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Madrid and 1 other city in 1 week?

Old Mar 20th, 2008, 08:36 AM
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Posts: 200
Madrid and 1 other city in 1 week?

Hi - I am doing research for my parents (in their 50's) who will be going to Madrid for a conference in April from a Monday to Wednesday.

So they will have the following time to site see:
Sunday - full day (land at 8 am)
Monday - Wednesday - after 5 pm

THEN, they are planning on staying in Spain until the following Sunday evening. So they will have Thursday, Friday and Saturday free.

SO, my question is, with the 3 additional free days, should they continue to stay in madrid and site see. Or since they have Sunday-Wednesday there, should they attempt to take a train/plane to another city that would be considered a must do?

luvtravelin is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2008, 08:41 AM
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I am assuming that this is their first time to Madrid and surroundings?

If so, I would suggest a couple of day trips using Madrid as their base. One to Toledo, another to Segovia. Both cities can now be reached in half hour in Ave/ fast trains.
cruiseluv is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2008, 08:41 AM
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Hi luvtravelin,

the obvious choice in april is seville. there is a fast train they could book in advance - it may even be possible to do this overnight.

otherwise Toledo, Salamanca, or Barcelona spring to mind. Toledo you can do as a day trip- - also segovia.

but with this amount of time, I'd feel tempted to head off south.

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2008, 09:05 AM
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I would also suggest they only go to Seville (or Barcelona) for those days if they can really fly out of that location. Otherwise, I would agree with the idea that they simply stay in Madrid and do some day trips from Madrid. I loved Segovia, that's a good choice.

If they have to get back to Madrid from this other location to fly out, it would be too much for me for just a couple days in another location. Also, then you might really need to get there the day before, depending on the flight times (if it were really early in the day, you obviously could not take the train from Seville or Barcelona the day of your departure).
Christina is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2008, 09:13 AM
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In Madrid, make certain they don't miss the Prado Museum and the Plaza Mayor. Beyond Madrid, our favorites are Segovia and Salamanca. Segovia and Salamanca and both accessible by train. Great hotels are the Infanta in Segovia and the Parador in Salamanca. Toledo is nice, but too FULL of tourist buses--daytrippers from Madrid with the streets absotlutely filled with tour groups! The best views of Toledo are from the terrace at the Parador!
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 09:32 AM
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Ditto to what others said. Their options:

1) Stay in Madrid the whole time and do daytrips (Toledo, Segovia, El Escorial, Avila etc)

2) Barcelona

3) Seville - I think April is still the period with the orange flower blossom.

Both either 2 or 3, the high speed AVE train will get them there in a couple of hours. No need to fly.
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 09:51 AM
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Hi, luvtravelin -

It depends on their interests and preferred pace, but it seems to me that there is more than enough to keep them occupied in and around Madrid. Toledo would be my first choice for a day-trip (or better yet, an overnight stay), with Segovia as a 2nd choice if they think they've seen enough of Madrid.

I wouldn't try to travel to either Sevilla or Barcelona in that time frame. Even though both are easily reached, from my point of view there is far too much to do in those parts of the country for it to make sense to try to fit either in, particularly when it would be at the cost of skipping things closer to Madrid.

Hope that helps!
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 10:52 AM
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Since some have mentioned Salamanca, I would add that as my favorite of "close" destinations from Madrid. But IMO it would only be worth it if they stay overnight as it's a couple of hours from Madrid.
cruiseluv is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2008, 12:01 PM
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Spain is a lovely country and hopefully your parents will be pleased in any of the suggestions.

I don't believe you mentioned their originating point but if they are flying overnight from the USA Sunday will be the jet lag day and they will be doing well to force a day of sight seeing in Madrid for Sunday.

For the free days of Thursday to Saturday they could spend in the Madrid area: I certainly think Toledo and Segovia worthy of visitation. Yes, they can be done as day trips but I would urge staying overnight. Toledo in particular is a charming small, compact city and has great charm in the evenings after the day trippers have departed. If they choose that course I would urge staying in the old city and after dinner sit in the
Plaza de Zocodover and have an ice cream or beverage and absorb the Spanish ambience.

If the wish to venture farther afield I would put in a nod for Cordoba which should be lovely in April with flowers blooming.
They can spring for the high speed train from Madrid (about 80 minutes if I remember correctly) but there is a bus at about 1/3 the price. Last year I was meeting friends in Cordoba and being the big spender I took the train but my friends who had departed a day earlier took the bus and raved about the scenery.

Maribel's on line guides for Spain are really quite good and you might take a look (OK, she doesn't like Toledo as much as I do but everyone has the right to disagree; still, she produces good work).

floydvic is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2008, 02:39 PM
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Staying with relatives in Madrid - decided to daytrip to Sevilla. Took AVE at 07:30 & departed 20:00 from Sevilla Santa Justa. It gave us about 9hrs to tour Sevilla. At the time Renfe offered 25% discount for 'same day return.'

Sunday AM they might want to visit Retiro Park: see some above average street performers

It won't be getting dark 'til about 20:00 in April, so there's plenty of time for sightseeing or 'Tasca hopping' with other Conference attendees during Conference days. Plan a daytrip to Toledo or Segovia for one of your free days. I think TrapSATur used to have a tour that hits both in a 1-day tour.
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 03:49 PM
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Depends on what your parents are interested in.
Madrid is a large city, takes a bit of time to find one's way around
For art lover there is more than enough to see in a few days they have after the conference.
A day trip to Toledo or Segovia takes a good part of the day.
I would not plan another city in such a short time.
danon is online now  
Old Mar 20th, 2008, 05:17 PM
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Thank you all so much for responding. To answer some of your questions:

Yes this is the 1st time they will be in Spain. Yes they are flying in and out of Madrid since that is where the conference is and the tickets are already bought. They would be flying from the US, so yes they would be a bit jet lagged. But they are used to it, as they have squeezed in a full day of site-seeing on the day they land in other parts of Europe/Asia and did fine. They land at 7:45 am on Sunday and leave at 1:00 pm the following Sunday. They are well traveled people and I always end up sending them everywhere I have visited with my husband so I plan their entire trip out for them based on my experiences. In this case, since I haven’t been to Spain myself, I wasn’t able to provide ideas for them. Their interests are pretty simple – nothing very adventurous or strenuous. They like walking around the city, sight-seeing, people watching, taking photos, eating different foods, relaxing on beaches, stuff like that. They are NOT into museums or art – so that eliminates a lot of things in Madrid! J

So it seems like they’ve got a lot of options – they can do several day trips since they have 3 full free days. Or consider flying to 1 place (Seville, Barcelona).

I am going to have to do some thorough research about each place you all have mentioned, how long it will take to get there, how much flights/trains are, and which would work best with their interest. I just didn’t know where to start and which cities to even look into, so this has really helped since now I just need to look into the cities/towns you have recommended. Thanks again!
luvtravelin is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2008, 06:02 PM
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I agree with the other posters that given the short amount of time, staying in Madrid + daytripping would be best.


Unless of course Feria de Abril is on. If they are in Spain the week of April 7-13, then Sevilla is the no-brainer place to go.
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 06:11 PM
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We did four days in Madrid plus day trips to Toledo and Segovia and had a great time....
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 07:03 PM
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As I have said in my post, both Barcelona and Seville can easily be reached by high speed AVE train. More convenient (and probably faster) than taking the plane.
yk is offline  
Old Mar 21st, 2008, 04:58 AM
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Well, all the places you have mentioned sound so amazing and I always get confused when given so many options! I think its best when there is only 1 option so you don't need to make a decision. Well, once again thank you and i will look into all these places you mentioned. they will be there on April 6-13 so I can look into whether the Seville event is during that time. And thank you yk - I will look into the train option as well because yes you are right - travelling by train is usually faster since train stations are generally within town whereas airports are away from town and you need to include the check-in, waiting, security, baggage claim, etc time that gets wasted.
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Old Mar 21st, 2008, 06:33 AM
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luvtravelin - feel free to skim my trip report. I was in Spain Feb 2008 and went to all these cities/towns (and some more).
yk is offline  
Old Mar 21st, 2008, 07:23 AM
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yk - thanks for the trip report - I will definitely read it in a sec. I did go to the train site you gave me and have a ton of questions:

1) Would you use this site to get tickets to Tolego, sergovia as well? Since they are close by, I wasn't sure if there was a different train line that would be better. For Toledo, it didn't give me a price. For Sergovia, however it said the ticket is $5.99 which is excellent.

2) I went to the spanish and english site. And noticed that the spanish site had a tariff promo rate that the english site didn't. For example Madrid to Barcelona is $119 on the Engligh site. On the Spanish site they have it as $119 as the regular rate and then $60 as the promo rate. So can US citizens get the promo rate or is that meant for Spain citizens only?

3) Are the tickets cheaper if you purchace them there? I know in Italy, that was the case..but then you run into the chance of not getting reservations? Or would it be safe to assume trains will not be booked in april?

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Old Mar 21st, 2008, 07:37 AM
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Hi luvtravelin-

1) Both Toledo and Segovia are served by the AVE line - it is only 30 minutes by train. I'm not sure if one can still take the slower trains these days or not. The slower trains used to take 2hrs each way. So, for your parents' purposes, take the AVE. For either Toledo and Segovia, they can probably just buy the tickets on the day of travel. But make sure they have the timetables in advance. For more info about taking the AVE to Segovia, read these threads:

2) & 3) I'm not sure which "promo" rate you're talking about. Any one (not just Spanish citizens) can take advantage of the "web" fare and "estrella" fare. "Web" fare gives 60% off and "estrella" is 40% off. The catch is you have to buy the W fare at least 15 days in advance, and E fare at least 7 days in advance. W fare is non-refundable, whereas E fare can be changed with a penalty fee. See this thread for more details:

Also, our Fodorite friend Maribel has a guide to buying Renfe tickets on line at her website:

Feel free to ask more Qs before you buy the Renfe tickets. It took me a few days of learning and asking Qs here before I knew what the heck I was doing.
yk is offline  
Old Mar 21st, 2008, 07:42 AM
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" For either Toledo and Segovia, they can probably just buy the tickets on the day of travel."

Last Oct. we could not get tickets for Toledo for the same day ( the time slot we wanted was sold out on AVE). It is a VERY popular day trip!
danon is online now  

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