When I had to reckon with the task of seeing Madrid’s best sights in one week, I felt stressed. Madrid has so much culture, history and food to explore–how could I do it in one week?
After meticulous hours of research, I found the highlights of this Spanish city.
Food holds huge importance in Spanish culture. You probably won’t shift your typical American three meals a day routine to the traditional Spain big lunch and late dinner routine, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have the best meals.
If you go to Madrid, you have to have a tortilla Espanola (Spanish omelet). The omelet compromises of eggs and potatoes deep-fried in a cast iron pan. This classic dish gets served in many Madrid restaurants; it’s the scrambled eggs of Spain.
You have to try churros; a classic Madrid food. Chocolatería San Ginés attracts a huge crowd with their chocolate-dipped churros; the establishment has been around since 1894 and has been the hotspot of Spanish sweets.
People in Madrid love food–and they really love tacos. The best taco restaurants, like El Rey de Los Tacos or Takos al Pastor (local favorites), will often have people lining up outside the door, waiting for their chance to eat. The tacos in Madrid often taste more authentic all around and cost very little–some places have a taco for a euro (approximately one U.S. dollar).
Parks have become massively integrated into Madrid culture. The large and well-cared for parks have many features: sculptures, lakes, fountains, gardens, playgrounds, outdoor gyms, etc. Tourists and locals love the amazing views and escape from the city they find in the parks–check out Retiro Park for a fan-favorite.
The Plaza Mayor was the city center of Madrid but now provides a look into 15th-century Madrid. The iconic architecture stands the test of time and provides a home for people to sight-see, shop and enjoy the outdoors.
The Royal Palace marks the history of the royal family of Madrid, even though it’s not used for living anymore. Now you can take a tour to admire the Victorian-style architecture and the artifacts inside, including the Royal Army and Painting Gallery, which contain well-rounded and well-established pieces. You won’t be at a loss of sights to see in Madrid.
Madrid has no lack of culture; the city holds its traditions very close and has a lot of fun experiences you wouldn’t get anywhere else.
The flamenco dance style uniquely belongs to Spain–you can find a tablao (a place that performs flamenco) anywhere you go in Madrid. The flamenco dance has no limits–dancers perform slowly and seriously, or fast and lively, depending on the venue and music.
Most people consider flamenco an art form and rank it a must-see while in Spain.
Spain houses three very famous art museums called the Golden Triangle of Art. These museums include the Prado Museum, Reina Sofia Museum and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. The museums contain a wealth of art, spanning many time periods and art forms; they contain art from the ancient times up until the modern era, 20th-century modern art and a mix, respectively. Here you can experience art you couldn’t see anywhere else and you get reminded about Spain’s important cultural impact on the art world.
Madrid has a wide mix of art and culture, amongst its many other attractions. If you go to Madrid, you’ll find plenty to do, but don’t stress–you can just hit the highlights.