Madrid or Toledo? Or Both?

Reply

Feb 16th, 2011, 04:39 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 59
Madrid or Toledo? Or Both?

My husband has a meeting in mid-May in Madrid. We'd like to add a long weekend on to the trip to see some of the area (we will be flying in from Munich so we don't have to worry about jet lag, etc.). We will probably fly in Friday night, and I'll fly home late Monday afternoon. My question is: should we see Madrid, Toledo, or try to do both? I have heard there is a 30 min high speed train from Madrid so one possibility is to do a day trip there, but I don't want the weekend to be too busy. Any advice? Thanks!
MunichB is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 16th, 2011, 04:41 AM
  #2
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 59
I guess I should clarify what we would like to do - mostly great restaurants, some local shopping and definitely the local culture. We don't need big museums - we are more of the walk around and enjoy the locals type of travelers...
MunichB is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 16th, 2011, 05:38 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 117
I panned a trip for some friends to Madrid for this past October. They really enjoyed Madrid and LOVED Toledo. They spent 4 nights in Madrid and did a daytrip to Toledo.

In Madrid they took the Hop bus tour of the city, visited the Prado (they aren't keen on multiple museum visits so chose one) visited the outdoor flea market held every Sunday, visited the Royal Palace, wandered the San Miguel Market and attended a Flamenco show (Corral de la Moreria). They had dinner at Casa Paco and La Trainera. Enjoyed both.

With limited time and not feeling comfortable navigating on their own they opted to do a one day tour with LeTango tours for their visit to Toledo. They loved the tour guide and had a fun day visiting the town.

My husband and I have visited Spain twice. The first time we did as our friends did, then the second time we only spent 3 nights in Madrid and 2 in Toledo. We had a car so we drove to the town, but you are correct that you could take the train - 30 minutes.

I recommend going to Toledo - you could take an early train or mid-day, explore and still be back to Madrid for regular (for Spain) dinner time!
T4TX is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 16th, 2011, 05:50 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 5,934
When it comes to great restaurants of all categories in both Madrid and Toledo, you should have a look at Maribel's guides:
http://maribelsguides.com/

You might join the celebration of Madrid's patron saint, San Isidro. Among many other things, traditional dancing, open air concerts, eating and drinking on Plaza Mayor several days before and after the 15th of May. http://www.spanish-fiestas.com/madrid/san-isidro.htm

The Vistillas park, just beside the Royal palace, is another of the main San Isidro sites. Watch the sunset over the Guadarrama mountains from the terrace at El Ventorrillo in the park. Great pollo al ajillo, some say the best in town. Map, video and some pictures: http://11870.com/pro/restaurante-ventorrillo

Experience world class flamenco at one of the best tablaos. Madrid is arguably the flamenco capital of the world. Although the art form comes from the South (Andalucía), everybody has to conquer Madrid to get to the top. On their way there, or as an opportunity to try out new things and get an up close audience, many of them work the top tablaos. I recommend Casa Patas and Cardamomo, both close to Plaza Santa Ana.
http://www.casapatas.com/
http://www.cardamomo.es/

Have breakfast or lunch at Café del Círculo de Bellas Artes in down town Calle Alcalá, 42. One of the city's most emblematic cafés. Grab a window table and watch Madrid life on bustling Calle Alcalá. Take the lift up to the roof topp terrace (the azotea) for the most spectacular views of the city. http://www.esmadrid.com/en/cargarApl...ntificador=179
fotos/videos: http://11870.com/pro/circulo-bellas-artes

Txirimiri in Calle del Humilladero, 6 gives you an idea of why the Basque kitchen is considered among the best in the world. In the midst of one of the best tapas/restaurant districts in town, in and around Calle Cava Baja in La Latina.
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...ri-Madrid.html

I never leave Madrid without having had the squid in its own ink and the famous cod at Casa Revuelta, also in the same district.
http://11870.com/pro/casa-revuelta

You should also try the excellent salmorejo, a somewhat thicker variant of the tomato/vegetable soup gazpacho, in Según Emma just behind the newly reopened gourmet-oriented San Miguel food market. http://11870.com/pro/segun-emma
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...ma-Madrid.html

First class dining at El Mentidero de la Villa:
http://www.mentiderodelavilla.es/
http://11870.com/pro/el-mentidero-la-villa

I also love traditional Casa Marta close to the Opera. Nothing fancy but very popular among locals. Great value three course lunch with drinks included for some 10€.
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...ta-Madrid.html

The Chueca and Malasaña area, north of Gran Vía, is Madrid's most lively shopping district that "combine both originality and the avant-garde. Specifically, the section made up of little streets perpendicular to Fuencarral and Hortaleza streets is a shoppers’ paradise".
http://www.softguides.com/madrid_gui...ne.html#chueca

This site is great about Madrid. http://www.esmadrid.com/en/portal.do
kimhe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 16th, 2011, 06:28 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,233
You might stay the in Madrid and take some kind of tour on Saturday. Sunday in Toledo. It is only 1/2 hour by train from Madrid. If you are not interested in museum in either city, there is hardly much to do in Toledo ..visit the Cathedral and spend half a day (it is rely small).

"mostly great restaurants, some local shopping and definitely the local culture. We don't need big museums - we are more of the walk around and enjoy the locals type of travelers..."
You'll find it in Madrid!
danon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 16th, 2011, 06:49 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,233
really ..not rely
danon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 16th, 2011, 07:45 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,197
For the "enjoy the locals" category, I would recommend that on Sunday (if it's a nice day) you head to Retiro Park in Madrid. Lovely experience.

IMO, if this is your first visit, and with only 3 nights there, I would just stay in Madrid and do things there.
cruiseluv is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 17th, 2011, 02:57 AM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 59
These are fantastic tips so thank you to all of you for such great ideas. Two more related questions, if you don't mind:
1. I have read mixed reviews about El Rastro flea market. I *love* an authentic, gem of a flea market but HATE ones with just junk and cheap utilitarian new products. Can anyone clarify which it is? If that is now not a good option, any tips on other shopping choices? I am looking for the more boutiquey, medium priced options, or markets would be even better.
2. Since we'll be without our kids, any romantic mid-range priced hotel recommendations? I will also look at the referrals I got but wondered if anyone had a fave!?
Thank you!!!
MunichB is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 17th, 2011, 05:41 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 5,934
About El Rastro (just as much about eating tapas and having a vermut afterwards or in between):
http://www.madrid-guide-spain.com/el-rastro.html
http://www.madridinfosite.com/en/sho...ea-market.aspx

The Chueca and Malasaña area, north of Gran Vía, is Madrid's most lively shopping district that "combine both originality and the avant-garde. Specifically, the section made up of little streets perpendicular to Fuencarral and Hortaleza streets is a shoppers’ paradise". More about shopping in Madrid here:
http://www.softguides.com/madrid_gui...ne.html#chueca
kimhe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 17th, 2011, 10:29 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,960
MunichB:

You're flying in Friday night and leaving Monday afternoon. You have two full days, the Saturday and Sunday. I agree with cruiseluv. Enjoy Madrid for that time. As kimhe indicates, there's more than enough to do there on your weekend. You'll be rushing around otherwise and spending time on trains and in train stations (however brief the train trip may be) in addition to airports.
wanderful is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 20th, 2011, 08:04 AM
  #11
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 59
This was all so helpful! Thank you to everyone for your ideas, tips and resources. I can tell we will have a fantastic time with or without Toledo! Many thanks!
MunichB is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 21st, 2011, 08:38 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 9
I don't want to be overly negative, but my wife and I did a day trip to Toledo from Madrid and we weren't that entirely impressed. Don't get me wrong, it is a very pretty town to wander around in and the cathedral there was amazing. If you have enough time I wouldn't necessarily recommend skipping it, but maybe limiting your time. We were advised to buy the train tickets in advance b/c they can fill up so we lost some flexibility on the return. We left Madrid at 9:20am and returned at 5:30pm. If we could do it again we would have been happier returning 2-3 hours earlier to enjoy more of Madrid.

We also used Maribel's guides and even paid her a consulting fee to give us more personalized guidance! She's very helpful!
ucfjay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 21st, 2011, 12:08 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,711
I actually found a day's worth of enjoyment in Toledo. As mentioned, the cathedral is a stunner and can take up a couple of hours if you're really thorough there (there's a well-stocked treasure room and a number of worthwhile paintings). There are also a couple of enjoyable synagogues, a few other lesser churches (including the Santo Tome, which has a terrific large fresco by El Greco), and a fine smaller museum with several El Grecos and work by other notable artists (the Santa Cruz Museum). Plus wandering the streets of the old town is really a treat in and of itself.
bachslunch is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:52 AM.