Madrid is the vibrant capital of Spain, and in important location for experiencing the centre of the country’s culture and history.
The eclectic food scene, buzzing nightlife, and imposing architectural monuments make this unique city a must see on any European itinerary.
Tours and experiences are a great way to soak up the culture of the city and learn about its varied history from colonialism through to modern times.
These are the 15 best tours you can take in Madrid.
1. Madrid City Tour (Hop-on Hop-off Bus)
If you’re only in Madrid for a short amount of time or want to get a feel for the city on your first day, a hop-on hop-off bus is a great option.
This tour offers you either a 1-day or 2-day pass for the hop-on hop-off buses, which begins from your first hop-on. There are 49 stops available along two routes – so if you can, we suggest taking the 2-day pass.
An audio guide is provided with 14 languages available, detailing the most important information about all of the locations. A free map is included, as well as discounts across a number of locations in Madrid.
2. Skip-the-Line Prado Museum Entrance Ticket
See the largest and most important collection of Spanish painting in the world and explore the Prado’s sculpture collection and discover more than 900 works and about 200 fragments
3. Bernabéu Stadium Tour with Direct Access Tickets
The Bernabéu Stadium is the home of Real Madrid, making this an excellent option for football fans.
This experience is packed with sporting history, with two museums on-site for visitors to enjoy. You will also be taken on a tour of the pitch, seating areas, dressing room, player’s tunnel, and Trophy Room.
The final stop of the tour is the Presidential Box, which is usually reserved for Spain’s most important people and Real Madrid board members.
4. Live Flamenco Show and Food and Drinks Option
This is another great experience if you are interested in flamenco, where you can watch one of the most important flamenco shows in the country.
It is located in the Torres Bermejas, a hall designed in the 1960s that mimics the world-famous Alhambra Palace in Grenada.
Before the show begins you will be able to marvel over the gorgeous Moorish inspired interiors and enjoy a complimentary drink. There is also the option to add a dinner for you to enjoy during the performance.
The Cuadro Flamenco show is 90 minutes long, making it the perfect start to an evening in Madrid.
5. Madrid Art Walk Pass: Prado, Reina Sofia & Thyssen Museums
Like most European capitals, Madrid is packed with high quality art galleries – and the Golden Triangle of Art is considered one of the best areas in Europe for experiencing a variety of artistic styles.
This ticket gives you access to the three main art museums – the Prado, Reina Sofia, and Thyssen. The Prado is itself a piece of art and one of the finest examples of European architecture.
The Reina Sofia is a great place to check out famous Spanish artists such as Picasso and Dalí, whilst the Thyssen Museum contains art from across Europe and North America.
6. Skip-the-Line Guided Tour of the Royal Palace
Spain is a constitutional monarchy, and their Royal Family is based at the Royal Palace in Madrid.
This tour allows you to skip the large lines to enter the palace and comes with a live guide. You will get to experience how the Spanish royals live and explore the largest palace in Western Europe.
Your bilingual guide will also discuss the turbulent history of the Spanish monarchy, from colonialism to their reinstatement after the Franco years.
There is also the option to add a tapas experience at the end of the tour, where you can sample some typical Spanish dishes.
7. Segovia and Toledo Tour with Alcazar & Optional Cathedral
Segovia and Toledo are two historically important cities close to Madrid. This tour departs from Central Madrid and takes you to both of these cities with an air-conditioned coach.
At Segovia you will be able to marvel at the Roman architecture – including the UNESCO World Heritage site aqueduct – and visit the Alcazár Palace. Toledo is a medieval city that had important connections with the Spanish Empire.
You will be able to explore the Christian, Jewish and Muslim quarters that have survived through the ages, and take a look at the art in Toledo Cathedral.
8. Las Ventas Bullring and Museum Tour
If you are keen to dive deep into the history and cultural importance of bullfighting, this is an excellent tour to the largest bullring in Madrid.
The Plaza de Toros de las Ventas is an important sporting monument in the city, which has been the home of bullfighting for decades.
The stadium seats over 23,000 spectators and has been visited by a number of celebrities and notable people during its long history.
It is a great example of 1920s Spanish architecture, and this guided tour has an interactive twist that allows you to participate in a virtual bullfight. A free audio guide is included.
9. Half-Day Spanish Cooking Class
Spanish cuisine is rich and varied, and has influenced multiple cuisines across the world from Latin American to Filipino.
This cooking class allows you to try making your own version of the most popular dishes, including paella and Spanish omelette. Morning classes also include a visit to a local market where you get to hand-pick your own ingredients.
All food and drink is included in the price, and you will also get the opportunity to make your own sangria. Guests are given a book of all the recipes at the end.
10. Madrid Historical Centre & Old Town Walking Tour
Walking tours are an excellent way to gather your bearings during your first few days in a new city.
This tour takes you around the major attractions in the historical centre of Madrid, as well as some hidden gems. Group sizes are limited for a more intimate experience, and the tour can be somewhat customised by the group.
It also includes a visit to the San Miguel Market where you can pick up some souvenirs and fresh food. The tour can be taken in English, Spanish, or French.
11. 5-Hour Pub Crawl
Starting in the centre of Madrid at Puerta del Sol, this tour is a great way to experience the best nightlife the city has to offer. The tour includes five bars, with a free shot at each bar and discounts on other drinks.
You will also be given free entry to one of the best clubs in Madrid, which varies depending on the night. This is excellent for solo travellers looking to socialise with other visitors to the city.
The bars are specially selected to give you a showcase of the variety of atmospheres available in the City of Madrid. The guide is fully licensed to ensure your safety.
12. El Escorial and Valley of the Fallen: Skip-the-Line Tour
El Escorial and Valley of the Fallen are two important cultural landmarks located outside of Madrid.
This tour will take you to both from Madrid with a luxury coach. El Escorial Monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and important location for Catholicism in Spain.
Valley of the Fallen is also an important location for Christians, with the tallest cross in the world. It is also full of architectural monuments that dedicate those who lost their lives during the Spanish Civil War.
The tour guide will take you around both of these attractions, and can speak both English and Spanish.
13. Madrid Tapas Experience Walking Tour
Tapas is one of the most influential culinary traditions of Spain that has spread across the Iberian Peninsula and the world. It consists of a variety of small plates that are shared, giving you the chance to sample some of Spain’s best ingredients.
This tour takes you to three tapas bars across the city, allowing you to experience local dining culture in an authentic way. You will also learn about Asturian cider and try Andalusian Rebujito cocktails.
Two free drinks (beer or wine) are included as part of the tour, as well as discounts at each tapas bar.
14. 3-Hour Art E-Bike Tour
For a more relaxed tour through Madrid, this e-bike tour allows you to take a casual ride between the most important artistic neighbourhoods and cultural sights in the city.
The knowledgeable guide will take you through the Golden Triangle of Art, Parque del Retiro, and the old city. You will also have some time to explore the bars and boutiques of Malasaña district.
The e-bike means all fitness levels can enjoy this tour, and safety gear is included. You will also be provided with a free bottle of water.
15. The Spanish Inquisition Tour
The Spanish Inquisition was one of the darkest periods of Spain’s history, where locals were brutally punished, suppressed, and murdered in order to enforce orthodox Christianity on the country.
This tour allows you to learn about the history and bloody stories that surround the time period, and how it influenced Madrid and the wider world.
You will be taken to La Encarnación Monastery, as well as to one of the former prisons that were used for the Inquisition.