The ultimate one day in Madrid itinerary is the your best option, if you want to get the best out of a short stay in one of the most prestige metropoles in Europe. Madrid is the capital of Spain and easily one of the prettiest cities in the whole country. It’s always overshadowed by its cousin in the north – Barcelona. But this city has a lot to see, even if you only stay for a day. And the ultimate one day in Madrid itinerary will perfectly guide you through it.
The ultimate one day in Madrid itinerary is designed in a similar way to this post, because it’s suppose to give some general information about the city as well as showing you some highlights of Madrid. I stayed in Madrid for 2 days and had a look at the inner city for 1 full day. It is an absolutely fantastic city and it’s in no way inferior to other big cities of the country. Old buildings, historically important monuments, fun activities, colourful small alleys and heaps vibrant citizens full of energy and vitality.
Because I got shown around by a Chilean friend, who lived in Madrid for quite a while, I have been brought to the most important spots in the city and he showed me the MUST SEES of Madrid. I based the ultimate one day in Madrid itinerary on the sights he showed me, which is why it covers all the important stuff, but not to much. It’s a good combination.
Ultimate one day in Madrid Itinerary – General information
Madrid is the capital of Spain. The city has a been an important place ever since and it has more than 6.5 million inhabitants today. Madrid covers an area of about 604 km² and it’ss one of the most important as well as most visited cities in Europe. Generally it’s the 3rd largest city in Europe and it is the political, cultural and economical centre of the country. Madrid is home of two of the most famous football clubs on the planet – Real Madrid & Atletico Madrid. This city is currently ranked 17th place under the world’s most livable cities.
You should know a little bit about this metropole before you start with the ultimate one day in Madrid itinerary. It’s always good to have some general knowledge about the place you want to visit. Madrid has been founded in the 9th century by Muhammet of Cordoba, who built a small castle at first. Over the years and different ages, the city developed and got influenced by many different kings and folks like the Roman Empire, Napoleon and many others. It has always been a strategically important point for various kings in Europe. Nowerdays it still has a high status amongst the whole continent and many people consider it to be one of the prettiest cities in Europe.
It has a mediterrane and old style to it, but it still seems very modern. Architecture wise it has a lot to see. Many houses are built beautifully and the building’s colours make it an even more exciting place to stay at.
How to get there
Before you use the one day in Madrid itinerary, you should obviously know how to get there first. These are your options:
I came by plane from Hamburg. Most people come by plane, because it is the easist way, but obviously it depends on where you come from. Taking the bus or the train are also good options, because they are cheap and you’ll find countless of companies to get you there. Taking the car might not be the best fit, because the city is quite crowded and you won’t find that many places to park your car at.
How to get around
Just like in any other big metropole, getting around in the city is the easiest when you take the train, a taxi or, if you just walk. I would not recommend you to get around by car, Uber or bus. It just takes to long, because Madrid is a busy city. Times is valuable, especially, if you want to do and see all the beautiful things on the ultimate one day in Madrid itinerary.
Especially walking might even be the best option, because you’ll get the best impression of the city and you can literally feel all the positive vibes.
The weather in Madrid is solid gold. During the summer it gets very warm (35°C+) and in the winter time the thermometer doesn’t get under 0°C. Madrid lies in almost exactly in the centre of the country and you’ll experience a dry, but very pleasent climate. Additionally it’s sunny most of the time, even in the winter.
Spanish food is awesome, which is why it’s also a part of the ultimate one day in Madrid itinerary (read below). A lot of people love and talk about Italian or French food, but Spanish food doesn’t need to hide away either. It’s very similar to Mexican or South American food. A lot of spices and herbs as well as heaps of meat and wine. Spanish people love finger food and tend to eat mediterranean cuisine.
Before you use the ultimate one day in Madrid itinerary, you obviously need a place to stay. Depending on what you want, there are various possibilities. I rather prefer cheap accommodation in this case, because you probably only gonna stay for one or two nights anyway. So, booking an expensive hotel is pointless in my opinion, because you can’t really enjoy it. Generally you have the following options:
Couchsurfing is actually quite big in Europe and it’s a cool opportunity to get to know some locals, even if it’s just for a day. Plus you save some money. Airbnb and a homestay are also a good option. I mostly recommend to stay in a hostel. You might meet someone, who can show you around and give you some cool tips. Maybe you can even explore the city together or you just take the person with you to all the places on the ultimate one day in Madrid itinerary, so that they have something positive from it as well.
Madrid is basically not that expensive. At least not more than other big capitals in Europe. If you compare it to London or Copenhagen, then you’ll easily spend less. Still, you have got to calculate with a little more, compared to Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia for example. To give you a couple examples:
- Accommodation: 15$+ for a hostel (quite cheap)
- Food: 10$+ per day, if selfmade (Average)
- Transportation: 9,50$ per day (quite expensive)
- Sights: 10$+ (Average)
- Coffee: 3-5 $ (quiet expensive)
This is obviously only a small selection, but it shows, that it really depends on you and how much you want to spend. If you can prepare food upfront, have no problem with staying in hostels and be able to walk a lot, then the ultimate one day in Madrid itinerary will be a cheap one for you.
Ultimate one day in Madrid Itinerary – Highlights & what to do
As said, the ultimate one day in Madrid itinerary covers a lot of different stuff, but not to much. It is designed for you to enjoy the most important sight without rushing from one place to another like a freak. It’s set up in a relaxed way, so that you can actually enjoy what you have in front of you. Most of the time, if you only stay for 1 day, you don’t really absorb everything like you suppose to, because the itinerary is to tight. But not this one 😉
The ultimate one day in Madrid itinerary starts with a proper city walk. In my opinion you should walk all day long, even if that might sound a little exhausting. But trust me, it’s worth it! Only, if you want to cover huge distances, you should take the metro. Other than that, walk! You gonna see so many cool “barrios” with all sorts of different architecture and street art like walls full of graffiti.
Additionally you’ll see decorated streets and heaps of street artists. Music is being played everywhere you go, young and old spends time together and sometimes a mass of people just starts to dance Flamenco to Spanish music at various plazas.
Along the route you’ll also come along various exciting places like the Plaza Major, the Gran Via or Plaza de Santa Ana. And these are just a couple ones of what else is there to see.
The ultimate one day in Madrid itinerary definitely also covers some impressive buildings you just have to see. It’s a little contentious what are the most important once, but in my opinion the MUST SEES are (others are just add ons):
It is quite easy to see all of them in one day. They are not to far from each other. All of them have a long history and they are very important for the city. They are symbols for the country of Spain and the locals are very proud of them. It would be to much to go into detail about all of them them, but what I can truely say is, that each sight has a great story to it. Very interesting!
You’ll find many other spots on the internet you can also have a look at. It’s up to you what to choose, but just make sure to tick off the main ones of the ultimate one day in Madrid itinerary.
Madrid from above
Also make sure to check out the city from a higher perspective. Seeing Madrid from above needs to be on the ultimate one day in Madrid itinerary, because it just looks awesome. So many different colours… It’s absolutely brilliant how different it looks compared to other big cities of Europe like Prague for example. The city is built in a very specific way and the architectural style is very unique.
You can really see the difference from above. Good places with a great view are Gran Via and the Catedral de la Almudena. You would not expect that, but you almost have a 360° view and from one side of the cathedral you can even see some smaller mountains, which lie outside of Madrid.
Try out different meals
As said, Madrid has delicious food. This is why needs to be mentioned on the ultimate one day in Madrid itinerary. Spanish people know how to cook. It is actually the origin of Mexican, Portuguese and many other food types.
Spain has great wine, sausages, jamon (Spanish bacon) and souces as well as olive oils. They bring all that together on massive plates and your foody heart just starts to melt. So many delicious flavours mixed to various dreamy meals.
Short tip: Try as many tapa variations as possible
A night out
If your flight is not to early on the next day, then go for a night out. This just has to be on the ultimate one day in Madrid itinerary, because Spanish people love to party and I promise you’ll have a great time. Many of them start their celebrations in restaurants and have a proper dinner before they go out. You should do that too. It’s a good opportunity to meet some locals.
After that you should visit one of countless bars. Of course, you’ll find all sorts of clubs like the Fabrik in Madrid as well, but there are way more bars to go to. In fact, that’s what most people go for anyway.
Short tip: Go to Bar Cock or the Roof Bar
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