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How to Tackle Madrid as a First Timer

How to Tackle Madrid as a First Timer

Visitors to Madrid have plenty to explore, from numerous public plazas and parks to the city’s renowned art museums. Whether you’re going to soak up the culture or the famous Spanish sunshine, here are our traveler-approved tips for your first experience in the capital of Spain.

Go on a Sightseeing Excursion

Madrid is a big city, so to get the lay of the land, a comprehensive sightseeing tour is the way to go. Hop-on hop-off bus tours and private city tours offer the most flexibility, or opt for a bike tour to take full advantage of a warm day.

Skip the Lines

Marvel at Spain’s most celebrated works of art at museums such as the Prado (Museo del Prado) and the Reina Sofia (Museo Reina Sofía). Purchase your tickets online in advance to skip the entry lines, or make the most of your visit with a docent-led tour.

Wander Toledo for the Day

Stroll medieval streets just a short ride from Madrid, in the city of Toledo. If you’re a history fan, check out the 13th-century cathedral and the Synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca (Sinagoga de Santa María la Blanca). Enjoy the convenience of a half- or full-day tour, with round-trip transportation included.

Relax in the Park

Spend the day outdoors in Retiro Park (Parque del Retiro). Madrid’s beloved public space is known for its art, well-tended walkways, and beautiful rose garden. Cruise the lake in a rowboat, or zip around on a bike or Segway tour to see more of the park in less time.

Visit the Royal Palace

From its ornate rococo styling to its carefully curated gardens, the Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real de Madrid) is one of the city’s top attractions. Don’t miss the throne room and the original ceiling frescoes. Book an early-access tour to avoid the crowds, and stop by the nearby Sabatini Gardens (Jardines de Sabatini) for a castle photo op.

Taste Local Food and Wine

Indulge your taste buds with a Spanish culinary experience. Head out into the countryside for a vineyard tour, or stay in Madrid, with its countless wine bars. Consider a wine tasting with a sommelier, a market tour, or a tapas tasting.

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11 Tours and Activities | All Madrid Tours

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Toledo Half-Day or Full-Day Tour from Madrid

Toledo Half-Day or Full-Day Tour from Madrid

star-3.5
1524
Delve into the cultural tapestry of Toledo, a treasure trove of El Greco artworks and ancient fortifications, on a tour from Madrid. Accompanied by a guide, navigate the cobbled streets, and explore the diverse architecture of the medieval city. Admire masterpieces by El Greco as you go on a morning, afternoon, or full-day excursion.
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  • 5 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$68.37
From
$68.37
Taking safety measures

Madrid City Tour Hop-On Hop-Off

Madrid City Tour Hop-On Hop-Off

star-4
1956
A hop-on hop-off Madrid sightseeing tour by open-top double-decker bus is the perfect introduction to this incredible city. Select a 1- or 2-day ticket that lets you board and disembark at any of the stops along two interconnecting routes, so you can explore city sights at your own pace. Hear onboard audio commentary and check out Madrid’s many plazas, museums, and theaters with the provided map and guidebook.
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  • 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$29.30
From
$29.30
Taking safety measures

Wine Day Guided Tour to Ribera del Duero from Madrid

Wine Day Guided Tour to Ribera del Duero from Madrid

star-5
84
Sample the unique history and renowned wine producers of Ribera del Duero during this 10.5-hour trip from Madrid. Stop by three wineries during your trip, each of which offers a different setting mixing modern, traditional and medieval architecture, to taste the vintages from one of the most famous wine regions in the world. Get an in-depth look at wine production and harvesting during one stop and also have time to explore this ancient region’s wealth of medieval villages and castles. An expert guide, plus seasonal lunch, entrance fees, tastings and transport are included.
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  • 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$201.45
Price varies by group size
From
$201.45
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Highlights of Madrid by Bike

Highlights of Madrid by Bike

star-5
288
Admire the spectacular sights of Spain’s vibrant capital on a bicycle tour of Madrid. With a knowledgeable guide, cycle at a leisurely pace to important monuments like Plaza Mayor and the Royal Palace of Madrid. Stop intermittently to listen to illuminating commentary from your expert guide, and to capture photographs of Madrid’s historical and architectural highlights. All safety equipment is included on this tour.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$30.52
From
$30.52

Early Access to Royal Palace of Madrid

Early Access to Royal Palace of Madrid

star-4.5
227
Beat the crowds with this tour of the Royal Palace of Madrid before public opening hours. Breeze in and follow your guide through parts of the "Palacio de Oriente" that most visitors don't get to see. Marvel at the collection of weapons in the Royal Armory, take in the Throne Room, and more. Along the way, learn about the history of the Spanish royal family through your guide's engaging narrative.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$32.00
From
$32.00
Taking safety measures

Madrid Custom Private Tour with Optional Prado Museum Skip the Line Ticket

Madrid Custom Private Tour with Optional Prado Museum Skip the Line Ticket

star-5
31
Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and intriguing history of Spain’s spectacular capital on a half- or full-day walking tour of Madrid with an accomplished private guide. Inform your guide of your interests prior to your tour then enjoy a customized itinerary that promises to satisfy all cultural cravings. Enjoy complimentary public transport and pre-planned logistics as you discover significant sights such as the Prado Museum and the Royal Palace of Madrid whiles listening to commentary tailored to your interests.
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  • 3 to 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$167.17
Price varies by group size
From
$167.17
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Tapas, Taverns & History Tour in Madrid

Tapas, Taverns & History Tour in Madrid

star-5
424
In Spain, culture and cuisine are inextricable. Experience Madrid’s historical and culinary highlights on an evening walking tour, perfect for beating the capital’s scorching daytime heat. In between critically acclaimed tapas bars, you’ll learn about the ancient history of Madrid’s Old Town and sample local specialties washed down with sangria, Spain’s favorite summer beverage. This small-group tour is limited to 10 food lovers.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$133.08
Price varies by group size
From
$133.08
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Skip the Line: Prado Museum Tour in Madrid

Skip the Line: Prado Museum Tour in Madrid

star-3.5
353
Avoid the crowds as you skip the line and get the inside scoop on some of the best art at Madrid’s iconic Prado museum on this 90-minute guided tour. This sprawling museum is nearly unparalleled in its collection of European art, but can also be overwhelming for new visitors. Let your guide introduce you to museum’s the top highlights and their fascinating backstories, including Diego Velazquez’s ‘Las Meninas’ and ‘The Annunciation’ by El Greco. Best of all, this small-group visit is limited to just 20 guests, ensuring a personalized experience.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$50.36
From
$50.36
Taking safety measures

Hapsburgs Madrid and Royal Palace Guided Tour

Hapsburgs Madrid and Royal Palace Guided Tour

star-4
139
See the sights of Spain’s vibrant capital on a walking tour of Madrid. Avoid the crowds with skip-the-line entry to the Royal Palace and listen as your guide offers fascinating insight into the history of the city. See almost every major site in Madrid's beautiful city center and receive personalized attention from your guide on this small-group tour, with numbers limited to 12 people.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$56.16
From
$56.16
Taking safety measures

Huertas Neighborhood Food & Market Tour

Huertas Neighborhood Food & Market Tour

star-5
108
Stray from the beaten path and explore Madrid’s atmospheric Literary Quarter on a 3.5-hour food tour.  Perfect for lovers of culture and cuisine, this tour covers the scenic Huelvas district — home to tree-lined boulevards, street vendors, and homes belonging to Spanish literary greats — and includes more than 15 tastings. Enjoy a breakfast of churros and chocolate, sample olives, Iberian ham, and cheese, and drink draft beer in a fashionable tapas bar. Small-group tour limited to 12 people.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$108.66
From
$108.66
Taking safety measures

Private Tour: Reina Sofia Museum with Skip-the-Line Access

Private Tour: Reina Sofia Museum with Skip-the-Line Access

star-5
1
Be inspired by artists like Picasso, Joan Miró and Dalí as you browse one of Madrid’s most impressive collections of modern art at the Reina Sofía Museum. This 1.5-hour private tour includes skip-the-line entrance, so you can dodge the queues and make the most of your time with your private guide. Learn about Spain’s most important 20th-century artists, discover local artists like Juan Gris and see Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$180.09
Price varies by group size
From
$180.09
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures