Best bets for a short stay in Madrid

Old Jan 19th, 2001, 08:09 PM
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Best bets for a short stay in Madrid


I am fairly young and planning my first trip to Spain. I have never been to Europe. Unfortunately, I only have one week to enjoy the sights in and around Madrid. I will be staying with friends, but they will be working during the daytime. I hope to take some day trips to the countryside. Which are the best/closest cities and the best ways to get there? I would also like to catch as many art museums as possible (any suggestions?). And, of course I wouldn't want to miss the night life... any tips on going to the clubs?? (dress, locations, safety, etc.) I appreciate any input about Madrid and the surrounding areas!

Thanks so much!
Old Jan 20th, 2001, 04:33 AM
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Hi, Heather.
My husband and I were in Madrid for a week last March and loved it. It was much more beautiful than I thought it would be. The Prado museum is a must-see of course, the Palacio Real, the bullfight (and don't beat me up Fodorites, it's a fascinating part of the culture), and so on.
I think Toledo is a great day trip (better for overnight, if possible), as
is The Escorial.
I always head to the library and ask them to order in videos, check out all the guidebooks, and get a couple of books on the history of Spain.
Thusly armed, coffee cup in hand, I am now ready to explore Madrid.
The better educated you are about your destination, the more you will enjoy it.
And, the first trip one makes is always a little special...
Old Jan 20th, 2001, 05:04 AM
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Hi,Heather! I've been to Madrid 3 times, most recently last January. Gloria gave you some excellent tips. Clubbing in Madrid is a late-night activity; clubs don't even open until close to midnight. Check Time Out Madrid on their website for info on clubs and more. Madrid is an easy city to navigate, and you will find it quite beautiful, especially at night. I was there twice with another woman, and we never felt unsafe or threatened. In addition to the day trips Gloria suggested (which are great ideas), if you can swing it Seville is fabulous. It's a little further away, though. Enjoy yourself!
Old Jan 20th, 2001, 07:17 AM
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Heather, the Prado is a must if you enjoy art. There is also another art museum with more contemporary works by Picasso, Dali, Miro, etc. but I can't recall the name.

If you'll be there during the warmer months, we really enjoyed spending a sunny Saturday at the park, Retiro I believe is the name of it.

Toledo is a great place to go for a daytrip, when we were there the bus was cheaper, quicker and more frequent, took about an hour to get there. We arrived mid-day when everything was closed so try to go either early in the day or later in the afternoon. I believe Segovia is also within a short distance but we didn't make it there.

If you're not on a tight budget, Seville is also wonderful. It takes 2 1/2 hours by the high speed AVE train. Don't go on a Monday, everything is closed. It's a beautiful city, the architecture is very different than Madrid. The highlights there are the Alcazar and the cathedral.
Old Jan 26th, 2001, 06:17 AM
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Hi Heather. My mother is a native of Madrid & my folks have another home in Spain so I've been -- well, let's just say I've been there a lot. ;-)

The Prado is great, but keep in mind that it can eat up a big chunk of time. I highly recommend the modern art museum, Museo Reina Sophia I think it's called -- but that's my preference, I guess. Reina Sophia has the original of Picasso's Guernica. Seeing it was one of the most moving experiences of my life.

Someone suggested El Escorial as a day trip. I second that! Very cool. Toledo, too, is worth a trip and Segovia. But don't try to squeeze too too much in otherwise your memories of Spain and Madrid will be of going from one place to another. Have fun!
Old Jan 26th, 2001, 09:53 AM
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In addition to the places mentioned, Madrid also has a huge archeological museum, if you like artifacts.
It even has several mummies in it.... really cool!
I personally don't like modern art so I wasn't too wild about the Reina Sofia. But I did think the Guernica was interesting and so were the paintings by Dali.
Old Jan 26th, 2001, 07:32 PM
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Madrid is won't be disappointed! Make sure that you go to's an easy day trip on public transportation and it's a charming town. I loved the modern art museum, and though I would recommend going to El Prado, I was slightly disappointed with its contents. Try to spend some time just walking around the city...that's how we saw most of the sights and really got to know the town.

If I think of anything else, I'll be sure to get back to you. Good luck!
Old Jan 27th, 2001, 07:07 PM
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Three interesting art museums in Madrid:

-El Prado
-Thyssen-Bornemisza museum
-CARS (Centro de Arte Reina Sofía)

Respect of places to walk around Madrid:

-Oriente headquarter ( Royal Palace )
-Old Madrid ( Plaza Mayor )
-La Castellana Avenue

Among the trips, the first two I would do:

Segovia by bus
Toledo by train or bus.

Then Salamanca, Sevilla, Cordoba or El Escorial.
Old Jan 27th, 2001, 09:22 PM
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Hi, Heather. I'm also planning my first visit to Madrid. I've gotten a lot of info from the bulletin board at
Old Jan 27th, 2001, 09:45 PM
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Plan on visiting the Tapas bars in all the towns you go to.Great way to meet others. I also love Toledo and El Escorial. And if you haven't read it yet, you might like to take along a copy of "For Whom The Bell Tolls" to read on the plane. It will get you in the mood and give you a little glimpse of Spanish history.

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