Madrid for one day: The perfect itinerary to maximize your time in the Spanish capital

Madrid Spain is a beautiful European destination to explore. If you are able to visit Madrid for one day, then take the chance!

Whether it’s a layover in Madrid or a full stop, in 24 hours, you can get a great Spanish feel before you head to your next destination! The city is well connected and has tons of beautiful corners you can easily get to by foot.

Madrid is a city full of life and a visit to Spain doesn’t really need much convincing after all! The country is full of culture, delicious food, and endless things to do!

Madrid for one day

Madrid for one day has to include the best spots to visit. Here is the perfect Madrid itinerary to help you make the most out of your time:

  • Puerta del Sol – center of Madrid and the perfect place to start exploring 24 hours in Madrid!
  • Once you are in Puerta del sol- you can see the bear and strawberry monument, and the kilometer 0 of Spain distance monument
  • Plaza Mayor – This is a traditional Spanish square surrounded by historical buildings, souvenir shops, and bars.
  • After a walk in Plaza Mayor, go to have churros and chocolate. Churros are an original fried dough that’s commonly served as a typical spanish breakfast! Chocolateria de San Gines is where you can have some of eat the best churros in Madrid. It’s served with hot chocolate and you dip the churros.
  • Palacio Real de Madrid – One of the largest royal palace! Visit the Royal Palace & visit the sabatini gardens and campo de moro after. These are right next to the royal palace. If you want to learn about the spanish royal family & visit one of Madrid’s most popular landmark, then this is a must! You can also visit the gorgeous Catedral de la almudena also right next to the palace.
  • Prado Museum – This is the best main national art museum in Madrid. The Prado museum houses some of the best spanish art. They have collections and sculptures from Spanish painters like Velázquez, Goya, El Greco, etc. Go to the Prado museum for free after 530pm.

Even more things to do in Madrid

  • Parque del buen Retiro – Beautiful green leafy park with nice paths to stroll around, in El Retiro park you will find the gorgeous crystal palace or palacio de cristal in Spanish, the lake to rent a boat, and Puerta de alcala gate.
  • Learn about the city’s history and learn how to get around by doing a free walking tour
  • Have lunch at one of the markets, the most touristy is Mercado de san miguel which I don’t really recommend, instead I recommend going to the food court at El Cortes Ingles Callao where you can find better food and a better view!
  • Go sightseeing at Plaza de España – this is a beautiful new plaza they just renovated, sometimes has events
  • Plaza de Cibeles is where you can find the Cibeles fountain and the gorgeous Cibeles palace. It’s in central Madrid and is near 2 very important streets. Calle Gran Vía and Calle De Alcalá are 2 streets you should definitely visit.
  • Visit the Reina Sofia museum, thyssen bornemisza, círculo de bellas artes – All great options for European art
  • Try some madrid local food such as bocadillo de calamari which is a squid sandwich that most people enjoy with mayonaise or aioli, a garlic mayo. You can enjoy it on the terrace if its a sunny day in madrid!
  • You could also go on a day trip, but since time is limited, this isn’t by top recommendation!

No matter if it’s only one day in Madrid, this city will not disappoint! You’ll also realize that once you’re in Madrid’s city center, you have tons of places to visit close by. It’s a very walkable city.

Afternoon plans for one day

madrid one day

Madrid is actually a great city with a lot of beautiful green spaces and things to see. There’s tons of beautiful parks and gardens.

One of the best things to do in Madrid is walking around the neighborhoods, also known as “barrios.” Paseo del Prado and Opera are gorgeous. In this area is some of the most beautiful places to visit. You can enjoy the Spanish architecture and stunning famous landmarks.

Getting to main attractions will probably be a short walk, if you don’t like walking consider public transport. Madrid is an amazing city in the sense of connectedness.

For lunch you can have a picnic, or you can visit the best tapas bars in Calle Cava Baja. Tapas are small plates meant to be shared.

If you’d like to dine out make sure to check out menu del dia, this means menu of the day and is a great lunch option for a fixed menu at one price. Just make sure to make reservations at your preferred restaurants, not only does this save precious time but you won’t be pleasantly surprised when the restaurant is full.

During low seasons you can get by but most restaurants prefer reservations because of the business.

This is the most popular place in La Latina neighborhood for tapa hopping. Make sure you check it out if you’re a foodie!

Night life for one day in Madrid

If you want to enjoy the best night life, you definitely have tons of places to visit. You can go clubbing, visit cocktail bars, go to regular bars, visit roof tops, or hang out at a terrace. Terraces are heated in the winter so don’t worry about being cold.

Madrid in the winter is actually one the best time to visit. There are tons of amazing cocktail bars in Madrid year round. Some of the best in Madrid are: Ficus, 1862 Dry Bar, Los 33, and Absent.

You can also definitely check out Madrid’s live music scene. Madrid is a city full of culture, there’s flamenco, rock, jazz and more live music options. If you want to enjoy the LGBTQ+ nightlife scene, make sure you head to Chueca.

For one day in Madrid I recommend to look for the best flamenco! I It’s a great representation of Spanish culture. Flamenco show options come with a dinner, drinks, and show or just a show.

Shopping in Madrid

If you get to go shopping in Madrid, you can check out the Spanish brands.

Madrid is a great city to go shopping, you have tons of places to visit. If you love fashion definitely add this into your madrid itinerary. The city center is a perfect area too. There’s tons of shops everywhere.

If you make any qualifying purchases for duty free tax returns, make sure you store your receipts for the airport. You can go to the duty free office before you leave Europe.

For shopping in Madrid, you can also go to el rastro flea market thats on Sundays near Lavapies barrio. This is a really popular market. Just remember to keep your valuables tight as their can be pickpockets.

You can also visit the vintage shops in the hipster barrio of Malasana.


End your day staying at one of the best hostels in Madrid ! As you can see, there is plenty of things to do for one day in Madrid.

Don’t forget to take a map or download one on your phone so you can easily navigate the city. Have fun and enjoy all the beauty Madrid has to offer! We hope enjoyed this perfect one day itinerary.

Planning a longer trip? Check out our other blog post with even more Madrid travel tips.

Happy travels! Thanks for reading and if you have any questions make sure to leave them in the comments.

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