Madrid is a vibrant and bustling city, known for its rich culture, history, and stunning architecture.
It’s a popular destination for travelers from all over the world, but what if you’re traveling alone? Don’t worry, Madrid has plenty to offer solo travelers!
In fact, it’s a great city to explore on your own, with a range of activities and experiences that are perfect for solo adventurers.
In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best things to do in Madrid alone, from visiting world-class museums to wandering through charming neighborhoods and savoring delicious food.
- Things to Do in Madrid Alone
- 1. Free city walking tour with Leaf Madrid / Vive Madrid Tours
- 2. Retiro Park / El Parque del Buen Retiro – a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- 3. Museo Nacional del Prado / Prado Museum
- 4. Real Jardin Botanico / Royal Botanic Garden
- 5. Royal Palace of Madrid / Palacio Real de Madrid
- 6. Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery
- 7. Puerta del Sol
- 8. Flamenco Dinner Show
- Where to Stay in Madrid
- How to Get Around Madrid
- Best Time to Visit Madrid
- Tips for Visiting Madrid Alone
- Conclusion: Things to Do in Madrid Alone
Things to Do in Madrid Alone
1. Free city walking tour with Leaf Madrid / Vive Madrid Tours
The best thing to do in Madrid when traveling alone is to book a free walking tour. Leaf Madrid / Vive Madrid Tours offers free local immersive walking tours by a local guide.
Learn about the city, top things to do, hidden gems, architecture, history, fun facts, and more. And it’s a great way to become acclimated about where the best tourist attractions are located throughout Madrid. So you can return later and explore more on your own.
Where do you meet for your free walking tour? That will depend on your tour. Your reservation will highlight your specific meeting spot. Recommend arriving 10-15 minutes before the scheduled tour time.
Are these walking tours in Madrid really free? Yes. You pay your guide what you want at the end of the tour.
How many people are in the free walking tour? Tours are typically kept to small groups.
When are the free walking tours? The Madrid Old City walking tour is offered at 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday. While the Madrid New City walking tour is offered at 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
How long are the walking tours? The Madrid Old City walking tour is about 2.5 hours. And the Madrid New City walking tour is about 2.25 hours.
Are the walking tours in English? Yes, the free walking tours with Leaf Madrid / Vive Madrid Tours are in English.
What stops are on the city walking tours? Stops on the Madrid Old City walking tour typically include:
- Puerta del Sol
- Plaza Mayor
- El oso y el madrono
- San Miguel Market
- Plaza de la Villa
- Almudena Cathedral
- Royal Theatre
- Royal Palace
The Madrid New City walking tour typically makes these stops:
- Spanish Parliament
- Cibeles Fountain
- Metropolis Building
- Prado Museum
- Prado Avenue
- Alfonso XII Monument
- Saint Jeronimo Church
- Retiro Park
Private tours and other walking and tapas tours are also available.
2. Retiro Park / El Parque del Buen Retiro – a UNESCO World Heritage Site
One of the best places to visit in Madrid that will keep calling your name is El Retiro Park (aka El Parque del Buen Retiro).
Stroll through the 308 acres (125 hectares) with more than 15,000 trees and discover some of the top things to do in Madrid alone.
- Rosaleda Rose Garden
- Glass Palace – former greenhouse now hosts temporary art exhibits from the Reina Sofia Museum
- Ancient trees: a 627-year-old olive tree and a Montezuma cypress planted in 1633.
- Numerous sculptures, monuments, water fountains like the Fallen Angel and Alfonso XII Monument
- Rent rowboats on El Retiro’s lake
- Ride a rented bike around the park
- People watch, drink, and eat at an outdoor cafe
Where is El Parque del Buen Retiro located in Madrid? Retire Park is located at Plaza de la Independencia, 7 28001.
When is El Parque del Buen Retiro / Retiro Park open? El Retiro Park is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. October through March. This beautiful green space is open to midnight the rest of the year.
What’s the admission for El Retiro Park? How much does it cost to visit El Parque del Buen Retiro in Madrid? El Retiro Park is free.
3. Museo Nacional del Prado / Prado Museum
One of the best museums to visit when traveling solo to Madrid is the Prado Museum.
The primary national art museum founded in 1819 features more than 100 rooms and galleries on four levels. Each space offers permanent collections as well as temporary exhibits.
Much of Prado Museum’s collections are from the Royal Family’s collection and feature Spanish artists. The most prominent artist featured is Francisco Goya. But you’ll also see works of art by Rembrandt, Raphael, Caravaggio, and more.
Known for its art, the Prado Museum also offers a restaurant with amazing food. Try paella and one of their decadent desserts.
Where is the Prado Museum in Madrid located? The Prado Museum is located at C. de Ruiz de Alarcon, 23, 28014
When is Madrid’s Prado Museum open? The Prado Museum’s normal operation hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. This museum closes at 7 p.m. on Sundays and holidays. Tickets are timed entries.
The Prado Museum is closed Jan. 6, Dec. 24, and Dec. 31.
Does it cost anything to visit the Prado Museum in Madrid? Yes. General admission to the Prado Museum in Madrid and temporary exhibits is 5 Euros. An audio guide, which is highly recommended, is an additional 5 Euros. Reduced admission is 7,50 Euros for seniors, youth card holders, and members of large families. Free admission is available for youth 17 and under, college students, and people with disabilities.
The Prado Museum also offers free access hours Monday through Saturday, 6 to 8 p.m. and Sunday 5 to 7 p.m.
Does the Prado Museum offer guided tours? Yes, you can purchase a guided tour for an additional 10 Euros. The 90-minute guided tour is offered in English and Spanish.
What’s near the Prado Museum? The Royal Botanic Garden, or Real Jardin Botanico, is adjacent to the Prado Museum.
4. Real Jardin Botanico / Royal Botanic Garden
Next door to the Prado you’ll find the beautiful Royal Botanic Garden (aka Real Jardin Botanico).
Considered a living museum, the Real Jardin Botanical features more than 5,500 plant species. Wander through 20 acres (8 hectares) of several graded terraces, greenhouses, and Spain’s largest herbarium.
Established in 1781 in its current location and named an Artistic Garden in 1942, the Real Jardin Botanical is part of a World Heritage Site.
Where is the Royal Botanic Garden located in Madrid? The Royal Botanic Garden is located at Plaza de Murillo, 2, 28014.
When is Madrid’s Royal Botanic Garden open? The Royal Botanic Garden is open every day except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day beginning at 10 a.m. The garden closes at 6 p.m. November through February and 9 p.m. May through August. Closing time in March and October is 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. in April and September.
Does it cost anything to visit the Prado Museum in Madrid? Yes. General admission to the Royal Botanic Garden in Madrid is 4 Euros. Reduced admission available for students, large families, and seniors.
Does the Royal Botanic Garden in Madrid offer guided tours? Yes, guided tours of the Royal Botanic Garden are available.
What’s near the Real Jardin Botanical? The Prado Museum is right next to the Royal Botanic Garden.
For more greenery, check out the Caixa Forum vertical garden just a few blocks away. This 78-foot exterior wall features 250 species and more than 15,000 plants with no soil. Just pipes and water. The impressive Caixa Forum is located at Paseo del Prado, 36, 28014.
5. Royal Palace of Madrid / Palacio Real de Madrid
This spectacular palace, built in the 1700s, sits on the site of a medieval fortress.
With more than 3,418 covering 1.45 million square feet, the Royal Palace of Madrid is one of the largest palaces in the world. One of the top things to do in Madrid, the Royal Palace of Madrid attracts nearly 2 million visitors a year.
Be sure to time your visit with the changing of the Royal Guard. This regal experience takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Check the Royal Palace of Madrid’s website for the most current information.
Where is the Royal Palace of Madrid located? The Royal Palace of Madrid is located at Calle de Bailen, s/n 28013.
When is the Royal Palace of Madrid open? Hours of operation for the Royal Palace of Madrid are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. October through March. Summer hours, April through September, are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sundays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Does it cost anything to visit the Royal Palace in Madrid? Yes. The basic ticket for a guided tour of the Royal Palace in Madrid is 12 Euros. Reduced rates available for youth and seniors. Children five and younger are free.
What’s near the Royal Palace of Madrid? After your tour, stroll the Campo del Moro Gardens adjacent to the Royal Palace of Madrid. Dating back to the 19th century, the beautiful Campo del Moro Gardens is one of the best things to do in Madrid alone. Admission is free to roam the axis covering nearly 50 acres.
On the other side of the Royal Palace of Madrid, you’ll find the Almudena Cathedra. The Almudena Cathedra, a Catholic church, is considered the most important religious building in Madrid.
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6. Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery
With 5 million people buried here – more than the current population of Madrid – Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery is the largest cemetery in the city. This open-air museum is one of the largest in Western Europe. And this necropolis is one of the largest in the world.
Cemetery tourism and enthusiasts appreciate the history, the art, the architecture, the legacy, the stories and the serenity of Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery.
Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery covers 120 acres and features three distinct burial areas. They include the Civil Graveyard, the Hebrew Graveyard, and the Graveyard of Our Lady of the Almudena. Architectural and sculptural styles include neo-gothic, neo-romantic, modernist, neo-classic, and eclectic.
Named after Madrid’s patron saint, the Virgin of Almudena, is a hidden gem off the beaten path. A hidden gem off the beaten path, Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery is a top thing to do in Madrid alone. During the day.
Where is Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery located? Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery is located in the Ciudad Lineal District at Avenida de Daroca, 90 28017.
When is Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery open? Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery is open 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the spring and summer. They close an hour earlier in the fall and winter.
Does it cost anything to visit Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery in Madrid? No. Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery in Madrid is free to visit.
Can you take a tour of Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery? Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery offers guided tours in October and November.
What’s near Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery? Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery is only a few miles from some of the best things to do and see in Madrid. However, it isn’t very walkable. It’s recommended to take an Uber or mass transportation.
7. Puerta del Sol
One of the best things to do in Madrid alone is to experience Puerta del Sol. You won’t feel alone in one of Madrid’s most popular squares.
Make sure to check out the following landmarks in Madrid’s historical center.
- Casa de Correos building
- Similar to the New Year’s Eve ball drop in New York City’s Time Squares, the people of Madrid welcome in the New Year by eating 12 grapes as the clock on the top of this building strikes midnight.
- In front of the building, look for a stone marking where all major radial roads in Spain start.
- King Charles III of Spain on horseback statue
- Madrid’s coat of arms statue: The bear and the strawberry tree (aka El Oso y el Madrono)
Where is the Puerta del Sol located? The Puerta del Sol is located in the center of Madrid. And its address is its name: Plaza Puerta del Sol, 28013.
Can you take tours of Puerta del Sol? Yes, many walking tours begin at Puerta del Sol. So you can learn more about the area, the history, and the architecture and cultural significance.
What’s near Puerta del Sol? All roads lead to and out of Puerta del So. Literally. A short walk away from Puerta del Sol is the historic Plaza Mayor. This is the oldest district in Madrid. Enjoy shopping, eating lunch or dinner at an outdoor café, and listening and watching street musicians and artists.
One of the top things to do in Madrid alone is to stop at the nearby iconic Chocolateria San Gines. Established in 1894 and open 24 hours a day and only a few blocks away, enjoy churros and porras with decadent chocolate.
8. Flamenco Dinner Show
Madrid offers a number of flamenco dinner shows. Cardamomo, the world’s oldest tablao, offers a night of cultural dancing, music, eating, and drinking.
Tablao is the type of floorboard where flamenco dancers perform. Flamenco, known as poetic dancing, is typically performed solo or in pairs with a flamenco singer, a guitar maestro, percussionists, and lots of hand clapping.
When is the Cardamomo Flamenco Dinner Show open? Cardamomo offers several nightly hour-long shows with drinks and tapas.
Where is the Cardamomo Flamenco located? Cardamomo Flamenco is located at Calle Echegaray, 16, 28014 in Madrid. You can also find other flamenco venues throughout Madrid.
How much does a flamenco dinner show cost? Show tickets at Cardamomo range from 39 to 49 Euros for adults. And includes a welcome drink. Tapas menus range from 16 to 30 Euros.
What’s near Cardamomo Flamenco? This flamenco dinner show is within walking distance of Puerta del Sol – only 0.3 miles.
Where to Stay in Madrid
When traveling solo in Madrid, choose a place that’s in a centralized, walkable, and with a lively neighborhood. So when you return at night, you’re not coming back to a dark and deserted place.
One of the top safety tips when traveling solo is to choose a hotel or Airbnb with a secure exterior entrance.
When traveling solo, it’s best to research the latest safety history for the different neighborhoods. TripAdvisor recommends neighborhoods such as Arguelles, Centro, Chamberi, Chueca, Huertas, La Latina, and Paseo del Prado.
How to Get Around Madrid
Madrid is easy to get around with its high walkability score and several public transportation options. Book lodging in a centralized location such as near Atocho Station for easy of walking to most of the top things to do in Madrid. Or catch a bus to and from the airport.
One of the most popular and reliable mass transit options to get around Madris is the metro (subway). Lots of street signage direct you to the nearest Metro station. Simply purchase a tourist card or single tickets at the ticket machine.
Additionally, Uber is readily available in Madrid.
Best Time to Visit Madrid
The best time to visit Madrid is in the spring, March to May or the fall, September to November.
If you don’t mind the heat, then try the shoulder summer season of July and August where there may be fewer crowds. August is a popular month for summer holidays in Madrid.
So be sure to check venues as they may close for summer hours or the summer holiday, typically in August. Or if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, travel to Madrid in November, January or February.
Tips for Visiting Madrid Alone
Here are some of the best tips when visiting or traveling to Madrid alone.
- Exchange your money before your trip to Madrid. ATMs are not always available or reliable in Madrid. Most places accept credit cards.
- Madrid eats dinner late at night – typically after 9 p.m. And they eat heavier lunches like paella and light dinners like tapas.
- What to wear in Madrid: Comfortable walking shoes that can navigate the cobblestones.
- Arrived early and can’t check into your Airbnb until the afternoon? Most rail stations offer places to store your luggage for a small fee.
- Summers are hot in Madrid – and sometimes as early as May.
- Spain typically observes summer holidays in August so check to make sure what is open before you book your trip.
- Whenever traveling solo or alone anywhere in the world, always be aware of your surroundings. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instinct.
- Best Madrid souvenir: olive oil!
Conclusion: Things to Do in Madrid Alone
Madrid is a perfect destination for solo travelers. And offers many things to do and see when in Madrid alone. Enjoy cultural walking tours, stunning architecture, historical museums, tranquil gardens, fabulous food, and more.
kmf of kmfiswriting.com, a Twin Cities, Minnesota-based travel writer, day hiker, and book reviewer, spent a week alone in Madrid and highly recommends this city for solo travelers. During her visit, she took a day trip from Madrid to a Game of Thrones filming location (Dragonstone) in Basque Country, Spain. Other solo trips include London, Oxford, Mexico, Memphis, New York City, and more.