48 hours in Madrid

From art galleries to tapas bars.

Photo: Unsplash
May 2024
Discover Spanish specialities, boutique galleries, vibrant squares, and gorgeous green spaces in Madrid – a city where passion is palpable. Let us guide you through the best way to spend a weekend in the Spanish capital.


Check in at One Shot

Madrid is a big city with so much to offer – and with a busy schedule ahead of you, finding somewhere comfortable to stay is essential. There are plenty of great hotels to discover here – like the stylish and contemporarily designed One Shot boutique hotels, where the walls are adorned with art and stunning photography. Check in at One Shot Prado 23 in Las Letras or One Shot Recolatos 04 in the popular Salamanca district and enjoy being based just a stone’s throw away from several of the city’s top attractions.

One shot
Photo: Unsplash

Discover Madrid’s wealth of art

Many people are drawn to Madrid by its rich cultural offerings. Art enthusiasts are spoiled for choice here, with a treasure trove of galleries to explore – from the modern Travesía Cuatro to the charming Galería Elba Benítez, both situated close to the lively Malasaña district.

Photo: Luis Asin

Grab a coffee at Toma Café 1

Carry on strolling along the vibrant streets of Malasaña, drinking in the Spanish architecture. Then when it’s time for an energy boost, pause at the popular coffee paradise Toma Café 1 on Calle de la Palma. And if you fall in love with the café’s intoxicating brews (which is certainly very possible!), you can pick up a bag of coffee beans to take home too.

Photo: Unsplash

Take a break for tapas at Sala de Despiece

Sala de Despiece is a must for anyone visiting Madrid. This unassuming restaurant looks like little more than hole in the wall – but when you venture inside, you’ll find yourself in culinary heaven. Here you can enjoy exclusive tapas against a backdrop of raw interior details reminiscent of a slaughterhouse. Either book a table in the restaurant, or dine standing up in this bustling establishment while the knowledgeable staff serve you a selection of small Spanish specialities.

Sala de Despiece
Photo: Sala de Despiece


Visit the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum

If you want to visit any museum in Madrid, the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum – home to one of the world’s foremost art collections – should definitely be at the top of your list. Here you will find an assortment of works spanning several centuries, featuring prominent artists such as Holbein, Caravaggio, and Cézanne. Even the building itself is a wonder to behold, with its elegant architecture imbued with both history and culture.

Photo: Shutterstock

Explore nature in El Retiro Park

Madrid is a large city with several beautiful green spaces to discover, but one of its most extensive and beloved parks is El Retiro, located just ten minutes away from the Thyssen. The park spans 125 hectares and combines gardens, scenic walking trails, fountains, and lakes – and during the weekends it often plays host to cultural events and fun family activities. Take the opportunity to rent a rowing boat while you’re there and paddle around the park’s largest lake, the Estanque del Retiro.

El Retiro
Photo: Unsplash

Indulge at an authentic food market

Near Plaza Mayor you will find Mercado San Miguel, an indoor market offering a huge variety of Spanish delicacies, tapas, fresh fish, cheese, and wine. The market is a popular destination for both local residents and tourists salivating at the prospect of exploring Spanish food culture. It is located in a spacious and attractive iron-framed building with large windows, making it a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds.

Mercado san miguel
Photo: Unsplash


Brunch at Ojalá

Finish off your stay in Madrid with a hearty brunch at the popular restaurant Ojalá. This is the perfect destination for Sunday brunch (though it works just as well for an afternoon drink or dinner!). Here you will find refreshing drinks and a menu featuring tasty brunch options and tapas. If you’re lucky, you might get a table in the basement downstairs, where you can pretend you’re picnicking on the beach, sitting at small low tables surrounded by sand and muted pink neon lights.

Photo: Unsplash


One Shot Prado 23
C. del Prado, 23

Hotel One Shot Recoletos 04
C. de Salustiano Olózaga, 4

Elba Benitez
C. de San Lorenzo, 11

Travesía Cuatro
C. de San Mateo, 16

Toma 1
C. de la Palma, 49

Sala De Despiece
C/ de Ponzano, 11

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum
P.º del Prado, 8

Mercado San Miguel
Pl. de San Miguel

Calle de San Andrés, 1

Text by Peggy Hansson