Doing the impossible, Madrid in one day.
Madrid is beautiful, very eclectic, full of history and with lots to see and do, so realistically, it is not possible to visit Madrid in one day.
It takes at least 4 days to see it all and even more to experience it. But if your time is limited, we help you with a basic itinerary to get to know the city. As our intention is that you see only the essential, we have designed a walking tour for you to discover most of Madrid but you can also opt for the 10 most visited places in Madrid.
At the end of the post you have a map of the route, with the start and ending point in Puerta del Sol.
From “Puerta del Sol” to “Madrid de los Austrias”
We start at the city center, by Puerta del Sol, here you will find the famous statue El Oso y el Madroño, a symbol of the city and a popular meeting point, and the “Kilómetro cero” plaque. Walking down Calle Mayor you will enter the Madrid Center or Madrid de los Austrias, arriving in approximately 5 minutes to the largest square in Madrid, the Plaza Mayor.
On the south side of the square you reach the neighborhood of La Latina, worth visiting, but as it takes time and you only have one day, you should leave it for your second visit to Madrid.
Leaving the square again towards Calle Mayor, you can make a stop at Madrid’s gastronomic temple, Mercado de San Miguel. From here, in less than 5 minutes you will reach the Plaza de la Villa, the center of Madrid life when it was not yet the capital of the kingdom.
Continue along Calle Mayor until you reach the Almudena Cathedral, which stands out for its architectural style. Very close to it, you will reach the Plaza de Oriente, where two representative buildings of the city are located: the Royal Palace with its traditional Change of the Guard and the Royal Theater .
The Debod Temple (Templo de Debod) and “Plaza de España”
A short distance from the Plaza de Oriente, along Calle de Bailén and passing through the Jardines de Sabatini, you will reach the Templo de Debod, from where spectacular sunsets can be observed and photographed. Very close to the temple is Plaza España, where you will find the monument to Cervantes with the iconic “Edificio España” in the background.
Walking along “Gran Via”
Crossing Plaza de España, you will arrive at one of the most important tourist and commercial arteries of the city; full of stores, nightclubs, cafes, cinemas and theaters.
On your way along Gran Vía you will reach Plaza de Callao with its emblematic buildings: the Carrión or Capitol Building and the viewpoint terrace on the top floor of El Corte Inglés, which we recommend you go up to.
Further on, between Gran Vía and Calle Alcalá you will reach the Metrópolis Building, which you can see inthe foreground by going up to the roof of the Círculo de Bellas Artes, a building where interesting cultural exhibitions are held.
“Cibeles” Square and “El Retiro” Park
Continue the tour along Calle Alcalá until you reach the emblematic Plaza de Cibeles with the fountain and the monument to the Goddess Cibeles, the Bank of Spain, the Palacio de Buenavista, the Palacio de Linares and the Palacio de Cibeles (headquarters of the Madrid City Council) in which there is also a viewpoint to enjoy the skylight of Madrid.
Follow the route up Calle Alcalá until you reach the Plaza de Independencia, where the Puerta de Alcalá is located, another Madrid symbol which you cannot miss. Its two sides are different and it has marks on the stones due to civil war projectiles.
Cross the square and continue the day with a pleasant walk through the symbolic and representative El Retiro Park, the green lung of Madrid. We recommend passing by the Estanque Grande and its impressive monument to Alfonso XII, of course visit the Palacio de Cristal and go through the Jardín del Parterre.
Towards the “Paseo del Arte” and the “Barrio de las Letras”
Continuing straight ahead you will pass by the Casón del Buen Retiro, the building of the Royal Spanish Academy and the Church of Los Jerónimos and going down a little further you will reach the Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo, where the famous Neptune Fountain is located.
On one side of the square is the Prado Museum and on the opposite side, the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum. We do not recommend entering if you have little time as both require a day to really enjoy them.
Continue the tour through Plaza de las Cortes, you will reach the Congress of Deputies (Congreso de los diputados) and continuing along Calle del Prado to Plaza de Santa Ana, a good place to have a drink and rest.
Afterwards, continue along Plaza del Ángel until you reach Plaza de Jacinto Benavente and then go down Calle de Carretas to reach, once again, Puerta del Sol.
Recommended rectangular route to see Madrid
Here you have the map of the recommended route. It is a rectangular route, with a duration without stops, of approximately two hours .
What you won’t see in a day
As we said before the Spanish capital is full of history, art, magnificent buildings, etc.., so it will be inevitable to leave some things unseen that you would surely like to visit. We have not passed through the Barrios de la Latina, Lavapiés, Malasaña and Chueca, which are full of life and the latest trends in fashion and art.
For art lovers, there wasn’t enough time to visit museums or temporary exhibitions, nor for soccer fans, to take the “Bernabéu” or “Wanda Metropolitano” Tour, nor for the bullfighting enthusiasts to visit the Plaza de Toros de las Ventas
Our accommodation in Madrid
For short stays we have stays by the day apartments next to Calle Serrano and Paseo de la Castellana, in the Escultor Building and accommodation by category: list of apartments for companies or our list of apartments for students .
In this area we have apartments for monthy stays in the downtown area, on the other side of the park we have the apartments for monthy stays in the Retiro area and nearby, but in a quieter and less touristic area, the apartments for monthy stays in the Salamanca neighborhood.
If you are an investor or property owner we help you maximize the performance of your property.
Pretending to live in Madrid?
If you are a Madrid passionate person considering to invest in Madrid visit the Golden Visa page to obtain a permanent residence in Spain.