, it is a nice area to stroll and stumble upon attractive establishments.
Malasaña is an up and coming neighborhood, known for its artists and fashion, with funky places to shop and eat. Definitely not touristy at all, this area has a very distinct, edgy vibe that makes it feel young and bohemian.
Lavapiés, full of ethnic food and small stores, is a multicultural neighborhood full of bars, galleries, ethnic restaurants and cafés. And it is home Madrid’s flea market – El Rastro.
Alternatively, you can spend part of your time in Madrid using the city as a great base for some of the best day getaways in Spain. From the narrow cobblestone alleys of Toledo, to the impressive aqueduct in Segovia or the best preserved medieval wall in Ávila, all these small towns and much more awaits for you.
The best thing about the Madrid day trips is that all of them can be visited within a relatively short journey from the city. All these trips can be done on public transportation so there is no need to worry about renting a car and parking around.