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What is ONE thing I should do with 5 hours in Madrid?

I've got a layover in MAD on Wed., Nov 19 from approximately 2pm until 7pm. If you could get into the city to do ONE thing (I do not wish to press my luck in getting my departing international flight), what would it be? Many thanks!

8 Answers

top answer by
Ross from Fort Collins

I've done this many times and always try to do too much. If it were me I would get the cheapest way into the city center........ Then find a nice tapas bar near you and drink local wine and have hammon..... As much as possible... And do nothing. You will thank me for this.

9 thanks

answered by
Tara from Madrid

Two things! Eat and drink!  

Do yourself a favor and take a taxi to the center.  

El Corte Inglés gourmet experience is practically on Gran Vía and super close to Puerta del Sol. It has a ton of different food and great views. StreetXO is the star restaurant there. You can cut through Sol to get to Plaza Mayor and then the Royal Palace of Madrid, maybe.

El Mercado de San Miguel is not so great to eat in anymore. I'd rather eat in Emma Cocina that's close. The neighborhood La Latina is close and full of great restaurants. My personal favorite is Juana la Loca Pintxos-Bar for tapas.

If you want something close by Retiro Laredo is great.  

If you're looking for something cheap to eat Lateral has good tapas at a good price. There is one in Santa Ana.  

Have fun!!! Really, Madrid is all about the food and drink! Dont try to see too much and definitely take a taxi!!!!!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. El Corte Inglés (attraction)
  2. Gran Vía (attraction)
  3. Puerta del Sol (attraction)
  4. StreetXO (restaurant)
  5. Plaza Mayor (attraction)
  6. Royal Palace of Madrid (attraction)
  7. Emma Cocina (restaurant)
  8. La Latina (neighborhood)
  9. Juana la Loca Pintxos-Bar (attraction)
  10. Laredo (restaurant)
  11. Lateral (restaurant)
  12. Santa Ana (neighborhood)
9 thanks

answered first by
Taylor from New Orleans

Hi Jamey,

I lived abroad in Madrid for 6 months and if you only have 5 hours you will need to account for at least 40 minutes to the center of the city on the metro and 40 minutes back. So the best thing to do is know exactly which metro stop you want to go to ahead of time so as not to waste the remaining 3 hours and 40 minutes! One of the top tourist places in Madrid is the Royal Palace of Madrid, which is a very impressive sight to see! Honestly, you are not going to have time to do any of the museums justice, so I would stick to seeing what you can on a walk. Take the metro to the Opera stop and you are right around the corner from the Palace. You can enjoy a coffee at Café de Oriente, one of the cities most famous cafes which is located on the square in front of the palace. Then, you must walk past lovely historic buildings to arrive at the Mercado de San Miguel to enjoy some tapas before finishing off your short time with a look at the the Plaza Mayor. Check out one of my popular blog posts about Madrid for more info (  I know you asked for only 1 thing but this agenda can easily be accomplished with just 3 hours, so best of luck & enjoy!

- Taylor 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Madrid (city)
  2. Royal Palace of Madrid (attraction)
  3. Café de Oriente (restaurant)
  4. Mercado de San Miguel (restaurant)
  5. Plaza Mayor (attraction)
6 thankscomments (1)

answered by

Here is an idea-

First grab a Churro at Chocolateria San Gines-

Head to Plaza Mayor, then walk over to Cibeles Palace, over to Puerta de Alcalá. Finish off in the Parque del Retiro and find the Palacio de Cristal.

You should easily be able to do that in 5 hours, all within walking distance. You will probably be able to fit in the Royal Palace of Madrid. Those are some of Madrid's major landmarks.

If you'd rather explore some of the smaller neighborhoods, let me know. I think though, those are the must-sees and they are worth it:) Enjoy your layover!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Chocolateria San Gines (restaurant)
  2. Plaza Mayor (attraction)
  3. Puerta de Alcalá (attraction)
  4. Parque del Retiro (attraction)
  5. Palacio de Cristal (attraction)
  6. Cibeles Palace (attraction)
  7. Royal Palace of Madrid (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Isabele from Ibiza

Hi Jamie, in fact you just have for about 3 hours because you need for about 40 min to go out and come back to the airport. You can Take the Express Bus for 5€ until Plaza de Cibeles and from there walk to Puerta de Alcalá. Latter, coming back for the Alcalá Street in Plaza de Cibeles' direction you can go walking to Puerta del Sol, close there you can find some Menú to have your lunch, it costs for about 11€ for the start, main, drink, bread and dessert. If you don't want to have a lunch you can try the Best chocolate with churros in San Gines chocolateria, latter visit the Plaza Mayor and San Miguel Market. After this you can Take the metro in Sol, you need to do some transfer until Nuevos Ministerios and then the Airport, to come back to the airport. I hope you enjoy it.

1 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Jacqui from London

You must sample the best food and drinks in Mercado de San Miguel


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Mercado de San Miguel (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Mina from Cairo

Take the hop on hop off bus and do the old city tour.

answered by
Neill from Barcelona

Go sample the awesome tapas at Casa Julio, then walk around the streets of the Malasaña area, loads of great boutique stores and traditional bars. Stop off for a coffee at TOMA CAFÉ before heading back to the airport - best coffee in Madrid! 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Casa Julio (restaurant)
  2. Malasaña (neighborhood)
  3. TOMA CAFÉ (restaurant)

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