Visiting Madrid: Things you Should Know Before You Go to Spain’s Capital

By  //  October 19, 2021

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We can’t think of Europe and not picture in our mind one of its most famous cities: Madrid. This capital is filled with all sorts of tourist spots, hundreds of museums, bars, and historic buildings, as well as an unlimited list of activities for everyone to enjoy during their visit.

Maybe you want to know the reason why so many people talk about this place so much, perhaps you desire to visit “the old continent” and grant yourself an unforgettable trip, or even get to know about a different culture and at the same time learn Spanish in Madrid.

Regardless of the motivations in the back of your mind, you can’t miss the opportunity to travel to this huge city, where every person can adapt it to their needs and hopes, and get the best of one of the most populated cities in Europe.

So, let’s talk about key tips that you should know before traveling to Madrid, shall we?

Before everything else, plan your trip

Madrid’s extension is about 604 km2 (233.206 sq mi), so it’s not just a capital with loads of things to do, but also is a big city and has a lot to cover when it comes to tourist’s activity. So, the best advice you can get is to plan beforehand, so that you don’t force yourself to improvise during your stay and lose the chance to do plans you could have enjoyed.

This planning includes, first of all, defining the number of days that you are going to stay there. Is it going to be a three-day stay? Are you thinking of getting to know the city, its people, and tourist spots?

At the same time, it is a priority that you can point to the intention of your journey: do you want to be only a tourist? Are you planning to apply for a job in this city in the recent future? Do you want to study or take a Spanish course in Madrid to master the language? 

These is important questions that will lead you to the best experience, and grant you the advantage of booking rooms, seats on tours, tables at restaurants or tickets to a show or festival, and setting the best date to enjoys your visit.

Where to stay in Madrid?

This obviously depends on the plans you made before, but the fact is that most tourist spots, events are at the city center, so it might be the best option to book a room near that zone, so you can wander and tour on foot most of the time.

Transport and moving in Madrid

One of the best ways to move inside the capital is by Metro. For a few euros, you can get almost anywhere you want to be, and there are metro cards for tourists that allow you to save a lot of money.

Buses are a great transport too, but you can get to most places by Metro. Taxis can be the most expensive option available, so you might avoid taking one unless you are in a real hurry or urgency.

Likewise, you can rent a bike and tour around Madrid in a sporty way.

Don’t forget to look for free activities

There are dozens of places to visit without spending a single cent. This does not mean you can enter every important building or tour for free, but you can surely rest your head and avoid using your cards or wallets on every step you take.

You can’t miss Puerta del Sol, the Almudena Cathedral, walking Mayor Street, and enjoy the view of the Egyptian temple of Devod. The Cibeles Fountain, the Buen Retiro Park o the Crystal Palace are also beautiful sights to see.

Additionally, there are a lot of free tours, where you can learn about the city, about Spain, and communicate with other visitors and locals. Small tip: taking Spanish lessons in Madrid at institutes like expanish can be a good way to prepare yourself to communicate, and meeting people from all over the country at the same time.

Attention hours and meal timing

As you should know, European countries don’t use the same schedules as United States, so it is very important to be advised about this.

Most shops tend to open at 10 a.m, and if you want to have lunch or dinner, they do it later than Americans, meaning they can lunch at 2 p.m. and dinner at 9 or 10 p.m. 

However, we are talking about a cosmopolitan city, and capital of the country, so there are bars and restaurants that serve food over a wide range of hours, so tourists can dine whenever they wish to. But if you want to make plans with locals, consider this “local” dining time.

Is there a “best” time of the year?

This could lead to a long debate, but to be clear: in Madrid, summers are very hot, and winters are very cold. So, the “grey areas” of autumn or spring could be a nice option to consider.

Spring begins on March 20 and ends on June 21. Autumn takes place on September 22, and ends on December 21. Also, it could be an unforgettable memory to experience Christmas on Madrid, because the local festivities and parties are unique.

But you can go in summer or winter if you like because Madrid never sleeps, so during any season of the year there are a lot of festivals, events or shows, and the region is filled with visitors, tourists and all kinds of events for you to appreciate.


Whether you wish to have a relaxed stay or getting a full tourist experience, or even study Spanish in Madrid, visiting this city will be one of the best decisions you could ever make.

Every neighborhood, every museum, every gallery, stadium or park, is waiting for your presence to offer the greatest trips and the most delicious food and drinks you could ever imagine. Just be wise and don’t forget to plan and make reservations in advance, so you can access low prices and big discounts.