Last updated on October 24th, 2023 at 09:44 pm
A Perfect 3 Days Madrid Itinerary – Best Day Trips Around Madrid
Madrid is one of the most famous city in Spain, Europe and the entire world, an amazing cultural hub with the most beautiful attractions. Click here to book online activities in Madrid and day tours
SIM CARD AT MADRID BARAJAS AIRPORT
I wouldn’t recommend you buy a sim card at Madrid airport. If you wish comfort you can buy eSim online and if you aren’t in a hurry just go around phone shops in the city and compare prices to buy the cheapest sim card in Madrid. Read here Sim Card Madrid Airport, best Spain sim card for tourist and Spain eSim
BOOK YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE
You can read Heymondo Vs Safetwing cheapest travel Insurance. You can get for $135 USD your Heymondo Travel Insurance with Heymondo discount code valid for 90 days. Read our full Heymondo Travel Insurance Review
You can get Safetywing Travel Insurance for Digital Nomads valid for 28 days Safetywing for $50 USD per month with kids until 10 years old included
TRANSPORTATION AROUND MADRID
Madrid’s Subway is the second largest in the world next to the one in London. The city has a sophisticated network that covers all parts of the city including the airport. Commuting is no hassle in Madrid, for sure! A single ticket can be used for five stations for €1.50-2, while a ten-trip ticket costs around €12.
There are also unlimited passes that can be availed daily €8, for 2 days €13.4 , 3 days €17.40 , 5 days €25.50, or even for an entire week €33.40.
Another system of trains is called Cercanias, a local line that connects Madrid’s suburbs to the metropolitan area. It is perfect for visiting historic sites outside the city center.
Buses are also a convenient way for those who want to travel all around Madrid above ground. These buses run with free Wi-Fi and are available even late at night. The primary bus station is Plaza de Cibeles where you can take buses to almost anywhere in the city. Prices go around €1-2.
Read here how to get from Madrid to Lisbon
Like any other metropolitan, there are plenty of taxis available all over Madrid. However, many of the drivers do not speak English so make sure to write down your destination in Spanish.
Taxis are easy to spot with their green light on top, green signs that say “libre” (free/available) on the windshields, white exteriors, and the flag of Madrid on their front doors.
DAILY BUDGET IN MADRID
There are many budget options in Madrid for accommodation. You can sleep in a dorm or a room from €25-30 and mid-budget starts at €50-80
You can spend from €10-20 on a meal also go for beer and tapas. In transportation, you can spend around €5 per day. You also have to add entrance fees for museums or any attractions in Madrid.
You can go a budget looking for free days to visit the museums in Madrid. You can manage €30-40 per day and you will have an amazing time exploring the city.
3 Days Madrid Itinerary
For our itinerary in Madrid we will choose 3 days and we will stell you step by step where to go and where to eat. If you are planning to stay longer we will also give you more options.
Day 1 Itinerary in Madrid
For your first day in your Madrid itinerary we will choose exploring the city center. If you are staying around the area you can go walking. If you are staying in other are check above how to move around Madrid by metro, train and bus.
You have to time to watch all these places from the morning to the afternoon some of them require only a few minutes and if you stay longer you can skip them or watch next day.
For eating during the day we recommend tapas and calamari sandwich while walking around the city center. At night you can have dinner and watching a Flamenco show.
Gran Via is a must in your Madrid itinerary the city’s shopping and nightlife hub. Gran Via is a street with a lot to offer. The street is always crowded and full of life in this list of places to visit in Madrid.
If you want to learn about Madrid’s culture and history in one bright, sunny location, Retiro Park is one of the places to visit in Madrid that you cant miss. You will find statues, art galleries and museums in the park, as well as a garden, a pond and a lake.
Retiro Park is a great place for families and if you are traveling with kids. You can rent a boat inside the small lake, rent a bicycle to go around. Retiro Park is located in the city center of Madrid.
PUERTA DE ALCALA
Puerta de Alcala is one of the most iconic monuments in Madrid just in the entrance of Retiro Park. A post-Roman triumphal arch is a historic site in both ancient and modern times as it is a place where victories, an assassination, MTV performances and a concert have all occurred here.
PLAZA DE CIBELES
At night time you can enjoy the lights and you can even go up to the rooftop and check the views of the city center.
PUERTA DEL SOL
Puerta del Sol is always busy. The crowd, the colors and the music in this square reveal the magic of Spain and its wonderful culture. Puerta del Sol is Madrid’s Km 0 and is perfectly situated at the heart of the city. A perfect meeting point with shops, bars and restaurants around.
Preciados Street is perfect for shopping and looking around in Madrid. There are plenty of international brands like H&M, Mango and Zara, as well as a department store.
There are also shops dedicated to selling local goods like fans, guitars and embroidered shawls.
Just a few blocks away from Puerta del Sol is Plaza Mayor. The plaza was completed in 1619 and is surrounded by 3 residential buildings and 9 entryways. After walking around Plaza Mayor would be awesome to eat a calamari sandwich.
Royal Palace with over 3,000 rooms and is a masterpiece that is worth waiting in line for. After the visit enjoy the vies of Madrid, the best panoramic of the city. Royal Palace entrance fee is 10 euros and they will guide you around.
SAN MIGUEL MARKET
San Miguel Market is not difficult to find as it is located in the heart of the city, just a few steps away from Plaza Mayor. This iron structure is Madrid’s first gastronomy market and accepts as much as 10 million visitors each year.
You will find gourmet tapas and popular Spanish food. From excellent wine to Iberian ham. You can find tapas starting from €2 and all of them are delicious
Almudena Cathedral is a church that has been consecrated by the well-loved Pope John Paul II. It is a building that seems to have been built from a medieval mosque and has a Neo-Gothic interior and pop art decor that is uncommon in most churches.
Sabatini Gardens is located by the Royal Palace’s front facade, making the building more beautiful than ever. A rectangular pond can be found at the center, with fountains, sculptures and trees all around.
Nice place to walk around and very quiet. The views from above Sabatini Gardens are very beautiful. There is no entrance fee at Sabatini Gardens
Last stop of the day after visiting Sabatini Gardens will be the sunset. And we just love the one at Debod Temple. This particular temple is actually an ancient Egyptian relic and can be found at the heart of Madrid. Admission to Debod Temple is free. The views are amazing and you will always find people around.
Flamenco is a dance that knows no boundaries. You can watch it in a prestigious dance hall or in an intimate bar while having dinner. The intensity of its performers is what attracts people to this dance and it’s something you shouldn’t miss in your Madrid itinerary. Each show costs around 15 to 45 EUR.
One of Rachel´s favorite best food to try in Madrid. Fried, salty and with lemon and it´s perfect if you share with cold beer. Prices are around €3-4. It’s ideal for a short break in your itinerary in Madrid.
TRY ALL SORTS OF TAPAS
Madrid’s local cuisine is best represented with tapas, the bite-sized dishes enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. A great way to explore this Spanish symbol is to go to different tapas bars.
Most of the most popular bars are Museo del Jamon and Bar El Tigre. You will find generous tapas and beers for an affordable price.
Day 2 Madrid Itinerary
For the second day in your itinerary in Madrid you can start with Chocolate con churros a traditional breakfast in Madrid. And you can explore museums like Prado Museum, Reina Sofia since there are a few of them.
In the afternoon you can visit Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. And for the sunset time you can go to a rooftop to have beautiful views of the city. For dinner you can visit Botin the oldest restaurant in the world and later the nightlife in Madrid.
CHOCOLATE CON CHURROS
Looking for the perfect breakfast in Madrid? Nothing beats chocolate con churros! This tasty delight is simply fried dough dipped in hot chocolate. It’s a real classic! In fact, a cafe called Chocolatería San Ginés has been serving them since 1894. The cafe is close to Puerta del Sol and is one of the many places in Madrid to get your churros craving satisfied.
MUSEO DEL PRADO
Located in central Madrid is the country’s national museum, Museo del Prado. Here you can see thousands of drawings, paintings, sculptures and other important works by artists like Raphael, Caravaggio, Titian, El Greco, Goya and Rembrandt. The museum opens from 10 AM to 8 PM on Monday until Saturday and at 10 AM to 7 PM on Sundays and holidays.
SANTIAGO BERNABÉU STADIUM
Real Madrid die-hards and all solid sports fans wouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to visit Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, the home of Spain’s elite football team. You can book a sightseeing tour to learn about all the historic events that took place in this iconic location.
From cafes and markets to bars and gourmet restaurants, it’s pretty impossible not to find spots in Madrid to enjoy good food and a couple of drinks in the city’s rooftops. One of the best spots is Rooftop La Terraza at The Principal Madrid Hotel.
MADRID’S EXCITING NIGHTLIFE
Clubs, bars and pubs in Madrid are open daily and you’re sure to find a place that suits your mood. Want to listen to some local pop rock bands? Head to ThunderCat Club. Want to show off your moves on the dance floor? Head on out to Kapital. Want to chill somewhere eclectic? Tupperware is the place for you. Options abound all around the city that, like New York, seems to never sleep. Plaza Santa Ana and Huertas are full of bars and you will find peopel everywhere walking around them.
Known as the oldest restaurant in the world, Sobrino de Botín is a culturally significant establishment in Spain. It is a place where the renowned artist Francisco Goya once worked and it was mentioned in one of Ernest Hemingway’s works. Some must-tries include the roasted suckling pig and their egg, chicken broth and sherry soup.
Day 3 Madrid Itinerary And More
For the last day in Madrid itinerary or even more days if you have time. We recommend you to do a road trip. My favorite ones are Toledo and Segovia trying cochinillo (small pig). If you have more days you can explore Aranjuez, Avila and San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Read here how to get from Madrid airport to Segovia.
You can explore more places for tapas in Madrid, chinatown near Plaza Plaza España and Casa de Campo if you like to explore parks and green areas. On Sunday el Rastro is a street market where you can find everything that you can imagine. After this tapas in La Latina is so popular.
Just a little over an hour from Madrid is Toledo, a city that overlooks the beautiful Río Tajo and combines three different cultures (Catholic, Muslim and Jewish) in one unique place. It is one of the most visited spots in Spain.
Here’s a travel tip: With €9 you can purchase the Pulsera Turística (or Tourist Bracelet) that allows access to 6 tourist destinations in the city with no time limit.
This places include Sinagoga de Santa María La Blanca, Iglesia San Ildefonso and many more. A train ride from Madrid last 35 minutes and costs less than €22 for a same-day round trip ticket.
If you’re looking for a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of Madrid, Aranjuez is a wonderful place to visit. A trip to this Spanish municipality only takes around 50 minutes by train from Atocha, Chamartin or Sol stations.
Here, you can visit the Royal Palace of Aranjuez, Jardin del Principe and Bull Ring, the first ever Plaza del Toros in Spain.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site is the city of Segovia, just 80 km outside of Madrid. This city is famous for its Aqueduct and Alcázar, and for how it perfectly blends ancient Roman and modern Spanish aesthetics.
The best place to try cochinillo is in Segovia. After visiting the city, there are many bars in city center. Prices are €16 for a dish one person and €110 for the whole cochinillo.
SAN LORENZO DE EL ESCORIAL
El Escorial is one the places to visit in Madrid that you can’t miss. A town just 45 km outside of Spain is home to another UNESCO World Heritage site in the country. San Lorenzo de El Escorial is a mountainous area that’s part of the community of Madrid.
Though perfect for a day trip, it can be explored for 2 to 3 days if you want to visit other sites apart from the famous monastery like Valle de los Caidos and the town’s surrounding countryside.
If you’re looking for authentic Medieval buildings in Spain, Avila is the place to explore. There are plenty of beautiful convents and churches to visit. One of them is the cathedral that has actually been built into the city walls. The walls themselves are a sight to behold in this Spanish masterpiece of a city.
After get done with a few places to visit in Madrid. There is a small Chinatown in Leganitos Street, very close to Plaza España. There are several shops and restaurants in the area, most of which are owned and run by the Chinese. A great place to eat is actually inside the Plaza España parking lot.
The restaurant is very affordable and the food is really delicious. The place is quite small so you will have to wait in line to be seated, but you can always place an order in advance so that when you get to your table, the food will be ready. Each meal will go for around €5-7.
CASA DE CAMPO
What was once a royal hunting estate is now home to Parque de Atracciones de Madrid and the Zoo Aquarium de Madrid. The amusement park is 49 acres big and is one of the oldest in Spain. The Madrid Zoo Aquarium is the same size as Parque de Atracciones and has rare giant pandas as one of its main attractions.
If you’re looking to buy something from Madrid on a bargain, you should definitely come by El Rastro. It is Madrid’s spectacular flea market where you can find plenty of products, both old and new, like leather goods and souvenirs–all at cheaper prices.
El Rastro opens every Sunday and on public holidays as well. It is one of the best flea markets in Europe and has a truly eclectic vibe.
La Latina is a colorful street that’s perfect after El Rastro for beers and tapas after visiting El Rastro. On weekends is full of people inside and outside the bars.
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About the Author: Ruben, co-founder of Gamintraveler.com since 2014, is a seasoned traveler from Spain who has explored over 100 countries since 2009. Known for his extensive travel adventures across South America, Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Africa, Ruben combines his passion for adventurous yet sustainable living with his love for cycling, highlighted by his remarkable 5-month bicycle journey from Spain to Norway. He currently resides in Spain, where he continues to share his travel experiences alongside his partner, Rachel, and their son, Han.