During my return flight from Panama to the Netherlands, I had a long transfer of 9 hours in Madrid. Well, what can you do in that time? In any case, you don’t have to wait at the airport because you can have fun in Madrid in one day!

Did you know that Barcelona is also a very nice city for a citytrip? Read more about the top 10 sights in Barcelona.

Madrid in one day: Top 5 sights & activities

Madrid is quite a big city. The city has many sights and museums. Of course I have not been able to see everything during my visit to Madrid in one day. Since I had quite a long flight and had barely closed an eye, I had no super busy schedule. I wanted to see the city, eat some tapas and rest a bit.

1. Parque de el Retiro

From the airport I took Metro 8 and got off at Colombia. Here I switched to Metro 9 towards Arganda del Rey and got off at the Príncipe de Vergara stop. At 5 minutes walking distance you’ll find Parque de el Retiro. This is quite a large city park. Here I sat on a bench at the large pond and enjoyed the sun. You can rent a boat on the large pond.

2. Palacio de Cibeles

Palacio de Cibeles is quite nearby the park. Here you have to pay € 2 for the observation tower. Please note; at noon you cannot enter the watchtower. Opening hours are Tuesday – Sunday 10:30 AM – 1:30 PM / 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM. Of course I got there exactly when the lookout was closed. The inside of the palace is also nice to visit.

paleis madrid in een dag

3. Puerta del Sol

After the palace I continued to Puerta del Sol; the large central square in the center of Madrid. From the palace it’s about a 15 minute walk, but you can also choose to take metro 2 from Banco de España. The famous statue Oso y Madroño is located on this square.

4. San Miguel food market

The San Miguel food market is a 5 minute walk from Puerta del Sol. This large covered market has a lot of stalls selling meat, fish, cheese, but also sandwiches and sweets. It’s incredibly busy and you sometimes have to squeeze through it. It’s quite fine to walk around here and check out the stalls, but I didn’t have to stay there for a long time.

San Miguel Foodmarket madrid in een dag

Tapas in Madrid

If you are in Madrid, you must try some tapas of course! I ate some very tasty tapas at Rosi La Loca. This nicely decorated restaurant offers enough choice to try different kind of tapas. The prices are also not too bad.

Transport in Madrid

The airport in Madrid is quite large. You can arrive in terminal T1, T2, T3 or T4. Terminal T4 is a little further from the others, but this is no problem. There’s a shuttle train that connects the terminals.

Fortunately it’s very easy to get to the center of Madrid by metro. The metro to and from the airport is line 8. If you switch to another metro, you do not have to scan your ticket again.

Metro lijn 8 madrid

I thought it was most convenient to buy a 10-ride ticket. You can also share this and it is ultimately cheaper than paying per ride. This is certainly sufficient when you visit Madrid for 1 day.

For more information about prices, check the official website of Madrid metro.

See also the Madrid metro map.