There is so much to see and do in Madrid that sometimes you need a longer stay in order to experience it all.
With 10 days in Madrid, you’ll have more than enough time to start to feel like a local. You’ll experience the city’s main sights and attractions and start slipping into madrileño life. If you have the time, we highly recommend a longer stay in Madrid! Here’s our perfect itinerary for how to make the most of 1o days in Madrid.
Day 1: Get acquainted, food tour
Start the first of your 10 days in Madrid at a leisurely pace. After all, you’re just getting to know the city and have plenty of time to explore. Take some time to stroll around the neighborhood where you’ll be staying. Observe where the locals are eating, shopping and living their lives in general. Stop along the way for a bite to eat and enjoy the first of your long, leisurely Madrid lunches.
In the evening, make your way to the city center to join us on our Tapas Like a Local Tour! You’ll be eating a lot of tapas during your 10 days in Madrid, and this tour is the best way to learn the true art of a Madrid tapeo. By the time you’re finished, you’ll be full, happy and armed with handy knowledge of how to eat like a local.
Day 2: City center sights & cable car
Start the second of your 10 days in Madrid in sunny Plaza Mayor. This must-see square fills up with tourists later in the day. However, first thing in the morning, it’s pleasantly calm and quiet. From there, make your way to the Royal Palace (Calle de Bailén, s/n) and take a tour through the stunning interior.
After visiting the palace, continue up the street towards Plaza de España and the Debod Temple. The latter is an authentic temple from Ancient Egypt that was relocated to Spain brick by brick! If you prefer to come later in the day, it’s a spectacular place to catch the sunset.
While you’re on this side of town, another great activity is to take the funicular cable car to get some seriously spectacular views over the city. El Teleférico starts its journey near they Argüelles metro station and takes you on a sweeping rider over Madrid and the Casa del Campo park. When the ride is over, be sure to take some time to visit the park as well!
Day 3: Sol, Gran Vía & Chueca
10 days in Madrid would be incomplete without a visit to its emblematic square! Puerta del Sol, located in the heart of the neighborhood of the same name, is the geographic center of Spain. Like Plaza Mayor, it gets more crowded as the day goes on, so it’s best to go early.
From there, take some time to wander along Gran Vía, the main drag through Madrid’s bustling city center. Lined with popular shops and some of Madrid’s most iconic buildings, you simply can’t spend 10 days in Madrid without taking some time to go sightseeing along this incredible street.
From there, make your way north to the Chueca neighborhood, a vibrant and welcoming part of town where you’ll start to get a bit off the beaten path. Enjoy a meal at the Mercado de San Ildefonso (Calle de Fuencarral, 57), home to some lovely bars and restaurants, including our personal favorite, DP Tapas. Take some time to shop your way through the funky little boutiques along Calle Barquillo, where you’re sure to find a one-of-a-kind souvenir. Finally, cap off your time in Chueca with a visit to the Museo del Romanticismo (Calle de San Mateo, 13), one of Madrid’s lesser-known museums that will take you back in time to Spain’s iconic Romantic period.
Day 4: Prado & Retiro
You can’t spend 10 days in Madrid without visiting possibly the most iconic of its art museums! Even if you’re not an art aficionado, the Prado (Paseo del Prado, s/n) is a must. Its stunning historical collection of masterpieces by Goya, Velázquez, El Greco and others will take your breath away!
Want to take your art game to the next level? Join us on our Prado Museum Tour & VIP Botín Lunch experience! In addition to skipping the line at the Prado and touring the museum with a knowledgeable expert guide, you’ll also enjoy a leisurely lunch at the oldest restaurant in the world. This exclusive experience is a must during your 10 days in Madrid!
After spending a few hours at the Prado, head to nearby Retiro Park for some R&R in Madrid’s most famous green space. Despite its popularity, this park is nice and big with plenty of space, so you won’t feel overwhelmed by crowds. Check out the unique art exhibitions in the sparkling Crystal Palace and take a relaxing boat ride on the iconic lake. The latter is an especially great idea if you’re visiting Madrid with kids!
Day 5: Day trip to Segovia
Now that your 10 days in Madrid are halfway up, take advantage of this day to get out of town! There are several lovely options for day trips from Madrid that will take your breath away. However, our pick for this time around is Segovia. Famous for its historic towering aqueduct left over from Roman days, Segovia is full of history and charm around every turn in its picturesque streets. And at just an hour away from busy Madrid, you’ll feel like you’re in another world entirely as you enjoy the slower pace of life, delicious food and interactions with friendly locals.
Day 6: Reina Sofía & Lavapiés
Now that you’re back in Madrid feeling refreshed, visit the second of Madrid’s three iconic art museums on Day 6! The Reina Sofía Museum (Calle de Santa Isabel, 52) is home to some of Spain’s most famous art pieces from more modern times. A must-see is certainly Picasso’s Guernica, a towering masterpiece depicting a scene from the Spanish Civil War that will leave you speechless.
After the museum, take some time to explore the vibrant Lavapiés neighborhood. As Madrid’s most international barrio, the multicultural atmosphere and colorful way of life is a must-experience during your 10 days in Madrid. Try one of the dozens of incredible international restaurants in this neck of the woods, or visit the Mercado de Antón Martín (Calle de Santa Isabel, 5), one of Madrid’s most incredible markets.
Day 7: Salamanca
Spend the seventh of your 10 days in Madrid exploring the ritzy, upscale Salamanca neighborhood! Located just north of the city center near Chueca, this is easily the best part of town if you’re serious about doing some shopping. From the high-end labels along Calle Serrano to the trendy little boutiques tucked along the side streets, you’ll come across some seriously incredible finds in Salamanca.
While you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to check out the National Archaeological Museum (Calle de Serrano, 13) as well. Step back in time as you wander through their incredible collection of artifacts from prehistoric times, Ancient Egypt and more.
Day 8: Tour Bernabeu & Real Madrid game
Even if you don’t think you’re much of a sports fan, locals’ love for their team is an integral part of madrileño culture. Take some time to tour the Real Madrid stadium (Paseo de la Castellana, 142) and see how the iconic team played a role in Madrid’s rich culture throughout history. The unique experience will take you up above the stadium with a stunning view of the field, down to the bench and onto the field itself, and through everything in between. Step into the locker room, press room, and learn all about just why locals are crazy for this team.
When it’s all said and done, be sure to stick around for a game! Even if you knew nothing about Real Madrid before your tour, the eclectic energy in the stadium during a game is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. Come be a part of this incredibly local experience and walk away feeling more madrileño than ever.
Day 9: Day trip to Córdoba
Take one more day trip now that your 10 days in Madrid are almost up! This time, head to sunny southern Spain, to the ancient city of Córdoba. Home to the iconic Mezquita and so much more, Córdoba is a great place to start getting acquainted with Andalusia. It is well located within the region and less than two hours on the high speed train from Madrid. Be sure to try some delicious local delicacies, like salmorejo!
Day 10: Chamberí & Malasaña
Can you believe your 10 days in Madrid are up? Spend your last day in Spain’s capital living like a local in Chamberí. As one of Madrid’s most authentic, off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods, it’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy your final day in Madrid at a slow pace. Stop into one of the many local bars and restaurants to enjoy a leisurely meal and grab a drink out on a sunny terrace.
As it gets later in the day, head south into Malasaña. As one of Madrid’s most popular neighborhoods, it’s not as relaxed as Chamberí, but its fun and vibrant atmosphere still make it worth a visit. After getting lost in the streets here for a little bit, make your way to the Círculo de Bellas Artes building (Calle de Alcalá, 42). From its privileged location just at the start of Gran Vía, its rooftop terrace offers stunning views of the city center. End your 10 days in Madrid here, drink in hand, as you enjoy the postcard-like vistas surrounding the terrace.
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Life is too short to speak one language and stay in one place. In 2015, this philosophy took her from familiar Ohio to sunny southern Spain. Usually drinking tinto de verano, reading Lorca, or attempting to dance flamenco (not all at once). Follow her blog, Viatic Couture, for more.