Looking for places to see in Madrid?
Even if you’re just spending a few days in town, there are lots of places to see and things to do.
This short video is a walking route you can take around the center of Madrid, with stops at 7 or 8 of the top attractions in Madrid.
Of course, not everything is there. One day I’ll make another video that includes more about Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, the Prado Museum, Reina Sofia, etc.
But for now…
Top places to see in Madrid
This video is made in reality style. By which I mean, it’s not Rick Steves.
However, this weakness is also a strength – since I’m just a guy filming on a mobile phone, I can talk about stuff Rick Steves won’t.
Ready? Here’s the video…
There’s a lot more to see on my YouTube channel, but mostly it’s about English grammar and pronunciation.
Top attractions in Madrid, Spain
At the beginning of the video, I promise 5 things, but in the end it turns out to be 8 of the best places to see in Madrid…
Here are the top sites you can’t miss while you’re in town:
- Calle Fuencarral – the shopping street leading into barrio Malasaña, where all the cool kids hang out. There are major fashion brands and a lot of boutique shops on the side streets.
- Gran Vía – Monumental architecture, and even bigger shops. There you’ll find Zara, H&M, Casa del Libro, the Telefónica Building (which sometimes hosts art exhibits) and much more.
- Plaza de Callao – Is Callao the Spanish Times Square? Ok, maybe. It’s at least got some lights and some cinemas. It’s also right at the end of the Calle Carmen / Preciados pedestrian shopping streets, which you should take a gander at. “Meet you outside the FNAC de Callao” is a typical expression among Madrid locals.
- Plaza de España – More monumental architecture: Torre Madrid and Edificio España, two of the old skyscrapers. Also, the monument to Miguel de Cervantes and Don Quixote. At the time of this writing, there are a couple new luxury hotels that have recently opened, so the scene is a bit different than it used to be. Also, they’ve remodeled the plaza itself. Some of the best Chinese food in Madrid is around this area.
- Templo de Debod – The temple was a gift from the government of Egypt. It’s in a Greek style and around 2000 years old. There’s also some history up there, which I explain in the video: the Second of May and Third of May 1808 paintings by Goya specifically. You can see both in the Prado Museum, along with many other masterpieces of European art.
- Jardines de Sabatini – I guess Sabatini was one of the architects responsible for the Royal Palace, and these gardens outside bear his name. They’re pretty nice if you’re into that sort of thing.
- Royal Palace – Actually, contrary to what I say in the video, this palace is bigger than Versailles. Thanks to Rafa on YouTube for pointing that out. I never would have thought the Spanish had outdone the French in palace-building.
- Almudena Cathedral – Not the most spectacular cathedral in Spain. It’s more modern than most, but still interesting. Other cites like Salamanca and Leon have great cathedrals. Burgos and Sevilla also come to mind. Barcelona has the Sagrada Familia. Etc.
And that’s about it…
I hope you enjoyed the video as much as I enjoyed the walk!
Want to know more about Madrid and Spain?
Like I said, the video today is just a short walking route, which you can certainly figure out with a GPS or a paper map. However, it’s not all-inclusive.
For much more about the best places to see in Madrid – and where to eat in between sights – check out my article on Lonely Planet, 10 places to try old-school Spanish food.
And you can also check out my page with the best photos of Madrid for more ideas on where to go and what to see.
If you’ve got a few days, you might want to check out some nice towns we’ve got within an hour or two by train or car. I particularly like the city of Cuenca, but there are all sorts of nice places to visit: Toledo, Salamanca, Segovia and Ávila to name just a few.
Feel free to hit me up with any questions about Madrid or Spain – just send me a message here.
P.S. I’m obviously not a historian. But hopefully soon I’ll make some videos based on the book Hidden Madrid, by Mark Besas. There are lots of fun facts about the city in there. Check it out!
P.P.S. If you’re thinking about spending more time here, you might want to know the truth about living in Madrid. It’s not all sunshine and sangría, folks. Also, there are some “Madrid musts” that actually kinda suck. Oh well.