Madrid’s personality is both cosmopolitan and traditional. It is a busy, bustling and lively city that never sleeps (not even for a siesta!), making it ideal for a fun getaway, a weekend with friends, or just to spend a few hours while waiting for your next flight.
In the morning
As in many European cities, surely the first idea that will come to your mind when opening your map is: where to start? No need to think any longer, because we at The Fun Plan have made a quick and easy guide to spending a day in Madrid!
Plaza de la Puerta del Sol is the best starting point for all travellers and it is located just a few steps away from Plaza Mayor. Crossed by many locals every day, this square is the most vibrant and central area of the city with tons of cool shops and city landmarks to check out. Worthy of a selfie at this square are: the famous clock at the regional government building, a New Year’s Eve symbol for Spaniards, as well as the legendary Tío Pepe sign and the iconic bear statue (El Oso y el Madroño).
As you walk along Calle Mayor, you will discover some of the city’s many marvels, such as Teatro Real, Almudena Cathedral and the Royal Palace with its endless gardens. Continue until Vistillas area, where the local festivity of San Isidro takes place every May and August. Do not miss Madrid Río, which runs along the banks of the Manzanares River, a 10 km-long park with sports areas, urban beaches, leisure areas, historical monuments and impressive views. For sunny days, it is highly recommended to stroll through Casa de Campo Park, an impressive green area holding an Amusement Park, the city’s Zoo, and the Aerial Cable Car for those looking for a view of the city skyline.
At lunch time, after spending the first few hours in the city, go to Plaza Mayor and taste a traditional and delicious “bocadillo de calamares” (fried squid sandwich!). Among the thousands of great bars we could recommend in the city are: Cervecería Plaza Mayor, which has a nice terrace, Bar Postas, or the traditional, La Ideal. You should also enjoy a glass of wine in one of the typical Madrid taverns such as Casa Lucas, Taberneros at Calle Santiago 19, or San Miguel Market.
In the afternoon
In the afternoon, you should walk along Calle Alcalá and see Plaza de Cibeles, one of Madrid’s most famous squares, where you will find a fountain in the centre with the Roman goddess, Cybele. This fountain is also where Real Madrid fans celebrate their team’s triumphs. Go up the street until the end, where you will find the magnificent Puerta de Alcalá and Buen Retiro Park, the city’s green oasis where you can go for a beautiful walk, rent a rowboat at the lake or lay down on the fresh grass.
After your stroll through Retiro, it will then be time to visit the Prado Museum, which is very near and the city’s second top attraction after Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Within this area, you can visit the city’s most renowned art institutions: Thyssen Museum, Caixa Fórum Gallery, or even Reina Sofia Museum, located near Atocha Station and home to the famous artwork, Guernica, by Pablo Picasso. As you walk along the Paseo del Prado and go from museum to museum, you will also pass by Neptuno Square, the celebration place for Atlético de Madrid fans.
Before the afternoon arrives, go to Gran Vía street, as this fascinating boulevard has been the setting for many Spanish movies. As the sun goes down, look up at the neon Shweppes sign and walk along this Broadway Madrileño. Continue until Plaza de España and from there, enjoy an authentic Madrid sunset from Templo de Debod. This ancient Egyptian temple was a gift from Egypt to Spain, and is the perfect place to see the sunset in good company. Another place offering amazing views is atop the Círculo de Bellas Artes, where you will have an incredible panoramic view of the city.
When it comes to nightlife, Madrid caters to a bunch of different tastes. If you are a foodie, then go to Lavapiés neighbourhood, one of the most multicultural areas where you will find plenty of different cuisines, such as Indian, Pakistan or Moroccan, among many others. For those looking for a chicer location, then the neighbourhoods of Malasaña and Chueca are simply perfect for you (metro stops are Tribunal and Chueca, respectively). Both areas offer wonderful restaurants, cafes and bar that are great for dinner and cocktails. If you want to move your hips, then your area is Huertas, where you will find an international atmosphere and can finish the night dancing flamenco at Tablao Flamenco del Candela.
All in all, Madrid is an exciting, cool and lovely destination for those urban travellers looking for modernity, adventure and tradition, all in one. Here you will find the top experiences in the city, with the best hotels at the city centre. No matter which #funplan you finally choose, an absolute must is breakfast at San Ginés where you can eat authentic churros con chocolate. These sweet breakfast treats are especially incredible for those who went out the night before;)