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Great town near Madrid in which to stay before departing Spain?

Great town near Madrid in which to stay before departing Spain?

Jul 14th, 2011, 02:30 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,288
Great town near Madrid in which to stay before departing Spain?

I want to avoid those airport hotel blues and stay in a great town for the two nights before we depart Spain to come back to the US. Please note, this will be in the second half of November.

We will have spent the previous 12 days in Madrid and Andalusia. I don't have a great deal of interest in Madrid so we will stay the first two nights there to shake off the jet lag and accommodate any travel irregularities that might make us arrive late. Then, we will visit Seville, Granada, Cordoba and most of the other usual suspects for the next 10 days. We will have a car after Seville.

I thought we might drive up to Toledo late Friday afternoon and drop off the car. Friday eve and Sat will be spend seeing Toledo sights. Then we can take the AVE up to Madrid on Sun AM and hop on the express bus to the airport in time for our 11:30 am flight back.

Does anyone have any better suggestions on cute, interesting towns that we could stay in the last two nights besides Toledo? It will be November and dark early - will Toledo have anything interesting to do in the evening or will it be a dead ghost town?

I can keep the car and drop it off at the airport before our flight so transportation isn't really an issue but I wouldn't really want to be more than 50-70ish miles away if I needed to drive to the airport in the am.

Any other ideas to avoid the airport that last night would be happily accepted!
HappyCheesehead is offline  
Jul 14th, 2011, 02:42 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 21,712
We spent the last two nights before departure in Pedraza and I would highly recommend if you have an interest in food. (During the week, in November, this tiny village will likely be very quiet; if this is not to your liking, you could substitute Sepulveda or, for more activity, Segovia.)

Please see the end of my report here; note that the drive to Barajas is very straightforward.


http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...nd-segovia.cfm

More info in other reports, including this one from a fellow aficionada:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...erra-52007.cfm
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jul 14th, 2011, 03:53 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I think your plan with Toledo is excellent. It's a great town to visit after the daytrippers have left and there's plenty of things to keep you occupied for 2 days. Actually I like to head to Toledo at the beginning of my trips when I can so I can wind down a little before starting full swing. If you choose another town would this mean taking time from Toledo?
CathyM is offline  
Jul 14th, 2011, 03:58 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 4,074
How abour Salamanca, leave the car there , it is a short train trip.
Graziella5b is offline  
Jul 14th, 2011, 04:32 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We like Segovia, and the drive to the airport is easy.
bobthenavigator is online now  
Jul 14th, 2011, 05:09 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
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When I think of Toledo, I don't think of "cute".Parking is also aproblem in town.
I agree with Segovia-definitely more lively at night.Before you return the car,visit or even stay at the fabulous parador in La Granja- about 20 mins from Segovia-then we're talking cute!
chapla is offline  
Jul 14th, 2011, 07:52 PM
  #7  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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I thoroughly enjoyed Toledo, Segovia, and Salamanca. (I didn't visit Pedraza or Sepulveda.) It sounds like you'll have one full day in which place you choose; if so, Toledo and Segovia may be better choices - I think Salamanca deserves closer to 2 full days. For that matter, I found more than enough to keep me happily busy in Toledo for nearly 2 full days, but it seems that most people find one day sufficient. They are quite different, so one might be more interesting to you.

In both Toledo and Segovia, I spent my evenings lingering over long, late dinners and then strolling around - to me, one of the best things about both places was having the chance to roam around after day-trippers had left. I visited in October, and don't know how different it would be in November.

BTW, I trust you've considered flying out of Sevilla instead of back-tracking to Madrid. Or flying into and out of Sevilla or somewhere else in Andalusia, since t it seems to be your focus for this trip?
kja is offline  
Jul 14th, 2011, 09:21 PM
  #8  
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So, Toledo is still in the running, but I think I will look into Segovia if it would be a little more active/lively during the evening. Both will be great for transport. I think Salamanca is going to be too far away for a pre-airport stay. Train time into Madrid is over 2.5 hours by itself and then I still have to get to the airport but it was a good suggestion.

If we would decide on Segovia I think I would stay in Madrid one extra day in the beginning so we can take a day trip to see Toledo. Either way we would not have a car in Toledo and there is no way I am going to miss it!

We are flying in and out of Madrid even though we are not staying there long. We lucked into a mistake fare from Delta and are flying round trip from our little home airport in Madison WI (we usually have to drive to Chicago) with fantastic flight times and one stop each way in Atlanta for $488 RT each. Unheard of! The same tickets are almost $900 each after the fare was corrected. I am very happy to get myself to and from Madrid for that

We will get the Ave down to Seville which is probably easier than flying, and the drive back to Madrid shouldn't be too bad. It doesn't pay to turn in the car early and take the train or a flight back up, the 5 day price for the rental car is exactly the same as 7 days so may as well keep it for 7. The gas is cheaper than two tickets on a flight or train.

I am loving the link to the reports ekscrunchy. I have some of your newer ones already saved in my favorites, but not this one from 2006. I haven't gotten to the Pedraza part yet but from the sounds of things it may not be what we are looking for in the short days of late November. This time of year is not my ideal time to travel - I like the long days but I have a very significant, round birthday to celebrate and I can't do anything about when it falls, LOL
HappyCheesehead is offline  
Jul 14th, 2011, 10:12 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 372
Last October, we visited all of the towns mentioned last October, except for Toledo, which I have seen before, but only in the daytime. We stayed overnight in Pedraza, and spent several nights in Segovia, and Salamanca.
As far as Pedraza went, it was a cute tiny town, very quiet (dead) at night. We spent an hour or two in Sepulveda and it's also a small town. Segovia and Salamanca were much livlier. They are not large cities, but pretty big towns with interesting scenery, architecture and history. I liked both, but especially liked Salamanca because of its wonderful main square that was impressive enough to have have belonged to a much larger city.

Salamanca, is further away, though, and so Segovia might be a better option.

I agree with you about the last night hotel blues. Two years ago we returned from Madrid Barajas and stayed at the new Hilton at the airport. While it was nice, it wasn't near anything else and too stark for us. Last year we flew out of Barajas again, but stayed at the hotel Clement Barajas. While the hotel was not as nice as the Hilton, it seemed warmer. What we really liked was that a few blocks away from the hotel was the little square in the town of Barajas, with several restaurants. We had dinner there and then spent the night at the hotel and flew out the next morning. That location seemed to take care of the hotel blues.
packed is offline  
Jul 14th, 2011, 10:45 PM
  #10  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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> If we would decide on Segovia I think I would stay in Madrid one extra day in the beginning so we can take a day trip to see Toledo.

Certainly worth considering, but I liked the time you allowed for Andalusia and hate to see you losing any time there! But then again, I understand why you would not want to miss Segovia....

If you really aren't interested in spending any time in Madrid, you might consider skipping it entirely to avoid relocating more often than necessary. You could, for example, go straight to Segovia at the start of your trip and Toledo at the end (or vice versa). Your choice might depend on the time of your flights, train schedules, and/or the time you want to spend (and are willing to lose to jet lag) in Segovia and/or Toledo.

After arriving in Madrid, I went to Segovia immediately (which, when I visited, meant taking a metro from airport into Madrid and then a local train to Segovia). I reached Segovia in plenty of time to check in, walk around, have dinner, walk around some more, and then crash from jet lag. I slept late and saw my highest priorities for Segovia by mid or late afternoon and so moved on. There are other things there that I'm sure I would have enjoyed seeing, but they weren't a high priority for me in light of my other priorities for that trip.

I'm envious of your air fare - what a deal!

And Happy Birthday!
kja is offline  
Jul 15th, 2011, 08:33 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,271
Don't forget Avila! It should be in the running.
Egbert is offline  

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