Whether you’re coming to Madrid for the long term or just stopping by on vacation, there’s a long list of things you simply must see and do while here! It can be difficult to get everything done in time, but we’ve put together an amazing bucket list to get you started! From checking out the famous sites to living and breathing the fiery Spanish culture, here is our ultimate Madrid Bucket list to ensure you get the most out of this amazing city!
1. Practice Spanish
Learning the language of the country you live in – even just a few words – is an integral part to integrating into a new culture. There are various ways you can approach learning Spanish during your time in Madrid. Like taking classes or diving right in with the locals. One great way is to stop by a language exchange where you can meet all sorts of new and interesting people in an inviting and fun atmosphere!
2. Visit the Real & Atlético Stadium
Madrid is a football city! It’s home to the best team in the world and to some of the most passionate fans you’ll ever meet. You can’t come to Madrid without setting foot in at least one of it’s amazing stadiums. The Santiago Bernabeu stadium, home to Real Madrid and the Wanda Metropolitano both have wonderful tours and museums to check out.
3. See a Flamenco Show
Flamenco lies at the very heart of Spanish culture and you should definitely try seeing a show while you’re here! The beautiful thing about living in Madrid is that it’s home to people from all over Spain. Meaning you can experience all kinds of different flamenco shows from all over the country! You can catch a traditional dinner show or check out a show with a new age twist, whatever you decide it will surely be special.
4. Changing of the Guards at the Palacio Real
The “Changing of the Guards” ceremony is always a special thing to see wherever you go. Most countries with a royal palace and family has one and they are each unique in reflecting the country’s culture. In Spain, they host a small ceremony every Wednesday, but on the first Wednesday of every month visitors can witness the beautiful solemn changing of the guards. With hundreds of horses, a live orchestra and performance!
5. Learn How to Dance Salsa
Some say dance is like a language in itself and if that is true then you simply have to learn Salsa! Spaniards speak through this famous dance and you’ll be missing out if you don’t try it out. You can take a class, attend a salsa party or practice with your local friends!
6. Shop at El Rastro
Every Sunday, the main streets of Madrid’s barrio La Latina turn in to the largest open air market in Spain! Hundreds (many even thousands) of visitors spend their Sunday morning exploring the streets in search of antiques, clothes, knick knacks and yummy snacks at the famous Rastro!
7. Visit Madrid’s Top Museums
Madrid is home to some of the top museums in the entire country. From famous classics like El Prado, Reina Sofia and the Thyssen to the lesser known Museo Naval and the gorgeous National Library. You don’t have to be an art of history junkie to appreciate the amazing items located in all of these spots. Click here for detailed information on Art & Culture in Madrid!
8. Experience a Wine Tasting
Some of the best wines in the world come from Spain! You’ll soon become very familiar with names like Rioja and Ribera, so why not got one step further and learn about the wines themselves? From reds, to white to cavas and more!
9. Witness the Famous Sunset at Templo de Debod & the Charming Sunrise at Las Ventas
There is a famous saying here in Madrid, “De Madrid al Cielo”. It means that once you see Madrid, heaven is the next best thing. And boy is that true of Madrid’s sky! Whether it’s watching the stunning sunrise at the Plaza de Ventas, or the breathtaking sunset at the Templo de Debod, there is something to be said about Madrid’s sky!
10. Travel Spain, Portugal, Morocco & Europe
Not exactly a Madrid based addition to the list, but considering Madrid’s prime location right in the centre of Iberia, it’s perfect for travelling! Explore the countries different regions, hop over to Portugal, go on an adventure trip to Morocco or jump on a 50€ flight to another country in Europe. Whatever you do, take advantage during your time in Madrid!
11. Party the Night Away at the Famous Fuckin’ Monday Party
Madrid is a nightlife city that is known as Spain’s version of a city that never sleeps. You’ll discover a lot of parties while you’re here but one will reign supreme – the famous Fuckin’ Monday Party, known as the number 1 international student party in the whole city. It will surely become for many of you your biggest home for wild memories in Madrid.
Hint: With the Nightlife Pass you’ll receive a benefits from free VIP entries to clubs all over Madrid to special drink deals as well as free drinks!
12. Segway Tour Through Madrid
Informative and fun! Tour Madrid’s city centre by Segway and see more of the city in one afternoon than you ever would on foot! Most tours last around 90 minutes and take you to all the top sites in centre like Sol, Plaza de España, Plaza Mayor, the palace and more!
13. Picnic in Retiro Park
Parque Retiro is Madrid’s version of Central Park. It a gorgeous area filled with gardens, small forests, hiking paths, fountains and even a lake or two! It’s essential to spend an afternoon having a picnic in the park, at least once! So pack you blanket, some bread and a bottle of tinto de verano and get started! Feel free to also join one of the free Citylife picnic events.
14. Eat Churros at San Ginés
Churros con chocolate are a staple on the Spanish menu and you’ve got to try it at least once! But not all churros are made equal. You’ve got to head to the historic and iconic San Ginés chocolatería located between Sol and Plaza Opera!
15. Eat Delicious Tapas
The world loves the idea of tapas, but very rarely to they get them right! While here you have to try the true experience of tapas! So what’s that you might ask? It’s a cold beer (or tinto) paired with plates and plates of greasy, delicious potatoe dishes (patatas bravas, tortilla de patatas, huevos rotos), seafood (calamares and pulpo) as well as jamón snacks (croquetas, jamón ibérico)!
16. Learn How to Cook the Spanish Essentials
If you’re going to go home speaking Spanish and dancing salsa, you might as well bring some Spanish cooking with you! Take a cooking class while you are in Madrid, so you never have to miss your favourite dishes once you’re back home. You’ll never taste an authentic sangría anywhere else unless you learn the secrets!
17. Ride a Bike or Take a Walk Down the Madrid Río
Not always known as a beautiful place to visit, the Madrid Río is quickly becoming one of the gems of the cities. The parks and the trails that are being developed along Madrid’s river are stunning and make for a perfect location for a morning stroll of an evening bike ride. In fact, it’s one of the locals most favourite spots for running clubs!
18. Experience the Spanish Festivals
Spain and festivals come hand in hand. All year ’round you’ll find traditional street fests that hold a special place in the hearts of all Spaniards! Most of these festivals are deeply rooted in religious celebration and tradition and have continued on through the centuries. From North to South, from winter to spring you’ll always find something to celebrate!
How did you do on your bucket list?
1-5: Ouch, were you only here on a layover?
5-10: A little better, tourist level.
10-15: Bravo! You’ve made good effort.
15-18: You’re on your way to becoming a madrileño!
– Matt & Leah