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This is a recap of our trip to Madrid with kids; one day in Madrid itinerary.
We split one week between Barcelona, Valencia, and Madrid, Spain with stops in Peniscola and Cuenca, Spain for our third official The Spring Break Family trip. Every year is becoming harder to top because this trip was absolutely phenomenal!
Standard note for all our itinerary posts: Agendas are awesome. In fact, I love agendas. But if I’ve learned anything from traveling overseas with kids, I’ve learned to be flexible. Our itineraries are intended to provide a loose framework for what we’d like to do but the city [and the mood of the kids] decide what we actually end up doing. That being said, we always have a ton of fun because we do it together. Now, let’s dive in!
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DAY ONE: Settling in and Checking into our Hotel
In between Valencia and Madrid, we made a pit stop in the city of Cuenca, Spain. We found so many local treasures there that we ended up taking longer than originally allotted. That is the beauty of road trips — the flexibility it allowed — so no biggie but it did mean that we were exhausted by the time we touched down in Madrid. So we spent the first day [as usual] just checking into our hotel and exploring the immediate area around it.
Where to Stay in Madrid [Spain] with Kids: NH Collection Madrid Suecia, Junior Suite
Overall Rating: 5/5 — consistently good service, excellent location, SUPER comfortable bed, and beautiful property
We LOVE the NH Collection chain. There are several to choose from when selecting where to stay in Madrid with kids but we settled on the Suecia location. So glad we did! It was within walking distance to Gran Via and only about 2 blocks from public transportation and the Hop On Hop Off bus.
If you’re not new here then you know we also put a lot of stock in the security of a hotel. Access to the elevators in NH Collection Suecia Madrid requires you to walk past the fully manned front desk and use your key card to select a floor.
The room itself was extremely spacious with plenty of room for our family of four. It was equipped with a living room and a private bedroom with a bathroom. The kiddos slept on the sleeper sofa in the living room that the NH Collection Suecia Madrid family had already pulled out for us. If you are a family needing more space, they also offer adjoining rooms.
We lucked out and got upgraded during our stay to a junior suite with a terrace. I know I’m a travel blogger and the main part of my job is turning experiences into words. But that terrace literally left me at a loss for words. All I could do was giggle incessantly with joy. It’s the bomb and if you can spring for the upgrade, I highly recommend it.
The hotel offers an awesome breakfast buffet for an additional cost. It has all sorts of pastries, made to order omelettes and a variety of other juices and things. We greatly preferred the breakfast buffet at NH Collection Milano President but this one was great too.
We always put extra care into choosing the hotel for the last leg of our trip and they never disappoint. Please keep in mind that this is a 5-star hotel and has the price tag to match but this is 100% worth the splurge. If you’re looking for a high-end hotel that will go above and beyond to accommodate your family then NH Collection Madrid Suecia is the best place to stay in Madrid with kids.
Video Tour of our NH Collection Madrid Suecia Junior Suite
DAY TWO: Marid Bus Tours [Hop On Hop Off Bus], Royal Palace of Madrid, Plaza Mayor, and Mercado de San Miguel
Madrid Bus Tours
We rode the Hop On Hop Off bus in Barcelona and again in Valencia so of course, we did the same in Madrid! When I look back on our time in Madrid, we were able to see and do so much thanks to the Madrid Bus Tours. We only really had one full day in Madrid so having the [air conditioned] bus take us from site to site was a lifesaver. They offer a variety of Madrid tours available and if we’d had more time we would have totally taken those.
They have two Madrid City Tour bus routes that visit about 30 stops around the city. The blue route lasts around 80 minutes if you ride without taking any of the stops and hits all the major landmarks in the city. The green route is around 60 minutes; while shorter, it hits most of the major landmarks and even travels out to the Santiago Bernabéu soccer stadium. If you’d like to ride both routes, I highly recommend purchasing a 2-day pass but they have 1 day passes available as well. Either one will get you unlimited rides during operating hours on either of the routes.
Like the buses we rode in other cities, the Madrid Hop On Hop Off bus included an audioguide [avaialble in Spanish, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Japanese]. Each of us was provided with earphones that we plugged into the back of our seats to learn about each landmark as we passed it. We learned so much that we fell in love with the city and vowed to return.
Thank you to iSango Travels for providing complimentary tickets!
Royal Palace of Madrid
Oddly enough, we’d had no plans to stop at the Royal Palace of Madrid during our trip to Madrid with the kids. The little one saw the adjoining Sabatini Gardens from the bus and requested that we hop off. So hop off we did! And it was awesome!
The Royal Palace of Madrid is officially the home of the Royal Family in Spain but is only used for state ceremonies. We lucked out and visited on a Saturday and caught the tail end of their Changing of the Guard ceremony. The girls loved seeing the horses and the “Spanish soldiers” as they called them.
If you don’t want to spring for admission into the actual palace or if you’re short on time, the grounds themselves are beautiful. The Sabatini Gardens are right next door with shrubbery shaped into mazes and Grecian-like statues. The plaza out front of the Royal Palace of Madrid also has mini-mazes, cool statues, and plenty of play areas. If people watching is your thing, you will have a blast here. We ended up exploring around the outside of the palace for over an hour. Be sure to take plenty of pictures near the entrance. The view from there is jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
If you’d like to explore the inside, I highly recommend purchasing your tickets online and in advance on the official website for the Royal Palace of Madrid. The queue to enter was LONG. They offer a variety of ticket prices depending on age, time of year, and a few other factors. Kids 5 and under are free [YAY!] and they also offer free admission on certain days and time frames during certain seasons. Check their website for more information.
Next, we rode the Hop On Hop Off bus to Plaza Mayor. Plaza Mayor has a wonderful history and significant meaning to the city. But for tourists — especially those visiting Madrid with kids — it is a great place to catch a meal, let kids burn some energy in an open square, and even do a little shopping.
There are many merchants in this area selling their wares out in the middle of the square. It’s an easy way to get small, inexpensive trinkets but I believe I read somewhere that it is illegal for them to sell in the square. If you look closely, their goods are on a blanket attached to strings they can pull up to retract with very little notice. So if you’re a little leery steer clear of them and stick to the stores.
Also, please be cautious of pickpockets in this area. Pickpocketing in Europe is way too common but there are very simple things you can do to protect yourself and your valuables. Check out this list of ways to avoid pickpockets in Europe.
Be sure to find and take a picture of the Statue of Phillip III. It’s super old [it was created in 1616] and is rumored to be the most valuable piece of art on the street.
Mercado de San Miguel
We love food markets so we had to add Mercado de San Miguel to our one day in Madrid itinerary. Luckily, it is right outside of Plaza Mayor so we were able to pop over for a quick run through. It’s similar to La Boqueria in Barcelona but a lot smaller and enclosed. It also seems to cater a bit more to the adult crowd. There are a lot of tapas options with seafood, cocktails, and meat.
Due to our family’s food allergies, we chose to just explore casually rather than grabbing a meal. Also, the seating is mostly bar height which isn’t incredibly kid-friendly. However, the girls enjoyed seeing all the different types of food. There are also street performers right outside the market that the girls absolutely loved.
If you’d like a complete breakdown of their food offerings, be sure to check out the Mercado San Miguel website.
The very next day we caught a very early flight back home! We only had one full day in Madrid but we made the most of it! When we return [and trust me — one day we will return], we will allocate 2-3 days to see even more of the city.
Have you been to Madrid with kids? Leave a comment with your favorite activity below!