City Tour Madrid – Travel Guide

City tour madrid has long been on my “These cities I have to see necessarily” list. While I had visited Barcelona several times, the Spanish capital welcomed me for the first time in 2014. If you only know Barcelona before with palms, sea and Gaudi’s works, City tour madrid. Everything is different here – but it has a tremendous appeal! 

Madrid, the political powerhouse

City tour madrid on a cool spring weekend in March. The capital of Spain is also the largest city in the country, with around 3.3 million inhabitants. The Spanish royal family is enthroned from here, maybe this fact explains the big difference to Barcelona – everything looks cooler, more official, more reserved. There are at least no tourist hordes. But if you get into the cosmopolitan city, you’ll soon enjoy the way it goes here. Although Madrid does not have Antoni Gaudi, there are many interesting buildings of old and modern architecture.

Madrid is an ideal place for walks on foot: a spatially manageable center, imposing squares and facades, completely contrasting cityscapes, extrovert life on the streets and, of course, plenty of Spanish history. From the transfer of the Habsburg royal residence or the heyday of Spanish art and literature in the 17th century to the liberation struggle perpetuated by Goya against Napoleon and the siege of Madrid during the Spanish Civil War – all important events and developments for Spain played in the capital first and foremost from.

madrid travel advice

Spanish restaurant near me

If, as a tourist, you still have some energy left over after a strenuous day of sightseeing, you can enjoy tapas with the locals from the late evening, and then party until late at night. And for friends of well-groomed football, the city of Madrid and Atlético Madrid offers two top teams including stunning stadiums. By the way: One day I turned my back on Madrid and drove to Toledo, which was only half an hour’s train drive away. About this great day trip, you can read more in this post.

Places to visit in Madrid

Madrid has a huge amount of places worth seeing, museums and monuments. A few of them should not be missed during a visit (which I honestly did not keep up with: the world-famous Museo del Prado was left out, which simply needs a lot of time, which I would rather invest in other places in Madrid.) Tickets for the Museo del Prado * without queue there is online, if you want to see it). The Royal Palace (Palacio Real) is the residence of the Spanish royal family and probably the most important building in the city. The royal family itself does not live in this but in a simpler castle outside of Madrid.

plaza de cibeles

Therefore, the palace can be visited in principle, unless it is closed to the public – Places to visit in Madrid. On the website, there are certainly the opening times and also the days when the palace is closed for official receptions. Incidentally, EU citizens can save the EUR 10 entry if they come from 4 pm to 6 pm (October to March) or 6 pm to 8 pm (April to September). Of course, there are also tickets with guidance and without queue *. Opposite the palace is the Almudena Cathedral (Santa Maria la Real de La Almudena), which was also not accessible at the time of my visit. At least I could enjoy the adjacent castle park. The Sabatini Gardens (Jardines de Sabatini) is a worthy setting for the Royal Palace, beautifully reflected in a pool of water. Otherwise, the park is a place to enjoy some peace.

Plaza Mayor

City tour madrid is the main square (Plaza Mayor), a rectangular square with four-story red-painted houses throughout. The only exception is the most beautiful building, the Casa de la Panadería (“House of the Bakery”). Previously, the square was used as a market for bullfights, public events, and executions. For tourists, the Plaza Mayor today is probably the starting point for sightseeing in Madrid. Another point I would like to recommend to you: Retiro Park (Parque del Retiro or El Retiro) is a beautiful spot in the middle of the city to relax and get some fresh air. Also, there are two architectural treasures to admire, the crystal palace (Palacio de Cristal) made of iron and glass and the monument to Alfonso XII. (Monumento an Alfonso XII de España) in front of the lake Estanque del Retiro.

Market hall for sweet tooths

madrid food

And finally my highlight: the market hall San Miguel (Mercado San Miguel). What is offered there in delicacies and specialties, is simply sensational? Anyone who comes here without hunger misses something! Meat, fish, cheese, vegetables, and fruit are served at the numerous stalls – often in the form of handy tapas, so you can easily try a variety of delicacies. The market is open daily from 10 am to 12 pm, on weekends until 2 am.

Places to stay in Madrid

I’m a big fan of architecture, both modern and old. City tour madrid. The Plaza de España, which is close to my hotel, has already given me a great introduction to the high architecture. There are two skyscrapers from the 1950s: Torre de Madrid and Edificio España. The latter building was built during the Franco regime to prove Spain’s economic performance. For years, however, the imposing structure is empty – he is still nice to look at least from the outside.

The Torre de Madrid is visually not quite as exciting, but by its height of 142 meters, he is still important. At the time of its completion in 1957, it was the tallest office building in Western Europe for some years and is still the sixth tallest building in Madrid today (as of March 2017). In the Plaza de España is also an important monument of the Spanish national poet Miguel de Cervantes. At his feet are Miguel’s most famous fictional characters Don Quixote and Sancho Panza depicted as statues.

Plaza de Cibeles

It is architecturally spectacular in the Plaza de Cibeles, where stands the Palacio de Cibeles (formerly Palacio de Comunicaciones, Palace of Communication). The imposing structure from 1919 was used as the main post office until 2007 – today it is the seat of the mayor, which, in my opinion, better matches the representative character of the palace. In front of the building stands the playful Cibeles Fountain (Fuente de Cibeles), which is world-famous. The Real Madrid football team is always celebrating with tens of thousands of fans around this fountain when the Spanish championship or trophy is won. Despite all the beauty, there is also a negative aspect: the Plaza de Cibeles is also an intersection of three major roads including traffic hell.

What to do in Madrid

Dreamlike building with a view

Just 200 meters away is the Society of Fine Arts (Círculo de Bellas Artes). It is a private Madrid cultural institution that organizes exhibitions, concerts, and various other events. The building has an extraordinarily beautiful Art Deco style stairwell – but that’s not the main reason why I recommend a visit. Rather, it is the 56-meter high rooftop terrace, which offers a fantastic view of the city (the lead picture of this post was created there). The entrance to the roof costs 4, – EUR, above a bar (with hefty prices) and many seats and benches. Especially in the twilight, it can be great here with chilled music and a cocktail.

Looking at the city, two motifs immediately catch your eye: on the one hand, you can see the aforementioned Palacio de Cibeles in all its glory, on the other hand, you inevitably remain at the corner house Metropolis (Edificio Metrópolis). The house was built in 1910/11, the name comes from a former insurance company. The fine details, the tower with the unique dome and the Victoria statue on the top are just something special and stay in the memory.

Madrid museum

madrid museum

The last point in architecture is the CaixaForum Museum. I have to admit that I did not care about the exhibition – I just wanted to go there because of the modern staircase (if you do not know my passion yet, here you will find my huge collection of staircases: architects Herzog & de Meuron followed an alternative concept outside the building: The visitor will be greeted by a façade mix of concrete, copper and a vertical garden of more than 15,000 plants, and inside there is another small futuristic staircase at the entrance, which can be perfectly used for photos with their metal reflections I did not have to buy a ticket, a nice colleague had me photographed, as long as I did not enter the showrooms.

Madrid stadium tour

One of Madrid’s most popular attractions is the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu of the Real Madrid football club (also known as “The Royal”). The stadium is located in the heart of the city, holds 81,044 spectators and can be visited daily. On game days there are of course restrictions, these are nicely listed on the page.

Online tickets can also be bought there – but this is not necessary as in other big stadiums, because access to the arena is possible at any time without fixed time (10 am – 7 pm, on public holidays 10:30 am – 6:30 pm). On the spot, you buy your ticket at the counter 10 next to gate 7 (Paseo de la Castellana, entrance to tower B, show GPS position). The price is the highest I ever had to pay for a stadium tour, even at the Nou Camp Stadium in Barcelona, ​​which was so expensive. Also, the “leadership” consists of the fact that you go through the stadium without a tour guide. Nevertheless, the visit was worth the money, because it takes about 90 minutes for the tour and gets unusually many perspectives to face.

madrid bernabéu stadium

Insights into the entire arena

City tour madrid, you climb almost endlessly up to the roof over countless steps and you can admire the stadium from the corner in its full splendor – but this sight reveals the immense size of the stadium and is guaranteed to be amazing for any football fan! Via a given path you alternate between the interior of the Bernabéu and the stands on different levels. So you can see the field from three sides and get a very good impression of where you should sit at a game-best (if you pay the tickets or at all can muster).

Other places of the tour are the changing rooms, the press room and the training benches on the sidelines. Great is the huge trophy collection with all sorts of known and unknown trophies. The tour ends, of course, in the fan shop of Real Madrid, where you can get rid of the next bar of money, if you look at it

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