Itinerary Help

Old Mar 25th, 2024, 05:31 PM
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Itinerary Help

My wife and I are visiting son studying in Madrid, planning 5 nights in Madrid and then 5 nights in Barcelona. Would like to do at least 1 day trip from each city. Here is our draft itinerary. Would appreciate any feedback, suggestions for day trips, must do activities, restaurants/bars, music venues, etc.

Day1 Madrid: sites around Plaza Mayor- do we need to book at tour at Palacio Real
-Considering a TukTuk 2 hour tour to get a feel for the city. Worthwhile or waste of time?
-Dinner at Bar Tomate

Day 2: Day Trip to Toledo- any specific recommendations in Toledo?
-Back to Madrid for Dinner at Botin

Day 3:
-Museums in MAdrid, explore different neighborhoods.
-Go see live music at Cafe Berlin
-Sushi dinner (son's request)- 99 Sushi restaurant. Any other recommendation?

Day 4:
-Sunday - visit El Rastro market, La Latia, other neighbohoods

Day 5: possible day trip or more in Madird
-Segovia day trip? IS this worth it. Other places to consider?
-Back to Madird for dinner/show at La Moreria

Day 6: morning train to Barcelona (just me and my wife)
-Explore Gothic Quarter
-Dinner- any recommendations in Gothic Quarter area?

Day 7:
-park Gruell, other Gauidi sites. 4:30p tix to Sagreda Familia
-Dinner- Bar Canette

Day 8: possible day trip to Figueres
-back to Barcelona for dinner @ La Balabusta

Day 9: possible day trip to Monserat
-back for dinner at Harrys
-considering Magic Nights at Casa Battlo- thoughts?

Day 10:
More time exploring Barcelona, beaches, Arc de Triomp, Montjuic Park

Dinner at Tapas Del Born
----------------------------------------------------
Reading mixed reviewed regarding the day trip options. Would appreciate any guidance- are 2 too many for only 5 days in each city? If yes, which should I prioritize?

Thanks in advance!



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Old Mar 25th, 2024, 08:52 PM
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I think your itinerary looks quite packed. If you have to choose, choose Toledo for history, Segovia for architecture, Figueres for art, and Montserrat for nature. Now it's up to you what to choose. Btw, book a tour in advance for Palacio Real to avoid queues, and only book a tuktuk tour if you're interested in a quick overview of the city. In Toledo, don’t miss the Toledo Cathedral and the El Greco Museum.
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Old Mar 26th, 2024, 11:58 AM
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Madrid,
You don’t necessarily need to book a guided tour for the Palacio Real if the audio guide will suffice, but you MUST secure your ticket online in advance. I can’t begin to describe the long lines here at pretty much all times. You do not want to stand in that line. Some enjoy a guided tour while others prefer the freedom to visit at their own pace, and sometimes the English of these Patrimonio Nacional guides is hard to understand, and they lack the enthusiasm of some of the best private, licensed guides.

There are dozens of finer places to dine than Bar Tomate, and I do know it, but dislike frequenting it. It will do in a pinch, but you can do far better. Really much better options elsewhere.

Your flamenco at Michelin-starred El Corral de la Morería will be first class, and your meal will be far more gourmet than at Botín, but seemingly every first time visitor has Botín on /her must do list because of its Guinness Book of Records fame for being “the world’s oldest restaurant”. You will be dining pretty much exclusively with fellow tourists, as it’s a tourist restaurant, (I’ve escorted many an American guest of mine there when on their list), and reservations are necessary, but I imagine that you are aware of that.

99 sushi bar in the NH Eurobuilding hotel will be a pricey affair, but you probably know that already as well.

Be prepared for heavy crowds at the Rastro, and watch your belongings carefully. While I rarely find anything I want to buy, the After the Rastro vermouth & aperitivo scene, before lunch, in the crowded bars is always fun. We go just for that, at around 1 pm or before it they get really packed.

Barcelona
Do you mean Bar Cañete? If so, I like it very much, but reservations are a must. It’s fun to sit at the counter and watch the chefs in action.

Dining in the Gothic Quarter, I would go to Capet, but I don’t know if it matches your dining style or budget, or Informal in the Hotel The Serras or if your son wants Japanese again, there’s Shunka.

I don’t know Balabusta (Middle Eastern cuisine?) but I do know it’s from the owners of Auto Rosellón, that I do know.

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Old Mar 29th, 2024, 11:41 AM
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MADRID
Thanks for all the helpful information!
  • In place of Bar Tomate, do you have a recommendation for an excellent restaurant for tapas or our first authentic Spanish meal? Willing to spend but don't want very high end Michelin star restaurants >100E pp. My son recommended La Musa Latina but I see mixed reviews.
  • For the bar/restaurant scene for lunch near the Rastro, any particular recommendations?
  • Considering seeing a band (alpargata) at Cafe Berlin- do I need to buy tickets in advance?
  • Any other reccomendation for sushi or interesting Asian cuisine?
  • Considering seeing a band at Cafe Berlin- do I need to buy tickets in advance?

BARCELONA
  • @Maribel, Capet looks perfect for our first dinner in Barcelona. Would you recommend reserving 1st floor or 2nd?
  • Considering doing a night event at Casa Mila or Casa Batlo. Worthwhile? Worth spemnding more for better seats (Gold ticket/?)
  • I've heard Harry's is great for Italian food. Coming fron NY area have access to plenty of great Italian restaurants, so not sure if worthwhile.
  • Any suggestions for great live music, Jazz or other

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Old Mar 29th, 2024, 04:01 PM
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With 5 nights in Madrid, I would do only one daytrip, and that would be to Toledo. We enjoyed the "tourist train" that you pick up in Zocodover Plaza, which takes you outside of the city to a hill where you can take awesome photos of Toledo.

In Madrid we really enjoyed wandering around Retiro Park, a 300-acre park with flowers, shady walking paths and a lake where you can rent rowboats and/or relax at the cafe drinking sangrias. Visit the beautiful Crystal Palace in the park.

We spent a lot of time at the Prado and Reina Sofia. Didn't have time for the Thyssen. We visited Palacio Real and Temple of Debod. Walk through Plaza del Angel and Plaza Santa Ana.

With 5 nights (4 days) in Barcelona, I would also do only one daytrip. There is so much to see and do in Barcelona that I think you need a minimum of 3 days just for Barcelona. We spent 6 nights here and didn't see everything. You need advance tickets to see the Gaudi sites. When you visit the Arc of Triumph, take the time to walk through Citadel Park and admire the magnificent La Cascada. Neighborhoods to explore are Gracia, Las Pedrables & Sarria. And book a tour of the stunning Palau de Musica.
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Old Mar 30th, 2024, 12:52 AM
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MADRID
  • It looks like your son may be looking for a hip/trendy place (Bar Tomate, La Musa, etc). If you could give me the address of your lodging, I could best suggest something within walking distance or a short bus/metro/taxi ride, at least. There are dozens and dozens and dozens of under 100/p to suggest.
  • For a bar/restaurant near the Rastro, consider the "time warp" Casa Amadeo for vermouth and snails (if you like snails in a spicy sauce, the house specialty) or their eggs, potatoes and chorizo, or for something more hip, there's La Bobia (from the period of "La Movida" de Almodóvar) or the tiny Tasca Barea is also a good bet. Try their most popular tapa, the Marinera Merciana and a Gilda. Go early, as they get very crowded and expect to stand at the bar.
  • For Café Berlín, I would purchase advance tickets.
  • For Asian, we like very much the new Akiro Hand Roll Bar on Hermosilla 40 in the Salamanca district. Not nearly as pricey (at all) as 99 Sushi Bar but really, top quality. No reservations but if you get to the door at 1, you'll have no problem. And it's really fun to watch them prepare the dishes. It's a creation of one of Madrid's very most esteemed sushi men, Luis Gaman.
BARCELONA​​​​​​
  • Glad to know Capet will fit the bill. I don't think it matters
  • I haven't done the night ticket at Batlló, just the one at La Pedrera (Casa Milá). It was a lovely way to see the building without the giant crowds.
  • I don't know Harry's.
  • For live music, there's Harlem Jazz Club that's been around for a long, long time. But for jazz in an elegant setting, a beautiful 5-star hotel, a stunning Moderniste building, I like the Thursday jazz program in the Café Vienés of the Casa Fuster in the upper Eixample. You can go just for jazz, for tapas or for a full meal.
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Old Mar 30th, 2024, 03:17 AM
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Map of El Rastro
https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer...238143148&z=17
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Old Mar 30th, 2024, 04:15 AM
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Revulgo just sent me a notice of a new bar/tasca in the Rastro, a project of chef Manu Urbano Torres formerly of La Malaje on the Plaza de la Paja. I plan to check it out soon as it was reviewed in El País and looks promising,
It’s EL CAMPILLO at Plaza Campillo del Mundo Nuevo 8.
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Old Mar 30th, 2024, 07:23 AM
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@ Maribel Great suggestions, thanks. We are staying in the Edition and my son lives in the Arguelles neighborhood.

Planning to see an opera at Palau de Musica, suggestions for dinner after the performance? Would like a great meal/dining experience since this will be our last night in Barcelona

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Old Mar 30th, 2024, 07:56 AM
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Now I get it! My late husband was raised in Argüelles. Ask your son if he’s been to Puzzle. It’s new. My foodie friends like it a lot. Not at all expensive. Closed Sun/Mon.
https://puzzlemadriz.com

The Edition has a very cool pisco bar, Oraya, that my BFF and I enjoy on the terrace and it also has a downstairs speakeasy, Punch Room that has a “cool” factor. We’ve been to both and also have had brunch at Jerónimo (Mexican).
The area around the Edition isn’t blessed with trendy, hip eateries, but you may want to go to Juana la Loca in La Latina but with prior reservations!!!
Much better food than La Musa. And order their tortilla española, one of the city’s best.
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Old Mar 30th, 2024, 11:12 PM
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If you are staying at the Edition, don't miss the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales (Monastery of Royal Barefoot Nuns) which is right in front of the hotel.
https://www.patrimonionacional.es/en...scalzas-reales
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Old Mar 31st, 2024, 02:16 AM
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And make sure you book your tour in advance online, as the tours do sell out and it’s closed on Mondays. You will need to take the one hour guided tour in Spanish, as English guided tours are limited and can’t be booked online. Our experience.
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Old Mar 31st, 2024, 08:52 AM
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In Barcelona planning to go to magic nights at Casa Batlo on a Friday night. Any suggestions for dinner nearby before (may be too early, visit starts at 8p) or after?
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Old Mar 31st, 2024, 10:26 AM
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For a non-tourists only restaurant meal (some Barcelona tourist-centered restaurants, especially on the Passeig de Gràcia, have "non-stop" kitchens) but nearly Casa Batlló for informal tapas we like Cerveseria Catalana at Mallorca 236 and its cousin Ciutat Comtal, at Rambla de Catalunya 18, both extremely popular, bustling at all hours and moderately priced (yes, lots of tourists, as they're both in all the guides, but locals as well).
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Old Apr 5th, 2024, 10:22 AM
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Day Trip from Madrid

Would like to take my son on a day trip from Madrid and he has already been to Toledo and Segovia. Can you reccommend other day trip suggestions?
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Old Apr 5th, 2024, 10:43 AM
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Easy or long?

Easy--Chinchón, within the Madrid province, with its uniquely shaped Plaza Mayor, lined with "roasting house" restaurants with balconies overlooking the square, serving regional cuisine and wines, and where bullfights are still held. Go by bus from Conde de Casal.. No train. Very popular weekend day trip from Madrid.
https://ciudad-chinchon.com/turismo/en/index.php
https://www.redtransporte.com/madrid/autobuses-interurbanos/337-madrid-rivas-vaciamadrid-valdelaguna.html


Easy--Aranjuez, with its opulent Versailles style summer palace and gardens of the royal Borbon dynasty. Take the commuter-suburban rail line, Cercanías C-3 train from Atocha rail station. Right now the famous Aranjuez strawberries are in season.

Easy--Alcalá de Henares, home of storks and birthplace of Cervantes. Now though it has become a large suburb of Madrid. Take the Cercanías line C-2 from Atocha.

*Longer--Cuenca, the highly photogenic small city sitting high atop two gorges above the confluence of two rivers, with its picturesque "hanging houses", perched seemingly precariously above the gorge, an artists' colony, with an excellent Abstract Art Museum and lovely cathedral (excellent audio guide in English). The historic quarter at the very top of the town is quite atmospheric. You can reach it via the high-speed AVE from Atocha station. You will arrive at the Fernando Zóbel rail station purposely built for the AVE, then take a local bus, L1, up to the historic quarter, with the last stop at the Plaza Mayor.

I love Cuenca, one of the most photographed and atmospheric villages in Castilla-La Mancha. Its "sister city" is Ronda in Andalucía, also dramatically perched above a gorge.

https://en.www.turismocastillalamanc...1/descripcion/

Last edited by Maribel; Apr 5th, 2024 at 10:59 AM.
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