3 Days in Madrid: The Perfect Madrid Itinerary

From world-class museums and grand boulevards to hidden tapas bars and lush parks, Madrid captivates with its blend of history and contemporary charm. Follow this 3-day Madrid itinerary for best results!

West Parker
By
West Parker
July 18, 2024

"Madrid? For just three days? You're crazy!" That's what our friends told Sarah and me when we announced our whirlwind trip to Spain's capital. But let me tell you, it's not only possible to see the best of Madrid in 3 days, it's downright exhilarating. Armed with comfy shoes and an appetite for adventure (and tapas), we set out to prove our friends wrong. Spoiler alert: We did, and then some.

Now, I know what you're thinking. "West, how on earth did you manage to fit everything into such a short Madrid itinerary?" Well, buckle up, because I'm about to show you how to make the most of 72 hours in this vibrant city. From the iconic Prado Museum to hidden gems in trendy neighborhoods, we'll cover it all. And trust me, by the end of this 3-day Madrid trip, you'll be planning your return visit before you even leave.

But before we dive into the day-by-day breakdown of what to do in Madrid for 3 days, let's cover some essential pre-trip planning. After all, a little preparation goes a long way in making your Madrid adventure smooth and stress-free.

What to Pack for Your 3 Days in Madrid

Madrid's weather can be a bit of a trickster, so packing smart is key. Here's what you shouldn't leave home without:

  • Comfortable walking shoes: Trust me, your feet will thank you after long days of exploring.
  • Light, breathable clothing: Especially if you're visiting in summer. Madrid can get HOT.
  • A light jacket or sweater: Evenings can be cool, even in summer.
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses: Madrid gets a lot of sunshine, so protect yourself.
  • A reusable water bottle: Stay hydrated while being eco-friendly.
  • An adaptor for European electrical outlets: Keep those devices charged!
  • A small daypack: Perfect for carrying essentials while sightseeing.

Remember, you're not packing for a fashion show (unless that's your thing). Comfort is key when you're spending three days in Madrid exploring every nook and cranny. And speaking of exploring...

Where to Stay for Your Madrid 3-Day Itinerary

Location is everything when you only have 3 days in Madrid. You want to be close to the action, but not so close that you can't sleep at night (I'm looking at you, Sol-Gran Vía). Here are some neighborhoods to consider:

  1. Chueca: This vibrant, LGBTQ+-friendly area is perfect if you want to be in the heart of Madrid's nightlife.
  2. Malasaña: A trendy district with great cafes and vintage shops. It's hipster central!
  3. Salamanca: If luxury is your thing, this upscale area is for you.
  4. La Latina: For a more local vibe with great tapas bars, this is your spot.

We stayed at the Room Mate Oscar in Chueca, and it was perfect. Central location, stylish rooms, and a rooftop pool? Yes, please! But if you're looking for something a bit more unique, the Only YOU Boutique Hotel in a restored 19th-century mansion is a great option.

Getting Around Madrid

Madrid's public transport system is a dream. It's efficient, affordable, and easy to navigate. Here's what you need to know:

  • Metro: Extensive and easy to use. Get a tourist travel pass for unlimited rides.
  • Buses: Great for areas not covered by the metro.
  • Walking: Many attractions are within walking distance if you're centrally located.
  • Uber: Available and reliable, especially for late-night trips.

Pro tip: Download the Madrid Metro app. It's a lifesaver when you're trying to figure out the quickest route from the Prado to your next tapas bar.

Safety in Madrid

Let's talk safety. Madrid is generally a safe city, but like any major metropolitan area, it pays to be aware. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Be cautious of pickpockets, especially in crowded tourist areas and on public transportation.
  • Keep your valuables close and out of sight.
  • Avoid walking alone in unfamiliar areas late at night.
  • Learn a few basic Spanish phrases. Locals appreciate the effort!

Remember, common sense is your best friend. If something feels off, trust your gut.

Now that we've got the basics covered, are you ready to dive into your 3-day Madrid itinerary? Let's go!

Day 1: Heart of Madrid

Rise and shine, it's time to kick off your 3 days in Madrid! Today, we're diving headfirst into the vibrant heart of the city. We'll explore the bustling streets, soak in world-class art, and end the day with a quintessential Madrid experience - a tapas crawl. Buckle up, because it's going to be a full day!

Why start here? Well, these central areas give you an immediate sense of Madrid's energy and history. You'll be walking the same streets that have been trod by royalty, artists, and everyday Madrileños for centuries. Plus, knocking out some of the major sites on day one leaves room for more off-the-beaten-path adventures later in your trip.

Start Your Day in Puerta del Sol

Bear and Strawberry Tree statue, iconic symbol of Madrid, in bustling Puerta del Sol square
The heart of Madrid! Legend says if you touch the bear, you'll return to the city. I may have hugged it, just to be sure.

Puerta del Sol is the beating heart of Madrid, and there's no better place to begin your 3-day Madrid itinerary. This bustling square is not just a popular meeting point for locals; it's also home to some of Madrid's most iconic symbols.

As you step into the square, you'll immediately notice the statue of the bear and the strawberry tree, the official symbol of Madrid. Don't ask me why - even after grilling several locals, I'm still not entirely sure of the significance. But it makes for a great photo op!

Look for the plaque on the ground marking Kilometer Zero, the point from which all distances in Spain are measured. Legend has it that if you stand on this spot and make a wish, it's guaranteed to come true. (Disclaimer: I wished for unlimited jamón ibérico, and I'm still waiting.)

  • Location: Plaza Puerta del Sol, 28013 Madrid
  • Hours: Open 24/7
  • Admission: Free
  • Why Visit: It's the heart of Madrid and home to iconic city symbols.
  • Insider Tip: Visit early in the morning to avoid crowds and get great photos.

Stroll Down Gran Vía

Nighttime scene on Gran Vía, Madrid's main shopping street, with illuminated buildings and bustling crowds
Gran Vía after dark is a whole different world. The lights, the crowds, the energy - it's like Broadway, but with better jamón!

From Puerta del Sol, take a short walk to Gran Vía, Madrid's most famous street. Often called the "Spanish Broadway," this grand boulevard is lined with stunning early 20th-century architecture, theaters, and shops.

As you walk down Gran Vía, take in the ornate facades of buildings like the Metropolis Building and the Carrion Building (better known as the Schweppes Building due to its iconic neon sign). If you're a shopaholic, this is your chance to indulge - Gran Vía is home to many flagship stores of popular brands.

Don't forget to look up! The rooftops along Gran Vía are adorned with beautiful statues and intricate designs that many people miss. And if you need a break, pop into one of the many cafes for a quick cortado (espresso with a dash of milk) and people-watching session.

  • Location: Gran Vía, 28013 Madrid
  • Hours: Shops typically open 10 AM - 10 PM
  • Why Visit: Experience Madrid's grand architecture and vibrant street life.
  • Insider Tip: For a great view of Gran Vía, head to the rooftop bar of Círculo de Bellas Artes.

Explore the Royal Palace

Exterior view of the Royal Palace of Madrid, showcasing its grand Baroque architecture on a clear day
The Royal Palace is massive! With over 3,000 rooms, it makes my apartment look like a shoebox.

Next up on our Madrid 3-day itinerary is the Royal Palace of Madrid. This opulent 18th-century palace is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, although it's now used primarily for state ceremonies.

As you approach the palace, you'll be struck by its sheer size - with over 3,000 rooms, it's the largest royal palace in Western Europe. The facade is impressive, but the real magic is inside. The interior is a treasure trove of art, featuring works by masters like Velázquez, Goya, and Caravaggio.

Don't miss the Royal Armory, which houses one of the most important collections of armor and weapons in the world. And if you're lucky enough to visit on a Wednesday or Saturday, you might catch the changing of the guard ceremony.

  • Location: Calle de Bailén, s/n, 28071 Madrid
  • Hours: 10 AM - 6 PM (Oct-Mar), 10 AM - 8 PM (Apr-Sep)
  • Admission: €12 (free for EU citizens Mon-Thu 4-6 PM Oct-Mar, 6-8 PM Apr-Sep)
  • Why Visit: Experience the grandeur of Spanish royalty and centuries of history.
  • Insider Tip: Book your tickets online in advance to avoid long queues.

Lunch at Mercado de San Miguel

Interior of Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid, showing various food stalls and people enjoying tapas
Foodie heaven! I tried to sample everything at Mercado de San Miguel. My stomach said no, but my taste buds said more!

After all that walking and palace-exploring, you've earned a feast. Head to Mercado de San Miguel, a beautiful glass-enclosed market that's a food lover's paradise.

This isn't your average market - it's a gastronomic temple where you can sample a wide variety of Spanish delicacies. From fresh seafood and cured meats to gourmet tapas and sweet treats, there's something here to satisfy every craving.

Sarah and I made a game of trying as many different tapas as we could. My personal favorite? The crispy croquetas filled with silky smooth béchamel and flecks of jamón. Heaven in bite-sized form!

  • Location: Plaza de San Miguel, s/n, 28005 Madrid
  • Hours: Sun-Thu 10 AM - 12 AM, Fri-Sat 10 AM - 1 AM
  • Why Visit: Experience a wide variety of Spanish cuisine in one place.
  • Insider Tip: Try the vermouth on tap - it's a Madrid tradition!

Afternoon at the Prado Museum

Visitors waiting in line to enter the Prado Museum in Madrid, famous for its collection of European art
The queue for the Prado can be long, but trust me, it's worth the wait. Where else can you see Velázquez, Goya, and El Greco all in one day?

No 3-day trip to Madrid would be complete without a visit to the Prado Museum, one of the world's greatest art museums. Home to masterpieces by Velázquez, Goya, and El Greco, among others, the Prado is a must-see for art lovers and culture vultures alike.

The museum is massive, and you could easily spend days exploring its collections. But since we're on a tight schedule, focus on the highlights. Don't miss Velázquez's "Las Meninas," Goya's "The Third of May 1808," and Hieronymus Bosch's triptych "The Garden of Earthly Delights."

One of my favorite moments was standing in front of "The Third of May 1808." The raw emotion and drama in that painting are incredible - it's like a punch to the gut, in the best possible way.

  • Location: Paseo del Prado, s/n, 28014 Madrid
  • Hours: 10 AM - 8 PM (Mon-Sat), 10 AM - 7 PM (Sun)
  • Admission: €15 (free for last 2 hours daily)
  • Why Visit: See some of the world's most important artworks up close.
  • Insider Tip: Visit during the free hours (6-8 PM Mon-Sat, 5-7 PM Sun) to save some euros.

Evening Tapas Crawl in La Latina

Lively street scene in La Latina, Madrid, with people enjoying tapas and drinks at outdoor tables
La Latina on a Sunday night is the place to be. Follow the locals from bar to bar for the best tapas crawl in Madrid!

As the sun sets, it's time for a quintessential Madrid experience - a tapas crawl in the historic La Latina neighborhood. This area comes alive in the evenings, with locals and tourists alike hopping from bar to bar, enjoying small plates and drinks.

Start your crawl on Cava Baja, a street lined with tapas bars. Some must-try spots include:

  1. La Perejila: Known for its innovative tapas and cozy atmosphere.
  2. Juana La Loca: Try their famous tortilla española (Spanish omelette).
  3. El Viajero: Head to the rooftop terrace for tapas with a view.

Remember, the key to a successful tapas crawl is to pace yourself. Order one or two tapas and a small beer (una caña) at each stop, then move on to the next place. It's all about variety!

  • Location: La Latina neighborhood, centered around Cava Baja street
  • Hours: Most bars open from 8 PM until late
  • Why Visit: Experience authentic Madrid nightlife and cuisine.
  • Insider Tip: Don't be afraid to stand at the bar - it's the local way!

As you stumble back to your hotel, full of delicious food and wine, you'll realize you've just scratched the surface of what Madrid has to offer. But don't worry - we've got two more action-packed days ahead in our 3-day Madrid itinerary!

Day 2: Art and Green Spaces

Good morning, intrepid Madrid explorer! How are you feeling after last night's tapas crawl? A little groggy? Well, shake it off, because day two of your 3-day Madrid trip is all about feeding your soul with more art and some of Madrid's beautiful green spaces.

Why this itinerary for day two? Well, after yesterday's whirlwind tour of central Madrid, today we're slowing things down a bit. We'll dive deep into modern art, then balance it out with some relaxation in Madrid's gorgeous parks. It's the perfect mix of culture and leisure - just what you need in the middle of your 3 days in Madrid.

Start at Reina Sofía Museum

Visitors observing Picasso's Guernica painting in the Reina Sofía Museum, Madrid's modern art museum
Standing in front of Guernica is a powerful experience. The sheer size of the painting is overwhelming!

Let's kick off day two of our Madrid itinerary with a visit to the Reina Sofía Museum, Madrid's premier modern art museum. If the Prado is classical art's grand dame, Reina Sofía is its cool, slightly eccentric younger sister.

The star of the show here is undoubtedly Picasso's "Guernica," a massive, powerful painting that depicts the horrors of the Spanish Civil War. Standing in front of this masterpiece, you can almost feel the anguish and chaos of war radiating from the canvas. It's a sobering but incredibly moving experience.

But Reina Sofía isn't just about Picasso. You'll find works by other Spanish masters like Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró, as well as international artists. I particularly enjoyed the Dalí exhibition - his melting clocks in "The Persistence of Memory" are even more surreal in person!

  • Location: Calle de Santa Isabel, 52, 28012 Madrid
  • Hours: 10 AM - 9 PM (Mon, Wed-Sat), 10 AM - 7 PM (Sun), Closed Tuesdays
  • Admission: €12 (free Mon, Wed-Sat 7-9 PM, Sun 1:30-7 PM)
  • Why Visit: Experience iconic modern art pieces and understand Spain's 20th-century cultural context.
  • Insider Tip: Visit on a Monday evening for free entry and smaller crowds.

Lunch at Botín Restaurant

Traditional roast suckling pig dish served at Botín Restaurant, the world's oldest continuously operating restaurant in Madrid
Dinner at the world's oldest restaurant? Check! The suckling pig at Botín has been perfected over 300 years and it shows.

After filling your mind with art, it's time to fill your stomach with some history... and roast suckling pig. Head to Botín Restaurant, recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the world.

Founded in 1725, Botín has been serving up traditional Castilian cuisine for nearly 300 years. The specialty here is cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig), which is cooked in the original wood-fired oven. Ernest Hemingway was a big fan of this place, even mentioning it in his novel "The Sun Also Rises."

Sarah and I shared the cochinillo, and let me tell you, it was a religious experience. The skin is crispy, the meat tender and flavorful. Pair it with a glass of Rioja wine, and you've got yourself a meal fit for a king (or a famous American novelist).

  • Location: Calle de Cuchilleros, 17, 28005 Madrid
  • Hours: 1 PM - 4 PM, 8 PM - 12 AM daily
  • Price Range: €€€
  • Why Visit: Experience dining in the world's oldest restaurant and taste traditional Spanish cuisine.
  • Insider Tip: Make a reservation in advance, and ask for a table in the atmospheric wine cellar.

Afternoon in Retiro Park

After lunch, it's time to walk off some of that cochinillo in Retiro Park, Madrid's green oasis. This vast park was once the private garden of the Spanish monarchy, but now it's a beloved public space where Madrileños come to relax, exercise, and escape the bustle of the city.

As you enter the park, you'll be struck by how expansive and diverse it is. There are manicured gardens, wooded areas, a large lake, and even a few palaces scattered throughout. Start your exploration at the lake, where you can rent a rowboat and channel your inner romantic (just try not to capsize like I almost did).

Next, make your way to the Crystal Palace, a beautiful glass structure that now hosts contemporary art exhibitions. Even if you're not into the art, the building itself is worth seeing, especially when the sun hits it just right and it seems to glow from within.

  • Location: Plaza de la Independencia, 7, 28001 Madrid
  • Hours: 6 AM - 12 AM (summer), 6 AM - 10 PM (winter)
  • Admission: Free
  • Why Visit: Experience Madrid's most beautiful park and see how locals relax.
  • Insider Tip: Visit the Rose Garden in May or June when the flowers are in full bloom.

Sunset at Temple of Debod

Ancient Egyptian Temple of Debod in Madrid at sunset, with colorful sky reflecting in the surrounding pools
An ancient Egyptian temple in the middle of Madrid? It's real, and it's spectacular, especially at sunset!

As the day winds down, head to the Temple of Debod for a truly unique Madrid experience. This ancient Egyptian temple was gifted to Spain in 1968 as a thank you for helping to save Abu Simbel Temple.

The temple itself is fascinating, with carvings and hieroglyphs that transport you back to ancient Egypt. But the real magic happens at sunset. Find a spot on the hill facing west, and watch as the sun dips below the horizon, painting the sky in brilliant oranges and pinks. The temple, silhouetted against this colorful backdrop, creates a scene that's almost surreal.

Sarah and I packed a little picnic (okay, it was mostly leftover tapas from the night before) and joined the locals on the grass. It was one of those perfect travel moments - great food, beautiful scenery, and the feeling that we'd discovered something truly special.

  • Location: Calle de Ferraz, 1, 28008 Madrid
  • Hours: Tue-Sun, hours vary by season
  • Admission: Free
  • Why Visit: See an ancient Egyptian temple in the heart of Madrid and enjoy stunning sunset views.
  • Insider Tip: Arrive about an hour before sunset to secure a good spot.

Dinner at Mercado de San Antón

Rooftop terrace of Mercado de San Antón in Madrid, with people enjoying drinks and city views
The rooftop at Mercado de San Antón is the perfect spot for a sundowner. Great views, great vibe, and even better gin tonics!

Cap off your second day in Madrid with dinner at Mercado de San Antón. This modern market in the trendy Chueca neighborhood offers a more contemporary take on the traditional Spanish market.

The concept here is simple but brilliant. On the first two floors, you'll find various food stalls selling everything from fresh produce to gourmet tapas. Buy whatever catches your eye, then head up to the rooftop terrace where you can enjoy your purchases with a view over Madrid's rooftops.

Sarah and I put together a feast of jamón ibérico, local cheeses, olives, and some innovative tapas (the duck confit croquetas were a standout). Paired with a bottle of cava (Spanish sparkling wine), it was the perfect end to a day filled with art and nature.

  • Location: Calle de Augusto Figueroa, 24B, 28004 Madrid
  • Hours: 10 AM - 12 AM (Mon-Sat), 11 AM - 12 AM (Sun)
  • Why Visit: Experience a modern Spanish market and enjoy dinner with a view.
  • Insider Tip: Head to the rooftop bar for a cocktail after dinner.

As you head back to your hotel, take a moment to reflect on all you've experienced in just two days. From world-class art to ancient temples, from historic restaurants to modern markets, you've seen so many sides of Madrid. And guess what? We've still got one more day to go!

Day 3: Royal Madrid and Hidden Gems

Rise and shine, it's your final day in Madrid! Can you believe how much you've seen and done in just 48 hours? Well, buckle up, because day three of our Madrid itinerary is packed with royal splendor, off-the-beaten-path discoveries, and a finale that will leave you saying "¡Olé!"

Today, we're going to dive into Madrid's royal history, then explore some of the city's trendiest neighborhoods. Why this mix? Well, after two days of hitting the major tourist spots, it's time to see a different side of Madrid. Plus, ending with a flamenco show is the perfect way to cap off your 3 days in Madrid with a bang!

Start at Almudena Cathedral

Colorful and modern interior of Almudena Cathedral in Madrid, contrasting with its traditional exterior
Almudena Cathedral is full of surprises. The pop-art style chapels are unlike anything I've seen in a European cathedral!

Begin your day at the Almudena Cathedral, right next to the Royal Palace. This relatively modern cathedral (it was only completed in 1993) is a unique blend of different architectural styles, from neoclassical to neo-Gothic.

Step inside and you'll be struck by how different it is from other European cathedrals. Instead of dark and somber, Almudena is bright and colorful, with modern pop-art style chapels. Don't miss the statue of the Virgen de la Almudena, the patron saint of Madrid.

The real highlight, though, is the view from the cathedral's dome. Climb up for a panoramic vista of Madrid and a bird's eye view of the Royal Palace next door.

  • Location: Calle de Bailén, 10, 28013 Madrid
  • Hours: 9 AM - 8:30 PM daily
  • Admission: €6 for the museum and dome
  • Why Visit: See a unique modern cathedral and enjoy panoramic views of Madrid.
  • Insider Tip: Visit early to beat the crowds and get the best light for photos.

Explore Barrio de las Letras

Cobblestone street in Barrio de las Letras, Madrid, with golden literary quotes embedded in the pavement
Walking through Barrio de las Letras is like stepping into a poetry book. Keep your eyes on the ground for literary gems!

From the cathedral, head to the Barrio de las Letras (Literary Quarter), a charming neighborhood that was once home to many of Spain's most famous writers during the Spanish Golden Age.

As you wander the narrow streets, keep an eye out for the golden quotes embedded in the pavement. These snippets of poetry and prose are from some of Spain's literary giants like Cervantes and Lope de Vega. It's like a scavenger hunt for literature lovers!

Stop by Cervantes' house (now a museum) and pop into some of the quirky bookshops and vintage stores that line the streets. If you need a caffeine boost, grab a cortado at La Fugitiva Huertas, a cozy bookstore café where you can sip your coffee surrounded by books.

  • Location: Centered around Calle de las Huertas
  • Hours: Shops typically open 10 AM - 8 PM
  • Why Visit: Experience Madrid's literary history and charming old-world atmosphere.
  • Insider Tip: Visit on a Sunday morning when the neighborhood hosts an open-air secondhand book market.

Lunch at El Brillante

Close-up of a traditional calamari sandwich (bocadillo de calamares) from El Brillante in Madrid
Who knew a simple calamari sandwich could be so good? El Brillante's bocadillo de calamares is a Madrid institution for a reason!

For lunch, let's go for a Madrid classic: bocadillo de calamares (calamari sandwich) at El Brillante. This no-frills bar near Atocha station has been serving up these crispy, golden rings of deliciousness since 1961.

The concept is simple: lightly battered and fried calamari rings stuffed into a crusty baguette. You can add a squeeze of lemon or alioli (garlic mayo) if you like, but purists take it as is. Pair it with a caña (small beer) for the full local experience.

I was skeptical about a calamari sandwich, but one bite and I was converted. The contrast between the crunchy calamari and the chewy bread is just perfect. And at less than €5, it's one of the best bargains in Madrid.

  • Location: Plaza Emperador Carlos V, s/n, 28012 Madrid
  • Hours: Open 24/7
  • Price Range: €
  • Why Visit: Taste a classic Madrid sandwich in an authentic local setting.
  • Insider Tip: If you're not into calamari, their tortilla española is also excellent.

Afternoon in Malasaña

Vibrant street art adorning buildings in the trendy Malasaña neighborhood of Madrid
Malasaña is like an open-air art gallery. Every corner reveals a new masterpiece!

Time to explore one of Madrid's trendiest neighborhoods: Malasaña. This area was the epicenter of La Movida, the countercultural movement that exploded in Madrid after the fall of Franco's regime. Today, it's a hip district known for its vibrant street art, vintage shops, and cool cafes.

Start your exploration at Plaza del Dos de Mayo, the heart of the neighborhood. From there, just wander. Half the fun of Malasaña is discovering hidden plazas and stumbling upon quirky street art. Some standout spots include:

  1. Calle del Pez for vintage shopping
  2. Plaza de San Ildefonso for people-watching
  3. Calle de la Palma for cool bars and cafes

If you need a break, stop by Ojala for a drink. This quirky bar has a "beach" in the basement complete with actual sand!

  • Location: North of Gran Vía, centered around Plaza del Dos de Mayo
  • Why Visit: Experience Madrid's hippest neighborhood and vibrant street culture.
  • Insider Tip: Look out for the colorful umbrella-covered alleys, perfect for Instagram photos.

Evening Flamenco Show at Corral de la Morería

Intense flamenco performance on stage at Corral de la Morería, a renowned flamenco venue in Madrid
The passion of flamenco at Corral de la Morería is electrifying. I swear I could feel the floor vibrate with each stomp!

As night falls, it's time for the grand finale of your 3 days in Madrid: a flamenco show at Corral de la Morería, one of the most renowned flamenco venues in the world.

Flamenco is more than just a dance; it's an expression of passion, pain, and joy, all rolled into one powerful performance. The intensity of the dancers, the soulful wail of the singers, and the hypnotic rhythm of the guitars create an atmosphere that's almost electric.

I'll be honest, I was worried it might be a bit touristy. But from the moment the first dancer stomped onto the stage, I was mesmerized. The power and emotion in every movement is incredible. By the end of the show, I understood why flamenco is such an integral part of Spanish culture.

  • Location: Calle de la Morería, 17, 28005 Madrid
  • Hours: Shows at 8:30 PM and 10:30 PM daily
  • Admission: From €49.90 (show only) to €77.90 (show + dinner)
  • Why Visit: Experience authentic, world-class flamenco in an intimate setting.
  • Insider Tip: Book well in advance, especially for weekend shows.

Late Night Drinks at Mercado de San Miguel

After the intensity of the flamenco show, you might need a drink. Head back to Mercado de San Miguel for a nightcap. Yes, we visited on day one, but trust me, it's worth a second trip.

At night, the market takes on a different character. The food stalls are still bustling, but now there's more focus on drinks. Grab a gin tonic (Spaniards love their G&Ts) or a glass of cava and reflect on your whirlwind 3 days in Madrid.

As you sip your drink amidst the buzz of locals and tourists alike, take a moment to soak it all in. From world-class art to mouthwatering cuisine, from historic palaces to trendy neighborhoods, you've experienced the many faces of Madrid in just three short days.

  • Location: Plaza de San Miguel, s/n, 28005 Madrid
  • Hours: Open until 12 AM (Sun-Thu) and 1 AM (Fri-Sat)
  • Why Visit: Experience Madrid's nightlife in a unique market setting.
  • Insider Tip: Try the vermouth on tap - it's a Madrid specialty!

Wrapping Up Your 3 Days in Madrid

And there you have it - the perfect 3-day Madrid itinerary! From the grandeur of the Royal Palace to the passion of flamenco, from the masterpieces of the Prado to the simple perfection of a calamari sandwich, you've gotten a taste of what makes Madrid so special.

Of course, this itinerary is just a starting point. Madrid is a city that rewards exploration, so don't be afraid to wander off the beaten path. Some of our best memories came from random discoveries - a tiny bar with the best patatas bravas, a hidden plaza perfect for people-watching, a street performer whose music stopped us in our tracks.

If you have more time, consider taking a day trip to nearby Toledo or Segovia. Both are easily accessible by train and offer their own unique charms. Or if you're pressed for time, you could condense this itinerary into 2 days in Madrid by focusing on the major sites and saving the neighborhood explorations for next time (because trust me, there will be a next time).

Remember, the key to enjoying Madrid is to embrace the Spanish lifestyle. Don't rush from sight to sight. Take time to linger over a long lunch, enjoy an afternoon siesta, and stay out late like the locals do. After all, in Madrid, the night is just beginning at 10 PM!

As we headed to the airport, Sarah turned to me and said, "You know, I think we proved our friends wrong. Three days in Madrid was perfect... but I'm already planning our next trip back." And that, my friends, is the magic of Madrid. It leaves you satisfied, but always wanting more.

¡Buen viaje y hasta la próxima! (Have a good trip and until next time!)

West Parker
West Parker
Article updated:
July 18, 2024 8:43 AM

West Parker, a Cornell University School of Hotel Administration graduate, has spent two decades as the secret weapon of the jet-set elite, crafting bespoke adventures that redefine luxury travel. Now a resident writer for Town & Tourist, this 45-year-old "Architect of Extraordinary Journeys" combines razor-sharp insights with unparalleled industry connections to deliver experiences that even the most discerning globetrotters can't help but rave about. West's expertise spans from exclusive real estate to fine dining, making him the go-to strategist for those who demand nothing but the extraordinary in their travels.

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