Flying into Madrid...what now?

Oct 1st, 2007, 09:13 AM
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Flying into Madrid...what now?

I am taking my two teenaged daughters to Madrid at the end of March. We have decided that we want to start and end in Madrid, but don't knwo exactly what to do in the time between--Toledo, Seville, Granada? Some combination? And how do we get around--is the train and bus a reasonable bet (cost-wise and hassle-wise)or should we bite the bullet and plan to rent a car?
I'll ask about lodging once I have some better idea of where we are going.
Oh, yes--we like to walk and explore, we like parks and gardens, we LOVE great food, and we are very into the arts--dance, music, theater. We might see a bull-fight and we are very interested in flamenco. My daughters both hope to hone their language skill in Spain, as well.
JoeGC is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 09:40 AM
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We've done a fair amount of driving in the area and it was all fine, but last year we booked an apartment for a week in Madrid and traveled by train (or bus) for several great day trips to Chinchon, Acala de Henares, El Escoril. We chose to also stay a couple nights in Salamanca, and in the past we've stayed in Toledo, Cordoba, and Segovia. All those lasts ones can also be done as day trips. So a week's apartment in Madrid can be a wonderful experience and cut down on the hotel changing, luggage schlepping, and moving around.

Seville and Granada, I think call for more than "day trips" from Madrid though.

How much time total are you looking to spend?
NeoPatrick is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 10:02 AM
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I suggest you get a guide book and see what looks appealing. There are literally scores of choices from Madrid whether it be a day trip, a flight, or the high speed train to other destiantions. For architecture and sense of style Barcelona is unto itself.

Madrid has three exceptional museums and the food varies from region to region.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 10:08 AM
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How much time do you have?

If you have the opportunity I would definitely explore Andalusia - IMHO the most interesting part of Spain - but that will take at least a week. And for 3 people the most convenient - and probably least expensive - mode of travel would be car.

If you have less time you may want to stay in Madrid and just do a couple of day trips by bus.
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 10:41 AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions. We are scheduled for 8 days--a Friday through Saturday. The day tripping out of Madrid sounds like a good idea. Any thoughts about places to stay if we are renting for a week?
Is the train cost effective versus a car? My daughters watched a GlobeTrekker video that had the host snowboarding, parasailing and white-washing in the white villages-- with two daughters and those kind of expectations, would a car be best? Is driving in Spain difficult to do? Does good old State Farm cover you in southern Spain?
JoeGC is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 11:48 AM
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State Farm won't cover you, but if you rent a car there's a good chance your credit card that you charge the car on will. Be sure to call and find out first. Usually it means declining all offered insurance so that your credit card does it all for free.

Usually a car will be more expensive, once you add in gas, parking, and the rental itself, but depending on where you're going and what you're doing it can be the better option. The more distance you travel and the more trips you take, the car seems to become more cost effective.

There are some nice apts. on

If I were traveling with two teenaged girls an apartment with two bathrooms would be a real luxury!

NeoPatrick is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 03:28 PM
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I went to Avila and Segovia from Madrid. Very interesting. The Alcazar in Segovia is a WOW!
johnthedorf is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 03:44 PM
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A car in the larger cities is more of a nuisance than a help.

Aduchamp1 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 03:51 PM
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Lots of good information. Thanks! I see the Eurail pass is $229 for 4 days and something less for the two girls (students). I think if you add up the $330 dollar rental car with the taxes and fuel, it would probably be similar between the train and the car. OK--I looked at the website for Eurail and couldn't see anything but a 1st class train ticket between Madrid and Seville. My question is how do I find out if the train goes where I want it to and is it all included in my pass?
If I do take the train will that somewhat dictate where I can get to? Especially if I want to do only day trips out of Madrid?
I checked the apartment website and there are a couple of cool places. $1000 for the week--is that good or at least reasonable? Its in City Center.
JoeGC is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 10:41 PM
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i canīt imagine a eurail pass is a good idea for such a short itinerary.

bus and train prices here are very reasonable separately.
lincasanova is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 02:04 AM
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Easter Sunday is Mar 23, 2008. That's very early; If you will be in Spain Mar 20 & 21, Sevilla is the place to be. Once we daytripped Madrid-Sevilla viernes de Semana Santa (Good Friday - for the Processions): 07:30 AVE from Madrid; 20:00 AVE from Sevilla - 25% Discount on 'same day return.'

EurailPasss, no! SpainPasss, maybe! I like the 'FlexiPass' if you're planning to drive around Andalucia. There are several car rental agencies at Sevilla Santa Justa rail station. And: NO! Your State Farm Coverage will not cover you in Spain.

You don't want or need a car in Madrid or Sevilla. Toledo & Segovia are nice daytrips from Madrid. You can reach both by public transportation (Bus or Train).

For historical purposes, you may want to visit Alcala de Henares, birthplace of Cervantes, where Cardinal Cisneros, under whom 16th Century Guadalajara, Jalisco was built as the Capital of Mexico. You may see some similarity ...
NEDSIRELAND is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 06:11 AM
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For train travel within Spain you should check their train website :
cruiseluv is online now  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 10:05 AM
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skip the train. take the bus in spain. it is usually cheaper, faster, and the stations are more centrally located than the train stations. is the site you will need. my wife and i did madrid, toledo, sevilla, granada, tarifa/tangier in 10 days last christmas and loved it. all of this is totally doable.
bwage30 is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 12:27 PM
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I agree with Bwage. I find the buses in Spain very comfortable and convenient. Also, they go to many small towns where there is no train service. I would still prefer to take the AVE between Madrid and Sevilla though.
cruiseluv is online now  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 06:15 AM
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OK on the bus and train options.
Can I just figure this all out once we are in Madrid--train versus bus and getting tickets? we plan to spend the first couple of days at the Prado and seeing the sites of the City so we should have a couple of days to figure it out. I know we want to go to Seville and points south, but is it really possible to go to Tangiers and Granada withint an 8 day trip?

We heard that the Flea Market and the bullfight are a couple of possibilities for spending a Sunday--does anyone have any experience with these?
I am still looking for thoughts on lodging--I kinda like the setting up homebase in Madrid, which would mean a apartment, but if we want to do Granada or Tangiers would we need to stay in those places overnight (this would seem to mean we wouldn't want to have two rooms on a given night)?
JoeGC is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 06:25 AM
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I once did a day trip to Tangiers. I can think of at least 23,753 things in Spain I'd do before I'd go to Tangiers.

I do like Seville and I loved Granada. I don't think it's necessary to spend the night in Granada if you have limited time, but it would be a shame not to spend a night or two in Seville if you are going there. You could do a day trip to Granada from Seville.

I was also once in Seville on Good Friday -- it was magical (and I'm not even religious!).

NeoPatrick is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 06:53 AM
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We don't arrive in Madrid until the following Friday--but it would have been great to be there. I know the week leading up to Easter is Semana Santa with all the religious activity, but what about the week after? Will there still be church-centered activities up until March 29, do you think?
JoeGC is offline  
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