4 Days in Madrid: The Perfect Itinerary (First Time Visit)


How to spend 4 Days in Madrid: The Best Itinerary + Where to Stay

You want to spend 4 days in Madrid?

Great choice!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared for you the perfect 4-day itinerary in Madrid.

I will start this guide with my best tips to skip the line at Madrid’s must see attraction. You will see, you are going to save a lot of time!

Then, I will give you my optimized 4-day itinerary, with all the best things to do for each day.

In addition to the best places to visit and activities for each stage of your itinerary, I will also give you all my best tips and accommodation suggestions depending on your budget.

So, what are the best things to do in Madrid in 4 days? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

My best Tips to Save Time at Madrid’s Must-See Attractions

Madrid, being the Spanish capital, is one of the country’s most touristic cities, along with Seville, Granada, and Barcelona.

Every year, hordes of tourists flock to the major tourist sites and renowned museums of the city, including the famous Prado Museum and the Reina Sofia Museum.

For those who have already visited big European cities like Vienna, Rome, or London, you know what to expect.

If you don’t want to waste time queueing, here are two solutions you can apply for your 4-day visit to Madrid:

1. The Madrid City Pass

The first solution for an optimized and affordable exploration of Madrid in 4 days is tobuy the Madrid City Pass.

The process is super simple, you just have to order your Madrid City Pass online (using the link below) and specify your arrival date to receive your skip-the-line tickets directly in your email for your 4-day tour of Madrid.

No need to exchange them at the attraction ticket counters or to print them out, simply present them on your smartphone.

The Madrid City Pass includes:

  • Skip-the-line ticket for the Royal Palace of Madrid (visit on the first day) – You will need to provide an approximate date and time for your visit.
  • Priority access to the Prado Museum (planned for the second day) + audio guide to download on your mobile – Date and time also need to be specified in advance.
  • One-day hop-on hop-off bus ticket + included audio guide
  • An audio guide to download for city touring.

When booking the Madrid City Pass, you can also add a public transportation card that allows you to use the metro and bus for 3 consecutive days + book a private transfer from Madrid Airport to your hotel.

Once you have validated and ordered the Madrid City Pass, you will receive a 20% discount code (sent by email) applicable to all tours and activities offered on the same website, including tickets for the Thyssen Museum, the Reina Sofia Museum, or the Real Madrid’s Bernabeu Stadium.

Please note that you must book your visits through the same website to benefit from the promo code.

You can buy your Madrid City Pass right now by clicking on the following button:

2. Skip-the-line Tickets for Madrid’s Tourist Attractions

Depending on the sites you plan to visit during your 4-day trip to Madrid, you can also choose to buy your skip-the-line tickets individually.

Thanks to their priority access, you’ll avoid long queues at the main tourist sites and popular museums in the Spanish capital.

It’s also a good solution if you want to book guided tours or find activities to do in Madrid during these four days.

Here’s a list of the most interesting options that match the itinerary I’ll propose for the city.

Just click on the links to book them, and I’ll also include them throughout the article.

4 Days in Madrid: Must-See Attractions:

Voyage Tips - Advice

Don’t hesitate to check out all the available tickets by clicking here: Book your tickets and guided tours in Madrid.

One Last Tip for a Perfect 4-Day Stay in Madrid

If you already know your travel dates (or as soon as you will have them!), you should really book your accommodation.

As Madrid is one of the most touristic cities in the world, the hotels offering the best value for money are often fully booked months in advance.

As a seasoned traveler, I can assure you that it’s always by planning as far in advance as possible that I’ve found the best hotels or apartments deals.

You agree that it would be a shame to somewhat ruin your stay in Madrid by ending up in a not-so-great hotel that costed you a fortune, right? 😅

So your best bet is to take 5 minutes now to have a look at traveler’s favorite hotels in Madrid.

And if you like one of the hotels you find, book it!

It’s fast, it’s easy and most accommodation offer free cancellation. That’s the best way to protect yourself from the inconvenience of finding nothing but mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.

To check the best hotels deals in Madrid, simply click on the green button below:

After securing your dream stay, it’s time to continue reading this guide!

4 Days in Madrid: The Best Itinerary

Let’s now see how to visit Madrid in 4 days.

For each day, I will give you an optimized itinerary with all the details you need for your visits, along with a map of Madrid. This will help you optimize your trip and enjoy a stress-free stay in the city!

I assume that you will be staying in Madrid for 4 full days and that you have purchased your Madrid City Pass or skip-the-line tickets in advance. This way, you will be able to see as many places as possible during your 4 day stay!

If you still have questions after reading this guide (or need help organizing your holiday), don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments section located at the very end of this article.

I will be glad to help you plan your trip 😄.

So, what are the best places to visit in Madrid in 4 days?

First Day of the Madrid Itinerary

4 days in Madrid itinerary day 1
4 days in Madrid itinerary day 1

Visits for Day 1:

A. Plaza Mayor
B. San Miguel Market
C. The Cathedral
D. The Royal Palace
E. The Royal Theatre
F. San Ginès Chocolaterie
G. Temple of Debod
H. Flamenco Show

A. Plaza Mayor

To start off your 4-day tour in Madrid, I suggest that you begin in the heart of the city: Plaza Mayor.

This spacious square surrounded by arches and beautiful buildings is a favorite spot for Madrilenians to stroll around in summer, dine or enjoy a drink on a terrace, and shop.

In winter, Christmas magic takes over with numerous enchanting decorations and the Christmas market.

Plaza Mayor was built in 1690 during the reign of Philip III, whose statue you can admire in the center. You will also see all around buildings with remarkable architecture such as the Bakery House, the Butchery House, and the Cutlers’ Arch.

Voyage Tips - Advice

The Madrid Tourist Office is located on Plaza Mayor, in the former Casa de la Panaderia (Bakery House). It’s handy if you need to get a city map.

Plaza Mayor Madrid
Start your 4-day itinerary in Madrid at Plaza Mayor

B. San Miguel Market

Next, I recommend continuing on foot to San Miguel Market (it’s just a few meters away from Plaza Mayor).

This traditional market has become one of the city’s key tourist attractions, thanks especially to a concept that draws the crowds: the opportunity to taste products for free (or for a few cents) before deciding to buy them!

It’s the perfect chance to try local cheeses, cured meats, tapas and do a little shopping.

The market is covered by a 19th-century glass structure that lets sunlight sprinkle across the stalls, creating a unique atmosphere.

Voyage Tips - Advice

The market is open every day from 10am to midnight, and even later on weekends. You can also visit in the evening and enjoy the tables and chairs set out for dining.

Mercado de San Miguel
San Miguel Market

C. Almudena Cathedral

The Almudena Cathedral is one of the highlight monuments of the Spanish capital. You can’t miss it during your 4-day stay in Madrid!

It’s located very close to the market and is just a 5 to 6-minute walk away.

The cathedral is known for being built in two architectural styles: the interior is gothic, and the exterior exemplifies classicism. The result is original and unique, a true visual delight.

Voyage Tips - Advice

Madrid’s Almudena Cathedral is also very accessible to all, with its entrance fee of only 1€.

Almudena Cathedral Madrid
Almudena Cathedral

D. The Royal Palace of Madrid

Next stop, Palacio Real (Royal Palace) of Madrid, which is one of the most beautiful palaces in Europe!

The former official residence of the kings of Spain dates back to the 17th century and promises to impress both adults and children alike.

For a complete discovery of the palace and its history, I recommend opting for the guided tour. It’s extremely insightful and, as a bonus, if you’re not satisfied, it’s refundable!

You can book it in just a few seconds by clicking right here:

This will also save you from having to queue at the entrance, which often takes a lot of time since the Palace is one of the most visited sites in Madrid.

Another way to skip the line, which I have already mentioned, is the Madrid City Pass which includes a skip-the-line ticket.

Inside the Palacio Real, you will discover many rooms, each more magnificent than the last:

  • The Column Room
  • The Royal Armory with its impressive collection of weapons and armor
  • The Hall of Mirrors
  • The Halberdiers’ Hall
  • The Picture Gallery with its 70 works from great Spanish masters
  • The Chamber of King Charles II.

You’ll also have the chance to explore the palace’s beautiful gardens during your visit.

Royal Palace Madrid
The Royal Palace of Madrid – Visiting Madrid in 4 days

E. The Royal Theatre

Just a few meters from the Royal Palace (directly opposite, on the Plaza de Oriente), you will find The Royal Theatre (Teatro Real), making it the fifth stop of this 4-day itinerary in Madrid.

Constructed between 1817 and 1850, it has an exceptional acoustic making it one of the most prestigious opera houses in Europe. It regularly hosts the biggest names of international lyrical artists.

If you want to attend a performance, you can book your seats on the Teatro Real website.

You can also simply visit the various halls with an audio-guide to learn about The Royal Theatre and its history. During this visit, you’ll have access to the boxes, theatre halls,, exhibition rooms, and the foyer.

Tickets are available to book right here.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you’re looking to spend an evening at the opera, be aware that the cheapest seats often provide a view of only part of the stage. It’s better to know this to avoid disappointment or be ready to pay more for a better view.

Royal Theatre Madrid
The Royal Theatre of Madrid


F. San Ginès Chocolate Shop

By this time of day, you should be approaching late afternoon. It’s snack time!

So, for those with a sweet tooth, I recommend taking a break at one of the city’s most renowned establishments for exceptional sweet specialties: the San Ginès Chocolate Shop.

This is where you’ll find the best chocolate Churros in Madrid. Chocolate con churros is a real institution in Spain and visiting Madrid for 4 days means you have to try it at least once.

San Ginès has been around since 1894 and is open 24 hours a day. You can indulge in delicious hot churros to dip into a thick and rich melted chocolate. A true delight!

Churros with chocolate
Yum! Chocolate churros, the quintessential Spanish indulgence

G. Temple of Amon

After this sweet break, let’s take a short journey to ancient Egypt.

It may sound surprising when you’re in Madrid, but it’s entirely possible thanks to the Temple of Debod (or Temple of Amon). This authentic Egyptian temple, brought from Egypt and reconstructed in Madrid in 1972, is one of my favorite monuments.

Perched above water on Principe Pio hill (in the Parque del Oeste), it’s a beautiful place to take amazing photos (especially at sunset) and to discover Egyptian relics that are over 2200 years old.

Admission is free, which is another big plus.

Voyage Tips - Advice

To reach the temple from the chocolate shop:

  • Pass through Plaza de España, another famous square in Madrid
  • West of the square, you will find the entrance to the park where the temple is located.

You should definitely take a stroll in the park, it offers beautiful views of the city.

Temple Debod of Madrid

H. Attend a Flamenco Show

How can you spend 4 days in Madrid and not attend a flamenco show?

For me, this is the best thing to do on your first evening in the city.

Flamenco is a traditional Spanish dance listed as an UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The performances mainly take place in theatres and tablaos, which are small intimate venues where you can eat/drink while watching dance and singing performances.

One of the most famous and popular is Tablao Torres Bermejas, but reserving in advance is essential to ensure you get a spot at the time that suits you.

To book your flamenco evening in Madrid, just click here:

Voyage Tips - Advice

If there are no more spots available at this tablao, I also recommend another renowned venue: Café Zyriab. They offer a high-quality show in a more intimate setting.

Book your tickets right here! 

Flamenco Madrid
– An absolute must during 4 days in Madrid!

Day 2: Best Things to Do and See in Madrid

4 days in Madrid itinerary day 2
4 days in Madrid itinerary day 2

Day 2 attractions:

A. Reina Sofia Museum
B. Royal Botanical Garden
C. Retiro Park
D. Prado National Museum / Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum
E. Cibeles Palace
F. Circulo de Bellas Artes

A. Reina Sofia Museum

Your 4-day itinerary in Madrid continues with this second day.

Let’s start with a cultural visit: head to the national art center, Reina Sofia Museum. This art museum is among the most prestigious museums in Madrid and features a rich collection of works from around the world, dating from the 19th century to the present.

Notably, you can admire Guernica, the famous painting by Pablo Picasso.

Here too, you should plan ahead for your skip-the-line ticket to avoid long wait times at the entrance:

To get more explanations about the artworks on display, the museum also organizes guided tours. Make sure to book in advance by clicking the button below:

Guernica by Picasso at the Reina Sofia National Art Center
Guernica, the painting by Picasso that you can see at the Reina Sofia Museum

B. Royal Botanical Garden

Continue your day with the discovery of the Royal Botanical Garden. It’s located right next to the Prado Museum, the most famous museum in the city (which I will suggest visiting later).

Botany enthusiasts will be thrilled with the hundreds of trees and thousands of plants from all over the world housed in this garden. Its peaceful and lush setting truly offers a very pleasant moment of relaxation.

Admission to the garden is 6 euros.

Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid

C. Retiro Park

This is the green lung of Madrid, a true breath of fresh air within the city.

Retiro Park is a former royal park, created in the 18th century for the king and later opened to the public. It’s dotted with various monuments, water features, and statues.

The Velázquez Palace, the Crystal Palace, and the monument to Alfonso XII are among the must-see sights during your stroll.

Voyage Tips - Advice

For an unusual way to enjoy this exceptional park, you can also go for a segway ride!

You’ll also be accompanied by a guide who will take you to the most beautiful corners of the park.

To book this activity, just click on the button below:

Retiro Park Madrid
Retiro Park – A must-see when spending 4 days in Madrid

D. Visiting the Prado National Museum or the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

These two museums are, along with the Reina Sofía Museum, the most renowned in the Spanish capital.

So, your 4-day stay in Madrid would of course be incomplete without a visit to one of these. Visiting three large museums back-to-back in 2 days might be a bit much, so I suggest you choose between the two.

1) The Prado National Museum (Museo del Prado) is one of the largest museums in the world, with an immense collection of predominantly European paintings (from the 14th to the 19th century), including works by Goya, Velasquez, and Bosch.

Remember that a skip-the-line ticket for the Prado Museum is included in the Madrid City Pass.

If you haven’t got the Madrid Pass, the best way to avoid the queue is to purchase your entrance ticket in advance by clicking on the button below:

2) The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.

Another must-visit museum for art enthusiasts, it displays a variety of notable works, from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.

It includes paintings by Gauguin, Monet, and Rubens.

Skip-the-line tickets for the Thyssen Museum can be purchased right here.

What to do in Madrid Prado Museum
Prado Museum – An essential part of your 4-day itinerary in Madrid

E. The Cybèle Palace

Leaving the museum, stroll along Paseo del Prado up to the Cybèle Palace, another landmark that you must see during your 4-day trip to Madrid.

This former communications palace is now home to a cultural center with free exhibitions. The icing on the cake is the stunning panoramas offered by the restaurant terrace, located on the 6th floor, and from the lookout on the eighth floor.

To get to the lookout, there is a fee of 3 euros per person.

Cybele Palace
Cybele Palace

F. Circulo de Bellas Artes

Let’s continue with amazing views over Madrid! Head to the Circulo de Bellas Artes, located right in the city center.

It’s also a private cultural center with several exhibitions, but it’s especially known for its panoramic rooftop terrace considered the best viewpoint in the whole city.

The rooftop is open to the public, offering an unmatched view of Madrid’s rooftops, all while enjoying a cocktail. It’s a fantastic way to end your day!

Circulo de Bellas Artes
View from Circulo de Bellas Artes

Third Day in Madrid: Places of Interest to Visit

4 Days in Madrid Itinerary Day 3
4 Days in Madrid – Day 3 Itinerary

Visits for day 3:

A. Santiago Bernabéu Stadium
B. Las Ventas Bullring
C. Shopping in Salamanca
D. Chueca District

A. Santiago Bernabéu Stadium

Football fans can’t spend 4 days in Madrid without a visit to the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.

The most convenient way to get there is by taking the subway to Santiago station.

The stadium tour is very interesting and allows you to set foot on the turf, enter the locker rooms, and admire the various trophies won by Real Madrid.

However, you need to book your visit in advance by clicking on the button below:

Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, home of Real Madrid

B. Las Ventas Bullring

Next, take the subway to the Las Ventas stop to arrive in front of the Las Ventas Bullring.

These bullrings are the largest in Spain and their beautiful architecture is truly worth seeing.

However, it’s a venue where bullfighting events still regularly take place. Even though bullfighting is part of Spanish culture,, this kind of spectacle where a weakened animal is killed in front of a crowd understandably sparks a lot of controversy today.

Being opposed to it won’t prevent you from admiring the bullring from the outside.

You can also go inside and visit the bullfighting museum there.

You can book your ticket for Madrid’s bullring + museum + audio guide by clicking here:

Las Ventas Bullring
Las Ventas Bullring

C. Shopping in Salamanca

Now, how about a little shopping session to continue your 4-day itinerary in Madrid?

You can reach the Salamanca district on foot or by metro from the bullring. It’s only 2 km away.

Stroll along Serrano Street and explore the side streets to find numerous fashion stores (international or luxury brands).

Voyage Tips - Advice

In the city center, you can also indulge in some shopping along Madrid’s main commercial avenue: Gran Via.

D. Chueca District

To wrap up this third day in Madrid, I recommend spending the evening in the Chueca district.

This is where Madrid’s nightlife comes alive, offering a great time for couples or friends, with options to have a drink in one of the many bars, dine at a restaurant, and even dance at a nightclub.

Centro District Madrid

Day 4: Day Trip to Toledo

A 4-day trip to Madrid gives you enough time to dedicate a full day to exploring the surroundings.

After a thorough overview of the Spanish capital in the first three days, why not spend the fourth and last day visiting Toledo?

If you don’t want to deal with transportation, there are organized day trips from Madrid that include a guide and round-trip transport.

I recommend two options to choose from:

  • Option 1: A self-guided exploration of Toledo’s quarters.
  • Option 2: A day in Toledo with a visit to 7 iconic monuments included.

The first excursion to Toledo allows you to discover this medieval city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and learn about its architecture and history.

Your guide will give you a brief tour of the city before letting you enjoy the rest of the day at your own pace. You will have almost a full day to visit the town as you like.

If you wish to visit certain monuments, you’ll need to add the price of the tickets for entry.

Book this guided tour to Toledo from Madrid using the button below:

The second organized excursion is slightly different: it includes visits to 7 monuments (with skip-the-line access), such as the Santo Tomé Church, the Santa Maria La Blanca Synagogue, and Toledo Cathedral as an option.

You’ll visit 3 sites with the guide and 4 on your own (with priority access in all cases).

You’ll also have free time to explore different neighborhoods, enjoy lunch on a terrace, and stroll at your leisure. This is the most comprehensive tour.

To book this day trip to Toledo, just click the button below:

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you’re not interested in an organized excursion, you can also get to Toledo by train from Madrid.

I recommend you check the train schedules and fares and book your tickets directly here:

Where to Stay in Madrid

Now you’re ready to learn how to visit Madrid in 4 days!

The last step remains: booking your accommodation.

To help you, I’ve made a selection of the best hotels in Madrid for every budget:

  • OK Hostel Madrid: Youth hostel located 700 meters from Plaza Mayor and 200 meters from a metro station. Dormitory bed starting at 16€ per night, breakfast for 3€. Strong points: excellent location, very friendly staff, clean and modern dorms, dinner option for 10€. Note that the hostel also offers double rooms starting at 75€ per night.
  • Ibis Madrid Centro Las Ventas: Located next to Madrid’s famous bullring and 100 meters from a metro station. Spacious and modern room starting at 60€ per night with breakfast available for an additional 7.95€. Strong points: rooms with bullring views, extensive breakfast buffet.
  • B&B Hotel Puerta del Sol: Ideally located 100 meters from Puerta del Sol and 400 meters from Plaza Mayor. Quiet and comfortable room starting at 89€ per night, with a breakfast bag (water, fruit, and chocolate bread) included every morning. Strong points: free drinks and fruits available 24/7, perfect location, and lovely staff.
  • Only YOU Hotel Atocha: Located right next to El Retiro Park. Comfortable, spacious, and stylish double room starting from 190€ per night, breakfast for 21€. Strong points: the beautiful hotel, attentive staff, extensive breakfast choices, location (10 minutes walk from the center and airport shuttle 5 minutes away), decor, ambiance. This is the perfect choice for a luxury stay in Madrid!
Voyage Tips - Advice

These hotels are already booked or not exactly what you’re looking for?

I recommend you read my other article featuring a wider selection of accommodations. Very practically, the hotels are sorted by neighborhood and budget.

Just click here to read it: The Best Hotels to Stay in Madrid.

Visiting Madrid in 4 Days with Family

Wondering if it’s possible and more importantly enjoyable to visit Madrid with children for 4 days?

The answer is yes! With its sunshine, friendly atmosphere, and stunning monuments, Madrid is a city that appeals to both adults and kids.

For the first three days, many attractions will be particularly interesting for them:

  • Mercado San Miguel, with its colorful stalls and delicious treats to taste
  • Tasting chocolate con churros at Chocolatería San Ginès
  • Temple of Debod and its magical ambiance
  • Retiro Park where you can have a picnic and even enjoy a boat ride
  • Bernabeu Stadium for soccer fans.

For families, Almudena Cathedral is also very affordable, offering admission for only 1€, as is the Prado Museum, which is free for minors and offers fun guided trails.

For the fourth day, if you prefer a visit that’s a bit more fun for your kids, you should replace Toledo with Warner Park located outside the city. It’s a themed park with numerous attractions and rides suitable for all ages.

Information and bookings for Warner Park can be found here!

Mercado de San Miguel Madrid
Stall at Mercado San Miguel

More Things to Do and See in Madrid in 4 Days

Want to add extra activities or alter the four-day itinerary in Madrid a bit?

No problem! You can find all things to do and see in Madrid in my complete guide dedicated to the Spanish capital.

Read it without delay by clicking here: What to do in Madrid? The Ultimate Guide!

Map of Your 4-Day Madrid Itinerary

To help you visualize your routes during these 4 days in Madrid, here is a map listing the daily must-visit places. You can display the map legend by clicking on the button at the top left with a little arrow. This will allow you to see the routes for each day.

Traveling to Madrid for 4 Days: Flight Prices

Since flight prices to Madrid can vary significantly, it’s a good idea to compare them as soon as possible. For that, you can use our flight comparison tool, in partnership with Skyscanner. It’s the best way to ensure you get the best price.

Need help organizing your 4-day itinerary in Madrid? Feel free to ask me your questions in the comments.

Book your trip now and save money!

You’re traveling in Spain? These articles will help you!

Discover all my articles about Spain: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Spain are listed there.

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Best places to visit in Madrid in 4 days
Best places to visit in Madrid in 4 days

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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