Spain | 24 hours in Madrid!

  • Catherine Kelly
  • 29 Jun 21

What might 24 hours look like in the Spanish capital? Let’s find out.

Madrid by Dennis Bunnik

Madrid by Dennis Bunnik

Madrid offers a constant stream of activity which is somehow counterpoised with an uncompromising leisure.

Madrilenos, as the city’s residents are called, seem always to be on the go, except when they’re taking long breaks to eat, drink and enjoy life. As a visitor to Madrid, you’ll invariably be drawn into the city’s stream of movement as you rush to see one more art collection, taste one more dish, or buy tickets for an evening performance.


18:15 Arrive in Madrid

Most travellers arrive in Madrid at Atocha Station, one of the most beautiful railway stations of the 19th century. It’s time to check in to our hotel, clean up after the journey and ready ourselves for a better taste of the city.


20.30 Head out for dinner, Spanish style

Madrilenos typically eat a small dinner, later at night. Madrid might be a landlocked city but seafood is extremely popular here – the city has the second largest fish market in the world. The city is known for its high quality restaurants but if you are craving simpler fare tapas may be the way to go tonight. Tapas are small portions of just about anything: cheese, olives, squid, smoked shrimp, sausage, fried potatoes in a paprika sauce (patatas bravas), marinated vegetables and croquetas to name just a few. Order enough little plates and you will have a meal!

Image credit: Dennis Bunnik


23.00 Bar-hopping

For those feeling electrified by this city you may wish to try Madrid’s ir de tapas, a clever reconciliation of the competing urges to move or sit and relax for hours. Hop leisurely from one tapas bar to the next. Barrio de La Latina is the best area to find tapas bars. Most stay open late in to the night.


07.00 Up and at em'

It’s time for breakfast. Whether you choose to dine at your hotel or head out for somewhere local you’ll find most breakfasts follow a Mediterranean diet. Think olive oil, bread, jámon serrano, fresh fruits and pastry. Oh, and don’t forget your café con leche!

10.00 Time for a stroll

With our walking shoes on it’s time for a stroll down the Gran Viá, Madrid’s equivalent of the Champs-Élysées. Translating as ‘the Great Way’, this stunning strip is lined with designer shops and ornate architecture. We continue to the Plaza Mayor, Madrid’s main square. This impressive square has a total of 237 balconies faced upon it so prepare to be watched as you people watch!

Image credit: Dennis Bunnik

Image credit: Marion Bunnik

12.00 Lunch at the Mercado

A short stroll from the Plaza Mayor is the Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid’s Old Quarter. Here you can try from a huge range of fresh local produce. This is an excellent spot from which to sample paella, pintxos, cured meats, cheeses, wines and ciders. The markets are open daily, from 10am-midnight Sunday – Wednesday and 10am-2am Thursday – Saturday. The perfect location for lunch or a midnight snack!

14.00 Some culture at the Prado Museum

Europe is full of top notch museums and the Prado decidely rubs shoulders with the best of them. The Museo del Prado is the national art museum of Spain and as such is home to some magnificent works. Here you can see paintings by El Greco, Goya, Velázquez, Titian and Rubens.

Image credit: Annelieke Huijgens


16.30 Afternoon pick-me-up

A trip to Madrid is not complete without indulging your sweet receptors with a chocolate caliente picante. This Spanish hot chocolate is not for the faint-hearted! Thick and like custard it is sure to satisfy the sweetest tooth.

17.00 A city of greenery

Madrid has plenty of luscious parks in which to spend some time. Retiro Park is one of the city’s largest and arguably finest parks. It belonged to the Spanish monarchy until the 19th century when it became a space open to the public. Free concerts are held here on Sundays from midday in the summer months from late-May to early October.

Image credit: Marion Bunnik

Madrid is a city with so much to pack in but take a cue from the locals and incorporate some quiet time into your hectic schedule.

Interested in Madrid? Check out our range small group tours heading to Spain!