Madrid in 3 days: A Vibrant Capital full of street art

Madrid in 3 days

Madrid in 3 days: A Vibrant Capital full of street art

We took the morning train from Barcelona to Madrid. We arrived 2.5 hours later at 10:00 am. The tickets cost 223 euros for the 2 of us. We arrived as the city was waking up and breakfast was being served. After dropping our bags, we made our way down hilly streets to explore this bustling yet quaint capital.

Madrid is such a lively capital city. There are many tourists abound but the locals are busily strolling about as well. Michael and I could see ourselves living here. It is funny how a city strikes you in one way or the other and Madrid was love at first sight!

We walked so much taking in this city and did not need to take public transport, though it was readily available!

Madrid in 3 Days: What to see

Plaza Mayor:

This square is situated at the heart of Hapsburg Madrid, the old part of the city. While there, we watched a bachelorette processional drunkenly gallop across the cobblestone plaza. Address: Plaza Mayor, 28012

El Rastro flea market:

On Sunday, you must visit this open-air market. It is the largest one in Europe! “El Rastro” is held from 9am to 3 pm in the historic center and attracts tourists and locals alike. Unfortunately, it was cleaned up by the time we found the street. AddressCalle Ribera de Curtidores, 28005 Madrid, Spain

Mercado de San Miguel

Luckily for us, we found this indoor market full of beer and food kiosks. Madrid really is a haven for markets. AddressPlaza de San Miguel, s/n, 28005 Madrid, Spain

You can visit from Monday to Sunday:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday from 10:00 am to 12:00 am
Thursday, Friday, Saturday: from 10:00 am to 2:00 am

Mercado de la Cebada:

Another one we found, also closed on Sunday, is called Mercado de la Cebado. This second market spans two floors where you can purchase meat, produce, fish, cosmetics, flowers, eyeglasses, upholstery… well, everything you may need… There’s a third floor for storage and a car park too. Address: Plaza de la Cebada, s/n, 28005 Madrid, Spain

Plaza de Espana:

Later, we headed to the Spanish Plaza for scenic views of the skyline and Palacio Real. We relaxed under the shade trees at the Temple Debod. Simple, shaded, and beautiful! We grabbed the metro and headed back towards “home”. Our metro pass was 12.20 euros and had 10 rides available (5 per person) and was good throughout Spain’s metro lines. AddressCalle Mercurio, 8, 28341 Valdemoro, Madrid, Spain

Buen Retiro Park:

This is one of the largest parks of Madrid with 125 hectares and more than 15,000 trees. The Park has many gardens: Vivaces garden, Cecilio Rodríguez gardens (classicist gardens with Andalusian airs), the gardens of the architect Herrero Palacios, la Rosaleda (collection of roses). Address: Plaza de la Independencia, 7, 28001 Madrid, Spain

Alpargatus Shoe Store:

I finally bought shoes in Europe! I never splurge because I am so damn frugal, but I love the shoes over here. I bought a pair of sandals, handmade in Madrid. They are a beautiful taupe color and rope-soled. They rub blisters now, but I know they will be a great shoe once broken in! Address: Preciados Places SL, Paseo del Prado, 14 Madrid, 28014, Spain.

Like what you are reading? Here are more posts on Europe!

1. How to Best Explore Lyon, Chamonix, and Beaune, France

2. How Best to Explore Normandy, Loire Valley, and Avignon, France

3. Explore Paris in 5 days!

4. Explore Northern Italy in 4 days

5. A weekend in Iceland

6. Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast in 6 days

Madrid in 3 days: Where to eat
San Gines:

Spanish celebrities come from all over to dine on this decadent dessert! Churros con chocolate. The place was built in 1890 to be an inn but in 1894 it became the café it is today. Chocolate treats such as truffles, cookies, and chocolate covered orange peels. The café is like Café Du Monde in New Orleans with its green tiles and white marble décor. At the writing of this post, there have been 5,432,655 cups of chocolate sold and 5,362,387 churros sold. Address: Pasadizo San Ginés, 5, 28013 Madrid, Spain


Europe’s oldest restaurant according to the Guinness book of world records! Casa Botin has been in the heart of Old Madrid since 1590. Originally a coach house, Casa Botin became a restaurant in 1725 and has remained one ever since. While we didn’t get to eat here, we witnessed its charms from the sidewalk! Address: 17 Calle de Cuchilleros 

La Colonial de Huertas:

This authentic Cuban restaurant was right by our apartment! The plantains were perfect and the Cuban sandwich, we split, decadent! Address: Calle de las Huertas, 6628014 Madrid, Spain

Madrid in 3 days: Street Art

My favorite thing to do in a new city, other than eat, is admire old doors and street art. Madrid has something to see on every corner. Here are photos of some of our favorites:

If you loved this taste of Spain, check out our post on Barcelona!

Be Well and Travel Often!


Madrid in 3 days

About Author

Maegan and Michael are Adventurous Southerners who share their world journey and approach to living the travel lifestyle. You can expect humor and lighthearted banter blended with REAL travel stories and tips. Maegan is a registered dietitian, while Michael has an excerise science background, but both are outdoor lovers, and revel in the beauty of cultures unlike their own. Now, Maegan and Michael are working towards expat life through remote work. Join the adventure. Do you love to travel? Does your full time job or career prevent you from living the life you dream of? This is the duo to follow. Feel free to contact us if you have questions.


  1. Vicki says:

    I really liked Madrid. Especially Plaza España and the food. But to be honest I didn’t really put much attention to the street art and now I feel like I missed a big part. I should definitely go again one day. Well basically I am living three hours by train from there. So totally doable 🙂 thank you for showing me what I missed last time.

    1. Maegan says:

      We trained from Barcelona to Madrid! There was more street art and interesting street signs in Madrid than we saw in Barcelona, Sevilla, or Segovia!

  2. Maartje says:

    Wow, we love streetart! Looks like there’s still much to explore in Europe for me!

    1. Maegan says:

      So much to see! I love Europe!

  3. Madrid is such a beautiful city 🙂 Love your suggestions!

    Lucy x

    1. Maegan says:

      Thank you for reading!

  4. Sarah says:

    Open air market?!? They are my absolute favorite to visit in any city! The sites, the sounds and the smells allow you to really see a culture at its finest! Thanks for the detail of the timing they’re open as well!

    1. Maegan says:

      I’m glad you liked it!

  5. C-Ludik says:

    I’ve visited Barcelona but Madrid is still my travel bucket list. I know, Madrid is often overshadowed by its northerly neighbor Barcelona ! Madrid looks like a city that has something for everyone, and you’ll feel like you belong from the very first day. Is it right ? With its glorious Art Deco buildings, its vibrant culture, astounding architecture, and Street Art, Madrid already captivate travelers like me !
    C-Ludik recently posted…The Mercantour: destination MerveillesMy Profile

    1. Maegan says:

      I felt at home on day one!

  6. Sarah says:

    This looks great! I’ve only been to Madrid once and it rained the entire two days I was there. This makes me think maybe I need to give it another chance 🙂

    1. Maegan says:

      Yep, you definitely need a do over!

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