10 Best Things To Do in Madrid | Spain

Updated: Jul 25, 2020

Oh, Madrid!

At last! I finally made it to the capital of Spain. I think I’ve been to Spain about six times in the last year, and this is the furthest north I’ve been. And I have to say, Madrid is probably my favorite “big city” in Europe. Everything about it was so charming. And the Spanish they speak in Madrid is so crisp and pure, as opposed to the tough accents they have down south.

I feel like everywhere I went the bartenders, servers and uber drivers were calling me “guapa,” which means beautiful, but in an endearing way, like “what can I get for you, beautiful?” I met my little sister Adela, 21, in Madrid for a super long weekend, Wednesday to Sunday. She is currently living in Spain (Sevilla) through Colorado State studying abroad. And I loved hearing her take on the country and its people. As you know, we are currently in the process of getting our Spanish citizenship.

Adela tells me the whole country lives by this motto, “no pasa nada,” which directly translates to “nothing happens” but means more like: don’t worry about it, nothing happened or chillax about it. People say this if you accidentally bump into them, are worried about something, or seem distressed. You will also hear people say, “tranquilo” or “tranquila” which means relax/smile/chill; it is a sweet gesture. My sister says if she buys a bag of chips at the store and starts opening them in the street the old people will yell at her to relax, meaning she shouldn’t eat in a hurry but should instead get home and eat in a relaxed state.

If you know anything about Spain you know about their “siestas” or mid-day naps. The whole country chills out from about 3-7PMish and takes a mini nap. People here wake up late, they start work around 10 AM and usually don’t eat dinner until about 9-10 PM. I find their way of life to be freeing and happy. That being said, I don’t think many Spaniards would get along well in our regular fast-paced American 8-5 world LOL.

Overall, Madrid was a lovely, slower-paced city with food from Spanish gods and goddesses. I live for the Spanish tapas! We stayed in central Madrid in the Las Letras neighborhood, it was the perfect location to walk to all of these things listed below. Enjoy!


Lindley's Madrid Top Ten

Royal Palace

Via Wikipedia, “The Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish royal family at the city of Madrid, although now only used for state ceremonies. The palace has 135,000 square meters of floor space and contains 3,418 rooms. It is the largest functioning royal palace and the largest by floor area in Europe.” But seriously, it is magnificent and you must go see it. The whole palace is adorned with gold, even the fences and light posts. The king currently lives in there, but the building is so large, that he opens up one side for tourists to go see inside. Also next door is the Amundo Church where the royals get married -- stop there too!

Colorful streets in La Latina

This neighborhood is a maze of tight streets painted different colors that is filled with little tapa bars and cantinas. It is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Madrid, it was built on a medieval Islamic fort. If you are in the area you have to go get tapas on Calle Cava Baja, it is a famous tapa street where locals hangout—the tapas bars are packing in tightly and their restaurants pour out onto the street (note they do not open until 7 PM).

La Platea