As the capital of Spain, Madrid is a must-visit city. The city may seem very large and overwhelming, but planning in advance can allow you to see most of the major sites in just one day. An efficient route is mapped out below. Keep in mind that your route may vary based on starting and ending point.
1. Start at Mercado San Anton. Gather your friends and belongings and start your day. Head down Fuencerral, cross over Gran Via, and head into Puerta del Sol. As one of the busiest areas of the city, you can find shops, restaurants, and bars in this exciting square.
2. A less than 10 minute walk down Calle Mayor will take you to Mercado de San Miguel. Come hungry and leave full: rumors say that Eately in New York and Chicago was based on this iron market hall. Speaking from experience, we highly recommend the paella.
3. Your next stop is the Royal Palace of Madrid, which hosts official banquets and state ceremonies of Spain. Directly adjacent you will see the Almudena Cathedral, a Gothcic-style church that was built in 1879 at the request of King Felipe II many years before. If time allows, both sites have visiting hours.
4. Walk up Calle de Bailén for about 15 minutes and you are on the way to the Temple de Debod. While walking, you will pass through Plaza de España, which is lined by two of the largest buildings in the city. Depending on the time of year and the weather, street vendors may be set up. From here, you will see the Temple de Debod and can access it by walking up Calle Princessa. This is an ancient Egyptian temple that was rebuilt in 1972. Admission is free.
5. Exit the way you entered and now take a left. This will be your longest walk of the day, but definitely worth it! Either grab a map or plug it into Google Maps to ensure you are going the right way. You will arrive at Parque de El Retiro which houses El Museo de Prado and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. If time permits, both exhibits are great; if not, the Parque de El Retiro is a beautiful site.
6. Finish your day off with drinks and a beautiful view at Circle de Bellas Artes (Azotea) rooftop bar. Take a left out of the entrance of the park and it will be up the street and to the left.