10 nights in Madrid & Around

Jan 3rd, 2011, 05:08 AM
  #1  
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10 nights in Madrid & Around

Hi,

I have 10 nights to spend in Madrid and around in late July. My original idea was to spend all 10 nights in Madrid, but I was wondering whether I should split that time with another destination near Madrid such as Toledo, Ávila & Segovia.

I'm interested in strolling, visiting churches, eating and shopping. I'm also interested in visiting the Prado Museum & the Escorial.

Any thoughts?

Thank you and Happy 2011 everybody!
Castellanese is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 05:18 AM
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Definitely split the time. Based on your likes, spend 4 days in Madrid visiting Museums, selcted restaurant experiences, and some shopping. Then use public transport to spend 3 days in Segovia and a couple of days in Toledo. The reason I give Segovia more time is that July is hot, hot, hot and Segovia has great restaurants and a very interesting and cooler centre, which makes it more "strolling-friendly". Also,the churches in/around the area are stunning and very unique. As far as Toledo, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site so definitely deserving of time. However it is MOBBED during the daytime and I cannot even imagine being there in July. That said, there is great shopping in Toledo, but for very specific items; damasquinado jewerly-- beautiful and classic.

I left one day open for God's Good Humor!
Viajero2 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 05:38 AM
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Madrid is also an excellent hub to visit the towns for day trips and the transportant is universally efficient. As Viajero mentioned, it will be extremely hot and the tourist sights will be very crowded.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 07:36 AM
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As already noted, Madrid will be hot in late July, a lot of restaurants will be closed and the city filled with tourist who can only visit during the warm summer months. I would head for the north coast.
Robert2533 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 08:10 AM
  #5  
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Thanks Viajero, Aduchamp & Robert.

Based on that, I've decided to visit it during the first week of July, which is the earliest I can.

I wouldn't like moving that much so my choice would be Madrid and another city, either Toledo, Segovia or Ávila.

Thanks again,

Castellanese.
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 09:14 AM
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Would...

6 nights in Madrid
2 nights in Segovia
2 nights in Toledo

be too hectic? I won't have a car (because I can't drive); I'll be using mostly the train.

As for museums, in Madrid, I'm only interested in visiting El Prado. I know there are many other wonderful museums, but given the fact that I'd like to visit these other two cities (if possible), I want to focus on the highlights of my interest. I've just looked up pictures of Segovia and it looks beautiful.

Castellanese.
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 09:16 AM
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You never know with weather. I have been in Madrid in July and August and the weather has been either mild (low-mid 80s in the daytime) or HOT(close to a 100 everyday for a week). I have always done Toledo, Segovia and Avila as day trips from Madrid and found it was enough time so don't know which city to tell you to relocate to. Any interest to go to a city on the coast? If I had 10 nights in July I would stay 6-7 nights in Madrid (with day trips to a couple of those cities) and then fly to the North, either San Sebastian, Bilbao or Santander for 3-4 days for a different perspective.
cruiseluv is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 09:20 AM
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Castellanese, you must have been typing your latest post as I was typing mine.
There is no train (as far as I know) between Toledo and Segovia, so you would have to come back to Madrid. Maybe somebody knows if there is bus service between the two. Also, I assume that you are flying home out of Madrid, so you would probably have to return the night pror to overnight in Madrid (unless your flight home is in the afternoon/ evening).
cruiseluv is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 09:24 AM
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There are several excellent day trips one can take from Madrid, including Toledo, Segovia, El Escorial, Aranjuez, and Avila (have been to all but the last of these) -- no need to stay overnight in any of these if you don't want to as you can see pretty much everything in each city in one day, though some folks report on this forum that doing an overnight in Toledo is especially enjoyable.

With 10 days, you should have plenty of time to see all these places, plus a good sampling of what Madrid itself has to offer.
bachslunch is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 10:16 AM
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I love the idea of just basing in one place and visiting other places as day trips provided they are easy day trips.

However, I've had a bit of bad experience when it comes to day trips, although exactly because they were not that easy.

Ávila & the Escorial seem very interesting as well.

Castellanese.
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 10:34 AM
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The day trips mentioned above are as straightforward as they come. What kind of bad experience are you trying to avoid?
cruiseluv is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 12:26 PM
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I've had bad experiences like...

oversleeping and then getting late to the place,
missing the train,
the place being too big for a day trip,
having to take train+bus,
etc.

However, even my guidebook (National Geographic Traveler) says that Segovia, Escorial, Toledo and Ávila are easy to visit as a day trip.
Castellanese is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 01:18 PM
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Well, of course , anything could go wrong. But with these destinations they are all very close to Madrid , they are served by train OR bus, and they are not too big for a day trip. I recommend you also take a look at www.maribelsguides.com and her Madrid(including day trips) guide. IMO it's the best!
cruiseluv is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 07:07 PM
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You may consider visiting Salamanca for a couple of days. It's a little too far for a daytrip but is a beautiful city with plenty of transportation connections. I've visited both Toledo and Segovia as overnights (2 nights is fine, 3 would be a little too much even for me). If you have time in your itinerary I'd do as overnights - but it does mean more moving around. I'm a little confused why you wouldn't want to head North where it will be much cooler for part of the trip. A flight would be very quick and you can just as easily miss a train to Toledo or Segovia as you could mising the flight to Bilbao or San Sebastian.....
CathyM is offline  
Jan 4th, 2011, 02:36 AM
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Hi again,

I was checking my itinerary again, and I actually count on 8 nights, because the cheapest flight I found stops at Lisbon for a night and I wasn't counting the first night you spend on the plane.

The reason why I'm only visiting Madrid and around because of money and time issues. I'm already visiting Buenos Aires this spring, and the only way I can travel again in the summer is by doing a simple trip. If I start taking planes or including too many places to spend the night, I won't be able to afford it. That's why I'm planning a simple trip.

So, so far, I think I'll have time for one or two day trips.

Castellanese.
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Jan 4th, 2011, 04:06 AM
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Get an apartment if you want to save money on lodging and meals.
Viajero2 is offline  
Jan 4th, 2011, 04:42 AM
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Madrid is fantastic, and I would have considered a day-trip to Alcalá de Henares. A world heritage city because of the 15th century university and the birthplace of Cervantes. Some 30 mins by train from the central Atocha station, the same commuter line that was attacked during the 11M Madrid bombings. Memorial monuments both at Atocha and at the station in Alcalá.
http://www.ayto-alcaladehenares.es/h...ite_language=4

I previously posted these suggestions for Madrid:

Have breakfast or lunch at Café del Círculo de Bellas Artes in down town Calle Alcalá, 42. One of the city's most emblematic cafés. Grab a window table and watch Madrid life on bustling Calle Alcalá. Take the lift up to the roof topp terrace (the azotea) for the most spectacular views of the city. http://www.esmadrid.com/en/cargarApl...ntificador=179

Watch the sunset over the Guadarrama mountains from the terrace at El Ventorrillo in the Vistillas park. Great pollo al ajillo, some say the best in town. Map, video and some pictures: http://11870.com/pro/restaurante-ventorrillo

Have lunch or some tapas at Casa Granada, on the 6th floor of an apartment building just off Plaza Tirso de Molina. Hard to find and a great terrace. http://www.tripfilms.com/Travel_Vide...ada-Video.html

Café Central, just off bustling Plaza Santa Ana, is a fabulous jazz venue with live performances from the best artists every night at 10. Entrance 11€. Good food also.

Experience world class flamenco at one of the best tablaos. Madrid is arguably the flamenco capital of the world. Although the art form comes from the South (Andalucía), everybody has to conquer Madrid to get to the top. On their way there, or as an opportunity to try out new things and get an up close audience, many of them work the top tablaos. I recommend Casa Patas and Cardamomo, both close to Plaza Santa Ana.
http://www.casapatas.com/
http://www.cardamomo.es/

Medina Mayrit, an Arab bath-house just off Plaza Mayor in Calle Atotcha, 14. (Mayrit is the old Arab name (from the 9th century) of Madrid, meaning running water and referring to the water sources beneath the city). http://www.medinamayrit.com/

A stroll in the beautiful Retiro Park. http://www.aviewoncities.com/madrid/parquedelretiro.htm

Asturian Casa Mingo for the best grilled chicken and cider: http://www.casamingo.es/
Watch the video, and you're sold:
http://11870.com/pro/casa-mingo/videos/bc313f19

Txirimiri in Calle del Humilladero, 6 gives you an idea of why the Basque kitchen is considered among the best in the world. In the midst of one of the best tapas/restaurant districts in town, in and around Calle Cava Baja in La Latina.
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...ri-Madrid.html

I never leave Madrid without having had the squid in its own ink and the famous cod at Casa Revuelta, also in the same district.
http://11870.com/pro/casa-revuelta

You should also try the excellent salmorejo, a somewhat thicker variant of the tomato/vegetable soup gazpacho, in Según Emma just behind the newly reopened gourmet-oriented San Miguel food market. http://11870.com/pro/segun-emma
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...ma-Madrid.html

First class dining at El Mentidero de la Villa:
http://www.mentiderodelavilla.es/
http://11870.com/pro/el-mentidero-la-villa

The Reina Sofia contemporary art museum. The second floor with Picasso, Dalí, lots of other painitings, posters, films, photos etc., dealing with a couple of the greatest civilizational breakdowns of the 20th century, The Spanish Civil War and WWII, completely blew my mind off last year.
(And of course Prado and the Thyssen-Bornemisza museums)

The Chueca and Malasaña area, north of Gran Vía, is Madrid's most lively shopping district that "combine both originality and the avant-garde. Specifically, the section made up of little streets perpendicular to Fuencarral and Hortaleza streets is a shoppers’ paradise".
http://www.softguides.com/madrid_gui...ne.html#chueca

Sunday shopping at the Rastro market: http://www.madrid-guide-spain.com/el-rastro.html

This site is great about Madrid. http://www.esmadrid.com/en/portal.do
kimhe is offline  
Jan 4th, 2011, 07:19 AM
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I second the suggestions and alcalá de henares would also be a favorite of mine. If you like small town atmosphere you could make it your base for a few days and go into madrid on the easy commuter train from there. might be able to get a better deal on lodging anyway. salamanca will be VERY hot. I also like chinchón for a stopover/walk around.
lincasanova is offline  
Jan 4th, 2011, 08:33 AM
  #19  
kja
 
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> I've had bad experiences like...the place being too big for a day trip

For my interests, Toledo deserved a full two days. Morevoer, I found it very different - and much more evocative - in the evening after day-trippers left than during the day. So spending a couple of nights there is well worth considering.

I spent a night in Segovia and am glad I did, but I can see visiting it as a day trip from Madrid. I agree that Avila and El Escorial make sense as day trips.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Jan 4th, 2011, 12:56 PM
  #20  
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So this is what I've decided to do based on your advice and because my travel agent was able to book an inexpensive flight where I don't have to spend the night anywhere on my way back home.

I'll start by spending 2 nights in Toledo. I figured that after a 10 hour flight (I'm flying from South America) and jetlag, I'd rather stay in a small place. This will give me, at least, one full day and I'll leave for Madrid whenever I want to.

Then, finish with 7 nights in Madrid. That will give me 5 full nights in Madrid plus another day for a day trip to the Escorial.

I checked on the Internet that the train to Segovia takes 2 hours each way, so I don't see that day trip happening because, at least for me, that's too long sitting on a train.

How does this sound?

Thanks again,

Castellanese.
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