Is Madrid Walkable? 10 Things to Know for An Awesome Trip

Planning a Spanish getaway to Madrid but wondering if you need to shell out money to rent a car or is Madrid walkable enough to save some cash? We’re here to help!

Caleb and I LOVE Madrid so much we have been there 6 times, plan to move there eventually, and have walked through the entire city, so we know a thing or 10 about its walkability. So, is it Madrid walkable? We say 100% yes, Madrid is one of the most walkable cities that we have been to in all of Europe! You really don’t need a car in Madrid! So, if you’re a couple that wants to see it all but wants to walk around to save some bucks on transportation (more money for tapas and Rioja, yes please!) then Madrid is perfect for you!

In this post, we’re sharing 10 reasons why we think Madrid is a very walkable city and why you don’t need to rent a car when visiting, even if you just have a few days in Madrid!! Let’s get into it starting with a quick video of some of the beautiful streets of Madrid!

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YouTube video

From the author: Caleb and I have traveled to Madrid 6 times and walked everywhere so we definitely feel like experts on the subject! If you have any questions about planning your trip and walking, please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you quickly!

1. Small Historic City Center

Compared to other Metropolitan cities around Europe, Madrid’s historic city center is relatively compact. For the most part, you can walk between all the major attractions in under 30 minutes and don’t need to use public transportation! In fact, Idealista named Madrid one of the 20 most walkable cities in the world!

Caleb and I have stayed in many districts during the almost 10 times we’ve been to Madrid such as Malsaña, Chueca, and La Latina and we found we could walk to most attractions, places to buy amazing gifts to bring back from Spain, bars, and restaurants in 10-20 minutes. Just make sure you have good walking shoes – we swear by our Allbirds! Cute and comfortable.


If you do plan to walk, spend a little bit more money and stay in the main districts like Chueca, Malsaña, La Latina, Embajadores, or Bario De La Letras so that everything can be easily reached on foot. Calen and I tried to do it “cheap” once and stayed in Salamanca and it was 40 minutes on foot into the main area. Not so great after one too many glasses of Rioja when the last thing you want to do is walk…you know?

a beautiful cobblestone street in Madrid with colorful buildings

2. The Main Attractions Are Close Together

Another thing that makes Madrid walkable is that most of the main attractions are within the city center as opposed to being spread out around the city center and city outskirts. Because the city center is so compact this makes all the main attractions close together and easily walkable by foot, especially if you are planning a 3 or 4-day itinerary in Madrid and have some extra time!

For example, you could walk to all 3 of the famous museums – the Prado Museum, The Reina Sofia, and Thyssen-Bornemisza, aka “The Golden Triangle of Art” – in just 15 minutes! Or, you could go from The Royal Palace of Madrid to Plaza Mayor in just 10 minutes! 

I think I just head to your feet and take a sigh of relief.

Must see attractions on a map

Here is a quick map I made with the main attractions and walking paths so that you can see how close everything is. Feel free to print this map if you want to do your own self-guided walking tour as well!

3. Awesome Pedestrian Streets

While you can obviously walk along the streets with cars in Madrid, it’s always enjoyable to not have to take a trip back to the 90s and play Frogger when crossing the street (am I showing my age?) I think Madrid agrees because they have closed down some of their squares and streets to cars and kept them “feet only” as I would say. This is excellent news if you’re like Caleb and me and want to walk around Madrid for your vacation!

Some of the best Pedestrian streets and squares to check out are:

  • Puerta Del Sol
  • Calles Preciados
  • Calle Carmen
  • Calle Montera
  • Fuencarral
  • Calle Huertas 
  • Plaza España
  • All the lovely little streets that jut out from the large Gran Via

4. Great Sidewalks

Caleb and I have walked in cities all around Europe and we have to say that Madrid’s sidewalks are excellent. In other cities, you might need to cash in the travel insurance that I know you actually didn’t buy because you fell into some sidewalk crevice, but not in Madrid. Considering we’ve been to Madrid 6 times, walking 10-15 miles per day each time, we feel like sidewalk experts of the city (My mom would be so proud of this achievement!)

The sidewalks are wide, flat, don’t have a ton of curbs, and *MOSTLY* pain-inducing-crevice free. Of course, there is always the odd one so make sure you look at your feet in between gluing your eyes to your Google Maps app, okay?  

Make sure you watch out for the open beds around trees as I’ve had my foot fall in them a few times and I can’t recommend it.

Free Email Course: Madrid Made Easy

Discover everything you need to know to plan an EPIC Madrid Getaway in our free email course!
a street market in a pedestrian area in Madrid with vendors in tents with people walking

5. Hundreds of Restaurants, bars, and cafes close together

When asking “is Madrid walkable?” you HAVE to consider proximity of the delish Spanish food! You’re in luck because Madrid is absolutely littered with amazing Tapas bars, cocktail bars, wine bars, and trendy cafes that are close together, especially if you’re eating along the Calle de la cava baja or the more local Calle Ponzano. You will be VERY hard-pressed to not find anything awesome within walking distance from where you are staying, even if you stay a little outside of the city center.

6. It’s Safe

Caleb and I have literally never felt unsafe walking around in Madrid, whether we are walking early in the morning or very late at night. I, Taylor, have even been to Madrid with just a girlfriend and we never felt unsafe walking around either.

In fact, according to Numbeo, the safety rating of Madrid is 73/100 where a higher number means the city is safe. The crime rate is around 27 and a lower number here means less crime in that city. 

a woman standing in a green park in front of a fountain and the crystal palace in Madrid

7. Beautiful Parks

One of our favorite places to stroll around Madrid as a couple is El Retiro Park. Every time we go to Madrid we always go there first because it’s just so relaxing and lovely.

All the green spaces and parks around Madrid, like El Retiro or the adjacent Botanical Gardens, are great for walking, they provide a nice place to relax when your feet inevitably do get tired from walking all day, and are a favorite place for both tourists and locals to wander around, jog or take their dogs out!

8. It’s Flat

Hi, my name is Taylor and my family calls me the most lazy active person they know because I love to be active and walk everywhere, but will complain if I have to do any extra activity like walking up a hill – can we be friends? 😅

With that being said, the city of Madrid is MOSTLY flat which makes spending hours walking around it all day like we do much more body-friendly and enjoyable. Especially after participating in the Spanish drinking culture of Rioja. (see point 1.)

The Gran Via in Madrid is a very walkable street with large sidewalks

9. Amazing Public Transportation

Like many other cities in Europe, Madrid has excellent transportation and the USA really needs to learn a thing or 10. Eventually, you will likely have to jump on something with wheels and Madrid has a metro, a suburban train, and excellent buses that are affordable and great to pair with using your feet. You just don’t need a car here!

10. Restrictions on Cars in City Center

In September of 2021, Madrid decided to do their part in helping out the world by establishing a Low Emission Zone in the city center where only authorized vehicles can travel. The lack of vehicles makes walking a whole lot easier!

Free Walking Tours in Madrid

If you want to walk around to see all the sights and have the best time in Madrid, but don’t want to plan it all yourself, Madrid has SO many free walking tours which make it an even more walkable city! We personally prefer to plan it out ourselves, and you can use the map I made above, but this is an option if you don’t want to DIY it.

Some of the most popular walking tours in Madrid are:

a pedestrian only street in Madrid with yellow buildings,plants and shops


Is Madrid or Barcelona More Walkable?

Madrid is more walkable than Barcelona. Caleb and I have been to both cities and, while both are walkable, Madrid’s city center is more compact which makes it easier to walk around.

Can you walk everywhere in Madrid?

You can walk to most places in Madrid but not EVERYWHERE. If you want to visit some of the attractions on the outskirts of town, such as the Matadero Arts Center, you may need to jump on a bus if you don’t want to walk an hour!

Is Madrid Safe to Walk at Night?

Madrid is very safe to walk at night. However, like all big cities, use your common sense and steer clear of dark streets and alleyways.

Let’s Wrap This Up: Is Madrid Walkable?

So, is Madrid walkable? Caleb and I both agree that Madrid is one of the most walkable cities that we have ever been to and it’s one of the reasons why Madrid is our favorite city in the world! You can see so many attractions, eat amazing food, and feel totally safe while on foot and there is excellent transportation if you do decide to give your feet a rest!

Now that you know how walkable Madrid is, you need to know what to do in Madrid to make sure your vacation is the best! Check out of guide on all the hidden gems in Madrid!

So, do you think you will walk or are you still leaning on a car or relying on public transportation to get around?

After Madrid, Why Not Visit Mallorca?

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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