Whether you enjoy hopping from bar to bar, walking the cobbled streets or simply watching the world go by from a park bench, Madrid has something for everyone.
Here are five suggestions that can easily be fitted into a weekend – a mix of walking, eating, relaxing and football that won’t break the bank. Enjoy!
1. Mercado de San Miguel
The Mercado de San Miguel – just off Plaza Mayor – is THE place to be seen on a Sunday.
The glass-and-iron covered market building re-opened in 2015 after a six-year refurbishment and is light and airy, just as a traditional market should be.
Inside it’s cool and busy, packed with people eating, drinking, and just wandering about.
Alongside the stalls selling fresh fish and produce are tapas stands, coffee shops, a sherry corner and Beer House.
The tapas staples are all here – deep-fried boquerones and squid, cones full of jamon and chorizo – as well as the more exotic stuffed sea urchins.
Prices may be higher than other markets in the city but neither the atmosphere nor food disappoints.
- Nearest Metro stations – Sol (2,5)/Opera (1,2,3)
2. Circulo de Bellas Artes
If you need to chill out for the afternoon and get great views of Madrid, had for the rooftop on seventh floor of the Circulo de Bellas Artes.
Here, you can kick back and enjoy a Campari and soda with the locals or book into the restaurant.
There are 360-degree views of the city, and you can walk from the centre of Madrid, the nearby Parque de El Retiro, the main Atocha train station or the Prado Museum.
- Nearest Metro stations: Banco de Espana/Sevilla (both Line 2)
- Admission: 4 euros
3. Bar hopping with free tapas
There is nothing finer that just wandering the streets of Madrid, enjoying a coffee or something stronger – with the added bonus of free tapas.
A coffee can be as little as a euro and a small beer just two, while a menu del dia – five courses with a drink and dessert – from just 12 euros.
But this is Spain, so tapas is king and in Madrid you are likely to get one free with a drink – some ham and tomato on bread, a mini hamburger, or a slice of tortilla.
Head for the Lavapies area during the day, and after dark congregate at the Plaza de San Ildefonso.
4. Parque del Retiro
Surely the best free thing to do in Madrid, the huge Parque del Retiro sits in the south-west corner of the city.
You can enjoy a walk along the tree-lined boulevards, drop into the Glass House for the latest art exhibition, have a coffee by the lake or simply sit on the grass and watch the world go by.
If you are feeling energetic, rowing boats cost just eight euros for 45 minutes.
- Nearest Metro stations: Retiro (Line 2)/Ibiza (Line 9)/Atocha (Line 1)
5. Estadio Santiago Bernabéu
Di Stefano, Figo, Zidane. Ronaldo, Bale, Benzema.
No trip to Madrid for a football fan is complete without a trip to the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu – or simply the Bernabéu.
The tour of the ground takes you up into the gods for a bird’s eye view of the pitch, and back down through the directors’ box, dressing rooms and press room onto the pitch.
Once at ground level you get to walk to the edge of the pitch and sit on the – heated – dugout seats.
In between is a tour of the museum, charting the history of Los Blancos and their 11 European Cups.
- Nearest Metro station: Santiago Bernabeu (Line 10)
- Museum tour costs 19 euros