Madrid is one of Europe’s most important cities – the Spanish capital is the centre of the country’s politics, culture and monarchy – attracting tourists with the lure of impressive monuments and museums, stunning architecture and exciting nightlife.
A Madrid day tour is one of the most convenient ways to explore the city, accompanied by a professional guide to introduce you to places of interest while answering any questions you may have.
Many are the attractions on offer, so deciding an itinerary from the best tours in Madrid can be overwhelming. Fear not, however, as we have compiled a list of 10 essential experiences that can be enveloped within a Madrid day tour.
- The Royal Palace is Madrid’s largest building and arguably its most beautiful. Situated near the equally impressive Plaza de Oriente Square, the palace is a stunning example of 18th century architecture, while the halls are decorated with priceless paintings and tapestries.
- La Puerta del Sol is the city’s most renowned central square and a common stop on a Madrid day tour. On New Year’s Eve locals gather here to countdown from the square’s famous clock while eating a grape with every chime before midnight.
- The Madrid Cathedral or Cathedral de Santa María la Real de la Almúdena is a relatively modern building since construction started in 1883 but was not completed until 1993. Consequently, the architecture features an amalgamation of styles from a neoclassical exterior to a gothic revival interior and neo-romanesque crypt.
- Flamenco – although the passionate Latin dance originated in the south, it can still be seen in many bars and taverns in Madrid. The Corral de la Moreira restaurant is regarded as the premier place to watch flamenco in the city and attracts the best artists.
- Bullfighting, while this traditional Spanish past time may not appeal to everyone, it is a cultural experience that is often featured in Madrid day tours. Las Ventas is Madrid’s main bullring and the best time of year to witness the spectacle is during May and June when the San Isidro bullfighting festival comes to town.
- Real Madrid is the richest football club in the world and Europe’s most successful team. Tickets for games at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium can be difficult to arrange privately, but there is nowhere else to gaze upon Galáctico stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos.
- The Teleférico is Madrid’s own cable car system that allows stunning bird’s eye views over the city’s parks – including the Parque del Oeste and La Rosaleda, a 17,000sqft rose garden – with the Manzanares river in the distance.
- The Prado Museum is home to one of the world’s greatest art galleries with works from European masters such as Velázquez, Goya, Raphael, Rubens, and Bosch. The museum was commissioned by a former Spanish queen who was so impressed by the Louvre in France that she wanted to showcase an art collection in her own country.
- El Rastro is Madrid’s largest open-air flea market, which takes place every Sunday and on public holidays. With over 3,500 different stalls selling practically everything under the sun, there are bargains to be found.
- CaixaForum is Madrid’s latest cultural and architectural star with an exterior as impressive as what lies inside the building. French botanist Patrick Blanc created an exuberant façade featuring a vertical garden that adorns the walls outside – while art exhibitions take the space through the doors.
All Madrid day tours should include the opportunity to sample the local food and wine. Get tempted by an Epicurean tour of the city that explores a mosaic of neighbourhood with a Madrileño host, discovering and tasting the essence of Madrid as you go.
Our Spanish local experts can organise exclusive Madrid day tours for you and tailor make them to meet your preferences, while ensuring every detail is taken care of before you arrive.
There are also several renowned wine regions that can be reached by day tours from Madrid, including La Mancha, La Rioja and Ribera Del Duero, where you can visit vineyards, meet the owners and taste the finest wines that Spain has to offer.
For more information visit our Spain destination page and start planning a Madrid day tour steeped in art, culture and history.