2 Days in Madrid Itinerary

by shortgirlontour

2 days is enough time to hit the highlights of the Spanish capital, Madrid. Personally, I love Southern Spain and cities like Cordoba, Granada and Seville. However, Madrid is worth spending 2 days in. Madrid is a large city but the best attractions are somewhat concentrated and walkable. From museums to squares and from parks to food markets, this 2 days in Madrid itinerary covers all the best attractions in the city.

Day 1

Plaza de Oriente

Start your day early at Plaza de Oriente. This little square faces East as its name suggests. The park is decorated with statues of Visigothic kings who ruled from the 5th to the 8th century. This square is located between some important landmarks in Madrid: To the west is the Royal Palace, to the east is the Royal Theater and to the north is the Royal Monastery of the Incarnation.

Royal Palace

The Spanish Royal Palace is the 3rd greatest palace in Europe after Versailles and Schonbrunn. The Spanish royal family has occupied this palace for the last three centuries. However, this spot has been Madrid’s center of power since the 9th century, starting with a Moorish castle to a Christian fortress to a Renaissance palace to its current structure from the 18th century.

2 Days in Madrid Itinerary

A visit to Madrid is not complete without a visit to the Royal Palace. The palace boasts of 2,800 rooms (not all on display), tapestries, priceless porcelain and valuable décor.

2 Days in Madrid Itinerary
2 Days in Madrid Itinerary
2 Days in Madrid Itinerary

Click HERE for tickets!

Cathedral de la Almundena

Located right next to the Royal Palace is the Cathedral de la Almundena. The cathedral took 100 years to build and was opened in 1993, although it looks older from the outside. The church itself is rather plain compared to some of the other churches in Spain but is worth a gander.

Plaza Major

This used to be Madrid’s main square back in the 1600s. During the Inquisition days, many people were tried here. The guilty were paraded around the square wearing placards of their “sins” before being executed. Today, it’s a lot more peaceful, or even luxurious. The apartment buildings you see around the square goes anywhere from 400K euros for a tiny studio to 2 million euros for a larger apartment.

2 Days in Madrid Itinerary

San Miguel Market

One of my favorite stops on the 2 days in Madrid itinerary! This covered market hosts 30-high end vendors selling tapas, gourmet food, deserts and drinks like sangria, aperol spritz etc. Grab a seat at one of the communal tables and enjoy some good food with locals and tourists alike!

Temple of Debod

This Egyptian temple is dedicated to the goddess Isis. It was initially erected next to Aswan in Egypt in the 2nd century BC. However, it had to be removed due t o the construction of the Aswan High Damn in 1960. As a sign of gratitude to Spain for helping to save the Abu Simbel temple, the Egyptian government donated the temple to Madrid.

2 Days in Madrid Itinerary

Th temple is best visited during sunset or at night when the floodlights are on. The temple is closed on Monday so if day 1 of this 2 days in Madrid itinerary falls on a Monday, you may have to shift this to the next day.

Gran Via

Grand Via is one of the most famous streets in Madrid and is said to be the street that never sleeps! The Gran Vía goes from Calle de Alcalá, close to Plaza de Cibeles, to Plaza de España. Some people even call it the Spanish version of Broadway or Fifth Avenue. You will find many shops and restuarants on Grand Via. Walk along Grand Via at night to see all the action, especially Spaniards taking their paseo (evening stroll).

Day 2

Puerta del Sol

Puerta del Sol or the Sun Gate is the heart of Madrid. In fact, you can even call it the heart of all Spain because this is where Kilometer 0 or the spot from which all distances in Spain are measured is located. Puerta del Sol is busy any time of the day or night. It’s a popular site for political demonstrations and national celebrations. There is a lot going on at Puerta del Sol. Take a seat and take it all in (but watch out for your stuff!).

2 Days in Madrid Itinerary

La Mallorquina

La Mallorquina is a pastry shop and café in a corner of Puerta del Sol. Established in 1894, this shop is popular among locals and tourists alike. You got to be a little assertive to get what you want but it’s worth it! The pastry are amazing! I visited Madrid during Christmas, so the windows of the café were full of delectable looking Christmas treats!

2 Days in Madrid Itinerary

Parque del Buen Retiro

This park, also knows as El Retiro, belonged to the Spanish Monarchy until the late 19th century. It later became a public park and is considered the largest park in Madrid. Walk through the park and enjoy its many ponds, shady spots and foliage. You can also rent a row boat and row in front of the Monument to Alfonso XII.

Palacio de Cristal del Retiro

Inside El Retiro is a structure called the crystal palace that is made entirely of glass. This building used to be a greenhouse but is now used for art exhibits. Step inside and admire the architecture!

2 Days in Madrid Itinerary
2 Days in Madrid Itinerary

Chocolateria San Gines

Founded in 1894, this famous café is know of its chocolate and churros. Don’t let the lines deter you. It moves fast. This café is also open 24 hours (Wednesday to Sunday), if you fancy a mid night snack. You get an entire cup of hot, thick chocolate and churros. Don’t miss this iconic Madrid spot!

2 Days in Madrid Itinerary

On your walk to or from the chocolateria, you may see a little outdoor bookshop, clinging to the walls of the St. Gines Church. This bookshop has been selling books on this spot since 1650!

The Prado

On this second evening of your 2 days in Madrid, visit one of Europe’s best art museums -The Prado! It has one of the best collections of paintings by the European Masters. Found in 1819, the museum displays a collection of more than 1300 masterpieces. Expect to spend at least 2 hours here. However, if you are an art lover, you may need more time.


Click HERE for opening times, days that the museum is closed and more on free admission.

No pictures inside but this was truly one of the best art museums I have visited (along with the Louvre and Uffizi).

Reina Sofia

Just a few blocks away from the Prado is Reina Sofia. This museum is a modern art museum and is focused on Spanish artists like Picasso, Dali, Miro and Gris. Its biggest treasure is Picasso’s Guernica. Don’t miss seeing this piece if you are a Picasso fan or an art fan in general. Having visited the Picasso museum in Barcelona a few days before, seeing Guernica made my Picasso experience complete.

Click HERE for opening times, days that the museum is closed and more on free admission.

If you are not a huge art lover and don’t want to spend too much time or money at these museums, then I highly recommend taking advantage of the free hours that are offered. Both museums are free the last 2 hours of each day. However, lines can be long, so go at least 30 minutes before this free time starts. Start at the Prado and then make your way to Reina Sofia. Note that Reina Sofia is closed on Tuesdays.

Still got some time? Check out these highly rated food tours!

Did you find this 2 days in Madrid itinerary useful? Please let me know by liking/commenting below or sharing this post on social media! Thank you!!

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Visiting other cities in Spain? See all my posts on Spain HERE!

2 Days in Madrid Itinerary

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Life...One Big Adventure February 4, 2023 - 3:44 pm

Thanks so much for this post. I have 2 days in Madrid in mid May before I start walking my Camino and this is just the information i need. Mel

shortgirlontour February 4, 2023 - 7:46 pm

Happy to hear it was useful! Good luck on the Camino! Can’t wait to read about your experience!

salsaworldtraveler February 4, 2023 - 8:55 pm

That is a full two days of great things to see. I think my favorites (other than the food) would be the Royal Palace and the Egyptian temple.

shortgirlontour February 5, 2023 - 6:42 pm

Yes, I did see a lot in 2 days! But Madrid is compact and it’s totally doable. Loved both the Royal Palace and temple but still keep thinking about some of the pastries I had haha! Thank you so much for reading and commenting! 🙂


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Welcome to my blog and thank you for visiting! Believe it or not this blog is not my full time job! I work 8-5 in Supply Chain and run this blog after work!  I’ve dreamed of traveling the world since I was a child and at 44 countries and counting, I am so grateful to get to live that dream.

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