Madrid, originally Myrit, was set up by Moors in about 700 AD, to fight against Catholic Spanish stronghold of Toledo which used to be the old capital of the Castile kingdom.
- Public transport is good, get a Metro card with ten tickets, it can even be shared simultaneously.
- Beware of pickpockets.
- Credit card acceptance is high, but not 100%.
- Churros + hot chocolate are famous in Madrid.
- The city has pedestrianized itself over time, so the city center is entirely car-free.
Start your day with a walking tour. I would recommend history focused Sandeman’s walking tour and tourism-focused Rick Steve’s self-guided audio tour. After the tour, check out Puerta Del Sol, the Sun Gate. There are quite a few small interesting spots here, for example, the bear climbing the tree which is on the city’s Coat of Arms and the 0 KM sign.
Head out to Plaza Mayor which historically used to be the city center and a local open market used to be held on the square. Before leaving the square, don’t forget to check out the museum devoted to the bullfighting. Bullfighting is banned in Barcelona (Catalonia), so, if you want to want to see bullfighting, see it in Madrid.
From here, head to the old city capitol checking out the oldest functioning door in the city along the way.
Next stop would be the palace, with 2800 rooms, it is the largest palace in the world in terms of the floor space.
The cathedral next door converted from a mosque, is a famous one and is free to visit. In the evening, art lovers can check out the Prada Museum, which has no entry fee after 4 PM. Chocolateria San Gines, a 24-hour hot chocolate + churros shop, is popular among locals and tourists alike. I would highly recommend having both churros as well as Purros with chocolate here.
A library running since 1650 is next door.
Start your day with the free History Museum. I found it to be a pretty average of experience. The entrance to the History Museum is pretty cool, though.
Then check out Doleman De Dali. One of his sculptures looks like huge cricket stumps.
From here, head to the nearby Parque De El Retiro which has Palacio De Velazquez housing a free exhibition from Reina Sofia Museum.
Crystal Palace is nearby, and if you are interested in Botany, then a Botanical Garden is in the vicinity as well. I enjoyed a small arts presentation inside the Botanical Garden.
Don’t leave Madrid before attending a Flamenco show. The earliest in the evening starts at 5:30 PM at La Taberna De Mister Pinkleton.