With my time in Madrid coming to an end, I thought it would be a crime not to share the best bits that this incredible city has to offer. I've compiled a list of my top five spots, as well as a few optional extras that will help to keep any type of tourist happy. I hope you guys find this interesting and hopefully useful if you plan on hitting up Spain's capital city anytime soon...

1. Row in the lake in Parque del Buen Retiro
This is definitely one of my favourite places to hang out in the city - at 350 acres, El Parque del Buen Retiro is one of the largest parks in Madrid and is located slightly east of the city centre, so well within walking distance of most other sights. Towards the northern entrance of the park, there's one of the most beautiful spots of the entire city; El Estanque del Retiro (Retiro Pond), where you can rent out a row boat for 7€ for 45 minutes and go for a jolly ol' paddle. When the sun is beaming and you have a spare hour or two, there's nothing more pleasant that taking your book and relaxing on the bank of the lake, ice cream in hand.

2. Take in the view at the top of CentroCentro in Plaza de Cibeles

This stunning building has got to be my favourite in Madrid, I practically take a photo every time I pass by. Believe it or not, it used to be the Post Office, but now it's been split up into a museum, an exhibition area, a restaurant, a cocktail bar, a smaller post office, and a few other sections including the magnificent 'Mirador' - where you can get one of the best views in the city. For just 2€ (or free on the first Wednesday of every month!) you get access to an amazing 360 view of the city. As the Plaza de Cibeles is located between Sol and Retiro, you get a pretty spectacular view of the centre of the Madrid - including Gran Vía, Retiro, the Plaza de Colón and the Plaza de Cibeles itself. If you fancy a quick drink, you can go down a floor or two to a lovely cocktail bar that, although a touch on the expensive side, is in a stunning location and serves some pretty delicious beverages - I recommend the mojito!

3. Visit Templo de Debod

One of the lesser know, yet most spectacular sights in Madrid is the Templo de Debod (Temple of Debod) - an Egyptian temple within walking distance of the Palacio Real that boasts a great view of the Casa del Campo park in the western part of the city. The temple was originally built near Aswan, Egypt, but the work on the Aswan Dam in the 60's threatened the monument and UNESCO made an international call to save it. Due to Spain's effort in helping to preserve many of the other monuments nearby, Egypt gifted the Temple of Debod to Spain as a thank you. You can simply go up and admire not only the monument, but the stunning views as well, or you can actually go inside and learn more about its history. Just make sure to plan your trip wisely - during the week it's closed between 2pm-6pm, but it's open from 9.30am to 10pm on weekends. I'd really recommend going at sunset (although it is still stunning during the day) as the setting sun over the water is really a sight to be seen.  

4. Check out Sol (La Plaza de la Puerta del Sol)

The Plaza de la Puerta del Sol (or simply Sol as it's known) is considered to be the centre of Madrid - the place where everyone comes to meet up and there's always something going on. Like I said, this is more of a meeting place than anything else, but there's streets and streets of shops to the north up to Gran Vía (think Oxford Street, but smaller), Retiro Park and the main museums to the east, the Palacio Real to the west, and the older part of the city to the south. There's always street performers and tons of people about, so the atmosphere is always buzzing. However, beware! This is a prime spot for pick-pocketing and other such nonsense, so watch your belongings. 

5. Relax in Plaza Mayor

Feel like sipping on an espresso, munching on a croissant and simply watching the world go by? The Plaza Mayor is my favourite place for people-watching, there's just always something going on there. Plaza Mayor means 'main square' and is considered to be the centre of the older part of the city, as it dates back to the 16th century. It's a big rectangular shape, surrounded by one large building with nine entrances to the outside streets. I swear, every time I pass through there is something different going on - there's been concerts, bullfights, and the last time I was there, there was a huge group yoga session that took up the majority of the space. The edge is lined with restaurants, but these tend to be fairly overpriced to catch out tourists, so I wouldn't recommend settling down for a full meal there, but it's nice to grab a quick drink and people-watch. 

A few little extras... because let's face it, every tourist is different!
An arty extra... Museo del Prado
There are a bunch of great museums in Madrid, but this is my personal favourite. If you're a fan of modern art, then el Museo de Reina Sofia might be more up your alley, whereas the Prado boasts one of the world's finest collections of European art, from the 12th century to the early 19th century. Inside you can see work from Goya, Velázquez, and El Greco, to name a few. The building itself is also pretty impressive, and like many great art museums, rather large. It took me and one of my friends two rather lengthly visits so pretty much cover it all, but you could easily pick out what you wanted to see and do a day trip.

A sporty extra... Estadio Santiago Bernabéu
Although I have never actually gone inside the stadium, I have heard from many football lovers that there is quite an atmosphere. Depending on when you're there, you can either see a game or get the full on experience and tour the stadium as well. 

A foodie extra... Mercado de San Miguel
A foodies paradise - this little indoor market located right next to the Plaza Mayor is stuffed with amazing Spanish delicacies. You can pop from stall to stall, sampling everything from the finest jamón ibérico to delicious chocolate con churros, along with a stunning selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. Trust me, there's something to tickle everybody's taste buds.

A shopping extra... Calle de Fuencarral
If you want a slightly more relaxing shopping trip than Gran Vía, head to the glorious Calle de Fuencarral. I actually found this by chance when I first arrived in Madrid, as it actually connects my local metro station with Gran Vía along a 1.5km straight stretch filled with not only the popular classics like Mango and The Body Shop, but also vintage gems and lesser-found shops like Brandy Melville, Rituals and Korres, to name a few. Half way along the route is the famous Mercado de Fuencarral, an alternative shopping centre that's definitely worth a visit.

A royal extra... Palacio Real
If the number six was as catchy as five, then this would have made the short list - but hey, such is life. If you're a fan of gorgeous architecture, fascinating history and guards sporting ridiculous hats, then the Palacio Real (Royal Palace) should definitely be on your 'to-see' list. You can wander around the outside and enjoy the view of its expansive gardens, or you can go the whole hog and go for the official tour of the inside. The tour can be done at your own pace (as all of the information is displayed) or with a guide, and a ticket can cost anywhere between 2€ and 10€ depending on how much of the Palace you want to see. However, if you are an EU citizen, there are specific times that you can get in for free, which is what I've done both times I've visited! (for more information, see here)

If you're planning on visiting this marvellous city anytime soon and want a bit more information, feel free to email me at isobel@isobel-rose.com and I'll do my best to help you out!

Would you guys like me to do more of these '5 things to do in...'? Let me know!


  1. Hey isoble! this couldn't have come at more perfect time! I will be visiting Madrid for two days in July! This will be super useful in utilizing my time well.. while I am there! Thank you! :-)

  2. Hey! This is such a cool post, I went to Madrid and did all the 5 things you suggested, the extras I went to the football stadium to watch a match which was really great!

    xoxo, S

    check out my personal&travel blog ♡

  3. I've been to Spain (think package deals!!) but never Madrid....looks amazing..judging by youor photographs..


  4. I visited Madrid a few years ago and San Miguel Market was my favourite place! It was almost like an upmarket tapas market, rather than feeling a little bit seedy like some markets in Europe often can x

    Elissa | styleaffix.com

  5. This is a fab post! I'd love to visit Madrid one day, it looks beautiful x


  6. p.s. Let me know if you need anything else!

  7. Madrid is definitely a place to visit - it's gorgeous and full of life! x