Dive headlong into the grandeur and intimate charm of Madrid. Feel the vibe in Puerta del Sol, the pulsing heart of modern Madrid and of Spain itself. The lavish Royal Palace rivals Versailles, the Prado has Europe's top collection of paintings, and nearby hangs Picasso's chilling masterpiece, Guernica. Retiro Park invites you to take a shady siesta, but save time for Madrid's elegant shops and people-friendly pedestrian zones. On Sundays, cheer for the bull at a bullfight or bargain like mad at a mega-size flea market. After dark, join the Madrileños who pack the streets for an evening paseo that can continue past midnight. Lively Madrid has enough street-singing, bar-hopping, and people-watching vitality to give any visitor a boost of youth.
At a Glance
▲▲▲ Royal Palace Spain's sumptuous, lavishly furnished national palace.
▲▲▲ Prado Museum One of the world's great museums, loaded with masterpieces by Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Goya, El Greco, Hieronymus Bosch, Albrecht Dürer, and more.
▲▲▲ Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Modern-art museum featuring Picasso's epic masterpiece Guernica.
▲▲▲ Paseo Evening stroll among the Madrileños.
▲▲ Puerta del Sol Madrid's lively central square.
▲▲ Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum A great complement to the Prado, with lesser-known yet still impressive works and an especially good Impressionist collection.
▲▲ National Archaeological Museum Traces the history of Iberia through artifacts.
▲▲ Flamenco Captivating music and dance performances, at various venues throughout the city.
▲▲ Plaza Mayor Historic cobbled square.
▲▲ Sorolla Museum Delightful, intimate collection of portraits and landscapes by Spanish artist Joaquín Sorolla.
▲ Bullfight Spain's controversial pastime.
▲ Retiro Park Festive green escape from the city, with rental rowboats and great people-watching.
▲ Royal Botanical Garden A relaxing museum of plants, with specimens from around the world.
▲ Naval Museum Seafaring history of a country famous for its Armada.
▲ Museum of the Americas Pre-Columbian and colonial artifacts from the New World.
▲ Clothing Museum A clothes look at the 18th–21st centuries.
▲ Hermitage of San Antonio de la Florida Church with Goya's tomb, plus frescoes by the artist.
▲ El Rastro Europe's biggest flea market, filled with bargains and pickpockets.
▲ Zarzuela Madrid's delightful light opera.