A 48 Hour Guide to Madrid

Madrid is the capital of Spain and the third largest city in the European Union. It is located at the very center of the country in an area that has actually been inhabited by humans since prehistoric times. The city was founded in the ninth century A.D. by the Moors during the Arab occupation of the Iberian peninsula, but was conquered by the Christians in the beginning of the eleventh century. The Court of Madrid was assembled for the first time by King Fernando V in the year 1329 and became the capital of Spain in 1561 when Felipe II moved the Imperial Court to Madrid. From there, the city took off, and through the next centuries was transformed into a bustling urban center. It mostly survived the War of Spanish Succession, the Peninsular War (the invasion of the French under Napoleon), and the Spanish Civil War in the 20th century. It exists today as a modern mix of the contemporary and the classic, a lively place where you can find all manner of interesting sights and a nearly never-ending entertainment. 

Day 1: 

Explore Plaza Mayor and the Historic Center 

Take a tour of or walk through the Almudena Cathedral and the Royal Palace of Madrid

Buy some handmade espadrilles at the infamous Alpargateria Casa Hernanz

Lunch at the Mercado de San Miguel

Stop at La Mallorquina or Chocolateria San Gines for a sweet treat

Take in the art at the Museo Nacional de Prado and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia

Dinner in Salamanca at TATEL

Day 2: 

Stroll through the Parque del Buen Retiro stopping at the Palacio de Cristal and the Monument to Alfonso XII

Walk up the Paseo del Prado to the Plaza de Cibeles

Lunch at Habanera

Go shopping in Salamanca

Grab a drink at the Tartan Roof Bar at the Circulo de Bellas Artes (make reservation ahead of time if you can)

Dinner at Ten Con Ten

Madrid Map:

**This guide is based on research that I did to plan my trip to Madrid and based on my own experiences while there. Of course, two days in any place does not make me an expert, and I would love to hear any and all additional suggestions so that I may add them to the guide.