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2 Days in Madrid

Going to Madrid for business, have 2 days to explore! What are your best experiences and suggestions?

Posted by
3149 posts

If you like museums the Prado and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum(s) are great! Shopping at El Corte Ingles Department store is fun too.

Posted by
4555 posts

In addition to Sharon's great suggestions....people-watching from the Cafe Europa on the Puerta del Sol...doing the tapas bars and clubs in and around Plaza de Santa Ana....exploring the artists at work at Plaza Mayor...touring the hub-bub of the Rastro flea market down Calle Ribera on a Saturday morning.

Posted by
4555 posts

Oops....brain freeze...thank's Frank! Enjoying the Rastro flea market on SUNDAY morning.

Posted by
13 posts

Hi Diane,

I'd recommend:

9-12:30pm: Walk through Madrid's old quarter. Enjoy churros con chocolate for breakfast and beat the lines to the Royal Palace.

12:30-3pm: Grab a bite to eat for lunch and soak in some afternoon sun at the Retiro. Rent a boat to take a spin on the lake and checkout the puppet shows and jugglers near the central fountain.

3-6:30pm: Stroll down a few blocks to the Reina Sofia museum to see Picasso's Guernica and some other great modern art.

6:30-8pm: Do some window shopping, grab some coffee, and take in the scenery of the nearby Chueca area.

8-10pm: Walk up a few blocks to Plaza Santa Ana around 8pm for a great tapas crawl.

Post 10pm: Enjoy the party at one of the nearby discotecas.

10-2pm: After breakfast, head over to the Prado. The audioguide is especially helpful here since you'll need to make the most of your time in this massive musuem.

2-4pm: Enjoy el menu del dia at one of the great restaurants around Plaza de las Cortes.

4-8pm: Stroll up towards Puerta del Sol for shopping or enjoy a sunset walk through the nearby Botanical Gardens.

8-10pm: Get your last fill of tapas!

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you everyone for your suggestions. My trip is next week and I will reply here with some of my successful finds!

Posted by
5926 posts

I have three words for you to remember when in Madrid:


Posted by
269 posts

Also, Retiro Park is a great place to people watch while you picnic. Bar Museo is a great little snack bar/restaurant directly across from the Prado ... it's a nice place to get your bearings and collect your thoughts after getting overwhelmed by the amazing art in the museum. And the opulence of Palacio Real is not to be missed if you have the time. Have a wonderful trip ... I don't think there's much you can do wrong on a visit to Madrid :)

Posted by
586 posts

Hey, Diane, you'll love Madrid! My wife and I spent a week in Spain for New Year's this winter, including 4 nights in Madrid. My blog on the trip can be found online at

As for highlights in Madrid, I agree with those who cited The Prado as a must-see for art lovers (but would add Picasso's "Guernica" at the nearby Sofia museum, too!). Retiro Park is a beautiful place to stroll, located just behind and adjacent to The Prado. Also, Palacio Real is worth an hour or so, and Los Carboneras, while not cheap, is a wonderful dinner/drinks and flamenco experience at night. Finally, just a about a block behind the Hotel Europa, at Puerta del Sol, is a little hole-in-wall Spanish bar/cafe that serves the best damn chorrizo with bread in the world, for next-to-nothing. Add that, along with some shopping/browsing at nearby El Corte Ingles and a look around the historic Puerta del Sol, and it's a nice way to have some lunch and see that area. PS: Plaza Mayor is interesting, too! Definitely buy Rick Steves' Spain 2009, and maybe read Giles Tremlett's "Ghosts of Spain." Have a great time. (:

Posted by
16 posts

Diane, this was exactly my situation in February 2007. I fell in love with Madrid in just two days! I stayed near the Plaza Santa Ana and walked everywhere. I was able to visit the Thyssen, Prado and gardens, Sofia Reina (primarily to see Guernica), and do a Palace tour without feeling too rushed. Just walking around you see so much. Definitely make time to stop and get churros and chocolate. I found eating out in the evenings to be a little challenging - the tapas bars are wonderful in Plaza Santa Ana but it's hard to order lots of different things when you're solo. Try just stopping by a bar and ordering a beer or wine, you often get free "pinchos" to snack on. If the weather is good enough, sit outside and snack as much as possible, the people watching is so much fun, the Spaniards are beautiful people inside and out :)