Madrid Itinerary : The Best Things To Do In 3 Days

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If you’re visiting Madrid for the first time, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed with all the things to see. This Madrid itinerary sums up all the best things to do in the city in 3 days. 

Madrid is a fun, bustling city! If you are looking for fun things to do while visiting Spain, look no further! This itinerary is full of ideas on what to do when you visit Madrid!

Madrid Itinerary : 3 Days In Madrid

Madrid Itinerary : Day 1

Plaza de Cibeles

Palacio de Cibeles - Madrid Itinerary
Palacio de Cibeles – Madrid Itinerary

Located in the heart of Madrid is the beautiful Plaza De Cibeles. If you want to see some great views of the city, you can climb to the balcony of Palacio de Cibeles for just €3.

Parque del Buen Retiro

Parque del Buen Retiro
Parque del Buen Retiro – Madrid Itinerary

This park is HUGE – and better yet, it is free to enter! It is just stunning! From the enormous trees to the beautiful flower gardens, and even workout classes.

The Retiro Park Lake

A short walk from the north entrance is the most picturesque lake. It looks like a scene right out of a romantic movie. Rent a boat for just €6 during the week and €8 on weekends.

The Glass Palace

Just a short distance from the park lake is the Crystal Palace or the Glass Palace. It is a huge building usually filled with artistic displays. Free to get into!

You can book a guided walking tour of Cibeles Palace and Retiro park here, it would be an easier way to know about the historic significance of these attractions.

Royal Palace of Madrid

Royal Palace of Madrid - Madrid Itinerary
Royal Palace of Madrid – Madrid Itinerary

Another fun activity to try in Madrid is the Royal Palace. Yes, it is touristy; but you will be blown away by the beauty of the castle! Be sure to buy tickets in advance! Click to Pre book your skip the line tickets to the Royal Palace.

Plaza Mayor

If you are looking for a nice plaza to spend the evening, Plaza Mayor is perfect! Plaza Mayor is much bigger than Puerta del Sol and also less crowded. They have some amazing outside restaurants too!

Madrid Itinerary : Day 2

Day Trip to Segovia

Segovia - Madrid Itinerary
Segovia – Madrid Itinerary

One of the most beautiful cities in Spain is Segovia – just 30 minutes by train from Madrid. Catch a glimpse of the Roman Aqueduct. A free-standing structure, which is amazing to think it has been there since the second half of the first century.

As you explore the city, be sure to stop by the Segovia Cathedral. It is a stunning building – especially as you catch it at the right time when the sun is rising.

The main attraction to see in Segovia is the Alcazar de Segovia – a Disney castle! This was apparently the inspiration for the Cinderella Castle at Disney.

You can prebook a day trip to Segovia here, which is inclusive of the entrance fees, walking tour, professional guide, hotel pick up and drop off.

Plaza de Toros

As you make your way back to Madrid, take a quick metro ride over from the Chamartin train station to Plaza de Toros. The architecture of the building is stunning! There are not as many bullfights in Spain as there used to be, and in many places, they are outlawed, but they do have a few featured in the Plaza de Toros.

Puerta del Sol

El Oso y El Madroño
El Oso y El Madroño

A perfect evening in Madrid involves a walk through Puerta Del Sol. Don’t forget to snatch a picture of the El Oso y El Madroño – the symbol of Madrid and Km 0 –  the starting point for measuring the distances of the roads in Spain.

Located at a distance of about 5 km, Puerta Del Sol can be reached quickly from Plaza de Toros via private cab or Uber.

Madrid Itinerary : Day 3

Day Trip to Avila

Avila - Madrid Itinerary
Avila – Madrid Itinerary

Another great city to explore outside of Madrid is Avila. It is just under an hour and a half from Madrid. It is a quiet town and most filled with locals. A short walk from the local train station is the entrance to the Walls of Avila. To walk on top of the walls is €5 per person. You can’t go all around the city, but the views are just wonderful!

Click here to prebook your day trip to Avila. This tour will be inclusive of entrance fees, transportation and guide.

Temple de Debod (If you could reach back to Madrid before sunset)

On your last night in Madrid, spend the evening in one of the most famous spots to watch the sunset – Parque del Oeste. At the top of the hill, there is the Temple De Debod – an ancient Egyptian temple reconstructed in Madrid.


  • Even with an influx of freelancers looking to teach English in Spain, the native language here is Spanish. I recommend you to learn a few key phrases; especially ones to do with food.
  • The currency in Spain is euros.
  • The time in Spain is GMT+1 (about 5 hours ahead of EST).

Best Time To Visit Madrid

Spring (March to May) and Fall (September to November) are great times to visit if you want to avoid the larger crowds. It can be cool in the mornings, but once the sun comes up, it can be a gorgeous 70 degrees Fahrenheit (around 21 degrees Celsius).


Get up early to beat the morning rush! Getting up early means you can get to the attractions before they open and can be the first ones in. Also, you will beat the tour buses, which normally arrive between 10am and 11am. It can be rough getting up in the mornings, but totally worth the (most of the time) people-less pictures!


Transportation in Madrid is fantastic! There are taxis and bus routes available; as well as trains. The metro system is great to use and so easy! I recommend downloading the Madrid Metro app. Choose what routes you want and it will show you exactly where to go and how many stops it would take to get there.

What to Eat In Madrid

San Miguel Market

San Miguel Market is the perfect place to experience the traditional “tapas” for dinner. Tapas can be anything from ham to crab cakes with a drink of some sort. The San Miguel Market consists of small bar-style shops; all you do is make your way to the front and order what you like. It can get crowded and seating is limited, but we highly recommend the experience. They also have many yummy dessert booths!

Chocolateria San Gines

Try the best chocolate con churros in Spain at Chocolateria San Gines. Just a few minute’s walk from Puerta del Sol – is the two-floor cafe (there is an option to pick up as well around the corner).  It is open 24/7 do not worry, you will have the opportunity to eat! The line to have a seat was out the door, but it goes by quickly. There are many other items you can order from the menu – such as coffees and other desserts, but of course, their #1 is the chocolate con churros.

Madrid’s amalgamation of history, culture, scenic beauty, architectures and food would make you want to come back or extend your stay. It is one of the best city’s to visit in Europe. We hope that our 3 day Madrid itinerary would help you in exploring everything this city has to offer.

You can save this 3 days Madrid itinerary on Pinterest by clicking on any of the images below.

Guest post contributed by Emily Dalton from Dalton’s Destinations. You can follow her on Pinterest and Instagram too!

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Anjali Wadhwa (cheerfultrails) is a travel consultant and enthusiast who has traveled to 15+ countries. She shares about her explorations through her writings. You will find detailed itineraries, best travel tips and well experienced recommendations for food, transportation and hotels on her blog.

5 thoughts on “Madrid Itinerary : The Best Things To Do In 3 Days

  • Madrid never stops 🙂 I really like the Spanish capital and truly admire the locals 🙂 have a great day and cheers from Lisbon, PedroL

  • I’d love to go to Madrid…and those day trips look like great options to do on a city break too, though really all I want to do is eat chocolate y churros!

  • Great guide for Madrid! I hope to be able to visit the city soon. Segovia also seems perfect for a day trip!

  • Madrid looks like a great city to visit. I’m hoping to visit on my next trip to Spain.

  • I love Spain, especially the southern small towns near the coast. Next time I go, I’ll check out Madrid.


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