Travel itinerary for 1 day in Madrid: Things to do and visit

Travel itinerary for 1 day in Madrid: Things to do and visit

Spain is a benchmark in the world of tourism. During 2017, the country ranked second worldwide, tied with the United States of America with 75.6 million tourists a year. How much time did all those tourists spend visiting Madrid? A week? A month? Today we are a bit in a hurry and want to present a small itinerary for just one day. If you are the business traveller who visits FITUR in Madrid or on an overlay, it’s possible to get to know the Spanish capital in less than 24 hours. Do you want to know how?

Discover here the best plan to spend a fantastic day visiting the capital of Sapin, a travel itinerary for 1 day in Madrid. Let’s go!

Things to do and see in Madrid in 1 day tour

07:00 Adolfo Suárez Airport: 30 minutes from downtown

The Madrid airport is located just 25 minutes from the center of the city, on the northeast side. Madrid has a great public transportation system that can take you to Plaza de Cibeles for just 3 euros. You can choose between Metro (Line 8) or a line bus that will drop you off at the town center in a matter of 20-25 minutes. If you prefer, you can go by taxi, more comfortable and faster but also more expensive.

8:00 Gardens in the city

From Plaza de Cibeles you can walk to Puerta de Alcalá, one of the five ancient royal doors that gave access to Madrid. Infront of this spectacular monument, you can find the main entrance to the Retiro Gardens. The morning is a great time to visit El Retiro Park, the most important park in Madrid and one of the main tourist attractions in the center of the city. Locals and tourists enjoy every corner from El Retiro Park, since it is not only the lung of Madrid, but also houses a great architectural and historical richness.

09:30 Breakfast and Art

Museo del Prado
Image Source: El Prado Museum, Madrid


Close to El Retiro Park you will find El Prado National Museum. The most international museum in Madrid has a schedule from 10 AM to 7 PM on weekdays and until 8 PM on holidays. We recommend you purchase your ticket online, which cost 15 euros each. You also have the option of visiting it for free, if you do it from 6 PM to 8 PM. The only problem is that many tourists do that, so you must start queueing very early if you Is it to take advantage of this promotion. Is it worth it? Totally! El Prado is the most visited museum in Madrid and host artworks from immortal Spanish artists such as Velazquez, Goya and El Greco. And it also hosts delicious croissants in their cafeteria, so make sure you visit it too!

12:30 Las Letras: The literary neighborhood

About 10 minutes walking from El Prado Museum, we find the Barrio de las Letras (the letters district). This neighborhood, located between Atocha and the Spanish Parliament, was the residence of some of the most renowned writers from the Spanish Golden Age. Miguel de Cervantes, Quevedo, Góngora or Lope de Vega were some of the relevant names that used to live there. In this same district we find the Royal Academy of History, the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, the Royal Theater and the Ateneo de Madrid.

13:00 Santa Ana Square for lunch: “Castizo” charm

Walking by la Puerta del Sol and its famous zero-kilometer (the geographical center of the country) we find the Santa Ana Square. It is a large open square with garden areas, benches and surrounded by bars, restaurants and coffee shops to enjoy brunch, tapas or lunch. The neighborhood is defined by the adjective “castizo”, that means classic with that typical Madrid-flavor. The Santa Ana Square bars have been frequented by artists, bullfighters and celebrities since the 19th century. Even artists such as Ernest Hemingway used to drink and have tapas here.

14:00 Preciados, Gran Vía and Fuencarral: Mainstream and hip

Madrid Gran Vía


10 minutes walking from Santa Ana Square we arrive to Calle Preciados. In this avenue, named for a classic shopping mall called “Galerias Preciados”, we find the most expensive square meter in the country. This gives you the idea of the kind of stores you will find here. In its sidewalks we find some of the most well-known stores and brands, national and international. If you intended to purchase a souvenir or go shopping, this is the area. Crossing Gran Vía we arrive to Fuencarral street, one of the hippest, most trendy avenues in the city, full of craft breweries, young clothing stores and tattoo studios.

16:00 Coffee in Chamberí: The Ghost Station and the Sorolla Expo

Chamberí is another ”castizo” neighborhood in Madrid. A mid-afternoon coffee is the perfect excuse to get to know the Olavide Square, a large octagonal square full of terraces and gardens, perfect to hang out with your buddies. The Chamberí district also offers great music in the Sala Clamores (Alburquerque 14) and a ghost station, an abandoned metro station that has been closed since 1966. In Chamberí we also find the Sorolla Museum, where you can appreciate the artwork of the painter Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. In this house-palace we find a marvelous pictorial collection and a sumptuous garden at the entrance.

18:30 Football: A Madrid icon

Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
Image Source: Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid


Real Madrid is one of the most international teams in the world. One of the main proofs is the fact that its museum, located inside the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, is the second most visited museum in Madrid after El Prado. The Stadium Tour can be done every day except December 25th and January 1st. During game days it´s available until 5 hours before the beginning of the match, and the locker room is out of limits. The tour includes a walk through the balcony, the Team Museum, the trophy room, the changing room, the playing field and the benches. If you ever dreamed about being a Real Madrid player, with this tour you will feel like you are teammates with Cristiano Ronaldo or Karim Benzema.

20:30 Back home

From the Nuevos Ministerios Metro Station, located just 500 meters away from the Bernabéu Stadium, you can get on the line 8 of the Metro, which takes you to the Adolfo Suarez Airport in just 20 minutes.

After an intense walking day, you have visited the main areas of the city and had a little taste of Madrid and its leisure and cultural offer. And if you have had a good time (I bet you did!) all you need to do now is book a much longer trip. You won’t regret it!


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