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Madrid itinerary 1 wk in June

Old Apr 24th, 2006, 10:42 AM
  #1  
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Madrid itinerary 1 wk in June

We are 3 girlfriends traveling to Spain for a week from London around the 21st of June. We are in our 40’s – and are meeting in London. We are flying in from Canada, US and one is in London.

We would like to soak in some sights, stay in decent clean hotels – 2 or 3 stars, wander a bit and chill out and people watch in cafes in the evenings.

I have visited Barcelona and loved it and was suggesting we visit Madrid and do day trips to Toledo, Salamanca, and Segovia. One of my friends has been told Madird is not as nice as Barcelona, better we spend more time in Sevilla ? and Granada ?. If we chose to do that then I feel we should add Valencia as well.

Questions:
Any negative comments on Madrid ?

Airport to Hotel in Madrid - Puerta del Sol area – take Blue shuttle from the airport – cheapest way to get there ? and relatively easy to access ?

Are sights open on Sundays in the above mentioned places ?

If we go with option one – spend 2 days in Madrid and day trips to Toledo, Salamanca, and Segovia. There will be a Sunday in there - are sights open on Sundays ?

Travel to the above via trains or bus ?

Best way to travel to the above places ? and recommended sights to visit in a day.

Option 2 – 2 days Madrid – overnight Sevilla – or should it be 2 nights ? day trip to Granda and Valencia from Sevilla.

Travel via Ave ? or fly ? I guess flying will be a bit more expensive if we factor in the trip to the airport. Trains usually arrive and depart from downtown if I am not mistaken.

To me option 2 sounds very ambitious. My girlfriend from the UK would prefer to do option 2 and skip Madrid entirely. She has heard Madrid is not worth visiting ?? or spending too much time there. I find it very difficut to understand why.

Any recommendations for clean budget hotels.

Please feel free to suggest any changes to the itinerary. Appreciate any input from all the Spanish experts. Thanks.
gypsychic is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2006, 10:58 AM
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I really can't understand how someone can say that Madrid is not worth visiting. I mean, if you are not very much into museums (there are a lot and all good) maybe you don't want to stay there for the whole week but that not means that you won't have lot of things to do and see for three or four days and Madrid, for me, it's beautiful too !! And with the day trips you plan (great ones !) I think it's a perfect trip.
If you want to follow option two then do just Sevilla and Granada. As much as I love Valencia (I live 70 km north from there)it's too far from Andalucia for just a week.
Sights are usually open on Sundays
If you want to go Andalucia...maybe you can go London-Sevilla, 3 days there, then go Sevilla-Granada by train, two days there, then Granada-Cordoba for the night and next day Cordoba-Sevilla and fly back to London.
Both options are beautiful, if you skip Madrid do it because it's too rushing doing everything, but not because it doesn't worth
kenderina is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2006, 11:24 AM
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Both areas would be nice. It is difficult to say whether or not you or your friends would like Madrid. Some people like it, some do not. Madrid, to me anyways, does not really cater to tourists. It doesn't seem to need to, and it doesn't hide the fact. I think some tourists are put off by that. I think if you accept Madrid on her terms, it's fine. I went with very lowered expectations (from what others had told me), and I was actually very pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed my time in Madrid and wouldn't hesitate to go back. If you like art, this is as good as it gets in Spain! Retiro Park, the Palace, Plaza Mayor, not to mention tapas bars and shopping.

It's not Sundays you would need to concern yourself with. It's Mondays. Most sites seem to close on Mondays. It's important to keep that in mind. And actually, the Prado is free on Sunday afternoon. And the Retiro Park is a happening place to hang out. But on Monday you might be a little limited, though it can make for a good visit to the Plaza Mayor or shopping or a day trip. (El Escorial is also closed on Mondays, so you do have to check ahead of time!)

There are lots of ways to get to the city of the airport. AeroCity shuttle is one way. You can check their rates online and also make reservations, if you like. You can also take a taxi, or, if you like, take the Metro. Fares for taxi or shuttle are actually pretty reasonable.

On the days you are doing day trips, you could do those via trains or buses. It really depends on you. You can check around, see which ones are cheaper/faster and go with that. The buses are very comfy and can sometimes be faster than the trains. There is now - from what I understand - high speed train service to Toledo, which makes it nice!

Not sure if it is budget, but we stayed at the Best Western Hotel Carlos V in Puerta del Sol while we were in Madrid. It's clean and comfortable and staff were helpful and friendly. The location really was great! A good breakfast was included in the price. They also have a shuttle to the airport for 8 euro a person, which was cheaper than anything else, and it was reliable. It might be worth checking into.

Of course, spending your time in Andalucia is also a good idea. Lots to do there as well! I would say between the two, it's a toss up. Some prefer Seville over Madrid, but it's really what you make of it. I would take kenderina's advice, though, and skip Valencia. I know I really wanted to go there, too, but it just wasn't going to fit. If you choose to go to Andalucia, spend the time between Seville and Granada (or Seville/Cordoba/Granada), and skip Valencia. It's just too far out, and you will be rushing things.

Either way, you won't have a bad getaway!
Chele60 is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2006, 06:54 PM
  #4  
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Thanks Kenderina and Chele60.

Sure was very hard for me to locate my message - tried different searches...

It seems Madrid is a lower priority. As we are still undecided could anyone suggest a 7 day itnineray ? I have soaked up sooo much wonderful information from this site, it's truly amazing and fun !! Thanks
gypsychic is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2006, 07:18 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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While I like Barcelona more than Madrid, I think that as others have suggested, Madrid has much to offer and the daytrips or overnights nearby are fantastic, especially Toledo and Segovia, but Salamanca and Avila are also quite magical. I also agree with you, that with just 7 days, option 2 would be rushing things too much.

As far as reasonably priced hotels, check out bancotel.com, petrabrax.com, sol-melia.com, and parador.es and also consider the wonderful Hostal Cardenal in Toledo.
artlover is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2006, 08:41 PM
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to find you rmessages just click on your name.

a week in spain .. try to fly to sevilla directly fom london,tour two nights, then ave to madrid, visiting also toledo, and segovia, avila for day trips.

salamanca is great if you have time, but i don't see how you can squeeze all this in unless you decide to rent a car and just see things from the road.

save granada and valencia for another trip, or forfeit one of the madrid day trips for granada...

whatever you decide to do, i am sure you will enjoy the trip and your company.

i like to compare prices with www.gtahotels.com for hotels as most come with taxes and breakfast included, and sometimes beat hotels' own websites by a bit.

good luck
lincasanova is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2006, 09:35 PM
  #7  
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Thanks Artlover and Lincasanova.

Will check out the hotel links.

hmmmm...fly into Sevilla, now that's an option I did not consider. Will check Easyjet website and perhaps fly into Sevilla and out of Madrid. Lots of homework and too little time.

I have even considered just doing Madrid and Barcelona, as my friends have not visited BCN. However I feel one should go beyond the big cities and tour smaller quaint places.

What is the best use of a Sunday ? (besides the open market in Madrid) - or for that matter Monday's too, as many sight's are closed I understand. Are stores closed both days ?

Thx - did click my name and this time the posts appeared.

Really looking forward to the trip as we are attending a reunion in London first and reconnecting with several friends who are flying into London from different parts of the world - after 15 years !!
gypsychic is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2006, 11:48 PM
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Hi

You can visit the Royal Palace. It is really spectacular. Hours on Sunday are 9am to 3pm. Get there at opening to avoid queueing. Other things I liked about Madrid is dinner at Plaza Santa Ana - beautiful and atmospheric. Beer and tapas at the Alhambra Tapas Bar, Calle Victoria 9. San Ginés Chocolateria, Calle de Coloreros. Chocolateria San Gines is at the end of the street and serves hot chocolate and churros (sticks of fried dough). If you're into ceramics lovely pieces at Antigua Casa Talavera, Isabel la Católica 2. The facade is over 100 years old! Clothes shopping at Zara, Preciados 14 (just off Puerta del Sol). Take a walk along Gran Via. The architecture in Madrid is magnificent and this street is a great way to sample it. Homemade pastries at La Suiza, Calle Cruz, 4. DIY walking tours. Use this good link - http://www.frommers.com/destinations...056010008.html.

As you can see I loved Madrid. I liked it much more than Barcelona but to each their own! Have fun you lucky so and so.
worldinabag is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2006, 07:20 AM
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how were you planning to get to spain from england?

www.whichbudget.com will show you all cmpanies, but do not forget to check out non-low coast carriers also.
i use www.rumbo.es, or www.edreams.com to price compare.

i would defintely take the tourist bus to get the overall feel.
special dinner at the Casino de Madrid would be spectacular. (This is not a casino.. but an aristocratic club which the restuarant is open to the public).

fun restaurant near american embassy called SEPTIMO. on diego de leon i think.
near good shopping street SERRANO.

great icon of german food in madrid, EDELWEISS, behind the courts.i say this because sometimes people just want a break from the traditional spanish food.

Fun salad bar near plaza mayor and other locations, too:
FRESCO.

you have some great suggestions already. not enough time to do much more!

do not miss the royal palace view from the opera area at NIGHT.

there are cafes outside where you can enjoy the view before retiring.

avoid taking the metro in madrid unless you are very travel savvy.
the professional thieves that work on the metro to airport are REALLY good.

on and off quickly and manage to empty quite a few pockets everytime.

when you feel it is getting crowded near you.. you can almost be assured it is a pack of thieves working the masses. just be careful and read up on how to be safe everywhere.

Never hang your purse on the back of chair, or on ground, etc. etc.

money belts are fab idea.

enjoy your reunion. how cool.








lincasanova is offline  
Old Apr 26th, 2006, 11:08 PM
  #10  
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Posts: 11
Thanks so much for the wonderful information. Now I have lots of homework with too little time..

worldinabag - the places you suggest are they in the Puerta del Sol area ? if not how easy is it to get to those areas ?

lincasanova - thank u so much for those airline links. Both edreams and rumbo revert to Spanish after I key in my dates. I'll keep trying, maybe I am just not looking in the right place. I can be a bit of a techno-peasant at times !!

I was thinking Easyjet was the cheast airline out of Gatwick. Will do some more research with the great info u have given.

Any idea how to get to Fuencarral and Chueca, with the streets Almirante and Barbara de Braganza - believe it is great for shopping ??

Thanks for your words of caution regarding the metros. The tourist bus you mention is it similar to the one in BCN - you can hop on and off. It really was a great way to get a general feel of the city.

gypsychic is offline  
Old Apr 27th, 2006, 12:54 AM
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Hi gypsy,

I am living in Madrid currently, so if you want we could meet for a drink or something. I won´t be around on the weekend (flying home to Bilbao looking for the beach), but any other day would be fine for me ...

And now to the point. I think it was Chele who mentioned that Madrid doesn´t really open herself for the tourist, and I think she is right. As much as it is full of awfully touristy things in the area surrounding Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol, her main purpose is to be a strong economical centre, and, let´s say it, it is not so friendly or lovely or full or amazing buildings as other cities both in Spain and abroad. I used not to care much about her, except for shopping and theatre, and there are days (traffic jams and public works, anyone ? ) when I would love to run away, but it has plenty of things to do (and it is not so bad communicated herself ...).

A week there would give you plenty of time to visit the main sites, do out of the way things and a couple of daytrips.

1._ Daytrips. I love Salamanca, really, but it needs an overnight, specially because the trip is a bit long, either by bus or by train. The most doable places are Toledo (very near with the new high speed link), Segovia (perfect with the bus), and, please don´t laugh, either Sevilla or Cordoba with the AVE. I have friends who have gone to Sevilla for the day in Holy Week, tiring, early morning, late night, but they did love it.

2._ Nature. You can get a train up to Navacerrada and walk in the Sierra and enjoy the views and the fresh air if you are into hiking.

3._ Lots of parks, not only the Retiro. And a beautiful Botanical Garden, and your very own egyptian temple.

4._ Many of the public museums are open now on Sunday afternoon until 20:00, and quite a few of them are free Saturday afternoon and the whole Sunday. Include the small but pretty Fashion Museum in your list, and drool over the two or three Balenciagas there. The Prado is one of the free ones, and don´t forget the Thyssen even if you have to pay the entrance. Lovely.

5._ Museums and attractions are closed on Mondays ... More time for shopping Go to the Zara shop in Serrano, Mango in Fuencarral, Augusto Figueroa street for shoes, Zara Home in Hermosilla, check out the spanish designers in the Salamanca area and also in Fuencarral and Chueca. I like more Fuencarral and Chueca than Serrano, but to each its own.

6._ Have a drink at the Glass Bar in the Urban Hotel, munch tapas on Sunday morning in La Latina, eat at any of the small places all around Chueca and Malasaña, a Caipirinha in Espiritu Santo street. Enjoy the small cafes and the old shops. Buy books and spanish music at the FNAC and Casa del Libro. Go the Madrid hammam for two hours of relax.

7._ Look for a concert at the Teatro de la Zarzuela or the Teatro Real (I don´t think there is anything on right then). Go to a musical, Cabaret will be finishing her long triumphal run in Madrid, get a table in the VIP area, and enjoy the tapas and the cava and the amazing MC. Think about going to the theatre. Even if you don´t speak spanish, I think there will be still the Lluis Pasqual´s "Hamlet" at the Teatro Español. Last year we had "Julius Caesar" with Ralph Fiennes, and I must say that Eduard Fernandez was mesmerizing in his acting this time. I saw him in Bilbao in February, and I must go again this time in Madrid.

Drop me a line at [email protected] (I check that address more than the hotmail one), and we can talk ...

Kind regards, Cova
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Old Apr 27th, 2006, 02:17 AM
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Hi

Yep, all easy walk from Puerta del Sol. Except the ceramics place. You could walk there (just walking in Madrid is fun anyway) or take the metro and get off at metro stop Santo Domingo which is just nearby.

worldinabag is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2006, 08:22 AM
  #13  
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Thank you all for the great info. Cova, I will send you an email directly.
gypsychic is offline  
Old Jun 21st, 2006, 05:02 AM
  #14  
 
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Hi there,

I hope not to intrude, but I should say that I have met gypsychic and one of her friends twice : once on Sunday for some tapas in Santa Ana square (everything was a bit rushed because I had tickets for the theatre that evening, "The tempest", great again), and yesterday evening in order to have dinner at "La finca de Susana".

They are staying at the RoomMate Alicia in Plaza Santa Ana, and it is a lovely place. Up to now they have enjoying their stay in Madrid. Tomorrow they will be heading down to Sevilla.

We have had a great time, and we might even meet again next Monday before they get back home.

I´ll leave to them to report back in Fodors, and I hope they have a great time down in the south.

Rgds, Cova
cova is offline  
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