Madrid Travel Guide

Madrid Travel Guide 2022 | Top Attractions, Tips & More

Why Visit Madrid

A beguiling city where each and every corner praises the artists who’d lived and thrived here, Madrid needs no introduction. It’s hard to find a city that matches the artistic descent of Madrid. From the artworks of indigenous talents such as Velázquez and Goya to the extraordinary creations of international maestros, each corner of this magnificent city has something to offer you. In Madrid, every street is a good place to start your tour and you’ll discover some of the historical and cultural treasures within the boundaries of the city. Pack your bags to Madrid and gear up for an extraordinary artistic experience.

Top 10 Things to do in Madrid

Madrid Travel Essentials

Must-Know
Covid-19
Weather
When to Visit
What to Pack
Budget
Travel Tips
Free Things
Apps
Madrid Travel Guide - Travel Essentials

Travel Essentials in Madrid

  • Language - Spanish
  • Currency -  Euro | €
  • Time zone - Central European Summer Time 
  • Country code - + 34
  • Socket type - Type C & F
  • Emergency numbers - Ambulance: 061, National police: 091, Fire brigade: 080, Local police: 092
Madrid Travel Guide - Covid-19

Covid-19 Measures in Madrid

Madrid is one of the most popular cities in Spain that is visited by a large number of tourists every year. However, owing to the outbreak of COVID-19, Spain has become one of the countries with strict restrictions to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. If you are traveling to Madrid, here are some regulations that are still in place.

  • Tourists are required to submit a valid full vaccination certificate. 
  • The final dose of vaccination must’ve been administered at least 2 weeks before your departure, but not more than 270 days ago. 
  • You are required to present a negative nucleic acid amplification (NAAT) test (taken at least before 72 hours) or a Rapid antigen test (taken before 24 hours) in case you are not vaccinated yet. 
  • You’ll be taken for health screening upon your arrival in the city.
Madrid Travel Guide - Summer

Summer in Madrid

When - June to September

Average temperatures -
35 to 40 degrees Celsius during the day. 

15 to 20 degrees Celsius during the night.

Madrid Travel Guide - Winter

Winter in Madrid

When - December to February

Average temperatures - 

5 to 15 degrees Celsius during the day.

0 to 5 degrees at night.

Madrid Travel Guide - Spring

Spring in Madrid

When - March to June

Average temperature -

15 to 22 degrees Celsius in the morning. 

5 to 10 degrees Celsius at night.

Madrid Travel Guide - Autumn

Autumn in Madrid

When - September to November

Average temperature - 

13 to 26 degrees celsius in the mornings.

5 to 14 degrees at night.

Madrid Travel Guide - High Season

High Season

When - June to July, December

What to expect:

  • Expect an influx of international tourists as well as the locals during this peak season, as most people have holidays during this time. 
  • Get ready to witness street parties and summer festivals and be prepared for surged flight & hotel rates.
Madrid Travel Guide - Shoulder Season

Shoulder Season

When - March to May and September to October

What to expect?

  • The weather is intolerable and pleasant, and hence, this is the best time to visit the city with less crowd compared to that in summer. 
  • Expect the local crowd roaming and enjoying the last few days of great weather. 

Madrid Travel Guide - Low Season

Low Season

When - August, January to February

What to expect:

  • Less crowd as August is one of the hottest months and January, and February is the coldest. Most locals pack their bags to other places to get escape the rising heat.
  • Expect lower prices for stay and other entertainment options. 

Madrid Travel Guide - What to Pack

What to Pack for Madrid

  • Jeans, lightweight cotton pants, shorts, skirts, light tops, and other breathable apparel are the way to go.
  • Although it seldom rains in Madrid, a waterproof jacket/windcheater and a rain hat may come in handy if the weather becomes wet. Be sure to pack rain boots, raincoats, umbrellas, and water-resistant jackets on hand.
  • Walking shoes will make your trip much more pleasant because you'll be doing a lot of sightseeing while in Madrid.
  • A backpack to store your personal belongings while sightseeing in the city.

Madrid Travel Guide - Budget

Per Person Average Daily Budget in Madrid

Budget travelers: €55 

  • Budget travelers have spent around 55 euros per day during their stay in Madrid, around 24 euros for stay, and 8 euros for food. 

Regular travelers: €150

  • Regular travelers spend around 150 euros per day, including 70 euros for the stay, 20 euros for food, and 25 euros for transportation.

Luxury travel: €450

  • Luxury travelers spend around 200 euros for accommodation and 70 euros for lunch with a starting fare of 25 euros for transportation. 

Madrid Travel Guide - Travel Tips

Madrid Travel Tips

  • Keep an eye on changing airline ticket prices. The prices can surge or decrease based on the time you choose to visit the city. Hence, book your tickets wisely. 
  • Plan your trip ahead of time. Make an itinerary compiling the list of places you want to visit and plan your trip accordingly. 
  • Book your stay in advance, especially if you are going as a couple or with family, as you may end up waiting a long time to get a stay if you don’t book it prior. 
  • If possible, learn basic Spanish. Learning the local language is the best way to blend in with the culture. 
  • Use the subway or public transportation to roam around as this is the best and cheapest way to get around the city.
Madrid Travel Guide - Free Things

Free Things to do in Madrid

There are plenty of attractions in Madrid that don't require tickets. These include churches, parks, and museums. Here's a list of the top free things to do in Madrid:

  • Visit Museo de Historia, which houses the art that outlines the growth of Madrid. 
  • Take a walk through the San Gines, one of the oldest churches in the city.
  • Plan a visit to Templo de Debod that gives you the feel of Egypt in Madrid. 
  • Check out Francisco de Goya original work in Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida. 
  • Stop by the Museo del Prado to marvel at the extensive collection of around 1500 pieces of creative art. 
  • Spend some peaceful time at Parque del Retiro. 
Madrid Travel Guide - Apps

Transportation Apps

  • Cabify
  • Bicimad

Food Apps

  • Glovo
  • Uber Eats

Other Useful Apps

  • Duolingo (Translation app)
  • XE currency converter (gives the information about currency rate)
  • El Tenedor (Restaurants and discounts)

Know Before You Visit Madrid

Airports
Visa
Insurance
Language
Internet
Phone Calls
Health
Money
Safety
Laws 
Madrid Travel Guide - Airports

Airports in Madrid

Madrid Travel Guide - Visa

Visa Requirements to Visit Madrid

If you are planning a short stay (up to 90 days) in Spain, you may have to apply for a Schengen visa. There are several types of visas for the visit. Hence you have to apply accordingly based on your purpose of visit. You will need to submit the following documents while submitting your visa application. 

  • Duly filled out visa application form.
  • Valid passport, not older than 10 years, with at least two blank pages. 
  • Copies of passports, previous visas, etc. 
  • Health Insurance that covers your travel. 
  • Proof of financial means and accommodation.
  • Itinerary, civil status proof, and a cover letter. 
Madrid Travel Guide - Insurance

Insurance in Madrid

Having travel medical insurance is an important prerequisite that you need to have while traveling to Madrid. In Madrid, the Spain Travel Insurance covers all types of medical-related emergencies during your stay in Spain. 

  • Ensure that the policy covers all the required medical expenses.
  • Check and make sure it has at least €30,000 coverage. 
  • Purchase the policy at the same time as you plan your trip. 
  • If you are visiting the place with family, make sure the policy covers their expenses too.
Madrid Travel Guide - Language

Must-Know Words and Phrases in Madrid

If you're planning a trip to Madrid, it's important to know a few keywords and phrases in Spanish. Here are some essential words and phrases to help you get by in Madrid:

  • Dónde está...?: This phrase means "Where is...?" in Spanish.
  • Lo Siento: This phrase means "I'm sorry" in Spanish.
  • Por favor: This phrase means "please" in Spanish.
  • Cuánto cuesta?: This phrase means "How much does it cost?" in Spanish.
  • Habla inglés?: This phrase means "Do you speak English?" in Spanish.

Madrid Travel Guide - Internet

Internet in Madrid

Madrid has several reliable high-speed internet providers. Tourists can also access free wifi from the hotels and other public places. Some of the best internet providers in Madrid include:

Madrid Travel Guide - Phone calls

Phone Calls in Madrid

Incoming - If you are dialing to Madrid, add your international access code, for eg., use 011 for the U.S, then dial Spain’s country code, dial 91 for Madrid, and then the phone number. 

Outgoing - For outgoing calls, you have to dial the international codes and then dial the number. 

All the phone numbers in Spain have 11 numbers split, which are split into groups of 3, including the country code. Also, the mobile numbers in the country start with either 6 or 7 and will be followed by another 8 digits. 

Madrid Travel Guide - Health

Staying Healthy in Madrid

  • Refrain from eating a lot of street food. 
  • Drink plenty of water: It's important to stay hydrated while in Madrid, especially in the summer heat. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Avoid tap water: Tap water in Madrid is safe to drink, but many visitors prefer to avoid it. If you're not used to the taste of Madrid's water, stick to bottled water.
  • Wear sunscreen: Madrid is known for its sunny weather, so don't forget to wear sunscreen! Be sure to apply sunscreen regularly, especially if you're spending time outdoors.
  • If possible, try walking around the city instead of taking a vehicle as it is more healthy.

Madird Travel Guide - Money

Money in Madrid

Currency: Euro | EUR | €

The currency of Madrid, Spain is Euro. The euro has 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents, as well as 1 and 2 euros, denominations. If you are planning to stay in Spain, it is important to keep some money in cash. Card payments are another available option for payment in Madrid. A large number of restaurants and stores accept selected debit and credit cards. Additionally here are some apps through which you can manage your payments in Madrid:

  • Apple pay
  • Paypal
  • Sofort
  • Bizum
Madrid Travel Guide - Safety

Safety in Madrid

Madrid is one of the safest cities to visit in Spain. However, one problem that tourists encounter is becoming the prey of pickpockets. This can be avoided in most cases by following some safety precautions as listed below.

  • Keep an eye on your surroundings and be careful while roaming through streets that are unfamiliar to you. 
  • Refrain from wearing expensive ornaments or carrying large sums of money.
  • Stay cautious while talking to strangers. 
  • Carry a strong bag and keep it close to you. 
Madrid Travel Guide - Laws

Laws in Madrid

It is important to be aware of the local laws while traveling to Madrid, since, violating these laws could lead to fines or even imprisonment. Following are some important laws in Spain:

  • Alcohol consumption in public is banned in some areas of the city.
  • It is illegal to carry a gun.
  • Possession of drugs, even in small quantities can lead to arrest and detention. 
  • People who are under 18 are considered minors and should be accompanied by guardian/s.
  • Dress appropriately. 

How to Save Money in Madrid

Madrid in Spain is not the cheapest place to visit. A trip to this city might be costly if you won’t manage your expenses wisely. Following are some ways through which you can cut down your expenses and plan a budget trip to Madrid.

  • Use public transportation to commute around the city. 
  • Buy food from the grocery stores instead of eating from expensive restaurants.
  • Plan your visit to the city in the off-season or shoulder season, where the rates for everything will be cheaper. 
  • Use the free entry options while visiting the attractions. 
  • Avoid or reduce the amount of tipping whenever possible as it is not mandatory in the city. 
  • Stay in an Airbnb or rent an apartment rather than staying in expensive hotels.

Know The City Neighborhoods

Madrid Travel Guide - Malasana

Malasana

Tourist hotspot | Nightlife

Malasana is one of the most popular neighborhoods of Madrid. It was once the pulse of counterculture and artistic movements in Madrid. This colorful, graffiti-covered city is the best place to mix with the local people and their culture. 

Things to do: 

  • Take a stroll through the colorful streets filled with funk cafes, vintage shops, and more.
  • Enjoy the nightlife where almost all the streets light up to make it feel like you are attending a big street party. 
  • Meet and greet the locals in Malasaña's central square, Plaza Dos de Mayo.
Madrid Travel Guide - Salamanca

Salamanca

Shopping | Tourist hotspot

Criss-cross streets, elegant residential facades, luxury boutiques… Salamanca has it all to make you feel luxurious. Constructed in the 19th century as a showcase for Spanish aristocracy, this place is now one of the most glamorous and rich neighborhoods. 

Things to do:

  • Shop from some of the luxurious boutiques in Madrid.
  • Dine from stylish restaurants and polished outdoor terraces. 
  • Enjoy the exquisite views of residential apartments.

Madrid Travel Guide - La Latina

La Latina

Food Experience

Foodies will love this neighborhood! La Latina is one of the oldest quarters in Madrid. It has narrow streets filled with eateries and stores, and a lot more open squares and every Sunday people come here to shop from El Rastro, the 400 years-old flea market. 

Things to do:

  • Wander through the cobbled street to explore some ancient architecture.
  • Visit the famous El Rastro, the flea market that is often during Sundays, and shop your favorites. 
  • Enjoy a cup of coffee from the street cafes and relax. 

Madrid Travel Guide - Chueca

Chueca

LGBTQIA community

Chueca is Madrid’s LGBTQIA neighborhood that proudly drapes the rainbow flag. Home to a thriving LGBTQIA community, this place offers great nightlife, as well as has some beautiful boutiques and eateries. 

Things to do:

  • Take part in Día del Orgullo de Gay festival that is conducted every summer season. 
  • Visit the small museums in this neighborhood.
  • Book a table at a tapas bar, drink, and enjoy your time away from the busy life.
Madrid Travel Guide - Sol

Sol

Sightseeing | Tourist hotspot

Puerta del sol is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Madrid. This has been the City’s main social hub since the 19th century and still continues to be so. The square houses some of the important attractions in Madrid including the Bear and tree structure and the statue of King Charles III. 

Things to do: 

  • Visit some of the major attractions such as the statue of King Charles III and the beat and tree statue. 
  • Plan a visit to neighboring attractions such as Plaza Mayor, Gran Via, and more. 
  • Mingle with the Spanish natives and learn more about the culture and history. 
Madrid Travel Guide - Lavapies

Lavapies

Culture

This is a neighborhood of Madrid which is filled with multicultural varieties of food. The streets of this neighborhood are filled with restaurants and cafes that offer cuisines from all over the world.

Things to do:

  • Wander through the streets to witness the beauty of vibrant art everywhere.
  • Visit some of the exhibition spaces to discover the art of the bygone era.
  • Dine from some of the best restaurants that serve the cuisines of your choice. 
Madrid Travel Guide - Huertas

Huertas or Barrio de las Letras

Picturesque streets

Huertas, also known as Barrio de las Letras is the picturesque neighborhood of Madrid. It reflects the history of Madrid, yet draws fewer crows compared to Sol. 

Things to do:

  • Visit the death place of famous Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes.
  • Take a walk through the streets to click some insta-worthy pictures.
  • Explore the historic architecture by taking a stroll through the streets. 

Madrid Travel Guide - Chamberi

Chamberi

Offbeat Sightseeing

A residential as well as a business district that hasn’t changed much over the years, Chamberi is the best neighborhood for you if you wish to learn more about local life. The district also has perfectly groomed streets for a pleasant walk and plazas where you can enjoy drinks and food. 

Things to do:

  • Take a walk away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
  • Get a chance to visit the Chamberi metro station, which was abandoned earlier and then restored to its former form. 
  • Grab a drink from any lovely plazas, and relax.

Getting Around Madrid

Know Before Driving in Madrid

While driving in Madrid, you must be careful with all the signboards and turns, as it could be confusing, especially if you are a first-timer in Madrid. There are a lot of people who choose to walk around, hence, it is important to be extremely cautious while driving. Here are some tips that will help you drive smoothly around the city.

  • Be aware of the protocols related to pollution control.
  • Keep an eye on the pedestrians, cyclists, and motorbikes.
  • Pay attention to the traffic lights. 
  • Learn about the parking rules.
  • Drive at a limited speed.
  • Anticipate the possible problems that could arise on the road and then drive.

What to Eat in Madrid

Madrid is a city that is known for some of the best culinary marvels that belong mostly to Spanish cuisine. Here are some of the best restaurants that serve mouth-watering dishes in Madrid.

Must-Try Food

Must-Try Desserts 

Where to Stay in Madrid

In Madrid, you’ll find a lot of stay options to choose from. From budget hotels to Apartments, the stay options you have are vast and available for different budgets.

Madrid Travel Guide - Budget Hotels

Budget Hotels

If not planned well, staying in Madrid can be really expensive for you. Hence, it is important for you to choose cheaper hotels if you are planning for a budget-friendly stay. All the budget-friendly hotels in Madrid offer comfortable stays with all the basic amenities. The prices start from 30 Euro. Here are some budget-friendly options that you could choose from:

Madrid Travel Guide - Mid-Range Hotels

Mid-Range Hotels

If you are searching for more comfortable and a bit luxurious options to stay in Madrid, you must book the best mid-range hotels that are neither cheap nor too luxurious. There are a lot of Mid-range hotel options to choose from in Madrid which offer a comfortable stay with great interiors. The prices start from 80 Euros. Some of the mid-range stay options in Madrid include:

  • Senator Castellana Hotel
  • Luz Madrid rooms
  • Hostal Lisboa
Madrid Travel Guide - Luxury Hotels

Luxury Hotels

Madrid has a lot of luxury stay options for those who are planning to have luxurious stay options. Most of these hotels provide 5-star amenities, as well as beautiful terrace views. Here are a few options for a luxurious stay in Madrid.

  • NH Collection Madrid
  • Hyatt Centric Gran Via Madrid
  • DoubleTree by Hilton
Madrid Travel Guide - Apartments

Apartments

For those who are visiting the city with family, and need more space, renting a service apartment will be the best option. These apartments are fully furnished mostly and it lets you cook your own food just like at home. 

  • Oriente Palace apartments
  • Apartosuites Jardines de Sabatini
  • Sonder Malasana

Where to Shop in Madrid

Madrid offers you one of the best shopping experiences in Spain. From local brands to the luxury brands that cost a bomb, Madrid has it all. No matter what your requirements are, you’ll find them in Madrid. Here are five hotspots in Madrid for all your shopping needs.

Best Tours in Madrid

Madrid Travel Guide - Hop-on Hop-Off bus tours

Hop-on Hop-Off bus tours

Hop-on Hop-off bus tours are one of the best ways through which you can visit the attractions in Madrid. These tours require no prior planning and advance booking, hence, you can enjoy the city at your own pace. It is highly affordable and you can roam anywhere around the city without having to worry about getting lost somewhere. Hence, if you are in Madrid, hop on to the Hop-on Hop-off bus and enjoy Madrid like never before. 

Top Hop-on Hop-off Tours in Madrid:

Madrid Travel Guide - Walking Tours

Walking Tours

Madrid is one of the best cities to walk and explore. Exploring Madrid on foot gives you another experience. It is a pedestrian-friendly city, and hence you can walk at your own pace and explore the attractions peacefully. Madrid city is known for its architecture, museums, and plazas. Hence taking a stroll through the city would help you explore the city in a different way. 

Top Walking Tours in Madrid >

Madrid Travel Guide - Guided Tours

Guided Tours

Guided tours are one of the best ways to explore Madrid attractions without having to think about taking care of bookings, standing in lines to get tickets and all. Most guided tours come with an expert guide, who can share the information related to that particular city or the attraction. Guided tours also help you avoid the queues and save your time. 

Top Guided Tours in Madrid:

Day Trips from Madrid

Madrid Travel Guide - Segovia
Madrid Travel Guide - Toledo
Madrid Travel Guide - Alcalá de Henares

Alcalá de Henares

39.9 km | 35 minutes by road

Alcalá de Henares is an old city that is just 35 minutes away from Madrid. The UNESCO-listed city holds the popularity of being the birthplace of Cervantes, the famous author who wrote the Don Quixote. The town is a visual treat with its ancient buildings. 

Good for: Sightseeing.

Things to do:

  • Explore the beautiful buildings of Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, one of the oldest universities founded in 1498. 
  • Visit Magisterial-Cathedral, one among the two magisterial churches all around the globe.
  • Discover the recreation of Cervantes’ birth house in the Cervantes museum. 
Madrid Travel Guide - Monasterio del Escorial

Monasterio del Escorial

57.7 km | 45 minutes by road

Just 45 minutes away from Madrid is the UNESCO-listed Palace of El Escorial and the royal monastery. Built in the 16th century, the huge monastery and the beautiful palace complex is a popular day trip options from Madrid. 

Good for: Sightseeing

Things to do:

  • Visit the grandiose complex of El Escorial, which has 15 courtyards and thousands of windows. 
  • Explore the renowned picture gallery of Escorial.
  • Discover the neighboring monuments of Valle de Los Caídos.

Madrid With Kids & Family

Madrid has a lot to offer not only for adults but also for kids too. A trip to Madrid will be a great delight for kids because it has some beautiful places for kids. Here are some of the best things you can do with your kids while in Madrid.

  • Visit the Parque de Atracciones amusement park.
  • Take your kid to the Madrid snow zone. 
  • Explore Museo del Ferrocarril.
  • Enjoy your time in Children’s theatre. 
  • Visit the planetarium. 

Art & Culture in Madrid

Madrid is one of the most popular and top cultural hubs in Europe. From some of the popular museums that house the artworks by art maestros such as Goya, Velasquez, etc., to palaces that reflect the city’s development over the years, Madrid is royal when it comes to art and culture! Here are some of the museums in Madrid that showcase the best artworks. 

Entertainment in Madrid

When it comes to entertainment, Madrid is as rich as its culture. Bustling nightlife, vibrant shopping streets, theatres, and Amusement parks., the city of Madrid is swarming with entertainment options for you. Make sure you check the following list of entertainment options while you plan your trip to the city.

Top 10 Madrid Travel Tip

  1. Walk or take metros to roam around the city. Not only is it cheaper but also it is the best way to enjoy the sights. 
  2. Book a centrally located Airbnb or hotel for accommodation so that you can explore the nearby attractions on foot.
  3. Buy food from supermarkets or pack your lunch and eat it in a park to save money.
  4. Make use of free entry to the attractions. 
  5. Plan your itinerary well in advance to avoid any last-minute hassles. 
  6. Take the metro to reach the city from the airport.
  7. Dress appropriately for the weather. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes if you are planning to go on a walking tour.
  8. Keep an eye on your surroundings. 
  9. Beware of pickpockets. 
  10. Learn some Spanish phrases. This will help you mingle with the locals easily.

Frequently Asked Questions About Traveling to Madrid

What is the best time to visit Madrid?

When to visit Madrid is a personal decision. However, if you want to explore all the festivals and events in the city, visit in June, or July. If you want to explore the city peacefully, plan your visit during winter.

What can I do in Madrid?

Madrid offers you a variety of sightseeing experiences. From visiting ancient palaces to museums or relaxing in a beautiful park, Madrid has the perfect place for all your vacation needs.

What are the languages spoken in Madrid?

Spanish is the widely used means of communication in Madrid.

How to enjoy the nightlife in Madrid?

Yes. Madrid is one of the liveliest cities in Spain and in Europe. The city has some amazing party bars and clubs where you can party the whole night!

How can I get around Madrid?

You can commute by bus, metro, car, or even by foot to visit the attractions in Madrid.

What are some top things to do in Madrid?

You can visit the Prado museum, Royal palace, Reina Sofia museum, Bernabeu stadium, etc. You can also take time off from city life and relax in Parque del Buen Retiro.

Is Madrid a great vacation destination?

Yes. Madrid is one of the best vacation destinations in Spain for both adults and kids.

What are the must-try food items in Madrid?

Churros, Bocadillo de Calamares, Cocido madrileño, and Croquetas are some of the must-try food options in Madrid.

How can I save money on a Madrid trip?

If you want to save money during your trip to Madrid, here are some ways to do so: Eat at local restaurants, try to roam around in public transportation, don’t spend much on shopping for luxury brands, use the free entry option to the attractions.

What are some good day trips from Madrid?

The best day trips from Madrid include visiting Segovia, Toledo, Alcalá de Henares, and El Escorial monastery.

Where can I stay in Madrid?

When it comes to staying in Madrid, you have a lot of options to choose from. You can stay in budget hotels, midrange hotels, or luxury hotels, or even apartments if you are coming with family.