Three days in Madrid: The Best Things to do in Spain’s Capital City in 72 Hours

Home » Three days in Madrid: The Best Things to do in Spain’s Capital City in 72 Hours

Madrid, the capital city of Spain formed the last leg of our Europe trip after our adventures in Seville, Granada, Lisbon and Algarve. We found Madrid to be definitely more modern compared to the old world charm of Seville and Granada, and it is truly a bustling metropolis filled with many attractions. In this post, I will guide you through of the top things to do when spending three days in Madrid that includes some of the most popular tourist attractions.  72 hours in Madrid is definitely not enough but hopefully this guide will give you a flavor of what to do in Madrid and what to do in Madrid during your first time visit.

three days in Madrid, how to spend 72 hours in Madrid

If you have more time on your hands, read this guide to scenic nature escapades near Madrid or this charming guide on a day trip to Segovia or Montserrat that are easy excursions from the capital! If you are traveling solo, do check out this solo travel in Madrid guide!


Three days in Madrid, Day 1: Walk down Puerto Del Sol

Start off in the belly of the beast with a walk along Puerto Del Sol, the main (and, super touristy) street of the city. Do not miss the Plaza Mayor on Puerta de Sol which is also the location for Madrid’s iconic symbol, the Bear and the Strawberry Tree which serves as a hotspot for photos, selfies and photo bombers alike. Next, stop at Círculo de Bellas Artes to get a bird’s eye view of Madrid stretching out below. Círculo de Bellas Artes, at the beginning of Gran Via, charges a mean 4 euros for their terrace view which is not that bad considering what you get in return, i.e., a spectacular view of the city. The terrace also doubles up as a bar and place to have a drink and is thus a perfect place to have a good time over the setting Madrid sun.

How to spend three days in Madrid: walk down its busiest street puerto del Sol

What to do for three days in Madrid

How to spend three days in Madrid




Madrid tourist attractions: Visit the museums on Paseo del Prado 

If you have only three days in Madrid, do stop by Paseo del Prado, one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Madrid and home to some of the top museums in the world. Visit the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, simply named as Thyssen (after its founder) which is home to nearly a thousand pieces of art spanning from the 13-20th century, and is part of the “Golden Triangle of Art” in Madrid, the other two being the Museo De Prado and the Reina Sofia galleries. Awesome tip time: Sundays after 6 are free at the Prado, so if you are a frugal museum freak, you might want to come in early and stand in line to get your fill of art for free! if you have kids in your group, make sure you introduce them to these fantastic books on Spain so that they can appreciate the arts and culture of this destination even more!

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid is one of the best museums to visit during 3 days in Madrid
72 hours in Madrid




Tasty bites in Madrid: Indulge yourself at Chocolatería San Gines

If you have the case of the notorious sweet tooth, then you cannot leave Madrid without a visit the famous Chocolatería San Gines, where you have to rest your achy feet and indulge in some of the best drinking chocolate and churros in the world (basically the only two products they sell). Sip into the deliciousness of the sinful chocolate, which is as rich and dark as the man in your wildest fantasies (sorry gentlemen, couldn’t find an appropriate contextual subject for you, so pardon the unintentional sexism). Better still, dip the churros in it and be transported to an utter state of Nirvana.

Chocolatería San Gines is an excellent place for drinking chocolate and a must visit in madrid
Chocolatería San Gines: must visit when in Madrid for 3 days
Chocolatería San Gines
Churros and thick drinking chocolate at Chocolatería San Gines
Eating out when in Madrid



72 hours in Madrid, Day 2: Go on a food tour 

Madrid has lots of great places to eat and drink. But why do all that hard work and sweaty research when you can get experts to guide you? Also, what better way to know a city than sample some of its local cuisine? To get these two together in one package, simply go on a Madrid food tour, just as we did during our three days in Madrid. I highly recommend joining this food tour for fellow foodie travelers!


Our food tour with Devour Madrid during Three days in Madrid



How to spend three days in Madrid: Visit the Prado museum

Whatever you do, dear art lover, do not miss visiting the Reina Sofia where lies Picasso’s Guernica, one of the most famous paintings in the world. I did and I cannot tell you how much I regret not figuring out that this particular museum is closed on Tuesdays.  During our 72 hours in Madrid, we did get to see some Picasso creations at the Prado museum next door, which had ten Picassos on loan from the Kunstmuseum, Basel. After being awed by Goya and  van der Weyden at the museum (photography prohibited in most galleries), we headed out to explore what was left of Madrid in a leisurely pace.

Prado museum in Madrid

Madrid museums: must visit during three days in Madrid

Our last day in Madrid was nothing much to write about except two wonderful meals that we had at two small restaurants, that were on the list provided by our food tour guide. I can still taste the garlic prawns at the small cafe, which till date is the best that I’ve ever had. Again, you get many such good recommendations when on a food tour, so do not give one a miss when in Madrid.

eating out during our three days in Madrid

72 hours in Madrid, where to eat in Madrid

things to do in madrid



This brings me to the end of this guide on how to spend three days in Madrid, listing some notable Madrid tourist attractions. Madrid is a beautiful city and I highly recommend making it a part of your itinerary when you visit Spain. Finally, the main train station at Madrid has electronic lockers for you to store your luggage, so if your hotel does not have a concierge service or you are staying in an Airbnb, then this is a good option to check out so that you don’t have to haul your luggage around while touring the city.


Other relevant posts on Spain

We spent only a week in Spain and could not cover all cities! So in case you want to visit Valencia, the third largest city in the country, read this superb Valencia guide to organize your travel itinerary or if you are eager to explore the different parts of Spain this quick guide to different regions in Spain is super helpful.



Like this post? Hover over one of the pins below to pin for later!

Madrid tourist attractions Spain Europe Travel









Madrid tourist attractions Spain Europe Travel



20 thoughts on “Three days in Madrid: The Best Things to do in Spain’s Capital City in 72 Hours”

  1. Wow, those food photos are incredible. I’ve been to Madrid a couple times but never tried that spot for churros and chocolate — it’s on my list for next time 🙂 Your suggestions about the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum are super-helpful — the Prado gets so much attention that I didn’t even realize there were other good art museums in the city. Thanks for the tips!

  2. Omg can we talk about that churros dipped in chocolate sauce?? Haha! Thank you for all your recommendations – I think my first stop would be the Thyssen museum 🙂

  3. Great list! I love how you run through the full range of experiences, from food to art. Really makes me want to go back!

  4. This chocolate looks sinfully delicious! I’m already looking at flight tickets for that chocolate alone 😀 the food looks amazing! Funny how food makes me want to travel more than anything else lately!

  5. Your pictures are amazing. I would definitely like to try this food tour, it sounds amazing. This churros look so yummy. I love Spain and believe it or not I never made it to Madrid. Your article really makes me want to go!

  6. I think I’d have a hard time leaving the chocolate place…those churros looked amazing! I learned about the Prado at University and have been dying to see it! I love how your list has a little something for everybody!

  7. I skipped Madrid on my trip to Spain and am really kicking myself after reading this. Such an amazing experience, now I know I have to go back!

  8. Madrid seems so alluring. The museums look pretty interesting to me. I am sure you must have had a great time on the food tour. The food pictures are absolutely droolsome.


Leave a Comment