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Best experiences:

Prado Museum

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

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Bucket List Experience
The grand exterior of the Prado Museum. Made of white stone with multiple pillars, and a carved stone mural set at the top of the entrance building, there is a flag flying atop it. A large statue of a figure cast in dark metal sits in front of the entrance.

Madrid’s most renowned museum, home to the single best collection of Spanish art and arguably the world’s finest collections of European art, dating from the 12th century to the early 20th century.

Adult price: £13

Best for ages 18+

World-class art in Madrid

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

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Bucket List Experience
Three visitors stand in front of an oil painting of the Cardinal Raphael. In the painting, he is wearing his red cardinal clothing. There is another painting hung on the wall to the left.

Home to the three of the world’s greatest art museums and a whole slew of masterpieces, Madrid justifies its rank as one of the world’s greatest art cities.

Best for ages 18+

Reina Sofia National Museum

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

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Bucket List Experience
Exterior facade looking at the front. a plain stone building with twin glass elevator towers on either side

Spain’s National Museum of 20th-century art is the third of Madrid’s world-class art museums. Reina most famously contains Picasso’s Guernica, and outstanding collections of Spain’s two greatest 20th-century masters, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.

Adult price: £8

Best for ages 18+

Flamenco in Madrid

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

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Bucket List Experience
A flamenco dancer wearing a black flamenco dress poses with her arms above her head at the top of a series of steps. She is wearing a red flower in her hair.

The biggest stars, the greatest shows. Madrid is the epicentre of this flamboyant, uplifting traditional Andalusian dance. Unmissable.

Adult price: £10

Best for ages 13+

Duration: 90+ minutes

When: All year round

Frequency: daily

Royal Palace of Madrid

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

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Bucket List Experience
The exterior of the Royal Palace of Madrid. It is a grand building made of pale grey stone, with a Spanish flag flying atop it. The courtyard in front is made of dark and light grey stone, and the sky is blue with wispy clouds.

Explore the opulent heritage of the Spanish royals, with a tour of their extraordinary 18th-century palace in Madrid.

Adult price: £8

Best for ages 18+

Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

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Bucket List Experience
The walkway in front of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. There are blue flags advertising the museum.

One of the world’s greatest art museums, home to an outstanding collection of art, from 13th-century Italian Gothic paintings to 20th-century Pop Art.

Adult price: £10

Best for ages 18+

Madrid’s best food & drink

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

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Bucket List Experience
Seafood paella in a large frying pan at a street food festival. Whole shrimps and mussels are arranged in a circle on top of the rice dish.

Our summary of the typical food ingredients and flavours, cooking styles, dining scene and best foodie experiences in Madrid.

Best for ages 18+

Duration: Any

El Escorial Palace

San Lorenzo del Escorial , Community of Madrid, Spain

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Bucket List Experience
El Escorial Palace seen from a distance. Foliage sits in the foreground, while mountains rise in the background.

Vast, UNESCO-listed palace and monastery complex offering a fascinating insight into the Habsburg dynasty and centuries of Spanish history. The octagonal pantheon contains the tombs of nearly every Spanish monarch.

Adult price: £13

Best for ages 18+

Costume and Fashion Museum

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

Two elaborate women's costumes on display behind glass at the Costume & Fashion Museum. Both include petticoated skirts and buttoned blouses with long sleeved cropped jackets. One has a hat suspended above it, with a pair of black slip on shoes placed next to it.

A beguiling costume museum, with over 150,000 garments, illustrating the evolution of fashion through history, from the Middle Ages until today.

Adult price: £3

Best for ages 8+

Festival of Saint Isidro

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

Four large effigies stand tall over a crowd of festivalgoers.

Join the locals to celebrate the city’s patron saint with a week of street parties, concerts, processions and bullfights, culminating in fireworks over the lake in Retiro Park.

Best for ages 13+

Duration: 1 week

When: Week of 15th May

Frequency: annually

San Miguel Market

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

External view of the market budiling - with walls that are all windows

Madrid’s foodie hotspot: a gourmet hub housing 33 shops and street stalls, selling the highest-quality local produce – including more than 100 varieties of cheese. A Madrid institution, the market buzzes from morning until late at night.

Best for ages 18+

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Almudena Cathedral

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

Almudena Cathedral. A cathedral, with a central dome, pillars, and decorative elements. Pedestrians walk in the square in front of it.

Opposite the Royal Palace and the seat of Madrid’s Catholic Archbishop. Building started in 1880 and only officially finished in 1993, when it was subsequently consecrated by Pope John Paul II. Inside, it surprises with contemporary chapels, cupolas, statues and décor. Worth a stop if churches are your thing.

Adult price: £1

Best for ages 18+

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Plaza Mayor

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

A view from the side of Plaza Mayor. Tables and chairs from cafes sit the the sun, people walk around on the cobblestone plaza.

Madrid’s big, Baroque main square, completed in 1619, is enclosed by stately symmetrical buildings and porticoed walks. For centuries it was the theatre of city life – witnessing coronations, bullfights, jousts, football matches, beatifications, and executions. Today, it’s Madrid’s beating heart, packed with cafés and restaurants.

Best for ages 4+

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National Archaeology Museum

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

View of a stone busy in a display cabinet

A grand museum showcasing the history of Spain, from prehistoric times to the modern era. It houses over a million objects including art, sculpture, and artifacts from various periods, such as Roman, Visigoth, and Moorish. LKook out for the beautiful prehistoric bust of the Lady of Elche, Roman weapons and glittering Visigothic gold.

Adult price: £2

Best for ages 18+

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Photo Espana

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

A photo of a woman wearing a red cloak, facing away from the camera, in a snow-covered forest

Grab your camera for Europe’s largest photography festival, with events at museums, galleries and bookshops all over the city.

Best for ages 13+

Duration: 8 weeks

When: June-July

Frequency: annually

Casa de Diego

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

A traditional Spanish hand fan - black lace on top of the fan fabric which shows a pastoral scene.

Founded in 1858. Spain has long been one of the greatest producers of abanicos – traditional hand fans. This small studio upholds that tradition. The highest quality hand-made fans – with handles made from wood, ebony or bone – are made on site. Each one is a unique, gorgeous work of art.

Best for ages 13+

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Royal Basilica of St Francis the Great

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

The ceiling of the Royal Basilica of St Francis the Great. The ceiling is domed with yellow-golden moulding and painted frescoes.

Built in the 18th century, this imposing Neoclassical basilica is an architectural masterpiece, home to the fourth biggest dome in Europe. Inside are intricate decorations, an ornate altarpiece and paintings by Goya and Zurbaran.

Best for ages 18+

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Madrid Cable Car

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

Cable car over casa de campo park in Madrid, Spain. The blue cable cars are above the trees in the park, with the city visible in the background.

Grab the best views of the city from this cable car, which runs from Paseo del Pintor Rosales to the Casa de Campo park and zoo. It’s a 2.5km ride and takes around 11 minutes.

Adult price: £3

Best for ages 6+

Duration: 11 minutes

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Retiro Park

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

The Parterre garden in Buen Retiro Park. Shaped topiary shrubbery, trimmed lawns, trees, and white pathways fill this park.

Once the gardens of a royal palace, the city’s main park stretches across 350 acres of glorious green space in the heart of the capital.

Best for ages 4+

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Royal Tapestry Factory

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

An image of a master tapestry maker, weaving a tapestry with a traditional tool.

This renowned institution has been producing exquisite tapestries and textiles for centuries. You can take a tour of this ‘living museum’, founded in 1721, where expert weavers continue Spain’s illustrious tapestry and textile traditions.

Adult price: £4

Best for ages 13+

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DiverXO

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

Staircase into the restaurant entrance

Young chef David Munoz is at the helm of Madrid’s acclaimed three Michelin-starred restaurant, creating unique food ‘pictures’ in a Cirque du Soleil ‘Dream World’ atmosphere: there’s nothing quite like it.

Adult price: £70

Min age 10

Best for ages 18+

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Madrid Gastrofestival

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

clsoe up of a plate of delicious-looking green soup

With two weeks in May and June of foodie events from tapas crawls to cooking workshops, this internationally-renowned food festival features 450 participating establishments offering over 550 food-related activities.

Best for ages 18+

Duration: 2 weels

When: May & June

Frequency: annually

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Cerralbo Museum

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

exterior facade - a plain house with wooden front door

The Marques de Cerralbo’s horde of artworks and curio includes El Greco’s Ecstasy of St Francis and fantastic Japanese armour.

Adult price: £2

Best for ages 18+

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Art Madrid

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

Aerial view down onto a large exhibition room filled with art stalls and lots of people wandering between them

A world-renowned annual contemporary art fair featuring painting, sculpture, photography, and digital art from both national and international galleries and artists. It takes place over four days in February, in the majestic setting of the Palacio de Cibeles.

Adult price: £13

Best for ages 18+

Duration: 5 days

When: February 23-27

Frequency: annually

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El Rastro Flea Market

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

Busy market stalls with many people looking around and shopping.

Madrid’s lively Sunday morning flea market sells everything from ceramics to fabrics, handmade shoes and antiques. It has been held in the La Latina district for over 400 years.

Best for ages 13+

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Hammam at Al Andalus Madrid

Madrid, Spain

Hammam at Al Andalus Madrid

If you need some time out from the hectic delights of this vibrant city, head to this excellent hammam, a modern-day version of the traditional Andalusian bathhouse experience, to soak in the hot spa baths. Traditional treatments include steamy massage, hot stones and kessa gloves.

Adult price: £60

Min age 25

Best for ages 13+

Duration: 2+ hours

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Lazaro Galdiano Museum

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

Display artworks and large glass casing inside the Lazaro Galdiano Museum

A fantastic private collection of over 12,000 ceramics, jewellery, small bonzes, coins, carvings, manuscripts and other fascinating artefacts from the nineteenth century back to the prehistoric period. It’s housed in a historic Madrid, with original baroque painted ceilings.

Adult price: £6

Best for ages 18+

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Theatre Real

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

The outside of the Real (royal) Theatre in Madrid, a three-story building with a statue of Isabel II outside.

Founded in 1818, the enormous, wedding-cake Teatro Real hosts world-class opera, dance and flamenco concerts.

Adult price: £15

Best for ages 18+

Duration: 1-3 hours

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Faunia

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

A close-up image of a ring-tailed lemur with its tongue sticking out.

A quirky zoological and botanical park home to over 4,000 animals from 500 different species, including giant pandas, penguins, and crocodiles. There are themed ‘ecosystems’ – such as the polar ecosystem, the Amazon rainforest, and the African jungle.

Adult price: £18

Best for ages 4+

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Convent of the Descalzas Reales

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

Exterior view of the facade

This royal convent was founded by the daughter of Emperor Charles V in 1559 – it’s now packed full of Golden Age art, priceless masterpieces and valuable religious relics, all paid for by the dowries of former nuns accumulated over the centuries.

Adult price: £4

Best for ages 18+

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Sorolla Museum

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

External view of the beautiful yellow stone building

The Madrid home of early 20th-century artist Joaquin Sorolla, known as ‘the master of light’, is now filled with his neo-Impressionist works.

Best for ages 18+

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San Ildefonso Market

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

San Ildefonso Market

Away from the tourist crowds between the Chueca and Malasana districts, this street market is designed for socialising. It covers three floors, with two terraces and 20 wildly diverse stands and bars; it frequently hosts events.

Min age 18

Best for ages 18+

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Museo Chicote

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

External facade of a street bar

Spain’s oldest cocktail bar, founded in 1931; along with bucketloads of atmosphere is a wall of photos of the movie stars (Sinatra, Grace Kelley etc.) who once sipped drinks here. Go for Sunday afternoon brunch with a DJ.

Min age 18

Best for ages 18+

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Sobrino de Botin

Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain

External view of the old fashioned facade

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Botin which first opened its doors in 1725 – and has always been renowned for its suckling pig and roast lamb – is the oldest restaurant in the world.

Best for ages 18+

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