2 Days in Madrid | The Perfect Madrid Itinerary
Most will say they love Madrid more than Barcelona, which honestly, we did! I think my friends and I fell in love with Madrid’s old-school charm, laid-back attitude, and friendly hospitality. We toured this city with so much laughter and love while meeting so many different and interesting people from all over the world. If you are looking for things to do in Madrid, then these 2 days in Madrid Itinerary is perfect for you.
Whether you are visiting Madrid for the weekend, taking a day trip, or only have time to do Madrid in 48 hours, this Itinerary for Madrid has you covered.
If you are having a layover, be sure to read the 6-Hour Layover in Madrid.
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2 Days in Madrid Itinerary
How to get around Madrid, Spain for 2 days
Getting around Madrid is easy and affordable. I suggest getting a Tourist A Pass for €14.50, this pass includes the subway and buses in the city and is perfect for 2 days in Madrid. You can get one of these at any subway location and it will be in a small paper format like in the image above.
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Language in Madrid
In Spain, of course, the official language is Spanish. I felt that English was more prominent in Barcelona than in Madrid. Although, it was still fairly easy to communicate with locals as many still spoke English. However, I would not assume everyone does and it is important to learn some basic phrases.
Form of Currency
Spain uses Euros as their form of currency.
How many days to spend in Madrid
Well, I think this choice is completely up to you. I felt that 2 days was enough, but I like to move fast and get as much as possible done in the amount of time I am given. Mostly because I’m limited on vacation time due to working a full-time job. There is a lot more to do than what I listed as well, so there is plenty of time to visit and explore more. I honestly wish I spent more days here and less in Barcelona due to the amazing food alone.
Where you will visit and what to do in 2 days in Madrid
- Things to do in Madrid day 1
- Retiro Park
- Plaza de Cibeles
- Temple of Debod
- Tapas Tour
- Chocolateria San Gines
- Things to do in Madrid ay 2
- San Miguel Market
- Palace of Madrid
- Cathedral of Alemundo
- Prado Museum
- Flamenco Show
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2 Days in Madrid Itinerary | What to do in Madrid on Day 1
If you are looking for just a day trip to Madrid, this day 1 in Madrid is the perfect itinerary for you.
Retiro Park is a beautiful park in Madrid that is free to visit. I highly suggest doing this when you visit Madrid. This park is enormous with a lot of walking trails, a rose garden, grassy areas, and more. This is the place to see the Crystal Palace also known as Palacio de Crystal, which is a beautiful palace made of glass and in front of a beautiful pond and water feature.
You can stroll around with ice cream in hand and just enjoy the scenery. Near the Crystal Palace is also the Palacio de Velázquez which is a historic museum that displays art. We stumbled upon this location and it happened to be free the day we went! This was a favorite to visit during our Madrid 2 day itinerary because it was quite relaxing during our busy, yet tight schedule.
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Plaza de Cibeles
Plaza de Cibeles is something free you can see in a pretty plaza on a busy roundabout street. This plaza is right in front of the Cybele Palace, which on our trip was hanging a sign letting everyone know that refugees were welcome in Madrid. It was honestly the perfect time for us to see it because during our trip to Madrid is when the attack in Barcelona happened.
READ: Madrid or Barcelona
Temple of Debod
Temple of Debod is a classic site in Madrid. These are an ancient Egyptian temple that was disassembled and rebuilt in Madrid. It is a phenomenal piece to check out and just think this was built in 200 BC which I think makes the piece impressive itself. This place is a great place to have a picnic and just relax on the grass and enjoy. It would be a great place to see the sunset and to the left near the back of the park, you will get an amazing view of the city.
Tapas Tour for 2 Days in Madrid – This is a must-do in Madrid
You can join the tapas tour that we had from our Hostel at the Hat Madrid for about €20 to the locations below and enjoy the food options listed. It was a good deal for everything that you had on the tour but honestly, I would probably just go back to eat at the Rosi la Loca because the food presentation and taste were on point.
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Rosi la Loca
This was absolutely my favorite place for tapas in Madrid. This was one of the first stops on the tour and the food was amazing probably my favorite in all of Spain honestly. It has an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere which included a beautiful interior and exterior appeal. This location is a restaurant with other food options other than tapas including paella and other popular Spanish dishes!
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Sarmorejo – This is like a Gazpacho with flavors similar to a tomato bisque. It is delicious and a must-have!
Patatas Bravas – Potatoes with a sauce over them or to dip.
Mouse de Mango – Goat Cheese and Mango Puree
Sollomio – Goat Cheese with Pork
Berejnas con Miel – Eggplant Chips
Sidreria el Tigre
Sidreria el Tigre is a great place for Bar Food with a Bar atmosphere. It was a great place to hang out with friends, drink, and chat. This place gets very busy and it can be difficult to find a table inside. Some tables are standing and some are sitting, there is an upstairs part to this place but it gets crowded fast. Also, from what I am told, when you order beer here you get free tapas!
Patatas Bravas – It is a popular tapas dish in Spain so you will see it everywhere!
Lacón Gallego – This is a popular dried Ham in Spain that they placed on bread
Jamon – More Ham on bread which is popular in all of Spain
Croquettes – Breaded Fried Ball stuffed with Mashed Potatoes and Ham
Sangria – Most of you know what Sangria is, but it is wine mixed with Vermouth
Chocolateria San Gines – A must for your Madrid 2 day Itinerary
Chocolateria San Gines is a popular place in Madrid to get chocolate churros and they are open 24 hours, which is perfect for those late-night snacks. I seriously can’t get over how amazing these churros were. We tasted other churros in Barcelona and other parts of Madrid and seriously this was the best place. We couldn’t go to Madrid for our 2-day itinerary and miss this most popular place in Spain to get churros. It’s really worth the hype.
2 Days in Madrid Itinerary | What to do in Madrid on Day 2
San Miguel Market
Go out to San Miguel Market for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, or even desserts. This place has a variety of food and is a smaller location than the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria in Barcelona. I found this location more intimate and the food was just incredible. I suggest you get the olives and cheese tapas, try the tortilla and get a wonderful fresh mojito.
Visit the Palace of Madrid during your 2 days in Madrid
I suggest you buy your tickets in advance which are €11, since we did not buy our tickets in advance, we were unable to visit the Palace of Madrid. You cannot buy tickets at the door or the day of. It seemed busy but we did get to see a lot of the beautiful exterior and probably wouldn’t have had the chance to see the Cathedral of Alemundo since we noticed we could tour it by accident. The palace of Madrid is one of the famous Spanish landmarks to see.
Cathedral of Alemundo
I found this Cathedral beautiful and interesting, more so than I think I would have of the Palace of Madrid. Visiting the cathedral was a nice surprise during your Madrid 2 day itinerary. The entrance to the cathedral costs €6 and is worth the money. Some of the items we were unable to take photos of, but this Cathedral has one of the best views of the city of Madrid. You can view a good portion of the Palace and city at the top which is worth seeing. There are lots of religious relics and beautifully decorated chapels within this beautiful cathedral that make it a must to see in Madrid.
Museum del Prado
I suggest you go to Madrid prior to Barcelona only because you will see the famous “Les Meninas” by Diego Velazquez. In Barcelona, at the Picasso Museum, you will see Picasso’s studies, obsessions, and interpretation of this piece by Velazquez. Although, if you don’t go to Madrid first, just make sure you see the original by Velazquez and Picasso’s version to compare.
The Museum del Prado only cost us about €15 to get in and you can seriously get lost in this museum, it is a large art museum that takes a good chunk of your time, however, as an art major, I only saw the artists I studied and wanted to see. If you are a fan of art, be sure to add this to your Madrid 2 day itinerary.
Some other amazing art museums to check out would be in Bilbao, Spain. If you are interested in visiting Bilbao, then read this Bilbao 2 Day Itinerary.
We decided to do our Flamenco show during our 2 days in Madrid itinerary since we had so much to do in Barcelona. We quite enjoyed ourselves and saw we could purchase tickets for the night while at the San Miguel Mercado for €39. If you have not seen a Flamenco show, I highly suggest it. There are so much passion and emotion in what these dancers do that my friends and I had goosebumps throughout the show. Although we didn’t get to explore other areas of Spain where Flamenco was most popular, we were still happy to visit it during our Madrid 2 day itinerary.
If you loved this article, click here to gain access to my downloadable and printable 48-hour guide to Madrid, Spain.
Let me know what you thought of Madrid in the comments below!
Looks like a great trip! Beautiful architecture, and I love that you included specific tapas recommendations.
I’ve been to a few different parts of Spain, but somehow have never made it to either Madrid or Barcelona – crazy! This post has made me want to book flights asap though, because it looks like a ridiculously photogenic city!
Thanks for suggesting an itinerary. I’ll pin it for future reference. and thanks to you i am feeling hungry too!
I think I want to visit Madrid purely for a fresh mojito in the market! I’m so lucky living in the UK that Spain is a really accessible (and usually affordable) travel option so I’m definitely putting Madrid on my list after this post.
Oh no, only 48 hours? I could spend hours with those food, mojitos and churros. I think I need snother week for places alone. ?
Spain and Madrid are still on my wishlist and your post gives me so many more reasons to plan a trip to Spain.
Madrid looks like such a vibrant city. I love the Refugees Welcome sign at Cybele Palace. And my mouth is watering for the tapas at Rosi La Loca.
I never made it to Barcelona, but I adore Madrid. The tapas tour looks delicioso!
Omg all the food from your tapas tour looks delicious mmh ! Madrid is so close to France and I still haven’t had the time to visit, shame on me aha
I spent a semester abroad in Madrid in college and this totally brought so many great memories back! I spent a handful of late nights at the Chocolateria. Looks like you covered a ton in 48 hours!
Yes! It was a lot but worth it! I loved Madrid! It must have been amazing to spend a semester there. ?
Been ages since my visit to Madrid! Gosh! #gltlove
I love Madrid, I’ve actually been twice… and this guide is perfect!
I studied abroad in Madrid and this post just brought back so many memories!
Awe I’m glad that I was able to bring back some of your fond memories ?
I really enjoyed reading this! Love how you mentioned things to do that didn’t cost any money. Those churros looked so good!
Awe thank you! I try to travel fairly affordable. And Omg you have no idea how good those churros were!!
This all looks so amazing and inviting, but especially the food! Food tours are my favorite thing to do when traveling!
Me too! Nothing helps you know a city or town better than tasting local food!
Oh such good memories! I went to Madrid during the summer years ago and had a blast! The Tapas are amazing and I had the best paella there. Loved the Prado museum and Retiro park Ave visited many of the same places listed here AND also saw a flamenco show! Great article!
Thanks! Such good food here!
I love your photography! Thanks for sharing <3
Loved Madrid! And I agree it’s more stylish than Barcelona and has a different “vibe” about it.. but still, Barcelona has the sea! 😀
Marid is simply astonishing and your guide is one of the best I’ve read so far. An excellent itinerary which I hope to follow soon! Are 48 hours enough to see all the highlights there?
I think 48 Hours was a bit rushed, but totally doable. Depends on your travel style I suppose, but I felt we got to see a lot of Madrid in 48 Hours!
Some great tips and recommendations here. Helped me immensely when planning my last minute trip for a few days. Had a great time!
I love hearing about things like this! ❤️ I’m glad you had a wonderful time!
Madrid is love. Loved it.
Thanks for sharing it.