Madrid Itinerary - please critique?

Old Jan 23rd, 2010, 04:47 PM
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Madrid Itinerary - please critique?

We leave in less than 3 weeks, and I've tried to keep our itinerary loose but now I'm worried it's too loose. We're leaving some wiggle room for any interesting Carnaval concerts/parades as well. Any input appreciated.

Day 01 MON - 2/15: Overnight flight PHL-MAD

Day 02 TUE - 2/16: Land 10am; Apt check-in & grocery shop; Plaza Mayor

Day 03 WED - 2/17: Prado Museum; PM tapas w/friends

Day 04 THU - 2/18: Palacio Real

Day 05 FRI - 2/19: Free - Thyssen-Bornemisza?

Day 06 SAT - 2/20: Overnight trip - Segovia, Infanta Isabella Hotel

Day 07 SAT - 2/21: Overnight trip - Segovia, train back to Madrid after lunch

Day 08 MON - 2/22: Free - Monday (anything not closed - Reina Sofia?)

Day 09 TUE - 2/23: Day trip - Toledo

Day 10 WED - 2/24: Free (Cable car or Retiro Park or aquarium?)

Day 11 THU - 2/25: Checkout by 10am, to airport, flight home
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Old Jan 23rd, 2010, 05:28 PM
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You could easily do the palace on your first day!
You need to visit the third museum-Reina Sofia!
Not necessary to stay overnight in Segovia! You should try to visit La Granja in the afternoon-10 minute bus ride from Segovia-often overlooked and wonderful!.If you are in Madrid on Sunday then you can go to the Rastro in the morning and the Retiro in the afternoon.
Another easy worthwhile trip out of Madrid is El Escorial.
Cable car is no big deal and I'm pretty sure it's still closed.
Check the weather-could be very cold/windy/rainy!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2010, 07:28 PM
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A most reasonable itinerary and I agree with chapla. The Palacio Real is not all day event and Reina Sofia should be attended to.

If you are a stamp collector there are many vendors that line Plaza Mayor on Sudnay morning. Also on Sunday is the Rastro a vast flea market with everything from pure junk to inexpensive original hand made jewelry.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2010, 07:37 PM
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Segovia is only 1/2 hour by train - a good day tip , as others said - no need to stay overnight.
Visit Raina Sofia on Monday.
Also, take a walk through the elegant Salamanca district just north of Retiro; it is very different than Sol!
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Old Jan 24th, 2010, 12:45 AM
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Hola

The Palacio Real is terrific - Get there on opening time (I think 9.30am in winter) to avoid queuing. An excellent museum free of charge near the Retiro so you can visit on Wed 2/24 is Museo Naval, Paseo del Prado, 5 Madrid. If you’re into naval stuff this is fantastic. I loved it! To quote:
"Charting man's maritime history, this museum starts with the maps used during the discovery of the New World and ends with a display of the most advanced nautical instruments available today. The battles and naval campaigns waged throughout Spanish history are explored and explained. You'll see how nautical, scientific and astronomical instruments developed alongside weapons of war and maps. There are reproductions of ship's cabins, paintings of ships, the personal belongings of well-known sailors, and portraits of kings and navigators as well as a collection of shipwrecked curios." Open: 10am-2pm Tues-Sunday.
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Old Jan 24th, 2010, 01:27 AM
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Alcalá de Henares or Aranjuez are very nice low key day trips easily reached by commuter trains.

I agree Segovia and Toledo are day trips. No need to overnight, especially in Toledo.

Unless you would like to brave a car two nights and do the "hub" around Madrid.. Segovia, Avila, Toledo, Aranjuez, Alcalá de Henares... and stay somewhere in between.
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Old Jan 24th, 2010, 07:01 AM
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I meant to say "especially in Segovia" ( without a car).
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Old Jan 24th, 2010, 07:51 AM
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if you wish an overnight trip - Salamanca has been recommended - about 2.5 hours from Madrid.

I also liked Palacio Real , the Armory museum ( part of the PR) is excellent.
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Old Jan 24th, 2010, 11:07 AM
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Awesome tips, thank you. The Segovia overnight is the husband's pick/request, so I'm not going to quibble. The Rastro is a great addition, as is Museo Naval. I may well turn one of those free days into another day trip as recommended as well. Thanks again.
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Old Jan 24th, 2010, 07:38 PM
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While you're visiting the Palacio Real, I suggest also visiting the Temple de Debod. It's just a few blocks away from the Palacio Real. Here's info:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Debod

Also right near the Palacio Real is the Almudena Cathedral. The interior is stunningly beautiful and surprisingly modern.

I think Segovia is well worth an overnight. That way you can relax and take in all it has to offer without hurrying.

ENJOY!
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Old Jan 25th, 2010, 07:39 AM
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My suggestions:

Day 02 TUE - 2/16: Land 10am; jetlagged day; Apt check-in & grocery shop; Stroll: Plaza Mayor, Mercado de San Miguel & Plaza de la Villa
http://degusto.files.wordpress.com/2...san-miguel.jpg

Day 03 WED - 2/17: Prado Museum; Royal Botanical Garden; PM tapas w/friends
http://www.rjb.csic.es/jardinbotanic...bCab=23&len=en

Day 04 THU - 2/18: Retiro Park; Real Madrid Stadium Tour OR Exhibition: "Treasures of the World's Cultures" (items from the British Museum in Madrid)
http://www.realmadrid.com/cs/Satelli...3040472497.htm
http://www.cyii.es/cyii.es/archivos/...ier_prensa.pdf

Day 05 FRI - 2/19: Thyssen-Bornemisza; Stroll: Paseo del Prado, Paseo de Recoletos; window shopping in calle Serrano; ABC Serrano Mall.
http://www.abcserrano.com/abc-serrano

Day 06 SAT - 2/20: Overnight trip - Segovia, Infanta Isabella Hotel. Tapas bar: "José" at Plaza Mayor 4. Meal: cochinillo (roast suckling pig) in "Candido" or "Duque".
http://www.mesondecandido.es/ingles.html
http://www.restauranteduque.es/esp/home.html

Day 07 SUN - 2/21: Overnight trip - Segovia. Morning ride to the Royal Palace of La Granja (former King's summer residence); back to Segovia; train back to Madrid after lunch
http://www.patrimonionacional.es/Hom...Ildefonso.aspx

Day 08 MON - 2/22: Reina Sofia; Fundación Mapfre exhibition: "From Manet to the Impresionism"; Lunch: Café Gijón.
http://www.exposicionesmapfrearte.com/impresionismo/
http://www.cafegijon.com/

Day 09 TUE - 2/23: Day trip - Toledo. Tapas bar: "La Abadia" at Calle Nuñez de Arce. Restaurant: "Alfileritos 24" at Calle Alfileritos 24 (downtown).
http://www.alfileritos24.com/

Day 10 WED - 2/18: Palacio Real, Royal Armoury and Changing of the Guard (on Wed only); Egyptian Temple of Debod; Stroll: Plaza de España & Gran Via.
http://www.esmadrid.com/en/portal.do...3&TR=C&IDR=496
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Old Jan 25th, 2010, 08:05 AM
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great ideas and info. revulgo. Thanks.
We'll be in Madrid in April ( not the first time).. always something new to see in (and around) a great city like Madrid.
Some people go to Madrid for 2 days, walk around Sol and Gran Via ,declare the city "boring and dirty" ( someone said it was like Chicago?), and move on. Too bad.
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Old Jan 25th, 2010, 02:54 PM
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I returned from my first trip to Madrid recently. We had 11 nights, including an overnight stay in Toledo. We had day trips to Segovia and El Escorial/Valley of the Fallen. I can echo the sentiments above; Segovia is a day trip and, for us, Toledo could have been done in a day. Both are a mere 45 minute bus ride away and the buses run all day long. If we could have spent anymore time at a particular place it would have been the Valley of the Fallen, the monument to the civil war dead. We took a half day tour and didn't have enough time at this imposing and moving monument. (Be advised, our guide told us the Basilica was to be shuttered for extensive renovations soon after our visit. Can't confirm that.)

My father and I also enjoyed the NAVAL MUSEUM, already mentioned above. He's ex-merchant marine and we're both history buffs, so this is a worthwhile museum if you're remotely interested in that stuff. We also loved the tour of LAS VENTAS, the bullfight areana, and its excellent museum. I didn't know anything about bullfighting before this trip, but it really piqued my interest. The museum featured old suits of light, including the blood-stained suit of the matador Manolete, as well as the mounted heads of the bulls that had killed him and other famous bullfighters. During the guided tour of the arena we were shown practice capotes and muletas, the two types of capes used in bullfighting, and having fun swining the capes around and playing bullfighter.

One thing we discovered is that Madrid's main tourist sites are located in the center for the most part and close to the beautiful Retiro Park. We visited the park nearly every day just to have a cup of coffee next to the lake and people watch for an hour or so. It's a short walk from the Prado and the Naval Museum.
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Old Jan 25th, 2010, 11:00 PM
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Madrid holds interesting museums for everyone:

Museo del Aire (Aviation)
http://www.ruudleeuw.com/cuatro_vientos04.htm

Museo del Ferrocarril (Railway): steam locomotives, rail stuff and "mini train"
http://www.museodelferrocarril.org/c...olecciones.htm

Museo del Traje (Costume)
http://museodeltraje.mcu.es/index.jsp?id=45&ruta=4,17

The Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas houses around 65,000 objects that date from an extensive period of time. A large number of objects come from China and mainly cover the last two Dynasties: the Ming Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty. Amongst these pieces is an important set of porcelain. The glass and crystal collection is very extensive, most of it dating right back to the Greek-Punic ages, as well as from the 4th Century AC, Roman and Visigoth ages, including an important La Granja collection that dates from between 1727 and 1823. The textile collection is made up of flat non-sewn pieces, made from domestic trousseau, and clothing, both civilian and religious.Spanish furniture is very well represented right back to the 14th Century and the collection at the Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas is the best public collection of pieces ranging from Gothic to Baroque.
http://mnartesdecorativas.mcu.es/seleccion.html

The Museo de América houses old collections of American archaeology and ethnography. Its scope involves a wide period ranging from prehistoric America to the current day, with special emphasis on pre-Colombian archaeology, ethnography and colonial art.
http://museodeamerica.mcu.es/index.html
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Old Jan 27th, 2010, 06:31 PM
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Revulgo, what an awesome post, especially the restaurant links - thank you so much! And to everyone, I really appreciate the opinions and ideas. Counting down 3 weeks, can't wait! Promise to do both a trip report and Loft Plaza Mayor review.
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Old Jan 27th, 2010, 07:29 PM
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I strongly suggest spending an overnight in Toledo. Once the place clears of tourists, it is magical at night, especially on a Saturday night, - walking through the medievally paths and dining at the old taverns is really fun! I am so glad we stayed overnight.
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Old Jan 28th, 2010, 12:04 AM
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The Valley of the Fallen is a monument dedicated ONLY to one side of the dead in the civil war, to the winning one. In fact, it´s a fascist monument, erected by a dictatorship using war prisoners from the republican side.

It may be moving to those of you that are not aware of the real history behind this monument, but to many, many Spaniards it´s shameful.

Every 20 November, the day Franco the dictator died, there are fascist concentrations on this "monument". Less crowded every year, a relief...
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Old Jan 28th, 2010, 12:48 AM
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Besides being built by slave labor the architecture of the Valley of The Fallen has all the charm of oppressive dictatorship that built it.

On the other hand El Escorial is worth a vist. Spanish kings are buried on top of one another resembling an expnsive clothes bureau with your sock drawer over your underwear drawer except it is Charles II and Charles III.
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Old Jan 28th, 2010, 03:13 AM
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Hi bballinger
My fav tapas bars in nearby Plaza Mayor are:

SEGÚN EMMA. Calle Conde de Miranda 4. Small lively tavern close to the Mercado de San Miguel. Good selection of wine. The "salmorejo" (thick tomato cream) is sublime. The "carrilleras estofadas" (cheeks of pork stew) are also recommended.

MESÓN DEL CHAMPIÑÓN. Calle Cava de San Miguel 17. It is a very old building. Before in this street were mostly warehouses, where the meson is now was a fabric warehouse. Rec: a wine jug for sharing with garlic mushrooms.

BODEGAS RICLA. Calle de los Cuchilleros 6. Cheap but nice wine and sherry are available by the litre, poured from tall clay urns. Rec: vermú de grifo (vermouth on tap) and canapé de bacalao (smoked cod in olive oil).

REVUELTA. Calle de Latoneros 3. It is worth coming into this little place to taste their unquestionable star: pincho de bacalao (tender battered cod without bone). Another delicious speciality is torrezno (fried rusher of bacon). Drink beer, the house wine is so-so.

LA CAMPANA. Calle Botoneras 6. It's a popular saying here: if you go to Madrid and don't taste a "bocadillo de calamares" (fried squid roll sandwich), you are committing a sin!. Beer on tap.

LOS GALAYOS. Calle Botoneras 5. Tapas bar and good restaurant to taste Spanish dishes.
http://eng.losgalayos.net/bar-y-tapas.aspx
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Old Jan 28th, 2010, 04:42 AM
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Revulgo, your info is fantastic! I never find these places when I go to Madrid...
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