Cultural day out in Madrid

  • Velázquez door at the Prado Museum. Madrid

You can do a lot of things in one day in Madrid. Everything from visiting the famous Prado Museum to strolling around the rooms in the Royal Palace and taking in a show in the evening. We help you to experience the essence of the city in a single day.

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Cultural day out in Madrid

MORNING (9:30 AM TO 12:30 PM)

Let's start big, with a visit to the famous Prado Museum. There's no doubt you could spend a whole day in one of the most important art galleries in the world, but if you're pressed for time, we recommend you limit yourself to seeing the works suggested on the museum's website for a two-hour visit. You'll see paintings by Hieronymus Bosch, Goya and Velázquez.Midday is the perfect time for a 'pincho' (a typical mid-morning snack). You can drop into the café at the museum or go to Plaza Cánovas del Castillo square and have some refreshments overlooking the Neptune fountain. Another option is to go to the nearby Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, with its famous restaurant and an outdoor terrace for sunny days. If you don't know what to order in a bar in Madrid, some of the typical dishes are the fried potatoes with spicy sauce known as 'patatas bravas', Serrano ham, and fried squid, all accompanied by a glass of beer known as a 'caña'.

Cultural day out in Madrid

MIDDAY (12:30-4 PM)

You really get to know a city by walking around the streets, so we now suggest a one-hour stroll around the area known as 'the Madrid of the Borbones'. Head for the Cibeles fountain and get your camera ready: you'll find yourself surrounded by the Cibeles Palace, the Linares Palace, the Bank of Spain and (a little further away), the Puerta de Alcalá arch.The next stop not to be missed is the Puerta del Sol square. Here you'll see the symbolic statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree, 'Kilómetro 0' (the first kilometre of the roads to all corners of Spain), and the clock that marks the chimes at midnight in the New Year's celebrations.You're sure to be hungry now. This is the perfect place to find somewhere for lunch in any of the streets in the surrounding area. Typical Madrid fare? The famous chickpea casserole known as 'cocido madrileño', 'callos' (tripe) and baked sea bream. Leave the coffee for a very special place: the Plaza Mayor square, which you can reach along the Calle Mayor.

Cultural day out in Madrid

AFTERNOON (16.30 – 20.00 H.))

After lunch, it's now time to visit Madrid's Royal Palace. A tour of the interior takes about an hour and a half. The ceremonial changing of the Royal Guard takes place on the first Wednesday of each month at noon (except in January, August, and September, days when there is an official event, or when the weather prevents it).When you leave, you're sure to want to take a walk around the surrounding area and see the Plaza de Oriente square, the Teatro Real opera house, the Almudena cathedral, and the Sabatini and Campo del Moro gardens. The views are spectacular. And what about watching the sun go down from here?If you prefer to do a little shopping, the best idea is to retrace your steps to the Puerta del Sol and the shop windows of the Calle Preciados and the famous Gran Vía.

Cultural day out in Madrid


The best way to round off the day is by 'going out for tapas' around Madrid by way of dinner. In streets like the Cava Baja and Cava Alta you'll find restaurants offering all types of cuisine. You can add a cultural dimension by going to a flamenco show (in famous venues like the Café de Chinitas and the Corral de la Morería) or a musical in Gran Vía avenue.