Perfect Itinerary for 3 Days in Madrid, Spain

PERFECT ITINERARY FOR 3 DAYS IN MADRID

Planning to visit Madrid and wondering how many days you should stay in Madrid? I personally think 3 days in Madrid is enough time to see the main attractions, try the essential experiences, indulge in local food and have fun while you are there.

Madrid is a city of elegant boulevards, architectural gems, oh, and rich repositories of European art, including the Prado Museum’s works by Goya, Velázquez, and other Spanish masters. In the heart of the city, you will find Plaza Mayor – a vibrant square filled with life and good energy – the true essence of Spanish culture. And let’s not forget about Retiro Park – Madrid’s largest and liveliest park. Wondering what is the best way to do it all?

In this travel guide, you will find your perfect itinerary for 3 days in Madrid, Spain. I want you to use your time in Madrid wisely, so keep reading!

*Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Where to stay in Madrid?

Wondering where to stay in Madrid?
Grand Via

If you are planning to follow this itinerary for 3 days in Madrid, I highly suggest booking your hotel or apartment nearby the Royal Palace of Madrid. That’s where our apartment was located and it had great access to all these locations. 

For reference, we stayed in Oriente Palace Apartments and choose a room with a view of the Royal Palace.

When I travel, I always prefer to stay central, so I don’t have to spend my time on public transport or money on a taxi. I rather pay more for accommodation and walk everywhere from there.

Itinerary for a day 1 in Madrid

Catedral Almudena, Madrid, Spain
Catedral Almudena

Let’s start with essentials. On your first day in Madrid, I want you to visit the main attractions, try the local food and see the best views over Madrid.

I suggest you wake up early and visit Catedral Almudena. This way you can see the square without big crowds and avoid the heat if you are visiting in summer. Also, you can take some amazing photos, so you can give up a bit of your beauty sleep, right? 

This stunning gem of Madrid is located next to the Royal Palace of Madrid, so that will be your next step. Just a simple walk around Royal Palace is enjoyable, but you can visit inside as well. It is partially open to the public and inside you will find the work of many important Spanish artists. The visit can take up to 1 hour.

Once you are done with Royal Palace, take a walk in the Las Vistillas Gardens and head to the most iconic breakfast place of Madrid – Chocolateria San Gines. It is Madrid’s oldest chocolate shop and it serves combinations made in heaven: chocolate and churros.

Right now you are very close to Plaza Mayor, so don’t miss a chance to see the pearl of Madrid. Admire the details of Casa de la Panadería and Casa de la Carnicería, sit down for a sangria and enjoy the famous Spanish Jamon. In the square, you will find Museo del Jamon, which is considered a local landmark for ham. If you are not hungry, order tapas or a bocadillo, but make sure you try this place.

Afternoon 

Grand Via - shopping, entertainment and fun
Grand Via

After lunch you can take some time to rest and later in the afternoon I suggest you head to Puerta del Sol. In this square, you will find the emblem of Madrid – the statue of a bear and Madroño Tree. It symbolizes the resiliency and strength of the industry of Madrileños. Also, originally, Madrid was named Ursa, which means “bear” in Latin.

After you can enjoy the walk on Gran Via – a popular touristic street filled with entertainment, shops, and restaurants. Make sure you visit Corte Ingles on your way – they have a beautiful rooftop terrace and offer amazing views over Madrid. The street is long, so it can take you a couple of hours or even more if you decide to visit every single shop.

I advise putting La Bola as your final destination from Puerta del Sol and having dinner in this famous Madrillian restaurant. You deserve a nice meal after such a great day in Madrid!

Itinerary for a day 2 in Madrid

Sobrino de Botin - oldest restaurant in the world
Sobrino de Botin

On the second day, you should start with the Prado museum. It opens at 10 am, so you can even visit San Jerónimo el Real – an amazing church right next to the Prado museum.

Plan to spend here from 2 to 3 hours in this museum. The “Paseo del Arte” pass offers a fast-track entry and the opportunity to visit the Prado Museum. Click here to check prices, updated opening times, and buy your tickets online.

For lunch, I highly advise you to visit Sobrino de Botin. It has been cooking delicacies in the same wood-fired oven since 1725 and holds the Guinness World Record for the oldest restaurant in the world. The menu is not big, but then again, you don’t even need a menu, because you must order their famous Cochinillo Asado (roast suckling pig). The service was excellent as well and the owner was there to make a little tour around his restaurant! I can honestly say that this was the highlight of my time in Madrid.

You will need to take a taxi to get here from the Prado museum.

Afternoon

El Retiro Park - one of the biggest parks in Spain
El Retiro Park

The afternoon of your second day in Madrid, I want you to dedicate to El Retiro Park. I think you can combine El Retiro Park with Fuente de Cibeles and Puerta de Acalà, so make sure you stop here before or after your visit.

I’m sure that you have heard about El Retiro Park before even planning your visit to Madrid. That’s because it is one of the biggest parks in Spain and it is one of the main attractions of Madrid. Make sure you visit Crystal Palace, Estanque (Lake), Velázquez Palace, Paseo de la Argentina and Monument to King Alfonso XII. Renting a boat in the park is a cool experience, but seems like they don’t have a proper schedule, so I can’t guarantee it’s going to be open.

If you are feeling hungry, you can visit 100 Montaditos for tapas and drinks. It is not a fancy place, in fact, I would say it is budget-friendly, but it is a fun restaurant for a quick bite.

Itinerary for a day 3 in Madrid

Calle Cava Baja, best photo spots in Madrid
Calle Cava Baja

Most of us start our day with coffee, right? If the answer is yes, I highly suggest you to spend your morning with Rocío. A local coffee expert who takes you around Madrid, shares her knowledge about coffee traditions and makes you try some of the best coffee of your life. If this sounds interesting to you, click here to read more and book this experience. Highly recommended!

Once you are done with your experience, you can use your time to visit Teatro Real, Calle Major, and Calle Cava Baja. Calle Cava Baja used to have cool decorations, but it seems like they are currently removed. However, the street still deserves a visit and has a lot of interesting restaurants & street art.

Lunch in San Miguel Market is another thing that you have to do in Madrid! It is one of the liveliest culinary spots in the city and it has something for every taste and every budget. Don’t miss it!

Afternoon

Hotel Riu
Hotel Riu

Since your trip is coming to an end, you still have some things that you haven’t seen. Sabatini Garden, Campo del Moro, Parque de Atenas, Plaza de España. I suggest that you visit the gardens around the Royal Palace of Madrid and then head to Plaza de España. 

Nearby you will find Hotel Riu with a hip rooftop terrace – great locations for drinks, food, and sunset view over Madrid. I have to warn you that there is an entrance fee (unless you are a hotel guest), but the views are worth 10 euro, especially if you want to visit for a sunset.

RELATED: 130+ Best Spain Quotes and Spain Instagram Captions + Beautiful Sharable Photos

Looking for a day trip options from Madrid?

Why visit Toledo, Spain
Toledo

If you have more than 3 days in Madrid and you want to make a day trip from Madrid, make sure you visit Toledo. It is a one-hour train ride away from Madrid which makes it an appealing option for most travelers. If you like small towns and cute villages, you must visit Toledo and I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.

In conclusion…

Chocolateria San Gines
Chocolateria San Gines

I hope this article helps you to plan your perfect itinerary for 3 days in Madrid and make the most of your time. Make sure you take a moment to spot and enjoy the atmosphere around you – because that’s the essence of Spain.

I would love to hear your thoughts, so if you have any feedback or additional tips, leave a comment below. Also, check out my Instagram for regular travel videos and travel inspiration. Or explore other destinations on this travel blog.

Pin it for later and make sure you save the best itinerary for 3 days in Madrid!

PERFECT ITINERARY FOR 3 DAYS IN MADRID

PERFECT ITINERARY FOR 3 DAYS IN MADRID

68 Comments

  1. Shannon Hara says:

    I also loved Sobrino de Botin! Was blown away by the food and atmosphere.

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Totally! In fact, I still wonder where those bad reviews come from haha.

  2. Absolutely beautiful photos! I would love to go to Madrid, definitely pinning this post for later. Great ideas!

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Yay! Makes me so happy!

  3. El Retiro Park is so stunning! Would love to spend a day there 😍

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Sounds like a plan 😍

  4. What a great post! First off, your photos are STUNNING!! I pinned this article for later as I am planning a trip to Spain and am going to be going to Madrid. Thanks for the great article!

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Thank you so much, Samara! So glad that you like it and I hope it helps with planning your time in Madrid 😍

  5. Gorgeous photos! My friend and I are planning a trip to Spain in November. I think we’re only doing 1 day in Madrid, but I’m definitely going to use your post to stitch together a one day itinerary.

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Oh that’s exciting, I hope it helps and I hope you can manage to make the most of it! Thank you ❤️

  6. Sounds like a perfect itinerary and I just love all of your photos! We’ve added this to our bucket list!

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Yay! So happy to read this! And thank you so much 😍

  7. Love this list! I spent only a day in Madrid when I was there and it was pouring rain – looks like I missed out on quite a lot!

    1. lasma.plone says:

      And looks like that’s a good reason to go back, right?

  8. Valentina says:

    I was to Madrid more than ten years ago and I must say that looking at your pictures and reading about all these places you have been to really made me wish to go back and explore it all over again.
    Thank you for your great content, this article is a gem!

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Thank you so much Valentina! Sounds like someone is missing Madrid haha 😍

  9. Love Madrid. And the churros at Chocolatería San Gines. Great itinerary!!

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Same here!! Thank you ❤️

  10. Love Madrid! I visited three years ago and would love to return. I missed Sobrino de Botin and would love to take in a sunset on the RIU hotel rooftop. Great three-day itinerary.

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Thank you so much, Karen! Glad you discovered something new ❤️ and hope you can go back one day!

  11. This is so perfect! Madrid is a fantastic city and you have captured it so well. I hope to be able to return one day!

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Thank you so much!! And same here, fingers crossed 🤩

  12. Spain is so high on my list! I have friends that moved there from the USA and I REALLY want to visit. All of these locations look so lovely and I love the way you captured these!

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Spain is a very cool and fun place to visit, I’m sure you would love it. And you can meet up with your friends as well! Thank you 😘

  13. You had me with the Prado and the coffee tour. Would love to visit Madrid and take a trip to Toledo from there. I also enjoy the Spanish food culture, tasting the many yummy tapas. Thanks for the great suggestions!

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Yaay! Toledo charmed me straight away, so highly suggest that! Sounds like you need some tapas right now haha.

  14. You have such pretty travel photos! I have not been to Spain yet, but I can’t wait to go someday soon.

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Thank you so much, Kelly! I hope you can manage to visit soon ❤️

  15. Dying to go to Madrid! Calle Cava Baja looks beautiful…and I need to get my hands on those churros! Thanks for sharing!

    1. lasma.plone says:

      My pleasure! Really hope you can manage to visit soon ❤️

  16. Madrid is on my bucket list so this post is amazing. I literally live on coffee so I definitely would do the coffee tour.

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Yay! You certainly shouldn’t miss it! And the rest of these cool things to do in Madrid 😍

  17. My love for Madrid is unreal!! I actually studied abroad in Madrid for my undergrad back in 2016 and fell in love with the city. I love Madrid so much that I have been back 4 times since 2016 lol. Reading your article brought me back so many memories!! Great post 🙂

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Oh my, that sounds so exciting! And i can tell that you are really passionate about it ❤️ Sounds like someone needs to go back ANOTHER time haha!

  18. I appreciate that you provide recommended attraction pairings for efficiency in exploring a city and tips for timings to get the best pictures!

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Always trying my best to useful and make it easier for other travelers 😊

  19. This is so perfect! I’m planning on traveling to Madrid and Barcelona this summer., and this itinerary really helps!

    1. lasma.plone says:

      So happy to read this! I’m sure you will love Spain and I hope this article makes your planning easier ❤️

  20. Priyanka Gupta says:

    This itinerary is perfect to celebrate my next anniversary !

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Glad to see it helps!! Happy anniversary ❤️

  21. I traveled to Spain (though so long ago now…maybe 9 years?!). I was able to visit a couple of these locations, but I had never heard of Hotel Riu before. It is definitely on my list for next time!

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Yay! Glad you discovered something new ☺️ And maybe it wasn’t even there yet back in the time? Who knows haha

  22. Madrid is on my next Europe Trip itineary! Thanks!

    1. lasma.plone says:

      I hope this helps ❤️

  23. okay i am absolutely IN LOVE with that white umbrella! 😍

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Haha thanks ❤️

  24. Madrid looks absolutely incredible. Your itinerary sounds like the perfect way to spend three days exploring this beautiful city.

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Thank you! I hope it helps ❤️

  25. I love Madrid! And love your itinerary. Would love to return and experience done if your recommendations.

    1. lasma.plone says:

      I’m glad to hear that! I hope you can go back, because why not, right?!

  26. Madrid is on my radar this year. Thank you for the itinerary, I hope to see everything you suggest.

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Thank you! And I hope you get a chance to visit it soon ❤️

  27. Excellent guide I can’t wait to go to Madrid and check out some of these places

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Thank you so much! I hope you can enjoy Madrid ❤️

  28. What a beautiful pictures. I want to go to Madrid now, so many nice places to visit😍😍

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Thank you! I hope you can visit soon😍

  29. What a brilliant article! So many ideas on what to see and how to spend your time. Your photographs are beautiful by the way, really captures the place!

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Thank you so much! I love photography so do my best to share the charm of the place! Glad you liked it, Emma!

  30. My husband and I enjoyed some hot chocolate at Chocolateria San Gines and loved it. It was our first introduction to this delightful treat, so really, anything else after will have to measure up. Do you take all of your own pictures with a remote or do you have a trusty photographer companion that adventures with you?

    1. lasma.plone says:

      That certainly created high expectations haha! Next you should try Horchatería Santa Catalina in Valencia, also historical place! I travel with my partner and we always take photos together, so it’s a team work ☺️

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Oh thank you so much!

  31. What a great itinerary! I’ve been to Madrid only once (and it was cold and wet) but I really want to go back in the spring or summer! I remember loving the Prado museum – but now I need to go back to do everything else on your list!

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Sounds like a plan!! Don’t forget about summer heat, maybe it’s smarter to visit in spring haha! But I’m glad you liked this itinerary and hopefully can use it soon 😍

  32. Madrid is such a cool city and there are so many things to do in Madrid! And this itinerary is perfect for a short getaway in Madrid.

    1. lasma.plone says:

      I couldn’t agree more! Glad you find it useful ☺️

  33. Loved this itinerary! Madrid has a fabulous architecture and a lot of places to enjoy! Toledo was also hands down one of the nicest Spanish towns I have seen! So rich In art and charm! Also I would highlight what a lovely welcoming we got in Sobrino ! I hope one day I can go back to make some stadium tours 😀

    1. lasma.plone says:

      Thank you, Flavio! We tested it before sharing haha! And I agree, Toledo completely stole my heart ❤️

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