5 Activities for 5 Hours in Madrid

Hello from Madrid!

After more than a day of international travel, we have finally arrived in our amazing Airbnb in the capital of Spain. Still recovering from the time-change and jet-lag; we decided to only spend a couple of hours exploring the city. However, this didn’t stop us from seeing some of the most historical and inspiring sights in Spain. Keep reading if you only have a few hours to explore Madrid or if you want to learn about only some of what the capital has to offer.

1. Parque del Buen Retiro

I was enticed to find this park when I read about the botanical gardens with thousands of roses. We walked from our apartment through some small pebbled-paved roads to some large and busy Madrid streets. After about a twenty-minute stroll, we reached the 148 year-old park!

If you’re interested in finding a rural-atmosphere in the middle of a city with over 3 million inhabitants; I recommend spending an afternoon in Parque del Buen Retiro.

Pass by century-old statues, a large lake and a variety of flowers. Plus, entrance is free!


2. Ôven

All of that walking boost your appetite? Hit up, Ôven; just a three minute walk from Parque del Buen Retiro. We decided on this restaurant because we were in desperate need of water; how happy we were to discover to the delicious mozzarella-themed dishes. This restaurant is a 5/5. The friendly wait-staff spoke both Spanish and English which was definitely a help when recommending their favorite dishes.


3. Puerta del Sol

Ready for some people watching? Find your way to Puerta del Sol; one of the busiest spots in the city. Sit back by the center fountain and relax as you are surrounded by both Spaniards and tourists alike.

You know how all roads lead to Rome in Italy? Well, all roads in Madrid lead to Puerta del Sol. Also, keep an eye out for the large clock in the square. A typical Spanish New Years Tradition of eating twelve grapes at midnight follows the chimes of this clock from many Spanish families.


4. Palacio Royal

Just a few minute walk from Puerta del Sol is the Royal Palace of Madrid. If you want to do an indoor tour of the castle, I recommend spending a couple hours at this site. However, it is also spectacular to walk outside the palace and through it’s surrounding gardens.

TIP: For all students; make sure to bring your student ID card with you to the palace. General admission is 11 euros; students only have to pay 6 euros!


5. Plaza Mayor

Whether you’re in the mood for churros con chocolate, tapas, sangria or just a walk through one of the most popular plazas in Madrid, Plaza Mayor is the ideal spot. Throughout history, Plaza Mayor has been the location of markets, bullfights, public executions and many more events.

Today, you can find restaurants, gelato shops, etc. lining the rectangular plaza.


I would have loved to stay longer in Madrid to explore more of the cities offerings. However, if you’re only in the city for a couple of hours–a couple of days, don’t spend your time debating where to go. Stick to this list and I promise you will leave smiling!

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