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Ultimate 4 Days in Madrid Itinerary For An Epic Trip

Are you planning 4 days in Madrid and wondering exactly how to spend your days without just doing touristy things or getting overwhelmed by the insane amount of tapas bars to choose from? You’re in the right place!

Caleb and I are OBSESSED with the Spanish capital! We’ve been 7 times and are planning to move there in the future (really.) While everyone goes to Barcelona, we love that Madrid feels more authentic – you really don’t have to put in any effort to experience the true culture of Spain in this city – it’s everywhere! 

We’ve broken down this Itinerary into 4 days, with what to do for each part of the day, including where to eat. There are tons of things to do in Madrid and there is something for every kind of couple! 

Let’s plan your vacation and jump into your 4-day itinerary Madrid! We also have a highlight video below:

YouTube video

Quick Itinerary Overview

This itinerary is created based on our guide for how many days to stay in Madrid and is assuming that you are staying somewhere in the city centre. If you are staying outside of this area, you will have to get yourself there to start the itinerary. I’ve also given instructions for using public transport, uber, or your own two feet to get between destinations, which we think is the best since Madrid is a very walkable city! If you decide to get a car in Madrid, this might change things a little!

Day 1 – Classic Madrid Sites: The Royal Palace of Madrid, Almudena Cathedral. Mercado San Miguel, Malasaña, Food Tour 

Main sites visited: Monastery of Corpus Christi, The Royal Palace of Madrid, Almudena Cathedral
Hotel recommendations: Air BnB, New Gran Estudio, Gran Hotel Ingles
Restaurant Recommendations: The Fix, Eat My Trip, Cafe Angelica


It’s day 1 of your amazing 4 days in Madrid (According to Euroweekly news, it is one of the best cities in the world!) and we’re starting with something unique and SOMEWHAT of a hidden gem (many people do know about it by now, but it’s still a cool thing to do!) You’re going to start the day with COOKIES because vacation and YOLO? Specifically cookies from a monastery baked by cloistered nuns so you cannot talk to or see them. I know – bucket list experience, right?

You need to go to Monasterio del Corpus Christi and find the door with a sign that says “Venta de Dulces” which is typically open from 9:30 am-1:00 p.m. and again from 4:30 pm-to 6 p.m. Press the button that says “Monjas” (nuns) and you will be buzzed inside.

If they have the cookies, the nuns will open the door and you will follow the signs that say Torno to where you find a cookie menu and order them – either by 1kg or ½ kg sizes. Once you order, they will prepare them, put your cookies in the torno (like a lazy susan), and then you put your money in the torno next to the cookies! Voila – super memorable cookies for breakfast!

If cookies for breakfast aren’t your thing (who are you?), check out The Fix for hand-roasted coffee, pastries, and simple offerings such as toast and eggs. They also have gluten-free options. If you want something more crazy and “Instagrammable” check out Eat My Trip for brunch and cocktails with a funky vibe and offerings like Turkish eggs or Pavolva Pancakes.

Almudena Cathedral

Our first stop is the only Cathedral in Madrid! Construction began in 1879 but ended in 1992, so the vibe is a little more modern than the Palace! Visiting is free and only takes 20-30 minutes or less! It’s one of the best spots for an Instagram photo in Madrid.


If you are near the cathedral for sunset, we 100000% recommend checking it out. We’ve seen the most amazing sunsets here, even better than the ones we saw in Mallorca! You MAY see it on your food tour tonight but, if you don’t, it’s only 15 minutes or so from where we end the day tomorrow!

A beautiful cathedral in spain with an orange and red sunset

Royal Palace (Palacio Real Madrid)

How to get there: A quick, 3-minute walk from the cathedral is the second stop: the largest royal palace in Europe – even bigger than Buckingham and Versailles! It was built in the 18th century and has been the official residence of the Spanish royal family since 1735 although they live elsewhere now but come back for ceremonies. It is MASSIVE with over 3000 rooms, so they only have a few rooms open at a time, such as the red-velvet clad “Throne Room”. Perhaps they don’t want tourists to get lost? There are also the Sabatini Gardens around the palace if you need some greenery in your life!

You can do this as a DIY tour or guided tour here. Get your tickets online to secure your ideal time slot and skip the line here.


Mercado San Miguel 

Wander 10 minutes over to one of the oldest markets in Madrid, established in 1916, for a light lunch. This is SUCH a lively spot that feels authentically “Madrid” even though it is highly touristy. You can sample many things here and the quality is excellent, albeit a LITTLE more expensive than other places to eat but still affordable. We recommend any of the Pintxos (small snacks usually on a skewer and we all know food on a stick tastes better)

Make sure you have a LIGHT lunch because you need room for tonight’s food tour. Trust us, we’ve done it.

Malasaña Neighborhood 

How to get there: a 15-minute walk from the Mercado (and the same by car or train, just walk!) is the trendy Malasaña Neighborhood.

Known for its bohemian and hipster vibe, this area is full of colorful streets, unique art galleries, and about a gazillion cool cafes and bars, which is a great spot for nightlife if you don’t like the other ideas on this list! If you’re a vintage clothes aficionado, they are also THE place for you and you’ll want to check out the chain called HUMANA for the best vintage stuff!

Wander the streets and stop at the teensy-tiny Cafe Angelica for a pick-me-up coffee before your food tour. They have all kinds of coffee as well as a huge variety of spices being the second oldest spice store in Madrid. They roast their own beans so the smell of the spices is AMAZING.

Free Email Course: Madrid Made Easy

Discover everything you need to know to plan an EPIC Madrid Getaway in our free email course!


If you know anything about Caleb and me now, we always do food tours in new places! We did the Devour Tours Tapas, Taverns, and History tour and it is a do not miss. In fact, we loved this tour SO much that we’ve done it twice and both times had different stops!

Our guide the first, Isobel, gave us some great history of the city and we ate SO MUCH GOOD FOOD. I didn’t include of the places we visited in this itinerary so it doesn’t spoil it!

Where To Stay To Make The Most Of This Itinerary:

Because Madrid is so walkable, you only need to stay in one place for the entire 4 days! We’ve been to Madrid so many times that we have some great recommendations:

For mid-budget accommodation, we suggest this Airbnb as it’s centrally located, decently spacious, and has this awesome enclosed balcony overlooking a busy street! We LOVED it!

Click here to see the current prices and availability!

Budget: we suggest Gran Estudio Centro. This cute apartment is in the center of Madrid with lots of cafes and restaurants nearby!

Click here to see the current prices and availability!

Luxury: want to treat yourself? We recommend the Grand Hotel Ingles! The place is a 19th-century building that oozes class and beautiful design! The location is central and amazing too!

Click here to see the current prices and availability!

>> If none of those look great to you, click here to see other options in Madrid including price, reviews and photos! <<

Day 2 – Rastro, Lavapies, Barrio De Las Letras, Plaza Mayor, Puerta Del Sol, Flamenco Show & La Latina

Main sites visited: Rastro, Lavapies, Mercan Anton Martin, Barrio de las Letra, Plaza Mayor, Puerto del Sol, La Latina
Restaurant Recommendations: Ojala, Carmencita Brunch, Mercado Anton Martin, San Gines, Taberna La Concha, Taberna 4 Tapas, Casa Gerardo


You’re going to begin your day a little out of the way but we HAD to include Caleb and I’s most favorite brunch spot: Ojala. We make reservations AS SOON as we know we are going to Madrid, even months in advance because we are obsessed. Yes, we will say obsessed a lot. We love Madrid, okay? 

This is a super cute, artsy spot known for its colorful breakfast plates and fresh smoothies. What we LOVE the most is their “Catalan breakfast” which comes with pan con tomate (tomato on bread) a massive side of serrano ham to put on top and the creamiest scrambled eggs of your life. Make sure you go downstairs so you can see their sandy beach bar and the super unique bathroom!

Update in 2024: the Catalan breakfast no longer exists (we tried to order it!) but here’s how to get it instead: order their pan con tomate with Iberico ham (it’s a standalone menu item) then add a side of scrambled eggs. Same price and it’s the same thing. BAM.


They have an outside patio which is adorable but they always seat tourists under the tree and Caleb has been bird-pooped on. So, try to sit away from it!

If you want something closer to our first stop, check out Carmencita Brunch for simple, American-style breakfasts like toast and benedict.


How to get there: if you want to walk from Ojala, it’s a 30-minute walk. You could also take a 25-minute metro (14 of those minutes are walking) or 20 mins by Uber which is going to be way longer due to traffic.

Insider tip: if you got a smoothie at Ojala and are walking to Rastro, the Misión Café is on the way and it’s a super hip coffee shop. We loved drinking oat milk lattes on the “steps” inside and watching the locals do their thing.

This stop only applies if you are in Madrid on a Sunday or public holiday as that is when this massive, open-air flea market is open from 9 am to 3 pm. It claims to be the best in Europe and it’s a great place to wander. It’s mostly focused on La Ribera de Curtidores and off-shots onto the side streets!

IMPORTANT: this is very popular with both locals and tourists making it very busy. Keep an eye out for pickpockets!



How to get there: walk about 10 minutes to this multicultural district known for its street art that is concentrated on Calle de Embajadores (the main street) and onto Calle de Lavapies. Get lost (but, like, not actually?) exploring these streets or even take a street art tour if that is your vibe.

For lunch, the Mercado de Antón Martín is within Lavapiés and it’s hard to miss with its bright orange walls. Since this is an international district, you’ll find lots of multicultural food options like pizza, empanadas, ceviche, tacos, and tapas. We love that this feels like it’s for locals and not just tourists like the Mercado San Miguel!

If you don’t want to eat at another market, find a menú del día (a daily set lunch menu that usually includes a starter, main dish, dessert, or coffee plus a drink for around €10-15) 


If you want to be a true madrileño, have a “hora del vermut” before lunch at a tapas bar. This is the hour before lunch that is dedicated to drinking the delicious Spanish alcoholic beverage: vermouth!

Barrio De Las Letras

How to get there: after lunch, walk 5 minutes to Madrid’s literary quarter which has been home to great icons such as Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote. You’ll find old theatres, like the Teatro Espanol, amazing tapas bars, and the homes of literary icons. Explore this area for a little bit before moving on!

Plaza Mayor

How to get there: walk 10 minutes and enter one of the many porticos into the historic and largest public square in Madrid, which was built in the 17th century! It was once the center of Madrid and now is lined with many shops and tons of restaurants!

From there, we suggest you walk 1 minute to Chocolatería San Ginés, one of the old and most famous places for churros con chocolate in the city! Yes, you just had lunch, but dinner is late, and you HAVE to get churros in Madrid! Important: our churros didn’t have cinnamon and sugar so don’t expect that!

Besides, we DO NOT recommend you eat in Plaza Espana. There’s a reason we didn’t include any of the restaurants in our best tapas bar lists -they’re JUST for tourists.

Puerta Del Sol

How to get there: walk 5 minutes to the city’s central meeting point where you will find the iconic statue of the bear and the strawberry tree (El Oso y El Madroño.) This is one of the busiest areas of the city and is considered the geographical capital of Spain!

You can wander around the area and into the little shops and streets. If you need a pick-me-up after all the sugar, walk 7 minutes to Arabay Coffee. If you want to participate in the local drinking culture, grab some wine at Angelita Madrid which is a 5-minute walk. It has an incredible selection of wine by the glass and great cocktails.


Flamenco at Cafe Ziryab

How to get there: walk 30 minutes, take an 11-minute Uber, or 15 mins by metro to an authentic Tablao Flamenco show. This is a show that is not rehearsed and it is up to the dancers, singers, and guitarists so the show is always different! We loved the show here but, like most flamenco places, the food is meh…so eat dinner after!

La Latina

How to get there: walk 20 minutes or take a 10-minute Uber to THE neighborhood for tapas! This is our favorite area with lots of boutiques and tapas bars, especially down the famous Calle de la Cava Baja. These are traditional tapas bars and vermouth bars that get busy and you may have to push your way in and stand, but that is what the locals do. If you guys had a disagreement this is a good time to use your elbows to get out that tension. You know, not speaking from experience or anything….😏

NOTE: if you come on Sunday, they may close early!

Here you will find our favorite restaurant in the ENTIRE WORLD: Taberna La Concha. They are known for their creative tapas and their incredible, house-made vermouth (we have some in our bar right now because it’s our favorite souvenir from Spain!!) that you HAVE TO try.

You need to eat here and we recommend Thai fish curry meatballs, Spanish meatballs (albondigas), shrimp carpaccio, and pork cheeks. We dream of these things.

Some other options if it’s busy (try to make a reservation) are Taberna 4 Tapas or Casa Gerardo (try the sobrasada toast with cheese and any of the huge selection of wines!)

You’ll also find Casa Botín here, the oldest continuing restaurant in the world! We have not eaten here but have heard it’s good.


You pretty much NEED to make dinner reservations to eat at good spots in Madrid, any night of the week! So, do this in advance!

For the evening of day 2 of your 4 days in Madrid, we have some epic cocktail bars for you:

All are about 15 minutes walk outside La Latina.

Day 3 – Day trip to Cordoba, Toledo or Valencia or Segovia 

Today you’re getting out of the city and going on a Madrid day trip! Below you have 4 options – 2 close and 2 further – with some highlights of each, as well as a place to have lunch (we always have food recs for you!) so you can decide where you want to go. Make sure to snag our questions for couples to ask each other during your train ride – it’s always a good way to kill time and know more about each other!

Before you go, grab breakfast at Mallorquina and try a traditional Mallorcan ensaïmada pastry (which is better in Mallorca TBH), or go to Panaria, just 11 minutes from Atocha train station. They have options such as avocado toast and smoked salmon toast or just pastries and coffee

Best Day Trips from Madrid


Often referred to as the “City of Three Cultures,” is a historic city on a hill renowned for its rich cultural heritage and architecture. Its picturesque old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its stunning medieval architecture and harmonious blend of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim influences.

Things to See:

  • Catedral Primada
  • El Alcazar
  • Mezquita Cristo de la Luz
  • Plaza Zocodover
  • Monasterio de San Juan de Los Reyes
  • El Greco Museum

Where to Eat: Taberna el Botero (a must-do tasting menu)

How to get there: Take a 30-minute train from Madrid Atocha Train station


A vibrant coastal city famed for its beautiful Mediterranean beaches, futuristic architecture like the City of Arts and Sciences, and its delicious cuisine, like paella. A great choice if you want a beach vibe!

Things to See:

  • Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (city of arts and sciences
  • Largest Aquarium in Europe (L’Oceanografic)
  • Llotja de la Seda We (silk exchange)
  • Saint Nicholas Church
  • Pope Luna’s Castle

Where to Eat: Navarro for what is said to be the best paella.

How to get there: Take a 2-hour train from the Madrid Chamartin Train Station


A beautiful city renowned for its stunning Roman aqueduct, as well as its fairy-tale-like Alcázar fortress, said to have inspired Disney’s Cinderella Castle. This historic city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

Things to See:

  • Mirador de la Pradera de San Marcos’s viewpoint
  • Church of the Vera Cruz
  • Alcazar of Segovia
  • Aqueduct of Segovia
  • Segovia Cathedral
  • Royal Palace of Le Granja de San Ildefenso
  • Jewish Quarter

Where to Eat: El Sitio for local Castillian food, such as the famous suckling pig (lechon)

How to get there: Take a 30-minute train from the Madrid Chamartin Train Station

a roman looking bridge with large archways on water

Cordoba (our fav – pictured in video) 

A city steeped in history, best known for its iconic Mezquita-Catedral, a stunning mosque-turned-cathedral with a gorgeous blend of Islamic and Christian architectural elements. Beyond this, Córdoba offers a charming old town with winding streets, beautiful patios, and flowers everywhere! 

Things to See:

  • Jewish Quarter
  • Mosque-Cathedral
  • Roman Bridge
  • Palacio de Vianna
  • Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos
  • Medina Azahara
  • Roman Ruins

Where to Eat: Rincon de Carmen and get the fried eggplant with honey (Berenjenas con Miel) SO GOOD.

How to get there: Take a 2-hour train from Madrid Atocha Train station

Day 4 – Retiro, Golden Triangle of Art, Botanical Gardens, Gran Via

Main sites visited: Retiro Park, Prado Museum, Reina Sofia Museum, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Botanical Gardens, Gran Via
Restaurant Recommendations: Plenti, Taberna El Sur, Restaurante Morgana, Gatogato, El Minibar


Start your last day of 4 days in Madrid at Plenti for brunch, a cute spot with an outside area that is known for its Mediterranean influence and globally-inspired baked egg dishes.

El Retiro 

How to get there: walk 5 minutes to Buen Retiro Park (El Retiro) which is Madrid’s main park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s 350 meters long and has lots of fountains, gazebos, and paths to wander and relax by while the sound of the theme song for “Money Heist” wafts through the air. Don’t ask us why, but someone always seems to be playing it? It also has a lake with a big plaza that you can rent a boat and paddle around. So romantic! 

Inside the park, you’ll find the Palacio de Cristal, which was a greenhouse in the 19th century and now sometimes houses different art exhibits. Outside the Palacio, you’ll find a beautiful pond to sit and watch the ducks and turtles! 

Museum Visit

How to get there: now you’ll walk 5-10 minutes, depending on which museum you choose, to what is known as the “golden triangle of art” and contains 3 of Madrid’s biggest Museums:

The Prado Museum known as one of the best museums in the world, it has over 7000 paintings from Spanish masters like Velázquez, and Goya and artists from the world like Rembrandt. If you like art, you could spend hours here.

It gets busy, so get tickets online in advance or visit Monday through Saturday between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. and on Sundays between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. for free entry!

Reina Sofia Museum The arte reina sofía has modern art like Picasso, Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí. But, it’s most famous for being the home of the ​​Guernica, Pablo Picasso´s famous work depicting the 1937 air bombing of the Basque town 

Purchase tickets online to skip the line or visit on Sunday from 1:30 to closing for free entry.

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum – This museum is home to an art collection of around 1000 paintings from Degas, Renoir, Van Gogh, and Dali. It’s smaller than others so it’s a good option if you want to see some paintings but don’t want to spend hours at a museum, like Caleb and I.

Choose a museum to spend some time in based on your interests!

Royal Botanical Gardens

If you don’t want to visit a museum, check out the gardens outside the Prado! It has over 5,000 plant species and some gorgeous flowers. We particularly like the enclosed areas with tropical plants!


A 13-minute walk from the Prado is our second favorite restaurant in all of Madrid: Taberna El Sur. This is where you get the BEST Sangria ever and some amazing tapas. We recommend the cod scrambled eggs which sounds odd but is amazing. Would we steer you wrong? We recommend this little detour for lunch! If you want to eat on the Gran Via (next stop) check out Restaurante Morgana for some authentic Galician food with an Asian twist.

Gran Via

How to get there: walk 15 minutes from El Sur or the Prado to Madrid’s grandest and most Iconic street with lots of hotels, shops, and offices. There is gorgeous architecture, so it’s a great place to stroll!  


Walk over to the Edificio Metrópolis, which has the winged victory statue that you see in all the photos.

Círculo de Bellas Artes 

Just a bit off the Gran Via you’ll find a building with exhibitions, theatres, and a concert and lecture hall but the main attraction is the roof/rooftop bar. Take the elevator to the 7th floor to get a drink, see the cityscape, and watch the sunset! Your entrance fee includes access to the exhibits as well if you want to plan enough time to take advantage of that!

Old buildings on a cobblestone street in Madrid


After sunset, walk 15-20 minutes to either Gatogato or El Minibar for dinner. Both are AMAZING, but we would choose Gatogato, as the tapas are always incredible and creative with amazing service. When you try the charred lettuce with pistachio sauce you will weep tears of joy. Minibar is amazing too though!

After dinner, spend your last night hanging out in a tapas bar in La Latina or Malasaña sipping on vermouth, sangria, or Spanish wine!

If you want to spend your last night getting out of city center and hanging with the locals, doing a tapas crawl down the Calle Ponzano is also SUPER fun.

Travel Tips for Getting Around Madrid

We have a couple of insider tips to add to your travel guide to make it easier for you to get around Madrid:

  • Get the Madrid Card, the Madrid Metro Card, and/or the Madrid City Pass to help skip the lines, book things in advance, and save money. 
  • The easiest way to get to Madrid from the airport is the metro. Enter the metro station at the airport, buy a ticket and if you are facing the train, you go down the stairs to the left, not the right. That platform gets you to downtown.
  • We always recommend getting Google Fi service, as you then have data in basically any country in the world. We are obsessed!
  • If you don’t have Google Fi, we’ve also rented a portable travel wifi pack at the Travel Wifi store just outside of Puerta Del Sol. It’s super reasonable and convenient to pick up and drop off!
  • Download the free Trainline app! We use this for all our train bookings – it’s super easy and convenient and you don’t have to try to navigate ticket dispensers in a different language!


Is 4 Days in Madrid Enough?

4 days is absolutely enough to visit Madrid! You’ll be able to see all the sites, eat amazing food, and even take a day trip out of the city

How many days in Madrid is enough?

If you don’t want to go on a day trip and don’t care about museums, you can do Madrid in 2 days. If you want to see it all, we recommend 3-4 days in Madrid.

Let’s Wrap This Up: 4 Days in Madrid Itinerary 

Phew! We got there! Madrid is our favorite city and it’s easy to see why with how much there is to do in this Madrid 4-day itinerary! From delicious food and vibrant culture to museums to beautiful parks and architecture, Madrid really has something for everyone and it’s a great city anytime of the year!

Your itinerary really needs to include an awesome food tour! If you want all the details you can read our full Madrid food tour guide – you’ll even get a sneak peek at some of the eats!

More helpful posts on Madrid:

Free Email Course: Madrid Made Easy

Discover everything you need to know to plan an EPIC Madrid Getaway in our free email course!
A couple stands embracing while looking at the Almudena Cathedral during sunset in Madrid, with the grand architecture and clear skies in the background

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