Cultural Experience | Spain

10 Must-See Sights of Madrid

There’s so much to see in this special Spanish city

Madrid is Spain’s biggest city as well as it’s capital. There is plenty to see and do, not only at night in the legendary night clubs but by day with it’s deep history. There are parks, statues, palaces, plazas, and museums that will stay with you long after you leave. You’ll not only have great photo opportunities but you’ll have chances to learn things about Madrid hands (or sights) on. Here are some of my favorite places I visited and I suggest you do too!

1. El Parque del Retiro

El Parque del Retiro

This is a giant park in Madrid that has a ton of things to do and explore. There are food and jewelry vendors as well as a pond where you can rent row boats. You can get a good workout running along the edges of the park or through the many walking paths. Palacio de Cristal (Glass Palace) is a must see in Retiro (grab a map of the park from any kiosk and you’ll be able to navigate your way to it easily) It is a literal glass palace, though it was under construction when I visited it was still just as breathtaking.

2. Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor

This is the most famous plaza in Madrid, there are some fun (yet expensive) restaurants to explore around the edge of the plaza as well as plenty places to shop. This is a major photo-op as well as a great place for entertainment as the local self-proclaimed musicians and painters swarm the middle of the plaza. Just make sure to keep your bag close!

3. Prado Museum

Prado Museum

It will take a couple visits to get through the entire museum, but it is well worth it! Make sure to see Goya’s “Black Paintings” and Velazquez’s famous “Las Meninas”. There is a lot to be learned, if your program doesn’t make you go for class, go anyway and make sure you listen along with the audio!

4. Palacio Real

Palacio Real

One of the biggest palaces in Europe, it was the official residence of the King of Spain. I went with my parens and siblings when they visited as a great day trip. All the extravagant furnishings and statues will have you in awe.

5. Palacio de Comunicaciones


Only in Madrid would a post office be this beautiful! This is my favorite building in Madrid, it’s breathtaking especially at night when it’s lit up. You need to take some pictures in front of it and from the perch of its rooftop, overlooking the city.

6. Plaza de Cibeles

This is my favorite plaza in Madrid, it’s so pretty- right in front of Palacio de Comunicaciones. Fountain is the Fountain of Cibeles, the goddess Cibeles sitting on a chariot pulled by two lions (which is the symbol of Madrid -real Madrid soccer team once had this emblem on their jerseys), since you’ll be seeing El Palacio de Comunicaciones, you can’t miss it!

7. Reina Sofia Museum


A very influential modern art museum, if you like modern art definitely make a day trip. This museum is VERY different from El Prado. Make sure to see Picasso’s famous painting Guernica (Picaso’s depiction of a war scene during the Spanish Civil War).

8. Plaza de Toros (aka Las Ventas)

Plaza de Toros


Bull fighting ring, I don’t support the idea of bullfighting but I did enjoy the beauty of tradition, the accessorized matadors as well as the great ring. Make sure to make walking around the outside of the building just as much as an activity as the inside to watch the bullfight.

9. Templo de Debod

Templo de Debod

An Egyptian temple that was given to Spain as a present from Egypt. Make sure to go at sundown and watch the temple light up. You can go inside, but the outside is a lot more scenic and interesting.

10. El Rastro

Huge outdoor flea market that is only open on Sunday mornings, though it is only something you’d probably go to once it has every souvenir you’d ever want from Madrid and it’s a great excuse to try out your Spanish bartering.

Paige Gennusa

Franklin & Marshall College | 8 stories

I'm Paige, I'm a Senior Philosophy Major at Franklin & Marshall College, I dance and choreograph for the F&M Dance Company and I'm the PanHellenic Delegate of Chi Omega Sorority. I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain this passed Fall & loved every second of it. I took classes pertaining to Spanish culture through the Syracuse program, joined a Spanish dance studio and traveled around Europe on the weekends.This summer I'm working as an intern for Tahari ASL in New York City.

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