2 Days in Madrid: Ultimate Madrid Itinerary for a Weekend

Weekend in Madrid: what to do and see in 2 days?

You are going to leave for 2 days in Madrid and you are wondering what to do and see?

You are in the right place!

In order to help you prepare for your stay, I have prepared this detailed itinerary for you to visit Madrid in 2 days.

I start by giving you my tips for avoiding queuing in front of the main tourist sites. You will save a lot of time during your weekend in Madrid!

I continue with the detailed and optimized program for two days, accompanying everything with advice and tips so that you make the most of your short stay.

And as usual, I end with my selection of the best hotels in Madrid according to your budget.

So where to go and what to do in Madrid in 2 days? 

Our advice to avoid queuing in Madrid

Along with Seville and Barcelona, ​​Madrid is one of the most touristic cities in Spain.

There is therefore often a long queue that stretches in front of tourist attractions and very famous museums such as that of Queen Sofia or the Prado.

If you are used to traveling to major European cities such as RomeVienna or London for example, you can clearly see what I mean.

And when you only have 2 days to visit, you don’t want to hang around 2 hours before visiting each place!

Fortunately, I have 2 solutions to save time when visiting Madrid in 2 days:

1. Madrid City Pass

In order to optimize your 2-day trip to Madrid, the first possibility that I suggest to you is to buy the Madrid City Pass.

This type of pass is super convenient for avoiding queues as it gives you priority access to a number of sites.

It also saves money!

Another specific advantage of the Madrid city pass: the skip-the-line tickets are sent directly to your mailbox.

There’s no need to exchange them for a “real” card or print them out, just have them on your smartphone.

To visit Madrid in 2 days, it’s really an excellent solution!

I’ll tell you what the City Pass Madrid includes:

  • A skip-the-line ticket for the Royal Palace of Madrid (in the program of the 1st day) – You will be asked for the date and an approximate time.
  • A skip-the-line ticket for the Prado Museum (visit to be done on the 2nd day) + audio guide to download on your mobile – Here also date + time to be filled in.
  • A ticket for the Hop On Hop Off bus valid for 1 full day + audio guide included
  • An audio guide to download to visit the city.

When booking, you can also choose an additional option to benefit from a private transfer from the airport to your accommodation + 1 public transport card valid for 3 days.

Finally, after ordering your Madrid City Pass, you will receive a 10% discount code valid on an unlimited number of visits* such as the Thyssen Museum, the Queen Sofia Museum or the Bernabeu stadium of Real Madrid.

*You will have to book your visits on the same site to benefit from the promo code.

Buy your Madrid City Pass now by clicking here.

2. Skip-the-line tickets to Madrid tourist attractions

If you don’t want to take the Madrid City Pass, depending on your sightseeing schedule, you can also buy your skip-the-line tickets one by one.

This will also allow you to have quick access to museums or tourist sites that you intend to visit and there is also a large choice of activities to do during these 2 days in Madrid.

To make it easier for you, I have listed all the tickets corresponding to the 48-hour itinerary in Madrid that I am offering you just after.

You just have to click on the links in orange to reserve them now  and I will also give them to you as I go along in the article.

Visit Madrid in 2 days: The essentials

Tips for you Madrid Itinerary

Do not hesitate to take a look at all the tickets available by clicking here: Book your tickets and guided tours in Madrid.

Last tip for a perfect 2 day stay in Madrid

If you already know your travel dates (or as soon as you have them!), I highly recommend that you book your accommodation.

And yes, Madrid is quite simply one of the most touristic cities in the world and the hotels offering the best value for money fill up very quickly.

Being used to travelling, I can guarantee you that it’s always by going as far in advance as possible that I’ve found the best accommodation.

It would be a shame to partly ruin your stay in Madrid by finding yourself in a terrible hotel that will have cost you a fortune, right?

So take 5 minutes now to take a look at the list of travelers’ favorite hotels in Madrid.

And if you like a hotel, book it!

Cancellation is often free, it’s quick, easy, and it will protect you from the inconvenience of finding nothing, except mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.

To see the best Madrid deals right now, just click here.

Once you have booked your hotel or apartment, it’s time to continue reading this guide!

Visit Madrid in 2 days: the best itinerary

I share with you here my 2-day itinerary in Madrid.

I will detail the route for each day, assuming that you will opt for one of the two solutions that I propose to save time: the Madrid City Pass or individual skip-the-line tickets.

For each day, you also have a map that represents the complete journey.

Ready to discover your circuit for a weekend in Madrid?

If you still have questions after reading this article or if you need help organizing your vacation, do not hesitate to ask me your questions in the section dedicated to comments, at the very end of the article.

So  what to visit in Madrid in 2 days?

Day 1 of this itinerary in Madrid

2 days in Madrid – itinerary day 1

The visits of day 1:

A. Plaza Mayor
B. San Miguel Market
C. Cathedral
D. Royal Palace
E. Royal Theater
F. San Ginès Chocolate Factory
G. Temple of Amun
H. Flamenco Show

A. The Main Square

To start your 2-day visit to Madrid, it is best to start in the Plaza Mayor which is the heart of the city.

Built in 1690, it is a top meeting place for Madrid residents and visitors who come here to stroll, drink a coffee or eat on the terrace.

In the center of the square is the statue of Philip III on his horse, the square having been built during his reign.

The Plaza Mayor is surrounded by many arches dug into buildings with remarkable architecture such as the Bakery House, the Butchery House or the Cutlers’ Arch.

This festive and lively place is therefore an excellent starting point for discovering the capital.

Tips for you Madrid Itinerary

If you want to get a map of the city, go to the Madrid tourist office which is located in the square, in the old Casa de la Panaderia (house of the bakery).

Madrid itinerary 2 days
Start your 2-day Madrid itinerary at Plaza Mayor

B. San Miguel Market

A stone’s throw from the Plaza Mayor (less than 2 minutes on foot), the San Miguel market is an old traditional market.

It has now been transformed into a very fashionable place to discover local gastronomy thanks to a very interesting concept: customers can taste the products for free (or sometimes for less than one euro) before buying them. There are also plenty of delicious tapas! 

The Mercado de San Miguel is therefore a must when visiting Madrid for the first time. Indulge yourself, taste delicious local products and do your shopping under the luminous glass and steel structure of this covered market.

Tips for you Madrid Itinerary

If you lack a bit of an appetite at this time, no problem, the market is open every day from 10am to midnight and even later on weekends. You will therefore surely have the opportunity to come back to it during your 2-day itinerary in Madrid!

Madrid itinerary 2 days
The San Miguel Market

C. The Almudena Cathedral

You can reach the Almudena Cathedral in 5-6 minutes on foot from the market up Calle Mayor.

This monument is one of the things to see absolutely in a weekend in Madrid. The cathedral is more accessible to all since its entrance price is set at only 1 euro.

This remarkable religious building has the particularity of combining two styles of architecture which gives it a unique and original style. The classicism of the exterior contrasts surprisingly with the Gothic style of the interior of the monument.

You can admire very beautiful stained glass windows and frescoes on the ceiling.

Note that it was consecrated by Pope John Paul II in 1993, making it one of the most recent cathedrals in Europe and the only one consecrated by a pope in Spain.

The cathedral also includes a small museum on the history of the monument (entrance at 6€).

2 days Madrid itinerary
The Almudena Cathedral

D. The Royal Palace of Madrid

I suggest you continue this 2-day stay in Madrid by discovering the majestic Royal Palace (locally called the Palacio Real).

It is just a few meters from the Almudena Cathedral.

The Royal Palace of Madrid, built in the 17th century, is the former official residence of the kings of Spain and is today recognized as one of the most beautiful European palaces. It is a visit that I absolutely recommend and that will amaze both adults and children.

You can explore the most beautiful rooms:

  • The Royal Armory and its impressive collection of weapons and armor
  • State rooms like the throne room or the ballroom
  • The royal chapel where Stradivarius are exhibited
  • The royal kitchen
  • The pharmacy
  • The gallery of paintings and its 70 works by great Spanish masters.

Do not miss a visit to the exteriors of the palace, including the magnificent gardens of Sabatini and Campo del Moro.

Tips for you Madrid Itinerary

The skip-the-line ticket to the Royal Palace of Madrid is included in the Madrid City Pass.

To learn as much as possible about the history of the palace, you can also opt for a guided tour. And you know what? This guided tour is so good, that it is “satisfied or reimbursed”!

2 days in Madrid
The Royal Palace of Madrid – Visit Madrid in 2 days

E. The Royal Theater

The Teatro Real (or Opera House) is also a major tourist site to do in two days in Madrid.

It is located just opposite the Royal Palace, on the Place d’Oriente. It is one of the greatest opera houses in Europe.

The hall benefits from exceptional acoustics and welcomes the greatest international lyrical artists every year .

If you want to attend a performance at the Teatro Real, you can consult the program on the theater’s websiteBe aware that to really enjoy it you have to pay the price because the cheapest seats do not allow you to see the whole scene.

The Teatro Real can also be visited outside of opera performances. You can therefore opt for a day visit (preferably with an audio guide) which will allow you to discover the different rooms, boxes and exhibitions.

Tickets can be  booked directly by clicking here.

Royal Theater, one thing to do in Madrid
The Royal Theater of Madrid

F. Gourmet break at the San Ginès chocolate factory

Your 48-hour journey in Madrid is well underway at this stage and I now suggest that you take a little gourmet break to take a breather and regain your strength.

This is indeed the ideal moment since the very popular San Ginès chocolate factory is only a 5-minute walk from the Royal Theater. This is therefore the opportunity to taste one of the most essential Spanish specialties : chocolate Churros. I can already see you salivating!

The San Ginès chocolate factory, open since 1894, offers the best of the best Churros that you can dip in thick and deliciously dripping chocolate.

The chocolate factory is also open 24 hours a day, so those with a sweet tooth can come back at any time…

Madrid itinerary 2 days
Yum! Chocolate churros, the Spanish gourmet break par excellence

G. The temple of Amon

After this well-deserved snack, head to the amazing Temple of Debod (also called Temple of Amun) to discover ancient Egypt in the heart of Madrid.

To do this, pass through one of the city’s other famous squares, the Spanish Steps, before entering the mountain park.

The temple is a real Egyptian temple imported and then rebuilt in Madrid. Surrounded by water, it exhibits Egyptian remains dating back more than 2000 years and gives a real insight into Egyptian civilization thanks to the small museum set up inside.

It also allows you to take great photos, especially at dusk when it is illuminated and you can see its reflection in the water.

Access to Debod Temple is free.

Tips for you Madrid Itinerary

Do not hesitate to take a walk in the park to enjoy beautiful views of Madrid and in particular of the Royal Palace. At sunset, it’s really nice!

Madrid itinerary 2 days
The Debod temple of Madrid

H. Attend a flamenco show

Your first day in Madrid is coming to an end and I can only advise you, for this first evening, to attend a flamenco show!

It would indeed be a shame to come and spend 2 days in Madrid without enjoying a performance of this typically Spanish traditional dance. Flamenco is also listed as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.

Flamenco shows take place mainly in tablao s like the tablao Torres Bermejas,  which is one of the best known places in the city. The room where the show takes place is magnificent, with decoration directly inspired by the Alhambra in Granada.

The place is very busy and reservation is therefore imperative. You will have the choice between several times for the show which lasts approximately 1 hour.

To book your flamenco show evening in Madrid, it’s right here.

Tips for you Madrid Itinerary

If there are no more places for this tablao, I also recommend another well-known place: Café Zyriab. The quality of the show is undeniable and the setting more intimate.

Tickets can be booked directly here! 

Madrid itinerary 2 days
Attend a Flamenco show

Second day in Madrid: what to do and see?

Madrid itinerary 2 days
2 days in Madrid – day 2 itinerary

The visits of day 2:

A. Queen Sofia Museum
B. Royal Botanical Garden
C. Retiro Park
D. Prado National Museum / Thyssens Bornemisza Museum
E. Cybele Palace
F. Circulo de Bellas Artes

A. The Queen Sofia Museum

Let’s go for the rest of this 2-day stay in Madrid.

To start your day of sightseeing, I suggest you discover one of the three most prestigious museums in Madrid: the Queen Sofia National Art Center (el Centro de Arte Reina Sofia).

This museum houses a rich collection of Spanish and international works dating from the 19th century to the present day. In particular, you will be able to see the famous painting “Guernica” by Picasso.

Consider taking a skip-the-line ticket to avoid queuing for hours at the entrance.

And if you prefer to take a guided tour of the museum to have all the explanations about the works, just click here.

Madrid itinerary 2 days
Guernica, the painting by Picasso that you can see at the Reina Sofia museum

B. The Royal Botanical Garden

About 1 km from the Queen Sofia Museum you will find the Royal Botanical Garden (Real Jardin Botànico).

It is a magnificent garden not to be missed during your weekend in Madrid, especially for lovers of botany. The entrance costs 6 euros.

You will discover hundreds of plants and trees from all over the world, including a greenhouse housing rare exotic species. A real breath of fresh air to recharge your batteries and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Madrid itinerary 2 days
The Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid

C. Retiro Park

After this morning visit, I then suggest you take a tour of the Retiro Park (Parque El Retiro).

Once reserved exclusively for the king (in the 18th century), it later became public and accessible to everyone free of charge. It is the great green lung of Madrid and the ideal place to stroll, rest or have a picnic as a couple or with the family.

You will be able to come across various monuments but also several bodies of water and statues. During the walk, do not miss to admire:

  • Velàzquez Palace, an annex to the Reina Sofia Museum which also hosts exhibitions and whose access is free
  • The Crystal Palace
  • The monument to Alfonso XII.

Tips for you Madrid Itinerary

The guided segway tour is a fun and original way to discover the Retiro in its every corner. The guide is super nice and allows you not to miss anything of the most beautiful places in the park.

You can book this activity by clicking here.

Madrid itinerary 2 days
Retiro Park – 3 days in Madrid

D. The Prado National Museum or The Thyssens Bornemisza Museum

I now suggest that you continue this 2-day itinerary in Madrid with a new museum of your choice:

1) The Prado Museum, one of the largest in the world, exhibits an immense collection of paintings from the 14th to the 19th century (from Francisco Goya to Diego Vélasquez via Jérôme Bosch ).

You can also admire more than 6,400 drawings and 3,000 prints.

2) The Thyssen Bornemisza Museum is also an essential art museum in the city.

It houses works dating from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. 

Skip-the-line tickets for the Thyssens Museum can be purchased directly here.

These two museums are, along with the Reina Sofia Museum, among the 3 most important museums in Madrid. They are must-sees on a Madrid tour but it will be difficult to visit both in one day so the choice will have to be made according to your preferences.

Tips for you Madrid Itinerary

The skip-the-line ticket for the Prado Museum is included in the Madrid City Pass.

If you do not have the pass, it is best to buy your entrance ticket in advance by clicking here.

Madrid itinerary 2 days
The Prado Museum, a must on a 2-day tour of Madrid

E. Cybele’s Palace

Leaving the museum, make a short detour to the Palace of Cybele (going up the Paseo del Prado).

It is one of the prettiest monuments in Madrid and it also allows you to enjoy two very beautiful views of the city from the terrace on the 6th floor and the viewpoint two floors above (access at 3€).

Tips for you Madrid Itinerary

The Palais de Cybèle is also a cultural center with free exhibitions, so if you feel like it, you can also take the opportunity to discover them.

Madrid itinerary 2 days
Cybele’s Palace

F. A circle of martial arts

After this beautiful breath of culture, I suggest you take the height by going to the Circulo de Bellas Artes to admire another superb 360° view of Madrid.

This private cultural space located in the city center exhibits interesting artistic works . But the highlight of the show is its panoramic roof, reputed to be the most beautiful viewpoint in the city.

You can sip a drink and even dine at the rooftop terrace restaurant while marveling at the city lights, if you want to treat yourself to a little treat to end this 2-day Madrid trip.

Entrance including access to the exhibitions and the roof terrace costs 5 euros.

Madrid itinerary 2 days
View from the Circulo de Bellas Artes

Accommodation in Madrid

You now have at your disposal the whole route to know how to visit Madrid in 2 days!

For those who are wondering where to sleep during this weekend in Madrid, it’s time to move on to booking your hotel!

To help you, I have made a  selection of the best hotels to stay in Madrid:

  • OK Hostel Madrid : Youth hostel located 700 meters from Plaza Mayor and 200 meters from a metro station. Bed in dormitory from €16 per night, breakfast at €3. The pluses: ideal location, very friendly welcome, cleanliness and modernity of the dormitories, possibility of having a meal for 10€. In short, nothing to complain about, it’s  our favourite, value for money!  Note that the hostel also offers double rooms from €75 per night.
  • Ibis Madrid Centro Las Ventas : Located next to Madrid’s famous bullring and 100 meters from a metro station. Spacious and modern room from €60 per night and breakfast at an additional €7.95. The pluses: view of the arenas from the rooms, very generous buffet breakfast.
  • B&B Hotel Puerta del Sol : Ideally located 100 meters from Puerta del Sol and 400 meters from Plaza Mayor. Very quiet and comfortable room from €89 per night with a breakfast bag (water, fruit and pain au chocolat) included every morning. The pluses: free drinks and fruit available 24 hours a day, ideal location and lovely staff.
  • Only YOU Hotel Atocha :  Located right next to El Retiro Park. Comfortable, spacious and stylish double room from €190 per night, breakfast at €21. Most: the magnificent hotel, the available and attentive staff, the huge choice at breakfast, the location (10 minutes walk from the center and airport shuttle 5 minutes away), the decoration, the atmosphere. This is the best choice for a luxury stay in Madrid! 

In case these hotels are no longer available, you will find a wider choice of hotels classified by neighborhoods and by budget, in my other article:  The best hotels to stay in Madrid.

Visit Madrid in 2 days with the family

Are you planning to visit Madrid with your family for 2 days?

That’s not a problem, Madrid is perfectly suited for a stay with children. The Spanish capital also has the advantage of being easily visited on foot because all the centers of interest are close to each other.

During this weekend in Madrid, your children will be able to enjoy many activities such as:

  • The tasting at the San Miguel market
  • The visit of the impressive Royal Palace with in particular the armory generally fascinates adults and children alike
  • The walk in the Retiro Park 
  • The botanical garden and its rare plants
  • The tasting of churros and chocolate.

If you want, you can also take them to Madrid Zoo Aquarium where they can observe the giant pandas. Entrance tickets to Madrid Zoo can be  purchased directly here!

You can also choose to spend a day at Wagner Park, an amusement park near Madrid. Information and reservations by clicking here!

Madrid itinerary 2 days
Mercado San Miguel Stall

More things to do and see in Madrid in 2 days

If you prefer to modify this 2-day visit program in Madrid a little , by changing the itinerary or by adding visits or activities, I advise you to help yourself with my article dedicated to the Spanish capital.

It is a very complete guide to the city with all the things to do. You will find plenty of additional ideas such as  visiting the bullring or the Santiago Bernabeu stadium which belongs to Real Madrid.

To read it, you just have to click on the following link: What to do in Madrid? The ultimate guide!

Map of your 2-day itinerary in Madrid

To help you visualize your itineraries during these 2 days in Madrid, I made you a map listing the places to visit day by day. You can display the map legend by clicking on the top left button with a small arrow. You will then be able to view the routes for each day.

Need help planning your 2 day itinerary in Madrid? Do not hesitate to ask me your questions in the comments.

Are you going to Spain? Read also

Discover all our articles on Spain: all articles on Spain are listed here.

  • Where to stay in Barcelona? The guide to the best accommodations for all budgets
  • Where to stay in Madrid? The guide to the best hotels by budget and by neighborhood

Camille L.

Passionate about foreign languages, cooking and writing. I wish to share with you the places, the meetings and the gastronomic discoveries which gave relief to my travels.

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