48 hours in Madrid – A guide

Okay, confession: We had a bit more than 48 hours, but the things we did can easily be squeezed into 48 hours, so here we go 🙂


When I stepped out of the plane in Madrid, I noticed that I hadn’t been in Spain for around 8 years. And that’s when I was in Barcelona my first ever time in Spain. Which means: My trip to Madrid in March 2019 was my second time in Spain ever. Crazy. That’s also why I didn’t know what to expect so I was even more pleasantly surprised by how cheap everything was, how absolutely delicious the food and wine was and how stunning everyone looked!

So here we go with the tips. Spoiler: I didn’t find any Matcha Latte. So if you’re from Madrid or know your way around, please tell me about the best Café to satisfy my addiction for my next visit!

I arrived in Madrid by plane and took the subway into the city. It cost around 6€ and you had to get a card (which is basically like an Oyster card in London but didn’t cost anything) that you can top up. Make sure not to put anything else than the fare into the city on it though since Madrid is small enough to walk everything. It would just be a waste.


Plaza Mayor

We stayed at Mad4You Hostel which is located in Malasana, the hipster party area of Madrid (so definitely check that out, if you feel like having a night out around town). The hostel itself was fine. It had a nice courtyard and included breakfast in the price of around 30€ per night. Only downside: They only had two bathrooms (at least those were the only ones we found), so you might have to queue for showering or even using the toilet.

The first night we went to a bar called Macera, a Gin Bar in the middle of Malasana. It was insanely busy and it took a while to get to the bar but it was worth it. Since I don’t speak Spanish I can’t explain the whole concept of the bar to you, but they have a lot of different variations of Gin on the menu which you can choose from for your Gin & Tonic. My Gin was a berry-based Gin, which tasted delicious!
The area around the bar was super busy all night and I loved every bit of it!


All the Gins at Macera

In the morning we had reservations at a place called Perrachica. The restaurant was breathtakingly beautiful, with wallpapers at the entrance, comfy couches everywhere, lots of candles and so many more details to discover. The food was very tasty, even though I was still hungry afterwards. That might be me though, so I wouldn’t count on it to be true for you as well. The place also serves dinner and I’m pretty sure it’s just as good as brunch.

After that we started to explore. Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, El Retiro Park… On a sunny day like we’ve had, it was the best way to explore the city. If you’ve got time, make sure to take a little break at El Retiro park. It was so full of life with people having picnics and playing games and just soaking up the first rays of sunshine.

We then ventured towards Plaza de Santa Ana, where we had Tapas at Lateral. Lateral is a chain that you can find all around Madrid. The Tapas were – as always – absolutely delicious and I’ve had some of the best wine there. And all for very little money. Definitely pay that restaurant a visit! They don’t do reservations, so make sure not to get there too hungry. We arrived around 5pm on a Saturday and had to wait only 5 minutes to be seated outside on the terrace.


Chilling at El Retiro Park

Because Madrid is famous for its rooftops we decided to visit one of the rooftop bars for a drink after dinner. The decision wasn’t easy, because we had a list of 5 or so bars that might be worth a visit. In the end we chose Gymage Terrace which is located on top of a Gym. We got there around 7ish, maybe a bit later, and people were queuing already. It took about 20 minutes for us to get inside and a table. The drinks weren’t the best I’ve ever had (they were very sweet cocktails) but the view was pretty cool!


Gymage Terrace

The next morning we had breakfast at a small café just around the corner from our hostel: Toma Café. And I didn’t just like it for its world map on the wall 🙂 The café offers different types of breakfast, such as avocado bread or granola, but also sweet stuff like Banana Bread. Because it was so convenient, we also went there on Monday morning. One suggestion for improvement: Matcha for their Menu. Other than that, I really enjoyed it.

From there we headed right to El Rastro, the legend of the flea markets in Madrid. I sometimes get a bit frustrated when I read about “cool flea markets” in cities I visit and in the end it’s basically a market full of the same things – hippie dresses, jewellery, jeans jackets, all from distributors and not private people’s closets. To top it off, the market was extremely packed by the time we got there around 11/11:30 am. There was one thing I loved though: The antique interior stuff. I wish I could have brought some of it home in my suitcase.


One thing you shouldn’t miss in Madrid: Eating Churros! We decided to check out San Ginés, the most famous place to try Churros with chocolate. I’m not sure if Churros are really my thing (I didn’t really expect them to be) or if it was just hyped to much, but I wasn’t overly excited about them. Which doesn’t mean I didn’t finish them though. Because I mean, I broke lent for that AND they are covered in chocolate. But if I came back there, I would maybe just try them in some nice looking café around town rather than making my way to San Ginés. Maybe.

Very close to San Ginès, there’s Mercado de San Miguel, a food heaven. It’s a big market hall full of food stalls selling different Spanish foods. There’s sandwiches with Iberian ham, Empanadas, Calamari and anything else you could think of! Food is definitely more expensive there than in any restaurant, but the experience is pretty cool.


Empanadas at Mercado de San Miguel

At the end of the trip we chose to do a Free Walking Tour around town (yeah, I know, maybe we should have done that in the beginning…). There are two tours a day by Madride, one at 11am and one at 5pm and both cover different sides of the city. We chose to 5pm one, which took around 2 hours and brought us around the major Plazas, told us a bit about the history behind the buildings and ended at the Temple of Debod for sunset. We didn’t have time to stay there for the whole length of the sunset, because we had a dinner reservation but from what we could see, it’s really a breathtaking view for that time of the day! (If you don’t mind sharing it with a view hundred people.)
Also: It might be called “Free Walking Tour” but obviously have some money prepared in your pocket as a tip for your guide. They are really good, so they deserve it!


The sunset around Temple of Debod

For our last supper, we made reservations at Inclan Brutal Bar. We tried to book online, which didn’t give us any tables after 4:30pm, so we walked past there on Friday and booked for Sunday night. So don’t give up, if online booking doesn’t work for your preferred time. Because the food is so worth it! We tried two different tapas as starters and shared a Paella at the end. We though we had to get a Paella, since we were in Spain, but in hindsight, we should have chosen a few more Tapas instead. They were just too good! And again, I had very tasty wine with it.

All in total it’s safe to say that I will come back to Madrid one day. Not only because I stepped on the plaquette at Puerta del Sol. (There’s a plaquette marking the exact middle of the country Spain and rumour has it, if you step on it during your trip, you will definitely come back to Madrid.) The city is so vibrant, full of colour, beautiful people, good shopping and delicious food&drinks. What more can you ask for? (Mabye a few less people. But I’ve been told that’s never really possible there. And it’s not bad enough to keep me away either…)