Madrid--Day trips out of the city

Jun 26th, 2013, 11:01 AM
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Madrid--Day trips out of the city

Hi all! We are leaving in 2 1/2 weeks for Spain. Visiting friends in Madrid but we will have lots of time on our own and I don't want them to feel obligated to take us out of the city touring. Would like to do Toledo and Segovia day tours. Have been told we can take a train directly, but where exactly will that leave us? Is that not a really smart idea when there is so much to see and do once we get there by train? Are we going to have to trek a bunch to get to where we are going? Should we book a tour, and if so, we would only be interested in a tour that was very informative on history/culture and not just to shuffle us about. We are traveling with our almost 14 and 12 year olds. Thanks!!
desertchick is offline  
Jun 26th, 2013, 11:11 AM
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(1) Not a train for both. There's a fast train to Segovia from Chamartin station and a fast train to Toledo from Atocha station. The Segovia train leaves you near Segovia - outside the city with regular and frequent bus service to the center of town. A train to Toledo leaves you in Toledo - Toledo train station is more central, I think.

(2) "[S]o much to see and do" doesn't apply to Segovia - it's a full day trip if you stretch it, a half-day trip in reality. Toledo takes longer to view and wander.

Segovia is really small. Toledo is not large either, but it's larger than Segovia.

<> - that's on you but google Maribel's Guides and with the results, you likely won't need to.
BigRuss is offline  
Jun 26th, 2013, 11:33 AM
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I took the bus to Segovia, they didn't have very good rail service when I went a few years ago. The bus was more convenient. It left you off pretty central, you didn't have to walk far. It is from a bus station on the NW part of town, not very far from a metro stop. This is the location of the bus station, near Principe Pio metro stop

It only takes 1:15 hr. and costs about 8 euro each way. I think the main advantage is you are dropped off more central than the train. I didn't reserve, just bought my RT ticket at the bus station, got there about 1/2 hr before the bus I wanted.

I also took the bus to Toledo last year as the bus station is a bit closer to town than the train station, I believe. Buses are pretty nice and convenient in Spain, in my experience. I loved Toledo, very enjoyable city. I believe someone argued with me on the bus vs. train bit once on Fodors, as the claimed the train station was right next to the bus practically, but it isn't. They were exaggerating IMO, I think the bus station is much more convenient. I still took a but into the center of the town anyway, though, a local, although you could walk from the bus station but it's uphill. The buses leave all the time and are pretty cheap from Madrid, you get them at a metro stop in the south of town (Plaza Eliptica). I took an express, there are some with more stops.

info on that

If you are good with figuring things out, like stations and stops and getting tickets, you should do it on your own. I prefer the bus as you end up more central.
Christina is offline  
Jun 26th, 2013, 11:54 AM
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I know the train station in Toledo is located a little farther from the center of town than the bus station, but it is such a beautiful building, I thought seeing it worth the short additional bus ride into the center.
MaineGG is online now  
Jun 26th, 2013, 12:00 PM
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I agree w/Christina-I always take the coach bus-they are very comfortable with assigned seats, cheaper and more convenient.You walk about 3mins to the aqueduct in Segovia,stop by the tourist office to pick up a map and work your way up tp the cathedral and the castle.On the way back ,choose a different route.I always go back to the bus station and take the local bus out to La Granja-about a 10min ride for lunch,walk around the palace garden and then you can catch the bus from there back to Madrid!
Toledo bus ride is also very comfortable.Once again stop by the tourist office near the cathedral.There is a cute little train tour around Toledo you can take-it's worth it because Toledo is bigger than Segovia and easy to get lost in the maze of streets.At the tourist office they can tell you about the free tours of the city if you are interested in that sort of thing.
For both trips ,get an early start before the tour bus crowds and the heat!
chapla is offline  
Jun 26th, 2013, 12:17 PM
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I have really enjoyed taking the train from Atocha station to Toledo. I think the walk up to the old town from the train station is pretty awesome and good exercise, with some great views of the town. I have also taken a bus tour from the train station that provides unbelievable photo opportunities of the city from several vantage points and eventually drops you off right in the main town square. I can't remember exactly what it cost, but it seems like it was ten euros a person.
Blaise22 is offline  
Jun 26th, 2013, 12:51 PM
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Walking from the train station in July-too much for most people, no matter how great the views!
chapla is offline  
Jun 26th, 2013, 12:59 PM
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Ther is a bus from the train station in Segovia to the centre, same in Toledo.
danon is online now  
Jun 26th, 2013, 01:11 PM
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With four people take a taxi from these stations to town if you are tired , too hot or do not want to walk.
lincasanova is offline  
Jun 26th, 2013, 03:47 PM
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Awesome, quick responses. Thank you so much! I will review and keep in mind the complaints my 12 year old will have about walking uphill!
desertchick is offline  
Jun 26th, 2013, 05:30 PM
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You and your children would enjoy the little train tour in Toledo!It gives a great overview of Toledo and then you can choose wher eyou you want to go and visit in person.
chapla is offline  
Jun 26th, 2013, 07:21 PM
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You've gotten some great advice here. You might find it helpful to invest in one of the guidebooks that provides a lot of information about transportation options, such as the Rough Guide or Lonely Planet. You'll learn all sorts of things you never even thought to ask!
kja is offline  
Jun 27th, 2013, 11:32 AM
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Should we buy the little train tour ahead of time? Or is it easy to just buy it once we are there? How long does it take by bus from the train station to the center? What is the bus fare from the train station, and do we need exact change?
jag1jag1 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2013, 12:15 PM
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I think you may save 1 euro between the four of you to take the bus. Probably do not need exact change but don't give the guy a 20E bill for the aprox. 5.60E total fare.( 1.40E/person) The taxi will be about 6-7 euros, according to the taxi cpmpany.

You can walk BACK to the train station as it is all downhill.

Best to have small bills and coins in general for the bus. I like to change my big bills anyway when I am in a foreign country because then you can only get stiffed a small amount if some unscrupulous store keeper gives back wrong change.
lincasanova is offline  
Jun 27th, 2013, 02:57 PM
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You don't need to reserve the little tour train!
chapla is offline  
Jun 27th, 2013, 04:29 PM
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I would also recommend Aranjuez. Town is easily reachable from Sol or Atocha on cercanías train (about 45 min). Main attraction is the Royal Palace but gardens are immaculate and pleasure to visit. The biggest (Jardin Principe) is seleval miles long. More info - We also went to Segovia on the bus from Principe Pio bus station.
hkto is offline  
Jun 27th, 2013, 06:18 PM
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Aranuez would be really boring for the kids! As an adult,
I was not impressed by it! Even the river ride was boring........
chapla is offline  
Jun 28th, 2013, 03:05 AM
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Alacalá de henares is a nice town from madrid also.. and FULL of storks and their nests. If only to see that huge amount of nesting storks , plus Cervantes' birth home museum.. definitely worth a trip if one has tome after toledo and segovia. also reachable by cercanias ( commuter) trains.
lincasanova is offline  
Jun 28th, 2013, 05:51 AM
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I was amazed by the storks!The way that they come in for a landing is somthing to be seen!The tourist office in Alcala has info and even gives out a paper pair of binoculars to watch them!I learned that they mate for life and if they build a nest on your place,it's good luck-they were removed however near the castle in Segovia!
chapla is offline  
Jun 28th, 2013, 12:14 PM
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maybe a day at warner brother's amusement park.. everything doesn't have to be history.. history--history!
lincasanova is offline  

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