Perfect 3-days itinerary for the Spanish capital – Madrid

Categories Europe, Travel Destinations2 Comments
Palacio de Cristal, Retiro Park

Probably by now you know my obsession with finding travel gems in Europe for those long weekends. Because, when you are working full time, the holidays are limited, and you want to make use of every long weekend available. You probably already read about Alsace, Kiev, and Ibiza as some of my suggestion for a 3 to 4 days trip within Europe. And recently, I took my husband to the beautiful city of Madrid as part of his birthday plans. We both were never in Madrid and I knew he wanted to go there for a while. So finally, it happened in May 2019, and here we were in the capital of España. 

Retiro Park

We had three and a half days in the city which was nice amount of time to get the feel of the city. Madrid is very hip, chilled out and relaxed in its vibe. People are very nice and everywhere you walk, you will find things that will grab your attention. And of course, the street art and the general architecture cannot be missed.

From timing perspective, end of May/June is pretty good time to visit as it is still not holiday season, but still warm enough to enjoy those endless walking you would do in the city. Same goes for September.

A bit about Madrid: 

It is the capital city of Spain with around 3.3 million people. It is also the 3rdlargest city in the EU (after London and Paris). Before Madrid, Toledo was the capital of Spain up until 1560. 

Street Art by Artist Okuda San Miguel

And for the ones who think it is always warm and sunny in Madrid, please note that it gets pretty cold in winters here. This is why I cancelled the initial plan of traveling here in December. 

Madrid Street Art

So, let’s get started with how you can spend 3 days in Madrid! 

Let me answer one of the most important questions first.


Now to answer this, you should know that most of the attractions are literally 30 mins walk away in all directions from the city center. We stayed in the neighborhood called “La Latina”. It is a neighborhood where you will see a lot of locals and also will experience the famous Sunday flee market. You can walk almost everywhere from here. 

But another neighborhood that I loved was “Malasaña” and if I return, I will pick this as my base. Just because I loved that alternative and hip vibe of this neighborhood. 

Day 1: 

We decided to cover one of the biggest attractions of Madrid on Day 1 which is the “Park Retiro”. From La Latina, it is around 30 minutes’ walk away. The park is huge and some of the places to see in the park: 

  • Palacio de Cristal 
  • Palacio de Valazquez 
  • Lake (Estanque Grande del Retiro)
  • Puerta de Alcala 
Estanque Grande del Retiro

Right next to the park is the main station of Madrid called “Atocha”. The station is famous for a super cute indoor botanical garden. You can have a look on Day1 or wait for it till the end of the post as you might be taking a train from here on an optional Day4 plan – surprise, surprise ;). 

Plaza de Cibeles

After the park, you can walk to the main square of Madrid called Plaza de Cibeles where the city council building is and some other extra huge architectural marvels which you can tell costed huge renovation budgets. From here, you can then walk to Plaza Mayor for chilling out. 

Madrid is all about walking and you will see amazing buildings anywhere you will turn. 

Later in the evening, you can explore the La Chueca and La Malasaña neighborhoods. You also have a choice to book dinner with Spanish dance (flamenco). We skipped that as we have seen that in Seville. 

La Malasaña

Day 2: 

On day two we went to the west side of the city to see the Palacio Real (Royal Palace). It is huge and the queues for entrance ticket are also very long. We did not go inside as I have visited some palaces around Europe and after few, you just get more impressed from the building then looking at the furniture inside (at least in my case). Also, it is super touristic and hundreds of people outside the palace clicking photos all around. I just wanted to capture the view of the palace building and leave.

Palacio Real

The palace has its own cathedral (Almudena). I would recommend visiting that even if you do not visit the palace.

Cathedral Almudena

Debod Temple

After this, we went to visit an Egyptian temple (Debod) which is walking distance from the Royal palace. 

Later you can take a stroll at the famous street Gran Via where one of the landmark buildings of Madrid is (Metropolis). And can visit Basilica de San Miguel.

In the evening, enjoy the La Latina neighborhood and a good street to spend your time and get the Spanish eves feeling in the neighborhood around “Plaza Paja”. 


Day 3 was kept for the museums. This can also be done if you have half a day (like we did). 

Madrid has 3 famous art museums: 

  • Museo Del Prado 
  • Museo Reina Sofia 
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza 
Museo Reina Sofia

I am not a museum hopping person so one art museum for the whole trip was enough. And they are big, so you do need time. We picked “Museo Reina Sofia” because it also has some modern art area as well. We were not disappointed. 

La Latina neighbourhood

Now you must be wondering that where did one more day go from my trip 😉 

So, I did not skip that, but kept the cherry not on the top but at the bottom. 

Day 4: 

This was Day3 for us as we did museum on Day4 (so you can decide for yourself). But what we did, we made a day trip to the amazingly nice and old town of “Toledo” (former Spanish capital and a city of 3 cultures). The train takes around 40 minutes from Madrid’s Atocha station. It is something “NOT-TO-BE-MISSED”. And, I cover the reasons in my Toledo post. Check it out! 


La Bodega de los Secretos

Oh wait… 

How did I miss the most important part for me? And if you know me by now, it is of course “the food”. So where to eat in Madrid!!!

Tapas at Rosi La Loca

I am listing some of my top favorite places below. Each one of them is a must try (trust me)…

Chocolateria San Ginés



Rosi La Loca Taberna

Hope you enjoyed the blog and especially the images. Do let me know in the comments. Thanks, and more coming soon! 

P.S. The whole Madrid trip can be visualised on my Instagram Story Highlights @beetravelista!

2 thoughts on “Perfect 3-days itinerary for the Spanish capital – Madrid

    1. I myself haven’t been there at that time, but I heard it is very happening in the whole town during that time. Not sure if it would be easy to find accommodation and how crowded its would be.

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