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101 things to do in Madrid before you die

Updated on March 30, 2011

Or what you can't miss out on when you visit Madrid

You've finally decided to take that long break you so rightly deserve. You've asked for your days at work, you've decided you want to go somewhere different, somewhere you've never been to. Somewhere that has a bit of everything: arquitecture, art, history, good weather, beautiful gardens, exotic cuisine... you've decided that Spain is probably a good choice. So you sit down at your computer, with a good mug of coffee, you start practicing the 50 Spanish words you should know before visiting Spain, and all of a sudden inspiration strikes: Madrid. That's where I'm gonna go.

Great Madrid guides on Amazon

If you're thinking about visiting Madrid, you will definitely need a guide to move around and find all of the coolest spots: where to sleep, where to eat and what to see. All the information you need at your fingertips. We personally recommend both of these guides, as they are full of useful information that will make your stay a lot pleasanter.

Angel Caido
Angel Caido

#1 - #10

# 1. See the Puerta de Atocha (main train station) gardens

# 2. See the monument dedicated to the victims of the 11-M terrorist attack

# 3. See the statue of the Ãngel Caído (Fallen Angel)

# 4. See the Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace)

# 5. Ride a Bike through Retiro park

# 6. Rent a rowing boat in Retiro's lake

# 7. Have your photograph taken in front of the Oso y el Madroño (Madrid's coat of arms)

# 8. Walk through Cecilio Rodríguez's gardens (in el Retiro)

# 9. See the Cibeles fountain

# 10. See Madrid from the top of the Circulo de Bellas Artes building

#11 - #20

# 11. Walk along the Gran Vía (Madrid's main artery)

# 12. Enjoy one of the many musicals on the Gran Vía

# 13. Go shopping on Preciados street

# 14. See the Puerta de Alcalá

# 15. Enjoy something sweet at the famous "La Mallorquina"

# 16. Eat 12 grapes for good luck on new years eve at the Puerta del Sol

# 17. Eat a "squid sandwich" at the Plaza Mayor

# 18. See Eloy Gonzalo's statue at Plaza del Cascorro

# 19. Take a walk through Madrid's Rastro (market) on any Sunday morning

# 20. Eat a good ration of patatas bravas at the famous "Las Bravas"

Templo de Debod
Templo de Debod

#21 - #30

# 21. Visit Don Quijote and Sancho Panza at the Plaza de España

# 22. See the sunset from the mirador of the Templo de Debod

# 23. See Picasso's "Guernica" in the Reina Sofía Museum

# 24. Enjoy the amazing works of art in the Museo del Prado

# 25. See the amazing collection of Bonsai trees inside the Real Jardín Botánico

# 26. Go and taste some delicious tapas at the recently refurbished San Miguel market

# 27. Visit the Palacio Real and the Plaza de Oriente

# 28. Stroll through Sabatini's gardens

# 29. Eat at the legendary Subterranean Chinese Restaurant (under Plaza de España)

# 30. See Km. 0 (where all roads in Spain stem from)

If you're thinking of spending a short weekend...

#31 - #40

# 31. Visit the Sorolla Museum

# 32. Admire the Plaza de la Villa (where the old Town Hall used to be)

# 33. Visit the Valle de los Caídos (Valley of the Fallen)

# 34. Touch the Bernabeu field (Real Madrid's football stadium)

# 35. Enjoy some good jazz at the Café Central

# 36. Go and meet loads of famous people at the Museo de Cera

# 37. See all of Madrid from the Tetas de Vallecas (a set of hills on the outskirts)

# 38. Walk through the gardens of the Palacio de Aranjuez

# 39. Visit the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales

# 40. See the four towers from the Chamartin station

#41 - #50

# 41. Enjoy a good indian meal in Lavapies

# 42. Start the day with a good ration of Churros at Chocolatería San Ginés

# 43. Start a snowball fight with a stranger

# 44. See the shiny dome of the Metropolis building

# 45. Admire Madrid's skyline from the Teleférico (cablecar)

# 46. Enjoy the Thyssen Museum's hidden gems

# 47. Discover part of our history in the Museo de America

# 48. Ride the Tren de la Fresa which leaves from the Museo del Ferrocarril

# 49. Find an original gift in the Mercado de Fuencarral

# 50. Go for a walk in the Tierno Galván park

Campo del Moro
Campo del Moro

#51 - #60

# 51. Spend the day at el Escorial

# 52. See the Palacio Real from the Campo del Moro

# 53. Admire the murals of the Casa de la Panadería (in the Plaza Mayor)

# 54. Visit the Almudena cathedral

# 55. Visit Las Ventas (the bullring)

# 56. Go out drinking in Chueca and Malasaña

# 57. See the Puerta de Toledo

# 58. See the Gran Vía at night

# 59. Read quietly on a bench at Plaza de Colón

# 60. Take a photograph of the Kio Towers laid on the ground

#61 - #70

# 61. Admire Caixa Forum's vertical garden

# 62. Visit the Capilla del Obispo at la Plaza de la Paja

# 63. Enjoy some cañas (beers) on a terrace in la Latina

# 64. Enjoy a juicy roast chicken at Casa Mingo

# 65. Ride the Abismo at the Parque de Atracciones

# 66. Roar at the lions guarding the Congreso de los Diputados

# 67. See Goya's frescoes in the Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida

# 68. Se the Plaza de Neptuno

# 69. Go window shopping on Serrano street (buy something, if you can)

# 70. Have your picture taken with the Gran Vía behind you

If you want to get the most out of your trip...

Palacio Real
Palacio Real

#71 - #80

# 71. Visit the snowy Sierra de Madrid

# 72. See Madrid from the Cerro de los Ãngeles (666 metres above sea level)

# 73. Enjoy a movie in one of the few cinemas left on the Gran Vía

# 74. Discover the history of the Metro at Andén Cero

# 75. See Plaza de Oriente from Opera's balcony

# 76. Spend the day with your childhood heroes at Parque Warner

# 77. Visit the house where Cervantes was born (Alcalá de Henares)

# 78. Cycle round the Anillo Verde Ciclista

# 79. See the starry sky from the Planetario at Tierno Galván

# 80. Visit San Francisco el Grande

#81 - #90

# 81. On a clear day, climb up the Faro de la Moncloa

# 82. See the newborn Panda bears at the Zoo

# 83. Go Zombie hunting at 8 am on Metro's famous Linea 6

# 84. Go for a walk in the Casa de Campo

# 85. Find a flat to rent with more than 30 squared metres

# 86. Get lost in Madrid

# 87. Run a marathon

# 88. Eat a god bowl of Cocido Madrileño

# 89. Take the kids to see the puppet shows at el Retiro

# 90. Help out one of the many charities outside of the FNAC

Plaza de España
Plaza de España

#91 - #100

# 91. Catch up with old friends and go for a coffee

# 92. Organize an urban Picnic in the Plaza de España

# 93. Discover the Plaza Dos de Mayo. Birthplace of the Movida

# 94. Build a snowman in Retiro park

# 95. Enjoy one of the many concerts at the Palacio de Deportes

# 96. Visit the Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre

# 97. Go skiing at Snowzone in Xanadú. Whenever you like

# 98. Find the best Mojito in Madrid

# 99. Enjoy the abundant Urban Art

# 100. Live a Noche en Blanco

#101 - Do it all again. This time in good company.

I hope you've enjoyed this "bucket list" dedicated to the amazing Spanish city. Madrid has so many beautiful places, many which are never even seen by the people who live there, that 101 is still not enough to fit everything in. If you've never visited Madrid, I hope this list will entice you to come and visit it. You can find more great places to visit at this Madrid blog (Spanish).

Squid Angel
Squid Angel

Blessed by an Angel

This lens was awarded an Angel Blessing on the 14th of February 2011 by Brookelorren. The giant squid organizers here at Squidoo award Angel Blessings to their favorite lenses created by all-star Giant Squids. To learn more about the Angel Blessing Program, click here.

I'd love to hear what you think about our list - Don't be shy, leave a comment!

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thank you! I moved to madrid about a month ago and have been looking for a good way to make sure I don´t miss out on anything while I am here! I´ve just compiled this list into a word document and will print it out and hang it on my wall so each item can be checked off individually! THANK YOU

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      i love Madrid. It's by far one of my favourtie cities. People think of all the attractions and nightlife but i love it for the shopping too. I was lucky enough to be put up in a hotel near Mar de Cristal which is by the biggest shopping mall in Madrid. Brilliant source of retail therapy!

    • annel lm profile image

      annel lm 6 years ago

      I definitely won't die before I see Madrid. I actually always kept this wonderful city in a list of places to visit in my life, but now I have a plan!

    • LaurieKristensen profile image

      LaurieKristensen 6 years ago

      Wow, I'm blown away by all the ideas you have given here! I hope someday I'll get to travel there, and I'll remember to look up your lens again for ideas before I go. It's got me wondering if I could come up with 101 things to do in my own home city of Minneapolis, Minnesota!

    • profile image

      barrycrow60 6 years ago

      The Retiro park is the well known spot to cool down in summer. A less known spot, but nonetheless very relaxing is the Real Jardin Botanico. Its situated south of the Prado.

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      johnnyhide 6 years ago

      Plaza Mayor was fascinating to me as it was not at all similar to than to be in hectic downtown. I enjoyed the air and space around me, the old big statues, the historical nicely painted buildings

    • profile image

      dickfeind 6 years ago

      In April 2008, I went on my first (notice the use of the word "first?!) Spanish-language immersion and spent 3 weeks in the capital of Spain.

    • profile image

      kate00moss 6 years ago

      I am heading for Madrid on Sunday with my 12-yr-old football mad son and would like to take him to the Atletico Madrid match on Sunday evening.

      Any advice about getting to the ground, buying tickets, anything else, including the price of a decent seat ticket, are discounts available for 12 yr olds?

    • profile image

      tiffanydiamonde 6 years ago

      I'm trying to locate inexpensive lodging in Arguelles or Moncloa section of Madrid. I can not seem to identify the streets of these sections or subway stops. Can anyone make some recommendations? I need the lodgeing between Dec. 21 -30 for five people. I would also like a private bath and a kitchen.

    • profile image

      jcarmen33 6 years ago

      Keep an eye out for the Menú del Día (plate of the day) signs. It consists of a 3-course meal and has to be offered by all eating establishments. It is usually accompanied with bread and wine and usually offers great value from around.

    • profile image

      texasprojectw 6 years ago

      Change your eating/going out times. The Spanish eat lunch around 2-3 pm; dinner between 8-10 pm and won't go out on the town till around 10.30pm

    • profile image

      crystalshane777 6 years ago

      Don't buy/sell currency from the small exhange booths (usually located around Puerta del Sol and Gran Vía). For a much better exchange rate go direct to the big banks but don't forget they close at around 2pm.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      looks like a great place for vacation:) Thanks

    • Brookelorren LM profile image

      Brookelorren LM 7 years ago

      What a great idea for a lens! Angel blessings to you.