Tirso de Molina (Light Blue Line, L1) plus about five minutes walk.
Timetable: Sunday and Public Holiday: 09:00 - 15:00
El Rastro is an enormous outdoor market and is one of the most popular tourist attractions. There are market stalls stocking excellent value items, and you can hunt for everything from clothes and accessories to CD's and kitchen equipment. It gets busy, so you have to be prepared to go with the slow-moving flow of people, but it is full of colour and makes for an interesting mornings shopping.
Metro: Banco de España (Red Line, L2) or Atocha (Light Blue Line, L2) plus ten minutes walk.
Timetable: Monday - Saturday: 10:00 - 20:00
Sunday and Holiday: 10:00 - 19:00
06 January, 24 December, 31 December: 10:00 - 14:00
01 January, 01 May, and 25 December: Closed
July - September: Monday - Saturday: 10:00 - 22:00
Sunday and Public Holiday: 10:00 - 21:00
(closed on public holidays that fall on Mondays) 09:00 - 20:00
06 Janurary, 24 December, 31 December : 09:00 - 14:00
Entry fee: €16.00
General admission + official guide book: €25.00
Free entry for Over 65s, EU students under 25, unemployed, disabled, teachers and official guides.Temporary exhibitions may cost an additional few euros.
Disabled access is available
The Prado is one of the worlds most famous art museums, containing masterpieces from the 12th to the 19th century, making it one of the most visited Madrid tourist attractions.
Visit on a Sunday when it's free. It is also free to enter on the following days: 12 October (Hispanidad Day); 06 December (Constitution Day); 02 May (Official Day, Region of Madrid); 18 May (International Museums Day).
There are both temporary and permanent exhibitions, and the works of Goya, Rubens and Murillo are amongst the masterpieces on display. Both audio guides and guide books are on sale within the museum. The museum is large, and art lovers will easily pass half, if not the whole day inside. There is a café and a restaurant where you can take a break. The ground floor also houses a book shop.
Tel: +34 91 774 1000
Official website: http://www.museoreinasofia.es
Metro: Atocha (Light Blue Line, L1)
Timetable: Monday - Saturday: 10:00 - 21:00.
Sunday: 10:00 - 19:00.
Entry fee: €8.00 .
Free for the general public: Monday: 19:00 - 21:00
Wednesday-Saturday: 19:00 - 21:00
Sunday: 13:30 - 19:00
18 April, 18 May, 12 October, 6 December: Open All Day.
Official Sofia museum
Disabled Access to Reina Sofia is available
The Reina Sofia art museum makes up part of Madrid's 'Golden Triangle' of famous museums. It houses an important collection of 20th and 21st century art. Picasso's famous Guernica is well worth a look, as are the works of Miró and Dalí.
Make a day of it. There is a stunning bar and restaurant on the ground floor that has a delicious menu. It is open on Monday - Saturday: 10:00 - 21:00 Sunday: 10:00 - 19:00, Tuesday: Closed. and provides a relaxing location to enjoy a meal. I would even visit the restaurant bar if I wasn't visiting the museum itself, as it is a stylish and upbeat place to pass time.
April - September: Monday - Sunday: 06:00 - 22:00.
October - March: Monday - Sunday: 06:00 - 00:00 Midnight.
Retiro park is a wonderful oasis of calm to the East of the centre of Madrid. It is popular on Sunday mornings when people turn up for a leisurely stroll through its leafy paths. The park was once a palace garden, and it contains a boating lake and many majestic fountains. On Sunday's you'll also see Punch and Judy shows, tarot card readers and stalls selling candy floss.
There are several café bars throughout the park where you will usually also have the pleasure of listening to the many talented musicians who serenade the crowds. It is an excellent place to relax.
Tel: +34 91 454 8700
Official website: www.patrimonionacional.es
Metro: Opera (Red Line, L2), or (Green Line, L5)
Timetable: October - March: Monday - Sunday: 10:00 - 18:00
April - September: Monday - Sunday: 10:00 - 20:00
Entry fee: €11.00 without guide; €15.00 with guide. Children under 5 go free.
Cheap rate: €6.00 for pre-arranged school groups, old age pensioners, students and the handicapped.
Disabled access - available.
The Palacio Real is an enormous and imposing building constructed during the 18th and 19th centuries, and its popularity has made it one of the most popular of attractions. It is the official residence of the Spanish Royal family, although they only use it for state occasions. It's sheer scale and vast courtyard is impressive, and you can enter the palace to get a look at the lavish halls, banqueting rooms, throne room, residential areas and the Royal Armoury and Royal Pharmacy. There is plenty of information as you visit each room, but if you're especially interested in the details of the palace rooms, then a guided tour is worth while. It takes 45 minutes.
I walked past the visitors entrance on a Saturday and the queue was huge. I went back on a Sunday around midday and walked straight in without queuing. But bear in mind that on a Sunday the Palace closes at 14:00. I would recommend at least half a day to see everything in detail.
The Palace also houses art exhibitions that are available to view at no extra charge.
The cheapest way to visit the best Madrid tourist attractions is to purchase a Madrid Card. It provides you with free access to 42 museums, and there are over 100 establishments that offer discounts on production of the card. You can also join in on guided tours that are part of the 'Discover Madrid' program, for free . The card costs €47.00 for 24 hours; €60.00 for 48 hours or €67.00 for 72 hours. It is available from the Madrid Tourist Information office in the Plaza Mayor and through main travel agencies.