As the capital city of Spain, there’s plenty to see and do with 2 days in Madrid. From historical attractions to vibrant night life to a delicious foodie scene, the city offers a little bit of everything for everyone.
This 2-day Madrid itinerary is meant to give you some ideas on how to fill your 48 hours in Madrid rather than lay it out hour by hour. That being said let’s jump into it.
How to Spend 2 Days in Madrid
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Getting From Madrid Airport to City Center
If you’re arriving into Madrid via the Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport, there are plenty of options for getting from the airport into the city center.
Madrid Airport to City Center via Metro
You can take metro line 8 (the pink line) which departs from every terminal in the airport and arrives at “Nuevos Ministerios.” From there, you’ll likely have to hop on another line to make it to your accommodations.
Madrid Airport to City Center via Bus
There is also a 24-hour, 365 airport bus. Airport Express bus (Express 203 Line) runs every 15-20 minutes and takes about 40 minutes to arrive at the Atocha station with other stops in between. From Atocha, you can hop on the metro or grab a taxi to get to your accommodations. More about getting a taxi from Atocha below.
Madrid Airport to City Center via Taxi or Private Transfer
The most convenient and effortless, albeit not the cheapest way to get from the Madrid airport is by booking a private transfer or grabbing a taxi.
Getting From Atocha Train Station to Madrid City Center
Atocha is the main train station in Madrid. If you’re coming from or going to another city in Spain, you’ll most likely be arriving or departing from Atocha. Let me just tell you… this train station is a little bit confusing. There’s like 3 different types of trains/metros that go through Atocha, and thus different tickets you need for each.
So, if you’re trying to stick to public transport to get to the city center, ask one of the attendants to help navigate you to the right area so you get the right ticket and on the right train.
On the other hand, there is a taxi stall outside. Just note that the taxi line can get LONG. It moves pretty quick, but there’s still quite a wait. So, don’t be like us and book an activity close to your train arrival because chances are it’ll take you a bit of time to get to your accommodations.
Whether you’re coming from the airport or Atocha station, I highly recommend taking a taxi or private transfer. With only 48 hours in Madrid, it’s best to take the most convenient option to your accommodation so you can get out and start exploring.
Where to Stay for 2 Days in Madrid
Soho Boutique Opera
Soho Boutique Opera is a great place to stay in Madrid. Right in the heart of the city, it’s within walking distance of Mercado San Miguel, Plaza Mayor, Gran Via, and the Royal Palace of Madrid. The decor is simple but beautiful. My only complaint, and it’s nothing to do with the hotel itself, is that the street sweep / garbage truck that comes around at night is very loud. We had our patio door open to let in some cool air and had to get up to close it to keep the noise out. Other than that, it was a wonderful place to stay while we were in Madrid.
Book Your Stay at Soho Boutique Opera
Other Hotels in Madrid I would Stay at:
Where to Eat & Drink During Your 2 Days in Madrid
Madrid is full of trendy restaurants and bars. If you want a deep dive on where to eat in Madrid, check out my Madrid food guide. Otherwise, here are my top recommendations:
- Han So 2 – good coffee
- Bar La Campana – delicious bocadillos de calamares
- Salmon Guru – amazing craft cocktails
- La Rollarie – good american style breakfast options
Things to Do with 2 Days in Madrid
Royal Palace of Madrid
With over 3,000 rooms, the Royal Palace of Madrid is the largest in Europe. The palace is the official residence of the royal family, but is currently only used for ceremonies. You can explore various parts of the palace just know that there are very few areas where photos and videos are allowed. And in case you’re thinking of sneaking a photo or two, the guards in each room are very quick to tell you to put away your phones or cameras if they see them snapping or recording.
Take a Day Trip to Toledo
One of the most popular things to do while in Madrid, is to get out of the city and take a day trip to Toledo. This is actually what we did on our 2nd day in Madrid and I highly recommend it. We DIY’d our trip, but there are group tours available if you don’t feel like navigating it yourself.
Plaza Mayor is the main square in Madrid. There’s all sorts of little shops and restaurants with terraces that you can enjoy a coffee or bite at. You’ll also find different events happening in the square such as outdoor concerts and a sizable Christmas market in December.
Go Shopping on Gran Via
If you’re looking to do some shopping while in Madrid, head to Gran Via. There you’ll find high-street staples such as H&M, Sephora, Bershka, Zara, and more. There’s also plenty of eateries around in case you need some fuel after shopping till you drop.
Mercado de San Miguel
Mercado de San Miguel is a food market hall filled with lots of yummy food and beverage options. Get some fresh sliced Iberian ham, check out the olive bar, or grab yourself an Aperol spritz. There’s also plenty to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Visit Retiro Park
Retiro Park or El Retiro, belonged to the Spanish Monarchy until it became a public park in the late 19th century. The park is one of the largest in Madrid and is where you can find the insta-famous Palacio de Cristal conservatory. There’s also a lake where you can rent rowboats to go out on the water.
See a Flamenco Show
A nice pre or post-dinner thing to do in Madrid is to go see a flamenco show. There are plenty of show options throughout the city. We saw the show at Tablao Flamenco 1911 and thoroughly enjoyed it. We were also looking at going to the show at Corral de la Morería, which was featured in “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” but it was booked on our date.
I will be honest, out of all the places I visiting during my 10 day trip to Spain and Portugal, Madrid was my least favorite. Maybe I needed more than 2 days in Madrid to really enjoy it, but it took me less than 5 minutes to fall in love with Seville so, idk!
Either way I hope you found this post helpful and if you did, pin it to reference later!
Emily Wilson5 months ago
I LOVED my brief time in Barcelona. I’m hankering to get back to Spain, but Madrid isn’t really one of the places calling to me. However, it is the best way to get a direct flight, so I could use a plan like this to spend a little bit of time before moving on to the places I’m more interested in visiting.
A Capone Connection5 months ago
I was just in Barcelona last month but I’d love to see Madrid next time I’m in Spain. It looks so beautiful. Saving this for my next visit. Thanks!