09 Jan How To See Madrid If You Only Got A Few Hours
On my way from Ecuador to Norway, I had a long layover in Madrid. I decided to take the opportunity to see a little bit of Madrid. I have a friend living there and planning a short itinerary with her in advance. Here is a post on how to see Madrid in just 4 hours (I had 8 hours all in all with time in the airport.) I don’t know if I would have gone out of the airport if I didn’t know where to go or had my friend. That is why I creating this step by step 4 hours route of Madrid.
Note that you should allow more hours if you don’t have a Schengen visa and if you are going out of Europe.
From the airport to central Madrid
Taking the shuttle bus from Barajas-Madrid airport cost you €5. I took the yellow EXPRÉS Aeropuerto bus which first goes to all of the airport terminals. If you are not sure what bus to take, just ask for the information and they will show you where to take it from. I got off at Cibeles where I met my friend Marcela. It was the end of June so it was incredibly hot South Of Europe that time, luckily for me it was cloudy and 25 degrees.
Stop 1: Puerta de alcala and Retiro Park
Puerta de Alcala
My first stop was Puerta de Alcala. Pretty much just a quick photo while walking towards Retiro Park.
My first stop was the Retiro park. It is just a 5-minute walk from the Cibeles stop. Retiro park belonged to the Royal family until 19th century where it became a public park.
I didn’t really have time to do a paddle but it was fascinating to see how lively the park was. I was there on a Monday which is a lot less crowded than for example a Sunday.
Stop 2: Crystal Palace
I then checked out the Crystal Palace in the Retiro Park. The Crystal Palace is about 10 minutes from the beginning of Retiro Park.
The Crystal Palace is a great place for an Instagram photo.
Iglesia San Miguel y San Benito
I took the metro from Retiro Park to Sol. I passed by the San Miguel y San Benito church near the metro stop. It takes 20 minutes if you want to walk. You can also take Uber or a normal taxi if you don’t want to walk or take the metro.
Stop 3: La Mallorquina
After one hour it is a good moment to take a sweet break. Stopping at the popular La Mallorquina. A great place to just take 5 minutes and get some sugar in your system for the coming hours.
All around in Madrid, you will see marks on the ground of old restaurants and monuments.
La Mallorquina is between Retiro Park and Plaza Mayor. So you can easily skip it if you want to go straight to Plaza Mayor.
Stop 4: Plaza Mayor
It will take you less than 5 minutes to walk from La Mallorquina to Plaza Mayor. Plaza Mayor is a must-see if you don’t have much time in Madrid.
If you have time you should check out some of the cafes and side streets in Plaza Mayor.
Stop 5: Botin
Botin is only 5 minutes from Plaza Mayor. It is the oldest restaurant in the world Restaurante Sobrino de Botin from 1725! Of course, I didn’t have time to eat there but take a quick look in at the old structure and take some pictures. It is a good idea to book ahead if you want to eat there.
Stop 6: San Miguel Marked
The San Miguel market is very close to Botin and Plaza Mayor. Less than 5 minutes to walk.
It is a great market to just stroll around in. And you can easily buy a snack on the go.
On the way to the Royal Palace, I stumbled upon this beautiful street. It was between Calle del Cordon and Calle del Acramento.
Stop 7: The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace is further away from the San Miguel market. It takes around 7 minutes to walk.
It is a huge palace and if you have time you can get a guided tour inside. I didn’t with only 4 hours in Madrid. So I just walked around it and took some photos.
Stop 8: Temple of Debod
Temple of Debod is a short walk from the Royal Palace.
Temple of Debod is a beautiful Egyptian temple which originally was built south of Egypt and later relocated to Spain.
Just nearby is an amazing lookout where you can see the Royal Palace.
Plaza de España
On the way towards Callao. I passed by Plaza de España.
Stop 9: Callao Plaza
Plaza Callao is a famous plaza in Madrid and is a must-see. A lot of things happens in this plaza. When I was there the Iron Throne copy from Game of Thrones was there. I sadly didn’t have time to try it.
Getting back to the airport
From Callao, I had to take the metro to Banco de España get to Cibeles to take the Airport bus back to Madrid Airport. The bus stops at all terminals and runs 24/7.
Feel free to use this map:
If you are planning to see Madrid and you only got a few hours make sure you will get to the airport in time. Be aware it takes longer to check in if you don’t have a Schengen visa and if you are going out of Europe. I recommend at least 7-8 hours including the time of check-in etc. You should plan it well, not with a map also know what transportations you need to take from where and at what time.