Is Madrid Worth Visiting? 27 Pros and Cons (Insiders Guide)

Planning a Spanish holiday and wondering “Is Madrid worth visiting?” or should you go to Barcelona instead, you’re in the right place because Caleb and I are Madrid experts and have the inside scoop!

Madrid is the capital city of Spain however, when most tourists think of visiting Spain, they immediately plan to visit Barcelona first and might even skip Madrid! We were those people back in the day but then Caleb and I started planning a trip to Madrid and fell in love with the city! So much so that I am writing this post from my AirBnB in Madrid on our 7th visit to the city! We’ve spent so much time in Madrid and even plan to move there in the next 5 years so we consider ourselves insiders on this beautiful city!

So, why visit Madrid, Spain? Whether you are a couple who wants to experience amazing museums, eat incredible food, or just relax in beautiful parks Madrid has it all! Here are some highlights you could see if you visit!

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From the author: We have been to Madrid 7 times and during every single season of the year so we feel like we know a lot about this city! If you have any questions after reading the post, please leave a comment and we will get back to you quickly!

The “Too Long Didn’t Read”

We 100% believe that Madrid is worth visiting and will not disappoint you. However, we also want to make sure that we always give truthful and unbiased insight so, in this travel guide for Madrid, we also want to share some cons you have to consider when deciding if Madrid is worth it for you!

Let’s dive in and explore the 21 pros of visiting Madrid, followed by 6 cons to consider!

21 Reasons To Visit Madrid: The Pros

1. Incredible Tapas Bars and Food in General  

When people ask us “What is Madrid known for?” we always say the Spanish cuisine! A trip to Madrid means we’re bringing our stretchy pants – the food is AMAZING! While we loved the traditional Mallorcan food we tried on Spain’s island, nothing beats eating all the best food in Madrid. NOTHING.

If you visit Madrid, here are the places that you have to eat or we can’t be friends anymore (I’m kidding. Or, am I?)

  • Taberna La Concha – the vermouth and Thai fish meatballs are an absolute must. If the fish balls weird you out, PLEASE try the vermouth. It’s the Souvenir from Spain we ALWAYS bring home.
  • Taberna El Sur – The cod scrambled eggs are heaven on Earth. I know, all these fish things sound weird but just TRUST. We won’t steer your stomach wrong.
  • GatoGato This is a great romantic date spot that you NEED reservations for. The charred lettuce with pistachio sauce will make you want to grill your salad for the rest of your life.
  • If you want a more local experience, check out our guide to the local’s tapas street! Then read our Ultimate Tapas Guide so you know how to not look like a tourist!

INSIDER TIP: You will save SO much time trying to figure out everywhere to eat if you start your vacation with this food walking tour, promise. We went on it and LOVED it. So much amazing food and a fantastic host that will tell you a lot about the city aside from food. By the end of the night, the whole tour was best friends! It’s also a great option if you are short on time and want to eat the most and best food possible!

2. Great Food Halls

While there are so many great tapas bars in the Spanish Capital, there are plenty of AMAZING markets to get a bite to eat or even shop for more local groceries! They are super fun to walk around, people watch and try some unique foods.

Our favorite food halls are:

People relaxing at a cafe on a street in Madrid

3. More Authentic Spanish Experience 

What we love about Madrid (especially versus Barcelona) is that you get a more authentic Spanish experience without even trying. It’s like you can just walk around a corner and feel a more local vibe, especially if you visit Madrid during the off-season travel months!

4. Super Fun Nightlife

Considering Caleb and I are a couple that are no longer in our 20’s, the late-party-all-night scene is behind us but Madrid still has the most incredible nightlife aside from bars and clubs! There are trendy cocktail bars or cozy, romantic vermouth or wine bars open until the wee hours of the morning (or, all night long!) The evenings are always buzzing, especially if you’re in Madrid on a weekend, and it feels like a city that never sleeps in the most fun way! We are very seasoned travelers and we think that Madrid has some of the best nightlife in all of Europe!

Of course, if you want add “party the night away” to your bucket list in Madrid, it has that in spades too!

A man sitting at a table holding a glass of Spanish Vermouth

5. It’s Super Safe

Madrid is an incredibly safe city to visit which should be important to you when traveling, ya? According to Numbeo, the crime rate is only 26% and Madrid has a safety index of almost 74%! Caleb and I have never felt unsafe or threatened even on that one night when we did drink too much Rioja and kept falling asleep on the metro at 2 am.

… You can’t make that up folks. It happened to us once! 

Free Email Course: Madrid Made Easy

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

6. Friendly People

Madrilenos (the local term for people who live in Madrid) are the friendliest people we’ve encountered in all of our travels across almost 40 countries. Even if they can’t speak English they will try to communicate with you and at least give you a big smile. Caleb and I found them to be friendlier than the people we met when we visited Barcelona, Granada, Seville, Valencia, and San Sebastian! They were similar in friendliness to Mallorca, so we also think the island is worth checking out too!

7. English Is (Relatively) Widely Spoken

If you are visiting tourist areas such as the historic center or Gran Via, you will find that English is pretty widely spoken, especially by the younger generation.

However, you should still learn the basics in Spanish such as “hello,” “goodbye” “thank you” and “please” so you can respect the culture and language of the people! Just like learning the proper way to spell Mallorca, a little effort goes a long way!

The palacio de real in Madrid Spain

8. Beautiful Architecture

Whether you’re a couple who loves architecture or not, seeing the gorgeous buildings around Madrid is one of the things that makes it such a beautiful city! There are so many interesting and unexpected buildings like the Egyptian Temple De Debod. I promise you read that right and it’s not the vermouth taking – there is an EGYPTIAN temple in Spain.  

Some of our other favorite buildings are:

  • Pretty much all the architecture walking down the Gran Via, especially the Metropolis Building
  • ​​Las Torres Blancas
  • Atocha train station
  • Plaza de Espana
  • Almudena Cathedral 
  • The Royal Palace
The prado museum in Madrid, Spain

9. World-Renowned Museums  

While we are not HUGE into museums, it’s something you need to know about if you are! Madrid is home to some of the best museums in the entire world and even has a “Golden Triangle of art” that is a must-visit for art and history-loving couples! You can walk between all the best museums in 10-20 minutes!

The museums inside the triangle are:

Insider Tip: For couples who want to experience both the awesome art and culture of Madrid in combination with the delish food, you should go on this Prado Tour with Vip Botin Lunch! You will get an incredible guided tour of the Prado museum (and skip the line!) plus have lunch at the oldest working restaurant in the ENTIRE WORLD. HELLO!

The Crystal Cathedral in Retiro Park, Madrid

10. Super Beautiful Green Spaces

While Madrid is a big city with lots of buildings, bars, and a city vibe, Caleb and I LOVE that it also has some beautiful parks and big, green spaces to relax at. We always make a point to stop at the Retiro Park and hang out with the other locals just living their lives.


Rent a row boat in the summer inside the park for something romantic to do! Or, we love just sitting on the steps outside the Crystal Palace (in front of the pond and water fountain) and watching the ducks!

For something less touristy, head over to Casa De Campo – Madrid’s biggest park! It’s like their version of New York’s Central Park but WAY bigger. It has lots to do!

The royal palace in Madrid at sunset

11. It’s Romantic

We couldn’t write a travel blog about couples without mentioning the romance! We think Madrid is more romantic than Barcelona because of the more cozy and authentic vibe that the city has. Catching sunset at Temple de Debod or the Palace then holing up in tiny tapas bars, sharing food and a bottle of delicious Spanish wine or Vermouth is the perfect, romantic way to spend an evening!

Madrid is romantic by day too! You can get lost in the MANY adorable side streets, stroll hand-in-hand in Retiro Park, or wander the beautiful Botanical Gardens right beside Retiro! Better yet, get into the countryside of Madrid and go on this guided tour to some amazing wineries! Oh la la!

A man dancing flamenco in a red outfit on a stage.

12. Many Activities to See and Do

While some people say Madrid doesn’t have a lot to see and do, we totally disagree. You have so many tourist attractions like all the museums, the palace, the cathedral or a flamenco show to add to your Madrid itinerary!

But you also have more off-the-beaten-path things to fill your time like finding the secret nun cookies in a monastery or going on this amazing food tour to experience some of the best food you’ll ever eat. Seriously – stretchy pants are an investment you need to make.

13. Fantastic Day Trips

Madrid is right smack dab in the middle of Spain which makes it a GREAT base to explore other cities, especially if you plan to have a few days in Madrid!

Caleb and I ADORE a day trip to Cordoba as it’s such a unique, beautiful, and romantic city with the white-washed and flower-studded walls of the Jewish Quarter!

Some other great day trips are Segovia, Toledo, or Avila!

Pro Tip: If you’re a couple who wants to see all 3 of these cities while still maximizing your time, we recommend this day trip! It will allow you to see Segovia, Toledo, and Avila without the headache of planning the day or transportation between all the cities. SUCH a lifesaver to maximize your time exploring!

14. It’s Very Walkable

The city center of Madrid is relatively compact compared to many of the other European Cities that Caleb and I have traveled to. This is great for couples like us who don’t want to rent and car and prefer to use our feet to get around (hello – it means you can eat more before STRETCHY PANTS: ENGAGE!) and it makes Madrid SUPER walkable!

two trains sitting side by side in Madrid Atocha train station

15. Awesome Public Transportation

But, on the other hand, if you a. Hate walking or b. Like walking but drinking too much vermouth, Madrid has EXCELLENT transportation. Madrid has a metro, a suburban train, and excellent buses that are affordable!

16. You Can See a lot in a Few Days (Without Renting a Car!)

Unlike other areas of Spain where it’s a good idea to rent a car, such as Mallorca, Madrid is not that! Because all the attractions are relatively close by and compact you can see A LOT in just a few days by foot or public transport. 

Save those hard-earned bucks for more tapas, wine, and museums! Or, perhaps for that food tour, I am not going to stop telling you to go on because it’s one of the best we’ve done and I want you to eat good food. You’re welcome.

17. Relatively Affordable Compared to Other European Countries

While Madrid is not the cheapest place you could pick to visit, it’s certainly a lot cheaper than other big cities in Europe like Copenhagen, Paris, or Vienna (we’ve been to all 3, so we can guarantee this!) You can find AMAZING tapas for cheap and wine is also very cheap compared to the USA (and better, I might add! Don’t shoot me Californians!) You could also partake in the “Menu Del Dia” that many restaurants offer at lunch which is a 2-course meal for relatively cheap!

Hotels and AirBnBs are also cheaper than a lot of other cities, especially American cities! You might not get a lot of space but, if you’re like us, you’re never in the room anyway so you can save some bucks here for more fun stuff while you guys are out exploring!

A beautiful and lush green park with a wide walking path

18. The Weather is Quite Comfortable

We have been to Madrid in every single season and we have always found it to be pretty comfortable! We’ve experienced weather in the winter in the 50’s and even 60’s! Of course, it does get colder than that at times and the Summers can get hot but the dry climate makes it mostly lovely! While we think the best time to go to Madrid is the fall, it’s great all the time!

19. Easy to Fly Into from North America

Something you may not consider is the ease of getting there. Because Madrid-Barajas Airport is a large international airport, you should be able to find many flights there from the USA or Canada! You likely need one layover in between but it could be a lot worse if you try to fly to other, smaller airports in Europe!

20. Only 30 Minutes By Train From the Airport to City Center

Another thing that you may not consider is getting to the city from the airport! This is ESPECIALLY important to consider if you only have a day or two in Madrid and want to capitalize on your time!

You can use public transport to get city center from the airport in just 30 mins with only one change!


You could also take an Uber or Bolt! HOWEVER, we do not recommend doing this. It says it’s only 30 minutes but traffic in Madrid can get so crazy that it ends up doubling that time! It’s cheaper and faster to take public transport!

21. Diverse Hotel/Airbnb Options

Even though we feel like a “room is just a room” it’s always nice to stay in something comfortable and that feels good for your budget! You’ll find many options in Madrid such as fancy (and expensive!) hotels, hostels, or more cozy and local-feeling apartment rentals!

>> Click here to check out prices for locations around the city with good ratings <<

By now it’s pretty obvious that we think the answer to “Is Madrid worth visiting” is absolutely YES. But, we want to keep it real with you because a blog is supposed to be helpful and offer different perspectives and we don’t want to be biased just because WE love Madrid.

6 Cons of Visiting Madrid You Have to Consider

a beautiful side street with yellow buildings and cafe chairs in Madrid

1. Big city life

While we LOVE that Madrid is a big city this might not be what you’re looking for. If you are looking for quaint villages, you may want to skip Madrid! Mallorca might be worth visiting for you instead!

2. No Beaches

If a beachy, Spanish trip is on your mind you will be incredibly disappointed when that swimsuit comes out only to use the hotel pool and you go home just as pasty-white as before you left! There are no beaches super close to Madrid as it’s in the center of the country!

If you want beaches, check out our couples guide to Mallorca as this is a better area of Spain for you two to explore!

3. Hot Summers

Summers in Madrid can get hot and sticky and up to 40 degrees F which is very uncomfortable (trust us, we’ve experienced it.) If you’re not a fan of that kind of heat, you may not love Madrid in the Summer.

A woman in a pink dress standing in front of a pool with trees
I’m thinking about jumping in that pool to cool down here.

4. More expensive than in other places in Spain

While Madrid is relatively cheap compared to other parts of Europe, it is more expensive than other cities in Spain seeing as it’s a big city (although, it’s cheaper than Barcelona!)

If you are looking to save a buck, consider other cities like Valencia or Granada for a Spanish getaway! We have been to both and both are romantic and fun!

5. Crowds

If you travel during June-August, the peak times, Madrid can become VERY busy with tourists (although less than Barcelona!) So, keep this in mind if you want a less crowded vacation spot!

6. Neighborhoods are not that diverse

Okay, this is a spicy opinion! I know so many people think the neighborhoods in Madrid are SUPER diverse, but we disagree. Sure, the neighborhoods between the downtown city center and the residential areas of Madrid are very different but the neighborhoods that make up the city center? Not so much!

While we love exploring areas like La Latina, Lavapies, or Malasana, we wouldn’t say they are so diverse as they can be in other Spanish cities. For example, you know the instant you step into the Jewish Quarter of Cordoba!

If wandering between totally different neighborhoods is a “thing” for you, just keep this in mind!

FAQ on Visting Madrid

When is the best time to visit Madrid?

The best time to visit Madrid is the shoulder season of Spring or Fall. You will still get warm weather, it’s not scorching yet and there are fewer tourists!

Is Madrid or Barcelona Better to Visit?

We prefer visiting Madrid versus Barcelona for more reasonable prices, fewer tourists and a more authentic, Spanish experience!

Is Madrid Worth Visiting in the Winter?

Madrid is absolutely worth visiting in the winter! The weather is relatively mild, you won’t see much snow and there are way fewer tourists and you may be able to check out some Christmas Markets! 

How Many Days in Madrid is Enough?

We think the ideal amount of days in Madrid is 3-5. This allows you to explore the main sites and even do a day trip or two to explore more of Spain!

Is Madrid A Good Holiday Destination In Summer?

It depends. We find that Madrid is too hot and busy in the Summer so we prefer the Spring or Fall. If you’re looking for the most things going on paired with the hottest weather, you will love Madrid in the Summer!

Let’s Wrap This Up: Is Madrid Worth Visiting?

After visiting the city 7 times, we feel confident saying that Madrid is 100% worth visiting! The city is buzzing with things to do, amazing nightlife and food, and incredible culture and history around every corner and it really just does have something for every couple!

However, we understand that travel is subjective, and what we love, you guys may not. So, you should keep in mind the pros and cons listed in this article.

Now that you know that Madrid is worth visiting, it’s time to start planning your trip! The most important thing to decide when you start planning is to figure out how long to stay! We can help with our guide to how many days to spend in Madrid!

So, are you going to try to visit Madrid anytime soon?

Other Helpful Posts:

What is the Legal Drinking Age in Spain?

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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