From the Golden Triangle of Art, to the world-renowned dining scene and picturesque architecture, Madrid is a handsome city full of history and culture. Whether you’re going for the museums, the food, the shopping, or the limitless photo opportunities, this is a city brimming with things to see and experience. If you only have 48 hours to spend in the Spanish capital, you’ll need some help to make sure you make the most of your time – so read on.
Madrid is a pretty big city, so it’s a good idea to stay close to the centre of the action if you’re short on time. The Gran Via is the city’s main avenue, running from Plaza de Cibeles to Plaza de España. If you stay at a hotel on or near this major artery, you’ll be nice and close to Madrid’s beating heart. Plus, a number of neighbourhoods such as Chueca, Malasaña and Santa Ana will be a short stroll away, all with their differing characters. However, Madrid does have one of Europe’s biggest and best metro systems, so as long as you’re close to a stop, you should be pretty well connected wherever you stay.
Shop ‘til you drop
If you stay along Gran Via, you’ll be perfectly placed for some of Madrid’s best shopping. Pick out some new purchases at the El Corte Inglés department store, before going upmarket in the Salamanca district, with its designer brands. If you prefer your shopping to be more of a treasure hunt, head to the El Rastro flea market and lose yourself in the maze of stalls selling everything from antiques to vintage clothing and homewares. And for an authentic taste of traditional Madrid life, don’t miss the old quarter’s Mercado de San Miguel.
Stare up at the beautiful architecture
Not far from the Mercado de San Miguel and San Miguel Plaza you’ll find the Royal Palace of Madrid. This is the perfect place to start your journey, finding some of Madrid’s architectural masterpieces. Adjacent to the palace is the majestic Catedral de la Almudena, while the Temple of Debod, a reconstructed Egyptian temple, is a short stroll away. In truth, you could walk down any number of Madrid’s street with your camera in hand, and be amazed at the number of pictures you’ll find yourself taking.
Be a culture vulture
It was King Charles III of Spain who held a keen interest in improving Madrid’s aesthetic appeal, and he was the driving force behind the construction of the Prado Museum too. One of the finest art museums anywhere in the world, it makes up the Golden Triangle of Art along with the Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza. There’s loads of other museums to check out, too – whether you’re interested in history, archaeology or science – and some superb art galleries too.
Go for a walk in the park
You won’t want to take too much time out if you’re only in Madrid for 48 hours, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a relaxing walk in the park. El Retiro is the city’s main park, and features beautiful gardens, lakes and monuments. Wander along the Paseo de Argentina with its 16th century royal statues, visit the Rose Garden, and admire the exotic plants of the Glass Garden.
Cheer on the local football teams
For sports fans, Madrid is synonymous with football. While Atletico Madrid are a very successful team in their own right, rivals Real Madrid are one of the biggest clubs in the world. If there’s a game on while you’re in town, you can see their ‘galactico’ superstars in the flesh at the famous Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
Eat and drink the night away
You’ve only got a couple of nights to spend out in Madrid, so make the most of the city’s tapas restaurants, bars and nightclubs while you can. Whether you want to sit down and pick at small plates of food all evening, or party until the early hours, Madrid has you covered. Sip Spanish wines in a bodega, before shaking your thing in one of the city’s discotecas – Bueno!