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day trips from Madrid

Old Mar 10th, 2007, 08:56 AM
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day trips from Madrid

We would like to take a day trip from Madrid to either Toledo or Segovia/Avila. Which would be better? Would it make more sense to take a bus tour or go on our own?
Thanks.
Nancy
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Old Mar 10th, 2007, 10:36 AM
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If going to Segovia, El Escorial is a must. If you go to El Escorial, go on a week day and go early, parking is difficult. For this trip I'd recommend a car, which you can rent from the train station.

For Toledo, take public transportation and go on your own. The bus and the train take about the same length of time, less than an hour. My first trip there I took the bus out and the train back.

Each place has some very good points, so you have to choose if you only have one day. Research, research, research.

I love El Escorial and the tombs of the kings and queens. I love Toledo just for the town that it is. We stayed there 3 nights my last visit.

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Old Mar 10th, 2007, 10:55 AM
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Both Toledo and Segovia are worth seeing. Avila is one of those places that just wasn't what I expected, but maybe I was just tired when I got there. Seriously consider overnighting in Toledo although it is an easy day trip. The city takes on a completely different and wonderful character after the hordes of day trip tourists leave.
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 05:47 PM
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If I were constrained to choose, I would go to Toledo.
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 04:33 AM
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You can easily make a daytrip visiting El Escorial (no 1 attraction), Segovia (no 3) and Avila (no 4). It is a scenic drive.

Toledo (no 2) is in the other direction. Certainly a beautiful city, but I consider the Andalusian citis Granada, Cordoba and Sevilla superior.

So I would opt for the daytrip to the north. El Escorial is really special, while the cities are somewhat similar.
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 09:34 AM
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The following is from Frommer: Don't miss a trip to Toledo -- a place made special by its Arab, Jewish, Christian, and even Roman and Visigothic elements. A national landmark, the city that so inspired El Greco in the 16th century has remained relatively unchanged. You can still stroll through streets barely wide enough for a man and his donkey -- much less for an automobile.

Surrounded on three sides by a bend in the Tagus River, Toledo stands atop a hill overlooking the arid plains of New Castile -- a natural fortress in the center of the Iberian Peninsula. It was a logical choice for the capital of Spain, though it lost its political status to Madrid in the 1500s. Toledo has remained the country's religious center, as the seat of the Primate of Spain.
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 09:45 AM
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I've only been to Segovia, so can't compare, but just loved it so it is really a nice day trip. It's one of my favorite places I've ever visited in Europe. I took the bus on my own, it's easy enough once you figure out where the bus station is. I know some Spanish, though, so that helped (can read it pretty well).

I think the bus tours can be good, also, from what I've heard, and are fairly reasonable in cost.
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 09:52 AM
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I visited Toledo on one day and Segovia and Avila on another. It was my first time to Spain and I'd probably only go to Toledo again if I had the choice. Segovia and Avila just weren't as memorable for me. The aqueduct was interesting, but after that...I could have better spent my time elsewhere. JMHO...but definitely do Toledo on your own. It's very do-able.
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Old Mar 14th, 2007, 10:09 AM
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I'm going to Madrid next week.

Already have plans to go to El Escorial and Segovia/Avila.

Undecided on Toledo. May do that on my last day if I don't see anything else to do in Madrid.

As it is, the two trips take up 1.5 days out of the 5 full days.

I've been checking weather. Looks like Toledo is a bit warmer than Madrid, Segovia is about the same. But Avila is much colder? Like over 10 or 15 degrees colder.
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