Top things to do

Top Choice Tapas in Plaza Mayor & Royal Madrid

Mercado de San Miguel

This is one of Madrid’s oldest and most beautiful markets, within early 20th-century glass walls and an inviting space strewn with tables. You can order tapas and sometimes more substantial plates at most of the cou…
Top Choice Square in Plaza Mayor & Royal Madrid

Plaza Mayor

Madrid's grand central square, a rare but expansive opening in the tightly packed streets of central Madrid, is one of the prettiest open spaces in Spain, a winning combination of imposing architecture, picaresque h…
Top Choice Palace in Plaza Mayor & Royal Madrid

Palacio Real

Spain's lavish Palacio Real is a jewel box of a palace, although it's used only occasionally for royal ceremonies; the royal family moved to the modest Palacio de la Zarzuela years ago.When the alcázar burned down o…
Top Choice Castilian in Plaza Mayor & Royal Madrid

Restaurante Sobrino de Botín

It’s not every day that you can eat in the oldest restaurant in the world (the Guinness Book of Records has recognised it as the oldest – established in 1725). The secret of its staying power is fine cochinillo asad…
Top Choice Club in Plaza Mayor & Royal Madrid

Teatro Joy Eslava

The only things guaranteed at this grand old Madrid dance club (housed in a 19th-century theatre) are a crowd and the fact that it’ll be open (it claims to have operated every single day since 1981). The music and t…
Top Choice Tapas in Plaza Mayor & Royal Madrid

Casa Revuelta

Casa Revuelta puts out some of Madrid’s finest tapas of bacalao (cod) bar none – unlike elsewhere, tajadas de bacalao don't have bones in them and slide down the throat with the greatest of ease. Early on a Sunday a…
Top Choice Ceramics in Plaza Mayor & Royal Madrid

Antigua Casa Talavera

The extraordinary tiled facade of this wonderful old shop conceals an Aladdin’s cave of ceramics from all over Spain. This is not the mass-produced stuff aimed at a tourist market, but instead comes from the small f…
Top Choice Wine Bar in Plaza Mayor & Royal Madrid

The Sherry Corner

The Sherry Corner, inside the Mercado de San Miguel, has found an excellent way to give a crash course in sherry. For €30, you get six small glasses of top-quality sherry to taste, each of which is matched to a diff…
Top Choice Arts & Crafts in Plaza Mayor & Royal Madrid

El Arco Artesanía

This original shop in the southwestern corner of Plaza Mayor sells an outstanding array of homemade designer souvenirs, from stone, ceramic and glass work to jewellery and home fittings. The papier mâché figures are…
Top Choice Food Hall in Plaza Mayor & Royal Madrid

Gourmet Experience

Ride the elevator up to the 9th floor of the El Corte Inglés department store for one of downtown Madrid's best eating experiences. The food is excellent, with everything from top-notch tapas or sushi to gourmet ham…