Don't Miss Madrid's Sumptuous Architecture, Fascinating History and World-Class Museums

Spain’s capital and a gem of a European city, Madrid is full of attractions and sights that captivate both locals and visitors alike with its mix of historical charm and modern vitality. There you will see sumptuous historical buildings and monuments that harken back to Madrid’s fascinating past, impressive museums that display works from Europe’s most revered artists and acres of beautiful formal gardens where thousands of locals come to play every day.

In fact, a visit to Madrid is not complete without a day at the Spanish capital’s top two attractions: the Prado Museum and Retiro Park. The world-renowned PradoMuseum provides an unrivalled survey of European art from the Middle Ages to the 19th century – with an emphasis on Spanish painting. Here significant works like Francisco de Goya’s The Third of May 1808 or Diego Velazquez’s Las Meninas grace the walls. For good reason, RetiroPark is Madrid’s favorite breath of fresh air. This extensive park, once a royal preserve, is where the locals come to play and stroll amongst its gardens and manicured paths, or else row on the artificial lake. 

Then if you’re brave enough to face the sport, the Bullfights at Las Ventas are simply incredible. Imagine watching the work of Spain’s top matadors with all their grace and skill inside Spain’s most important bullring, Plaza Monumental de Las Ventas. Both grand and traditional, the brick and tile ring was built in the 1920s and holds more than 23,000 spectators. Truly an unforgettable Madrid experience!

Monastery of the Barefoot Royals
Photo courtesy of Brian Snelson

Founded in 1559 as a Franciscan convent and now a museum, the Monastery of the Barefoot Royals is known for its rich interiors and the splendid collection of art and artifacts accumulated over the years. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the...  Read More

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Photo courtesy of Dalbera

Named after Spain's current queen and housed in a former 18th century hospital, the Reina Sofia Museum features an impressive collection of 20th century and contemporary art with an emphasis on Spanish artists. It completes Madrid's well-known...  Read More

Plaza de Cibeles

The Plaza de Cibeles is Madrid's most famous confluence of streets, where Paseo de Recoletos, Paseo del Prado and Calle de Alcalá meet. In the middle of the roundabout lies Cibeles Fountain, a 1782 sculpture and fountain of the classical...  Read More

Casa-Museo de Lope de Vega
Photo courtesy of Ecemaml

The Casa-Museo de Lope de Vega provides insight into the life of the celebrated Spanish playwright Lope de Vega as well as what life was like in Madrid during the 1600s. Located in what is now known as Madrid's Literary Quarter, Lope de Vega...  Read More

Museo Thyssen Bornemisza
Photo courtesy of Dalbera

Along with the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofia Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum forms what is known as the Golden Triangle of Art � Madrid's tour de force in the art world. Housed in Villahermosa Palace, the Thyssen-Bornemisza...  Read More

Plaza Mayor
Photo courtesy of Dalbera

Madrid's Plaza Mayor is a grand, historical square in the heart of the city. There you should admire the mural-like facade of what is known as the Casa de la Panaderia and the equestrian statue of King Felipe III. Wander, too, around the...  Read More

With its beautiful Baroque exterior of white stone and opulent interiors designed to impress all who enter, Madrid's Royal Palace is a must see. Madrid's monarchs resided there from Charles III in the 18th century until Alfonso XIII in the early...  Read More

Bullfights at Las Ventas

Inaugurated in 1931, Las Ventas is Spain's largest and most well-known bullring - the fights that take place there are followed across Spain and abroad. The attractive brick and Spanish tile building hosts bullfights every Sunday from the March...  Read More

Retiro Park is Madrid's most popular green space and for good reason. The extensive downtown park has hectares of manicured lawns and paths good for strolling as well as several picturesque gardens and multiple exhibition spaces. Flanked by...  Read More

Museo del Prado
Photo courtesy of Dalbera

One of the world's most celebrated museums, Madrid's Prado Museum is an extensive first-class art gallery containing 16th to 19th century European art. The emphasis is naturally on Spanish art as the Prado's collection was originally composed of...  Read More


Meet Sarah Rogers

Born and raised in northern California, Sarah grew up to become an expat, traveler and wordsmith. She spent seven years in Madrid, Spain and now calls Buenos Aires, Argentina home. She has had...  More About Sarah

comments powered by Disqus

Build your own lists that you can easily reference or share stories with your friends.

Login ×

Forgot login/password?
Don't have an account? Create Your Account!

Enter your username or email in the box below and click
"Remind Me".

Remind Me ×
Create Account ×
Create Account ×

Already have an account?

Add to List ×
Save ×

Go to Lists Close Window ×