Planning to visit the capital in one day is a something complicated task, as you can imagine the amount of plans and places that Madrid has to visit. However, we believe that visiting many of the city’s tourist attractions in one day is possible, although you have to be aware that you will leave many other places to see, but this way you have an excuse to come back.
If you are in this case, we recommend you to take it easy and not try to take it all in at once, as you can walk around and see the city at your leisure.
Visit Madrid in one day
If this is the first time you come to Madrid and you want to see the city’s must-see places, don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time. Here are 10 must-see places that you can visit at your leisure and enjoy the city.
One of our recommendations is to take a free tour of Madrid, as you can walk to many of the most emblematic places in Madrid. The best thing about the free tours is that for about 2 hours they will take you to different places and tell you stories that will make you live in the Madrid of the past, knowing from its origins to its transformation to become one of the main European capitals.
The Plaza de Cibeles, although not very big, is one of the most visited places in the city and another of the essential places you have to see in Madrid in one day. It is one of the symbols of Madrid that you cannot miss. The photo of the monument with the small garden at the foot is already a classic for visitors. You will also find the famous Cibeles Fountain, which today is loved by all Real Madrid fans every time their team celebrates a victory, and, even if you are not a football fan, it will ring a bell.
Walk along Calle del Prado
You can start by strolling along Calle del Prado, and when you get to the bottom you’ll be in Plaza de las Cortes, where you can visit the Congreso de los Diputados. Going down you will find the famous Fountain of Neptuno, in the Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo. On one side of the square is the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, and on the opposite side, the Prado Museum. If you’re visiting Madrid in a day, we don’t recommend going inside, as it takes at least a couple of hours to see the most famous works. However, you can stroll through the gardens and continue walking towards Calle de Felipe IV, between the Ritz Hotel and the Prado Museum.
Have a drink in Plaza Santa Ana
If you’re a bit tired of walking, Plaza Santa Ana is the perfect place to have a beer and relax on one of its many terraces. If you decide to go to this atmospheric square, one of our suggestions is to go to the Cervecería Alemana, as if you order a drink they will always serve you a tapa to go with it.
Eat in a typical market
There are several markets in Madrid where, in addition to shopping, you can eat tapas under cover and enjoy the many Spanish tapas delicatesen. Without a doubt, the most touristy market and the one we recommend the most is the Mercado de San Miguel. It is located in the Plaza de San Miguel, close to many other places you should visit. Once inside, all you have to do is walk around the different food stalls, choose one and enjoy the food of your choice.
Take a stroll through the Retiro
The Retiro Park is a place you must visit if you come to Madrid, as it is a symbolic and characteristic place of the capital. Once inside, we recommend you to see the Palacio de Cristal, located in a very picturesque corner next to a small lake, and also, take a walk along the pond and its gardens.
See the Puerta del Sol
The next stop on this one-day tour of Madrid is the famous Plaza del Sol, where some of the capital’s most famous streets end, such as Alcalá, one of the city’s main thoroughfares.
This square has many points of interest, such as the Statue of Carlos III, the Clock of the Casa de Correos, where the chimes are rung every year to celebrate the new year, la Estatua del Oso y el Madroño, and something you can’t miss, the kilometre 0 plaque.
Madrid touristic bus
Another option you can do in the afternoon is to take the Madrid touristic bus or the well-known Madrid City Tour, as you are likely to be more tired from all day walking. It is a comfortable and very practical way to explore the streets of the capital. It will take you through the most famous streets of the city and you will be able to see everything from the heights of its double-decker bus.
You can take two different buses, with two different routes. The first will take you to places such as Puerta de Alcalá, Gran Vía, the Prado Museum, Cibeles and the Temple of Debod, among others. The second takes you on a different route, going as far as the Cuatro Torres, and stops at famous places such as Santiago Bernabéu, Serrano, Colón and Plaza de las Cortes.
If you like photography, we suggest you go to the Sabatini Gardens and Plaza de Oriente, where you will find one of the best views of the Palacio Real. This area is also home to the Almudena Cathedral, the most important religious building in Madrid and another of the city’s must-see sights.
Who doesn’t like to have a drink and enjoy one of the best views of Madrid? We encourage you to go up and enjoy a roof top at the sunset. Among the best terraces in Madrid we recommend several: the Azotea del Círculo de Bellas Artes, Picalagartos Sky Bar, and the Terraza NH Collection Casa Suecia.