Things to do

Travel bucket list: Madrid


It’s official! We’re returning to Spain this year!

We both fell in love with Spain when we went to Barcelona five years ago and have been working on finding the right time to return and continue our exploration of this fabulous travel destination.

And we’ve found it. We’ll be back in Spain this fall and exploring a few new cities including: Madrid, Toledo, and Segovia. As well as a few days back in Barcelona!

We cannot wait and are so excited for this trip. It’ll be the first time for both us visiting Madrid and I’m already jotting down ideas of what we’ll have to do when we get there.

Here are 10 things we have on our Madrid bucket list!

Madrid bucket list

1. See the Zero plaque in Puerta del Sol

Madrid is not only Spain’s capital but it’s also the physical center point of the country. In the Puerta del Sol plaza, we’ll want to see the plaque that marks kilometer zero, marking the exact geographical center of Spain. Funnily enough, the plaque was accidentally turned 180 degrees in 2002 during some work on the square but was corrected in 2009.

There’s also a photo opp nearby by the statue of a bear and tree, the symbol of Madrid, and we’ll be stopping by for sure!

2. Gorge on some churros

One of our favorite foods in Barcelona was a churro dipped in some real thick hot chocolate and apparently Madrid is known for its churros and chocolate too!

In my research, I’ve come across multiple citing a stop at Chocolateria San Ginés as the thing to do in Madrid – and I have every hope we can make it happen.

3. Visit the Royal Palace of Madrid

I’m sure we’ll be stopping by the Royal Palace of Madrid! The palace is no longer used by the royals but is technically still an official Head of State residence and is open to the public.

It’s also known to be one of the largest palaces in the world (with more than 3,400 rooms!) and some amazing artifacts that belong to the Spanish crown.

4. Explore the Almudena Cathedral

Madrid’s most famous cathedral is La Almudena is fortunately located right next to the Royal Palace, making it even easier on our Madrid itinerary.

5. Discover the Prado Museum

It’s said to be about a 25-minute walk from the Almudena Cathedral to the Prado Museum – another thing to do in Madrid that keeps popping up in my research. It’s home to some of the finest art in the world, especially its Spanish collection including the work of Velazquez and Goya.

6. Wander through El Retiro Park

Not only does a stroll through El Retiro Park sound lovely, but I also want to make a stop to snap some photos of the beautiful Palacio de Cristal! I mean look at that!

We both enjoy strolling through parks and relaxing in green spaces, though maybe it’ll be more reddish brown by the time we get there in the fall.

7. Snack at Mercado de San Miguel

Another thing we loved doing in Barcelona was wandering through the Boqueria and trying a variety of foods and I can’t wait to do this at Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid. We both love the food culture in Spain and are so excited to try some new tapas, sip Spanish wine, and just see all the amazing snacks on display.

8. Visit the Temple of Debod

I love all things ancient Egypt so I already know we’ll be paying a visit to the Temple of Debod. This Egyptian temple was a gift from Egypt and stands in Madrid’s Parque de la Montaña. Also? The temple is a museum on Egypt! We will definitely be checking it out.

I’ve also read that this is a premier place to watch the sunset from and I need a new photo to rival my best European sunset photo from Florence!

9. See the city from above

One thing I really like is getting photos of our travel destinations from above. Heights don’t bother me and I simply love seeing the city sprawl out below me. And so that means I hope we have time to visit two spots known for their amazing aerial views over Madrid!

The first is the Círculo de Belles Artes which has a patio and viewing area. We’ll just have to make note of closing hours as we’ll be visiting in somewhat the off-season, but the views do look quite lovely and I’m sure the collections inside the building are worth a viewing.

The second place I want to visit is the The 360° Rooftop Bar atop the Riu Plaza Espana. Located on the 27th floor, we can combine happy hour with a beautiful view.

10. See a Flamenco show

So, we have gone to a Flamenco show before, while we were in Barcelona back in 2018… so I think we’re due for another amazing experience. We both enjoyed the flamenco show we saw in Barcelona and would be totally down to spend another evening listening the music, being moved by the performances, and sipping some Cava!

What are we missing from our Madrid bucket list? Tell us your favorite things to do in Madrid in the comments so we can add them to our itinerary!

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Hey, I'm Stephanie! I'm a copywriter living in beautiful Denver with my husband Rick, and our dog Rocco. I love traveling, writing, reading, and being outside as much as possible - unless I'm on the couch binge watching Stranger Things with a glass of wine! Thanks for reading and being a part of the adventure with Back to the Passport! ❤️

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