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Mei & Kerstin


Should we spend 3 days in Madrid in January?

Hey everyone,

We'll have a few days off in the end of January, and would like to do a 3 day long citytrip somewhere in Europe. 

We were thinking about Madrid (been there but it was more than 10 years ago!), but we are open for all suggestions!

Thanks in advance!

12 Answers

answered first by
Juli from Salem (Massachusetts)

We absolutely adored Madrid when we were there two years ago. If it's been 10 years you should definitely go back.

2 thanks

answered by
Janelle from Charleston

Absolutely!  Late January is off-season, so you'll have the whole city to yourself.  No queues at the MUSEO NACIONAL DEL PRADO or the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía or anywhere else.  Prices are lower too.  If you're into football, it's the height of the La Liga season and you can probably score crappy seats to Real Madrid (Estadio Santiago Bernabéu), Atletico Madrid (Vicente Calderón Stadium) or Getafe at the last minute. 

If you don't mind cold and long periods of darkness, Stockholm is becoming a hotspot, and because of the weather you'll really have the place to yourself.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. MUSEO NACIONAL DEL PRADO (attraction)
  2. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (attraction)
  3. Estadio Santiago Bernabéu (attraction)
  4. Vicente Calderón Stadium (attraction)
  5. Getafe (city)
  6. Stockholm (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Rocio from Costa Rica

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Paralelo Cero (restaurant)
  2. 100 Montaditos (restaurant)
  3. 100 Montaditos (restaurant)
  4. Taberna Los Huevos de Lucio (restaurant)
  5. Mercado de la Reina (attraction)
  6. Taberna Alhambra (restaurant)
  7. Chocolateria San Gines (restaurant)
  8. Mercado de San Miguel (attraction)
  9. Mercado San Antón (attraction)
  10. Restaurante Palacio de Cibeles (restaurant)
1 thanks

answered by
Dave from Houston

I liked Madrid considerably more than Barcelona. Interesting street scenes, great museums and restaurants, lots to see and do. If you are set on a city then that's a great choice.

However, even higher on my list is Toledo, just a short one hour drive from Madrid. 

We stayed at the Toledo Parador, which is across the river on an incredible site with a sensational view of the city. We lucked out and got on of the best rooms for viewing Toledo. I was mesmerized and remember sitting on our balcony with a glass of wine and enjoying that view for several hours.

I'll upload a photo from that trip that was taken from our balcony in the Parador. If you can get a view room there, it is an incredible experience.

1 thanks

answered by
Sally from Los Angeles

I went to Madrid twice in the past year and loved it! 3 days is a great amount of time - you can see the  Royal Palace of Madrid, MUSEO NACIONAL DEL PRADO, and spend a fun day in Parque del Retiro! If you're there on the weekend, check out El Rastro which is a giant market that runs on Sundays. La Latina is a fun and trendy area as well. I could go on and on about how great Madrid is! You can check out what I did over the summer in the link but I'll also be writing a guide to Madrid in the next few weeks :).

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Royal Palace of Madrid (attraction)
  2. MUSEO NACIONAL DEL PRADO (attraction)
  3. Parque del Retiro (attraction)
  4. El Rastro (attraction)
  5. La Latina (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Claire from Fort Worth, Texas

Three days in Madridwould get you either 6 half day excursions, 3 full day excursions or a couple of excursions and some walkabout and public transport about fun in the city.  You can visit ToledoSegoviaÁvilaEscorial on excursions as well as tour MUSEO NACIONAL DEL PRADOMuseo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina SofíaRetiroRoyal Palace of Madridand its art galleries Royal Tapestry Factory Plaza MayorPlaza Puerta del Sol.  Don't miss a meal  at Botín (world's oldest continuously operated restaurant) which specializes in Castillian fire roasted meats -  go hungry!  

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Madrid (city)
  2. Toledo (city)
  3. Segovia (attraction)
  4. Ávila (attraction)
  5. Escorial (attraction)
  6. MUSEO NACIONAL DEL PRADO (attraction)
  7. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (attraction)
  8. Retiro (attraction)
  9. Royal Palace of Madrid (attraction)
  10. Royal Tapestry Factory (attraction)
  11. Plaza Mayor (attraction)
  12. Plaza Puerta del Sol (attraction)
  13. Botín (restaurant)
1 thanks

answered by

Yes! It's easy to fly into with it's international airport, the city center is small enough to be easy to navigate just by foot and it's easy to navigate around! 

The Spanish are very relaxed people and in January the place is not mobbed with tourists so you can get a more exclusive view of all the beautiful monuments the city has to offer! I hope you like tapas ;-) enjoy your trip!

1 thanks

answered by
Jacqui from London

Yes! I was there in the first week of Feb last year and we loved it! It was warmer than I expected and gloriously sunny! A great weekend escape from London in the winter. 

1 thanks

answered by
David from Júzcar

Madrid is definitely worth a visit.  I was there two weeks ago or so and that was the mistake, being there during the holidays... way too many people.  the centre of Madrid has changed in the last few years, like many grand urban areas.  It is more friendly to pedestrians and so a more enjoyable place to visit.  There are fantastic eateries in markets around the centre, Mercado de San Miguel for example.  Chueca has matured in recent years as well, no longer a centre for prostitutes and drug addicts, it has many shopping options, international restaurants, pedestrianised areas as well.  It still has the charm of a gay neighbourhood but not a gay ghetto.  And its museums received a bit of a facelift as well.

Forget Barcelona, before you know, it will not even be a Spanish city.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Madrid (city)
  2. Mercado de San Miguel (attraction)
  3. Chueca (metro area)
  4. Barcelona (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Fiona from Buenos Aires, Argentina


Definitely you should! Madrid is a beautiful city, and I found that you can see a lot in little time. I spent 3-4 days there, and I got a good grasp of the city. I had time to see most of the most important attractions, plus enter a few of them (MUSEO NACIONAL DEL PRADOGran VíaParque del RetiroPlaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, among others). We did take a city tour bus, which may have helped to get a general view, but we also did a lot of walking (and in July :o ). 

We also made a half-day trip to Toledo, a nearby historical town with arab, christian and jewish reminiscences. 

In other options, you could also try Barcelona or Lisbon. I haven't been there, so I cannot really give an opinion, but they seem like beautiful places, and around the same "style", if that's what you're after.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Madrid (city)
  2. MUSEO NACIONAL DEL PRADO (attraction)
  3. Gran Vía (attraction)
  4. Parque del Retiro (attraction)
  5. Plaza Mayor (attraction)
  6. Puerta del Sol (attraction)
  7. Toledo (city)
  8. Barcelona (city)
  9. Lisbon (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Crystal from Anchorage

I don't want to talk you out of Madrid, as it is a beautiful city with lots to see/do/eat, but since I am a person who likes options I thought I would give you a couple more to consider.

Have you been to Barcelona? It is also a beautiful city and would be a relatively warm place to go in January. There should also be some great deals on airbnb for an apartment to stay in at that time of year too. I recommend finding one with a terrace!

What about the Italian island of Sardinia? There are a handful of charming towns to choose from and is somewhat overlooked by tourists.

My final, and most favorite suggestion is Istanbul. It can be a bit cold there in January, but it just offers something that you can't find anywhere else in Europe. It is a huge city with tons of monuments, museums, and culture to explore. 

I don't know if this makes your decision any easier, but at least it is something to think about.

Happy Travels,


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Madrid (city)
  2. Barcelona (city)
  3. Sardinia (attraction)
  4. Istanbul (city)
1 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Maria from Dublin

Definitely! Madrid's great off-season. You might get a little rain but it's rarely very cold. There's so much to do - great Art galleries, restaurants and bars and Madrid is such a walkable city! There will be fewer tourists and no queues. Go for it!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Madrid (city)

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