Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Madrid has much less to offer than Barcelona...

Madrid has much less to offer than Barcelona...

Jul 7th, 2014, 08:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 76,484
don't worry - those 4.5 days in Madrid will be super - if you tire of the city just hop the train to those several superb day trip destinations.
PalenQ is online now  
Jul 7th, 2014, 09:53 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 583
Thanks for all the ideas... annhig mentioned Valencia, I looked it up and I got quite excited... A day-trip from Madrid is expensive and too tight, so the plan right now is to cancel our Barc-Girona, Girona-Madrid tickets (pay penalty of about $87 on those semi-flexible tickets), and rebook a Barc-Valencia, Valencia-Madrid which would actually cost the same after we pay the cancellation penalty. 2 nights in Valencia seem more interesting than in Girona.

...Of course, all that does not "solve my issues" with Madrid, but I certainly got some great tips here!
mamamia2 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 11:30 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,405
Valencia is a beautiful city...much more to see and do than in Girona.

Why don 't you wait until you get to Madrid to decide if you have " issues" with the place.
If you do, there are at least six day trips you could consider....all great destinations.
danon is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 11:34 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,405
PS , if you are 60 years old you can purchase la tarjeta dorada for about 5 euros.
It gives you various discounts on trains...
danon is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 11:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,645
Thank you for this thread! Wonderful info here.

danon - re: the tarjeta dorada -- is this something we get ahead of time? I'm planning on taking the train between cities for several trips next year and was wondering how this would work. We are both 60+.
progol is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 11:57 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,380
oh dear - the responsibility!

but I won't try to dissuade you from going to Valencia as we loved our time there.
annhig is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 12:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,925
I spent 72 full hours in Madrid and still had things to do before I left. This was in January 2012. I suppose you could say that earlier evenings meant less sightseeing time, but, I was out and about every night, too.

Try a tapas walking tour. That is a fun evening thing to do. You know about the museums, and if you hit the three biggies that is at least part of two days right there. I didn't make it to Sorolla's museum - I ran out of time.

There are a few UNESCO sites within striking distance so there is another day trip or even two.

You will find plenty to do in four days!
flygirl is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 12:04 PM
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 6,207

Girona was the most influential Kabbalah center during the 13th cent. If you visit The Call you can still see some of the remnants from that time. Although Kabbalah is shrouded in mysticism, it got a worse reputation when people like Madonna got involved. Still it is fascinating for anyone interested in Judaica.
IMDonehere is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 01:41 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,405
tarjeta Dorada can be purchased only in Spain....you need to show some ID..It is good for a year

danon is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 02:08 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 76,484
danon - what are the restrictions if any on tickets that the tarjeta Dorada can be used for - any tickets on any train anytime - I'm that age and would be interested in it too - thanks in advance if answering. You are a font of great info on Spain - Fodor's is lucky to have you!
PalenQ is online now  
Jul 7th, 2014, 04:24 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,405
the posted link ( it is in English provides some information about percentage of savings
on different trains and during different days of the week.

one has to purchase TD in Spain for 5-6 euros . passport or other ID info.is printed on the TD
( tickets for trains can be purchased ahead of time )
Not sure what restrictions are involved in exchanging discounted tickets purchased with TD.

I'm afraid Robert, Cowboy , eks and many other posters have much better knowledge of the country
than I do. Gracias.
danon is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 06:10 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 583
Question is, if only one of us is over 60 (my spouse is "only" 57), do we get a discount on only one ticket? And using that card, does that mean we can't purchase those train tickets online, in advance?
mamamia2 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2014, 09:06 PM
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 15
I was just in Barcelona and Madrid this summer. I did like Barcelona better because it has a better vibe. We stayed in the El Born district and I would say that I liked it even better than Paris. The food is better, the people nicer, best dressed people I have ever seen, yet it doesn't seem to take itself too seriously. I also like that there is a Beach in the city, so you get that amazing coastal breeze.
Madrid is very hot. The food is just as good, but it feels more like a large world city. Dirty in places, lots of beggers, crowded. That being said it still is Spain and has that alive feeling, great building, great food. I am glad I saw it. I was there for 2 nights and felt that I could spend another two there easily.
myraoncomputer is offline  
Aug 15th, 2014, 03:26 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 33,560
IMO this whole "Barcelona is better" stuff is total BS. Yes, Madrid is hot and DRY; Barcelona is hot and HUMID. The two cities are both wonderful and offer many different experiences and some would say that the cultural experiences including the overall quality of the museums in Madrid are far superior to those in Barcelona.
Dukey1 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2014, 04:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 783
I'm from Madrid and used to hot weather in my city, but I do not like to go to Barcelona in the summer because I can not stand the humid heat of this city. I often back to the hotel with my shirt soaked with sweat.
Revulgo is online now  
Aug 15th, 2014, 05:42 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,405
I agree with Dukey...love both cities.
Some parts of Madrid are very crowded. : Sol , Santa Ana, Mayor .Cava Baja etc.
The beautiful , leafy streets of elegant Serrano - Salamanca just north of Retiro
(and similar non - touristy areas) are never seen by most 2 day visitors.
danon is offline  
Sep 11th, 2014, 02:16 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 583
Came back from Spain.... We loved Barcelona, even though it was hot and humid, but there was always some breeze. It has so much to offer..... Paris is our favorite city in Europe. Barcelona became #2... Madrid is a big European city, wide boulevard, nice parks, great museums. The streets are quite dirty, though. Big European city.

If we go back to Spain, which I hope we do, it will be back to Barcelona, not Madrid.
mamamia2 is offline  
Sep 11th, 2014, 02:28 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
PalenQ.. the main reason to buy a tarjeta dorada ticket, if at times more expensive than the reduced online fares one can find, would only be for the "no penalty" for changing to a different date/train before departure. Other tickets you would pay, a sometimes hefty change fee plus difference of new ticket. It also gives you discount on commuter trains where only standard tickets are sold. Many times there are seats cheaper that are NOT TD on medium and long distance trains.

Commuter train tickets are good all day.

Medium and long distance tickets are only for the train/ departure time purchased.

TD discount is personal and non transferrable. You type in your card number when purchasing online.

BTW.. tickets bought at manned booths at stations have a service fee of a few euros now. Always cheaper online because of that.
lincasanova is offline  
Sep 11th, 2014, 06:45 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,405

We felt like you the first time we visited the two cities...
As we made more visits to both , Madrid " grew on " us (especially since we
started staying outside the touristy areas)
At this point, I look forward to visiting either at least once a year.
danon is offline  
Sep 11th, 2014, 06:49 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,762
What do you mean by "the streets are quite dirty"?

In my two stays, I did not see that. Maybe we were in different locations but I did go to all of the major sites. Frankly, the people begging for money had on more expensive clothing than me and I am not a slop!
joannyc is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:02 AM.