If you’re planning a weekend in Madrid, you can experience the city’s spectacular dining and nightlife as well as an array of historic sites. Use this guide to plan your exciting weekend in Madrid with its can’t-miss landmarks and experiences.
Your weekend in Madrid starts on Friday evening. After checking into a hotel near the downtown district, you can stop in one of the local restaurants for an early dinner. You’ll find plenty of excellent options that reflect the regional cuisine, ranging from tripe and sheep entrails to prawns and squid.
In Madrid, late dinners and small dishes are common, as is incredible nightlife. You can start your evening at a tapas bar in La Latina neighbourhood in the Moorish district to enjoy appetizers, wines, and vermouth. Then, head to Madrid’s National Auditorium to listen to a classical music concert. You could also experience a casual contemporary dance or circus show at the Teatros del Canal or Circo Price.
Saturday morning begins your excursion in the exciting city of Madrid. Start your morning with coffee and a delectable Spanish breakfast in a cafe or coffee shop in a local restaurant. You can find excellent cafes and restaurants in Plaza Mayor, the vibrant main square with a stately statue of Phillip III.
From there, you can visit El Retiro Park, an expansive 19th-century park with a boating lake and rose garden, or the Royal Palace of Madrid, an 18th-century palace on a ridge top with rooms filled with art and antiques to peruse. You’ll also like Museo Nacional del Prado, an art museum featuring masterpieces from Goya, Velazquez, and El Greco among an extensive collection of European artwork.
For lunch, visit Gran Vía, an iconic street with spectacular 1900s architecture and retail stores along with restaurants and bars. You can dine in between perusing the shops and marvelling at the architecture.
Saturday night is when Madrid comes alive. After an early dinner at one of the city’s fine restaurants, you can visit a tapas or cocktail bar for some drinks and music to start the night.
Flamenco shows are a popular way to enjoy a night out in Madrid. You’ll find an array of authentic flamenco shows with cocktails or wine. If you want to take part yourself, you can dance or learn salsa at one of the city’s discos, usually beginning after 1:00 a.m.
The Salamanca district is one of the most popular areas for nightlife and includes VIP clubs and luxurious restaurants with entertainment. Several nightclubs have theme nights that add to the fun of the experience of drinking and dancing with the locals.
With just 24 hours in Madrid left, you’ll have plenty of sightseeing to do. After breakfast or brunch, venture into the city to see some of its top landmarks, such as the Temple of Debod, an ancient Egyptian temple and museum on a lush parkland. The Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, with a vast collection of European masterpieces from the 13th century to the 20th century, is also a must-see attraction.
Shopping is a fun pastime of Madrid locals, so stop by Mercado de San Miguel to explore food, delicacies, and artisan goods in the elegant ambiance of a historic marketplace. You’ll also like Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid, a stunning botanical garden with species over 2,000 years old and self-guided trails.
Before returning to your hotel, stop in one of the restaurants or cafes in the area for a quick lunch to hold your appetite until dinner. You’ll find plenty of choices in Barrio de La Latina, a maze of lanes with bars and restaurants on the site of a former medieval Islamic fort.
Sunday night brings more nightlife and evening activities for your last hours in Madrid. You could start with dinner at one of the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants for a true taste of the culture and a unique experience. From there, you can visit the Museo Reina Sofía for a night tour to see the collection of Spanish art that includes Picasso’s “Guernica.”
The night is also a beautiful time to experience the city’s gorgeous historic architecture and landmarks. You can visit the astonishing Alcalá Gate or Cybele Palace and its iconic fountain, which is one of the symbols of Madrid. You can also enjoy sunset views from the Círculo de Bellas Artes terrace.
For cocktails and dancing, head to Chueca, an area of central Madrid that holds many of the city’s most electrifying clubs and nightlife. You’ll also like Matadero Madrid, a former slaughterhouse that hosts a contemporary art centre with exhibitions, performances, and cinema.