Day trips from Madrid - Train or bus?

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Aug 29th, 2003, 10:32 AM
  #1
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Day trips from Madrid - Train or bus?

Hi all. My wife, 10 y.o. daughter and I will be visiting Spain in October, and staying 6 nights in the heart of Madrid (at the Carlos V). We plan to visit Toledo, Segovia, El Escorial and Salamanca as daytrips.

Which of these trips is best done by train, and which are best done by bus? Or should we just wait and ask at the hotel?
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Aug 29th, 2003, 10:55 AM
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Take the train to Toledo and Segovia. It's quicker and less aggravating.

I made the mistake of taking a bus to Toledo. There were traffic jams, stop-and-go most of the way. The bus's shock absorbers were not very good, and the ride made me nauseus. On my return trip I took a train, even though it meant waiting an hour at the station.
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Aug 29th, 2003, 11:20 AM
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mr_go,
This is how I do it:

To Toledo
I take the train from Atocha station. Thus busses from Estación del Sur are not all express, and the bus station is somewhat confusing, as there are so many bus companies that depart from there.

To Segovia
La Sepulvedana express bus departing from the station next to Madrid's Hotel Florida Norte, Paseo de la Florida. There's express service that leaves at 9 or 9:30 and takes exactly a 1 hr. 15 min.
It's much quicker than by train. Also from the Segovia bus station it's a pleasant and easy walk to the aqueduct and tourist office. From Segovia's train station you need to bus or taxi.
To El Escorial
I take either the Autocares Herranz bus leaving from the Moncloa metro stop or the C8a cercanías train from Chamartín to El Escorial (not from Atocha!). There are train departures every 30 min. and trip takes about 50 min.
See schedule at
http://horarios.renfe.es and click on Cercanías then Madrid, then choose Chamartín to El Escorial.

The Herranz bus service is express and you have an assigned seat, dropping you off at the new bus station in the upper town, San Lorenzo. The train service leaves you at the station in the lower town, El Escorial, and upon exiting the station, there will be a local bus waiting to take you up the very steep hill to the monastery (which is closed MON.), which otherwise would be a 20 min. up hill climb on foot.

I wouldn't do Salamanca as a day trip because of the 2 1/2 hr. bus/train ride, and Salamanca really deserves an overnight. Nothing more magical than spending the evening with a drink at an outdoor terrace observing the locals doing the paseo and the children at play on the exquisite Plaza Mayor, the most beautiful in Spain. Salamanca is particularly unforgettable at night.

That said, if you do decide to go just for the day, I feel the Aut-Res bus is the best option. It's express service, no stops, with assigned seat, and trip is very comfortable. The trip takes just under 2 1/2 hrs. From the Salamanca bus station I walk to the Plaza Mayor.
The AutoRes bus station in Madrid is located near the Conde de Casal metro stop at Fernández Shaw 1. See the departures at www.auto-res.net

Hope this helps.
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