If you are searching for the perfect itinerary for 2 days in Madrid, you have come to the right place!
If you are visiting the capital of Spain for the first time, I would recommend a longer stay. But if you have limited time or are just spending a weekend in Madrid, I will help you hit as many top attractions in Spain as possible.
I have included detailed maps with the itineraries so you can easily follow my indications.
Ready to find out what to do in Madrid for 2 days? Let´s go!
Table of contents
- Itinerary for 2 days in Madrid: Day 1
- Madrid 2-day itinerary: Day 2
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Itinerary for 2 days in Madrid: Day 1
Day 1 | Morning Itinerary
Stop 1: Typical Spanish breakfast
You will be in Madrid only for two days but they will be pretty intense! Consider that the starting point of the itinerary can be adapted to the location of your hotel in Madrid.
You need to be full of energy and San Gines is the ideal place to try “chocolate with churros”, one of the most popular and traditional Spanish breakfasts.
I bet you enjoyed it, but let´s move on!
Stop 2: Puerta del Sol
My Madrid 2-day itinerary starts at Puerta del Sol.
Leave San Gines chocolate shop, turn right, and when you get to the popular Arenal street turn right again.
Go straight to find this famous square, a meeting point both for locals and tourists alike.
Take some pictures of the La Mariblanca statue, the Tio Pepe neon sign, and the mounted statue of King Charles III of Spain in the center of the square.
On the right side, you will find the former House of the Post Office, built between 1766 and 1768, with its famous clock tower. On New Year’s Eve, the square gets crowded for the traditional eating of the twelve grapes at midnight.
The two commemorative plaques on the front side of the building commemorate the citizens who rebelled against the Napoleonic invasion on May 2, 1808, and the victims of the March 11th, 2004 terrorist attacks.
On the pavement in front of the House of the Post Office, you will see a plaque with the Kilometer 0, the starting point for the whole Spanish road network.
Finally, admire the El Oso y el Madroño sculpture, which shows a bear and strawberry tree representing the coat of arms of the capital of Spain.
Before continuing with this itinerary for 2 days in Madrid, dedicate some minutes to exploring the surroundings of Puerta del Sol. Preciados and Arenal streets offer plenty of shops, cafes, and restaurants.
Stop 3: Las Letras neighborhood
Leave the Apple Store on your left and walk along Carrera de San Jerónimo street. Turn right on Principe Street to get to Santa Ana square.
Dating back to 1583, and rebuilt in 1807 because of a fire, the Español Theater may be found on the east side.
On the other side, the remarkable Reina Victoria hotel dominates the Santa Ana square.
You will also find the sculptures of the Spanish Golden Age writer Pedro Calderón de la Barca and the poet Federico García Lorca.
Las Letras is one of the most vibrant areas in Madrid and there are numerous bars and terraces to enjoy a coffee or a drink.
Stop 4: Plaza Mayor
Continue on La Bolsa Street as shown on the map to get first to the Jacinto Benavente square and the Calderon Theater.
Go on with your walk until the end of the street you will get to the renowned Plaza Mayor. It is an amazing arcaded square with a rectangular shape and is surrounded by 237 balconies.
Plaza Mayor is the most emblematic square of Madrid, and one of the best things to do if you spend 2 days in Madrid.
Originally, it was the main market of the town in the 16th century. Besides, it has also hosted countless historic events, such as crowning ceremonies, public executions, trials, and the beatification of San Isidro, patron saint of Madrid.
In the middle of Plaza Mayor, a bronze equestrian statue of King Philip III from 1616 stands out.
An interesting fact is that the statue was for years a trap for birds, as they entered the interior through the mouth of the horse but they couldn’t go out.
When in 1931 Republicans put a firecracker in the horse’s mouth to celebrate the proclamation of the Republic, hundreds of small bones were discovered.
Plaza Mayor is a traditional location to taste one of the Madrid food specialties, the calamari sandwich. If you are already hungry, La Campana and La Ideal restaurants are iconic places to try this famous appetizer.
Stop 5: San Miguel market
This 2-day Madrid itinerary offers another chance to taste some Spanish tapas in San Miguel Market, next to Plaza Mayor.
It was constructed in 1916 and still preserves an outstanding iron frame.
Thousands of locals and tourists come to this market to sample the superb Spanish wines and beers, as well as to eat some tapas.
There are more than 20 stalls offering the highest-quality products, such as Iberian ham, Galician seafood, Mediterranean rice dishes, and the finest Spanish cheeses.
Stop 6: Plaza de la Villa
Leave San Miguel Market and walk down the historical Mayor Street to get to Plaza de la Villa.
This urban square has major historical relevance and houses some of the best-preserved monuments in Madrid.
Casa y Torre de los Lujanes is the oldest civil building in Madrid, dating back to 1494.
Also, Casa de la Villa was the town hall of the city of Madrid from 1693 until 2007.
A monument in memory of the sailor Don Álvaro de Bazán (1526-1588) stands out in the middle of the square.
Stop 7: La Latina neighborhood
The next stop in the itinerary is the narrow and winding streets of La Latina.
Say goodbye to Plaza de la Villa, follow Cordon Street, and turn left in Cordon square.
Walk down San Justo Street and on the left side, you will find the Basilica de San Miguel, a baroque Roman Catholic church built in 1745. It is a remarkable building of the Spanish Baroque due to the unique convex shape of its façade.
Continue the route, and turn right on Toledo Street to find the Colegiata de San Isidro, the former Cathedral of Madrid. Its high altar contains the tomb of San Isidro, the patron saint of the city.
Go back some steps to Cava Baja Street. It is one of the oldest streets in Madrid and it houses a wide offer of bars and restaurants.
Cava Baja is the perfect place to get some rest and have lunch. My recommendation is Casa Lucio, one of the most acclaimed restaurants in Madrid.
No matter the restaurant you choose, remember to reserve a table in advance to avoid waiting times.
Day 1 | Afternoon Itinerary
Stop 8: San Francisco el Grande
Did you enjoy the lunch? Let´s keep moving, there are still plenty of things to do in this 2-day Madrid itinerary.
At the end of the Cava Baja Street turn left to walk along Cava Alta Street, parallel to Cava Baja.
Turn right on Toledo Street to come across La Cebada Square and La Cebada Market.
Walk along Carrera de San Francisco to reach San Francisco el Grande Catholic church.
This popular attraction stands out for its outstanding neoclassical style, the breathtaking dome, and the canvases by Francisco de Goya and Zurbarán.
During the Spanish Civil War, the church became a warehouse for works of art. And the doors were opened during the air raids to shelter the civilians.
Stop 9: La Almudena Cathedral
Calle Bailen will take you to the breathtaking La Almudena Cathedral, the next stop in the Madrid de los Austrias neighborhood.
Consecrated by Pope John Paul II in 1993, La Almudena is the most important Catholic church in Madrid. It is dedicated to the Virgin of the Almudena, patron saint of Madrid.
The entrance is free, just a donation of € 1 per person is requested for the maintenance of the building.
Stop 10: Royal Palace
Next to the Cathedral, you can admire the magnificent Royal Palace, also known as Palacio de Oriente. This will be your next stop on this route for 2 days in Madrid.
Although nowadays it is not the royal family’s home, it continues to be their official residence.
It comprises over 3000 rooms. And the Royal Armory is one of the most significant collections of its kind, housing weapons and armors worn by the Spanish kings since the 13th century.
The Changing of the Guard takes place every Wednesday and Saturday from 11 a.m. till 2 p.m. And just on the first Wednesday of the month at noon (except January, August, and September), the Solemn Changing of the Guard takes place.
Depending on the time, you should decide if you have enough time to visit the interior of the palace.
Consider that you will need at least one hour. You can save time by booking a skip-the-line ticket or a guided tour.
You are spending just 2 days in Madrid and the schedule is quite tight.
Stop 11: Plaza de Oriente
Plaza de Oriente stands out in front of the Royal Palace.
The gardens were planned by José Bonaparte to highlight the Royal Palace and the Royal Theater.
In the middle of the square, there is a 17th-century bronze monument dedicated to Philip IV. Being the first equestrian statue supported only by the hind legs, it was the famous astronomer Galileo Galilei who advised the sculptor to make the rear part solid and the front part hollow.
Plaza de Oriente houses a remarkable exhibition of sculptures of twenty Spanish kings, placed longitudinally on both sides of the Philip IV statue.
Finally, the Royal Monastery of the Incarnation has an exceptional heritage that makes it one of the top things to do if you spend a weekend in Madrid.
However, there is a unique object that stands out. It is a vial containing a few drops of Saint Pantaleon’s blood.
Throughout the year the blood remains in a solid state but every July 27, coinciding with the saint’s feast day, the blood begins to liquefy and acquires a brighter color.
Stop 12: Palace Gardens
Madrid offers numerous parks and gardens that make the capital of Spain greener and help to cool down on the hottest days.
Next to the Royal Palace, the Sabatini gardens were built in the 1930s on the site of the former stables. They are especially beautiful at dusk, to watch one of the best sunsets in the city.
Continue the 2-day itinerary in Madrid, walk along Cuesta de San Vicente Street and turn left in Paseo de la Virgen del Puerto to enter the Campo del Moro gardens.
This peaceful green space has a privileged location that offers a great view of the Royal Palace.
Spend some time strolling along its inviting paths, and see the two Neoclassical fountains, the Tritons and the Seashells.
Stop 13: San Antonio de la Florida
Go back a few meters to the San Vicente gate which you have passed before on your way to Campo del Moro gardens.
Then walk along Paseo de la Florida Street, and pass by Principe Pio station on your way to the next stop of the route.
In 10 minutes, you will get to San Antonio de la Florida. This chapel is famous for the outstanding frescos by Goya kept inside, as well as for being the place where the painter was laid to rest in 1919.
I hope you are enjoying your first day in Madrid. You will be probably knackered but come on, you have almost got it!
Stop 14: Debod Temple
You will have to go through the bridge behind the chapel to cross the train tracks, and you will get to Oeste Park.
If you have time, spend some time exploring the park. It houses beautifully landscaped gardens, numerous trees and bushes, and lots of winding paths to walk or go biking.
But Oeste park is renowned for being home to the Temple of Debod, your final destination.
The Temple of Debod is an ancient Egyptian temple from the second century B.C. Due to the construction of the Aswan Dam, it was then dismantled and transported to Madrid.
Enjoying the breathtaking sunset from the Temple of Debod should be a must on your 2-day Madrid itinerary.
That´s it! Day one is over. Now it´s up to you. Will you go back to your accommodation?
If you decide to go for dinner, Malasaña and Chueca are good alternatives. You can just walk or take the metro line number 10 from Plaza de España station to Tribunal.
Madrid 2-day itinerary: Day 2
Day 2 | Morning Itinerary
Stop 1: Plaza de España
Good morning! You will probably have to get up early today, as there are still plenty of things to see in Madrid in just two days.
You can have breakfast in any of the local bars close to Plaza de España, the starting point of today´s itinerary.
Most locals and visitors spending a weekend in Madrid love “pan tumaca” (bread with tomato and olive oil) with Iberian ham. This is a unique Spanish culinary specialty.
Plaza de España is one of the most iconic landmarks to visit in Madrid. The square has been recently renovated to be greener and more pedestrian-friendly.
In the center of the Square, a monument to Miguel de Cervantes, the famed Spanish novelist, stands out together with the sculptures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, his most famous characters.
Plaza de España is surrounded by two emblematic buildings in Madrid´s skyline, Torre de Madrid and Edificio España.
If you like shopping, you will probably spend some time in the largest store of the famous Spanish brand Zara, located on the ground floor of the Edificio España.
Stop 2: Gran Vía
From Plaza de España, continue your journey along the historic Gran Vía Street.
This iconic avenue is full of theaters, shops, restaurants, and historic buildings such as Capitol, Metropolis, and Telefónica.
As you stroll along the street, don´t forget to admire the beautiful facades of the buildings.
Pass by Callao square and continue the 2-day Madrid itinerary to get to the Telefonica building. At this point, you will leave Gran Via for some minutes to visit the cosmopolitan Chueca neighborhood.
Stop 3: Chueca
Chueca is globally famous for being one of the best destinations for the LGBTIQ+ collective, and its lively nightlife.
The neighborhood is especially busy every July when the Madrid Gay Pride week takes place. Thousands of people from all over the world meet in the famous Madrid Pride Parade.
When you have passed the Telefonica building turn left to find Fuencarral Street. The street is full of stores with the most modern and commercial fashion brands.
The 2-day itinerary will now take you through some of the most popular streets and attractions of the Chueca neighborhood.
However, it is not necessary that you stick to it, but you can explore the neighborhood by yourself and stroll along its charming narrow streets.
The route you can see on the map will take you to 3 of the most historic squares in Madrid, Chueca, del Rey, and Pedro Zerolo.
Stop 4: Cibeles
Return to Gran Via, and continue the route to get to Cibeles Square.
The Cibeles Fountain is famous worldwide, as it is the place where Real Madrid fans gather to celebrate the team’s victories.
Built in 1782, the spectacular fountain in the center of the square features the Greek goddess of fertility and nature riding a chariot carried by two lions.
The fountain is flanked by some of the most stunning buildings in Madrid such as the Bank of Spain, Linares Palace, and Cibeles Palace, with a rooftop terrace that offers a spectacular panoramic view of Madrid.
Stop 5: Paseo del Prado (1)
From Cibeles, continue your 2-day visit to Madrid along the Paseo del Prado, one of the most emblematic boulevards in Madrid.
Paseo del Prado is unique in the world because it houses the top three museums in Madrid in less than one mile: the Prado, the Reina Sofia National Art, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museums.
Enjoy a beautiful route surrounded by numerous green areas, and visit the iconic Neptuno and Apolo fountains.
Stop by the monument to the heroes of May 2nd in Plaza de la Lealtad, the Palace of Madrid Stock Exchange, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.
Stop 6: Huertas Street | Lunch time!
Before continuing the visit to Paseo del Prado and the most important museums in Madrid, let´s go back to the Las Letras neighborhood for a tasty lunch.
You’ll pass by the Miguel de Cervantes statue along del Prado Street.
Turn left on Principe Street to find Huertas Street, a popular area packed with numerous bars and taverns.
Besides, on its sidewalks, you can find quotations from renowned works of Spanish literature.
You should be starving so I suggest you have lunch in Los Rotos restaurant, which offers some of the best tapas of “huevos rotos” (fried eggs and potatoes). You can add a variety of toppings such as the typical Iberian ham, blue cheese, and sausage.
Day 2 | Afternoon Itinerary
Stop 7: El Prado Museum
It depends on how much you like art galleries, but in my opinion, El Prado Museum is a must-see if you spend 2 days in Madrid.
The Prado Museum is probably the most important gallery in Madrid. It is home to one of the world’s most extensive art collections, including works by Titian, El Greco, Rubens, Diego Velázquez, and Francisco de Goya, among others.
My advice is not to waste time, and purchase the skip-the-line ticket or book a guided tour.
Consider that you will stay a minimum of 1.5 hours inside the museum. I suggest you go directly to the most famous works.
This way, you could have extra time to visit another gallery. If so, I would recommend the Reina Sofia Museum which houses the famous masterpiece “Guernica” by Picasso. Besides, next to this museum are some of the most impressive and well-known mural paintings in the capital located in the Lavapies neighborhood.
Stop 8: Paseo del Prado (2)
San Jerónimo el Real is a Roman Catholic church from the early 16th century located next to Prado Museum. The monastery has served for centuries for the investiture of the Princes and Princesses of Asturias.
As you walk down Paseo del Prado, on the right side you will discover the CaixaForum cultural center and its wonderful vertical garden.
The Royal Botanical Garden, declared an Artistic Garden in 1942, is located on the left side of the street. The garden is divided into seven major outdoor sections and five greenhouses with over 90,000 plants and flowers, and 1,500 trees.
Stop 9: El Retiro Park
If you are visiting the Reina Sofia Museum, you should go now.
On the contrary, or if you already finished your visit to the museum, turn left at the end of the Botanical Garden to find Cuesta de Moyano, which houses a popular permanent book fair.
Go straight and enter the famous El Retiro Park through the Door of the Fallen Angel.
This huge green space is one of the most beautiful parks and a must-see landmark for your 2-day stay in Madrid.
I recommend you spend some time exploring and strolling along the park.
Some of the monuments you will come across are the Monument to King Alfonso XII, the artificial pond, the Glass and Velázquez Palaces, the Artichoke and Fallen Angel Fountains, and the Forest of Remembrance.
If you feel exhausted, you can also take a break, sit back, relax, and enjoy the nice weather of the capital of Spain.
Stop 10: Puerta de Alcalá
Once you have finished your visit, leave El Retiro Park through the Independence Door and contemplate de remarkable and historic Puerta de Alcalá.
This neoclassical triumphal arch is made of granite and has become one of the symbols of the city.
It was the first of its kind to be built after the fall of the Roman Empire, making it even older than the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
Ana Belén and Víctor Manuel, two Spanish singers, made “La Puerta de Alcalá” one of their biggest hits in 1985.
Stop 11: Plaza de Colón
From here, continue the itinerary to the north along the exclusive Serrano Street to get to the Plaza de Colón (Columbus Square).
The square and its fountain are dedicated to the man who discovered America in 1492. This way, a 17-meter-high monument to Christopher Columbus presides over the square.
Since 2001, the square has also been home to the world’s largest Spanish flag, which is flown from a 50-meter-high flagpole.
The 2 Columbus Towers dominate the square. They are known as “The Plug” due to the plug-like structure that binds them
Stop 12: Golden Mile | Salamanca neighborhood
The last stop of this Madrid 2-day itinerary is the exclusive Salamanca neighborhood.
This area is home to sophisticated fashion stores and the most renowned national and international brands.
Ortega y Gasset, Serrano, Jorge Juan, and Claudio Coello streets are just a few of the most renowned streets in the Golden Mile of Madrid.
By the time you finish exploring this luxury neighborhood, you’ll likely be ready for dinner.
La Bien Aparecida, Casa Dani, Santerra, La Bistroteca, and La Maruca, are just a few examples of the unlimited list of top-rated restaurants in this area.
Take into account that most locals do not have dinner until 9.00-10.00 p.m.
And if this itinerary is too long for you, check out my itinerary for one day in Madrid.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
What to do in Madrid at night?
Apart from all the attractions to visit in the daytime, there are plenty of exciting and unique things to do in Madrid at night such as:
- Watch a musical or flamenco show
- Sip on a cocktail at a rooftop bar
- Get tickets for a Real Madrid game
- Take a guided tour at night
- Enjoy the vibrant nightlife of La Latina and Chueca
- Attend a concert at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
Are there free guided tours to visit Madrid in 2 days?
Yes. In fact, if you are spending only 2 days in Madrid and don’t want to worry about planning your day, free guided tours are an excellent alternative.
They are an affordable, sustainable, and healthy way to discover the history, culture, and top-rated things to do in Madrid.
All you have to do is turn up at the meeting point on time, ready to spend a nice time while listening to educational information from your guide.
Are there sightseeing buses in Madrid?
Yes. Madrid hop on hop off is one of the easiest and most convenient ways of visiting the most popular attractions of Madrid in only 2 days.
You can sit back and enjoy the panoramic view from the open-top bus and hop on and off at your convenience. Besides, you will also benefit from free wifi on board.
How can I get to the city center from the airport?
There are several ways to get to Madrid downtown.
Metro Madrid is fast, comfortable, and safe. It is pretty affordable too, and the total cost is under € 5, including a supplementary Airport charge.
But if you feel exhausted after a long flight or carry heavy luggage you should get a taxi. The fare for a ride from the airport to the city center is a flat rate of € 30.
Where should I stay in Madrid?
If you are spending two days in Madrid you need to know that the accommodation offer is wide, diverse and for all budgets.
For a short stay, I recommend you to stay in the very city center or contiguous areas like Chueca, Salamanca, Chamberi, and all along Castellana Street. They are well-communicated and you will not waste time when going downtown.
Check out my posts about:
- The 15 top-rated family hotels.
- The 5 best pet-friendly hotels.
- The top 10 airport hotels in Madrid.
- The 10 best hotels near IFEMA.
- The 10 best places to stay near Real Madrid Stadium.
- The Madrid In-Terminal Airport Hotel.
- The 15 best hotels with a rooftop pool.
- 5 popular LGBT-friendly hotels.
- Luxury and comfort at JW Marriott Madrid.
Is it safe to travel to Madrid right now?
Yes. Madrid is a safe destination.
Pickpocketing is the most common form of street crime in Madrid. But with the usual precautions and my safety guidelines, you will fully enjoy your weekend in Madrid.
Remember that wearing a mask indoors or outdoors is no longer required in Madrid except in public transport, hospitals, and pharmacies.
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