Madrid Questions

Mar 30th, 2003, 02:23 AM
  #1  
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Madrid Questions

We'll be arriving in Madrid for 3 nights this Thursday, landing at 16.15. My first question is what do people think would be the least hassle way to travel to our hotel at that time of day - shuttle bus or Metro? (We'll have one small suitcase and carry-ons).

Second question is that if the weather is as beautiful as it's been here in the UK for the last couple of weeks, we'll want to spend as much time out-of-doors as possible. I understand that the Parque del Retiro is worth a visit, but has anyone else got any other suggestions, apart from admiring the architecture of the Palaces etc.?
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Mar 30th, 2003, 02:38 AM
  #2  
MHS
 
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Botantical garden next to the museum - Prado (sp??).
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Mar 30th, 2003, 03:01 AM
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Thanks MHS, i'll make a note of that one.

Has anybody been to the Casa de Campo? I quite fancy the cable car ride and maybe visiting the zoo, but have read that the park is Madrid's prostitution centre. Should I let that put me off?
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Mar 30th, 2003, 06:16 AM
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Coming in from the U.K. you'll probably arrive at Terminal 2 or 3 - convenient to MetroMadrid. The Metro is probably your best bet if you can find your way to your hotel.

There are Terrazas (sidewalk cafes) along Paseo de la Castellana or on calle Serrano (a block north) near Goya where you can relax. I would also recommend a visit to Plaza de Oriente across from the Palacio Réal where you can stroll amoung the statues of Visigoth Kings of Spain and learn a lot of the history of that era.

I like Retiro Park Sunday mornings from about 11:00 AM - street performers and mimes, musicians (even cantaores de flamenco if you are lucky), etc.
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Mar 30th, 2003, 07:31 AM
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Sunday morning in the park sounds good. Our flight doesn't leave until 17.15, so we should be able to fit that in. Thanks Ned!
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Mar 30th, 2003, 07:56 AM
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Xenos,
Since you'll be light of luggage and coming into terminal 2, I agree with NEDSIRELAND that the metro will be your cheapest option.
But here are the various modes of transport from Barajas into the city:

1) Metro:
Line #8 goes from Barajas airport to new Nuevos Ministerios station in the northern business section. Trip takes 12 min. Cars have luggage racks. From there you'll need to transfer at least once, if not twice, to reach your downtown hotel. At that time of day the metro will be crowded. The airport metro station is quite a looooong (15 min.) walk from Terminal 1.
Metro ticket costs 1,10, but I recommend you buy a "bono transporte" -10 rides for 5,20- that your whole family can share.
See the metro map at www.metromadrid.es

2) Airport-Colon bus:
Called the “aeropuerto a Plaza Colon” bus (blue); leaves from outside terminals every 15 min. Busses run from 5:30 a.m. til 1:30 a.m. Costs 2,50 euros. Deposits you in underground station at Plaza Colón, mid-town. Trip takes 20-25 min. There taxis wait to transport you to hotel (add 6-7 euros), or you can take the metro from the Colon station (1,10 euros).

3) Aerocity shuttle service:
Transfer for 1-3 persons now costs 17 euros; 4 persons, 20. Usually no more than 2-3 drop-offs on route. Aerocity now has service desks at both terminals. Book ahead at www.aerocity.com Plan on a ride of at least 30 min., door to door.

4) Taxi:
Before leaving terminal for the taxi stand, be sure to pick up an informative, multilingual blue brochure published by the city hall from the green information stand in baggage claim which explains the various means of transportation from airport to hotel, plus estimated taxi fares to several pts. in city: i.e., to the Puerta del Sol, 17 euros, including the 4 euro airport supplement. (The extra charges for bags was eliminated in ’02, but there's a 2 euro supplement when departing from any train station). Have this brochure very visible in your hand when entering the taxi, and ask for an official receipt. Fares will obviously vary depending on time of day/traffic.
My cheapest fare TO airport has been 13 euros, including 4 euro sup., for an early morning, 6:20 a.m., 9 min. run from the Hotel Galgos in the Salamanca district.
But for an afternoon run to downtown, count on a max. of 20 euros and a 30 min. ride . If a taxi driver charges you 30 euros, you’ve taken a very purposely, circuitous route (the "tourist route") to your hotel.

I recommend that everyone needing detailed info about the pros and cons of the different Madrid airport to downtown transfers read these very informative pages:

www.go-madrid.com/transport/airport_options.html
http://www.multimadrid.com/practical...transports.htm (plus the "Taxi Smarts" section)


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Mar 30th, 2003, 08:05 AM
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Xenos,
Besides NEDSIRELAND's great Sunday morning in Retiro park idea (a favorite activity of mine too), I'd also second spending time in the very pretty Plaza de Oriente square facing the Royal Palace (and snag a table at the lovely outdoor terrace of the Cafe de Oriente) plus a stroll through the palace gardens of the Campo del Moro and on up to the Templo Debod in the Parque del Oeste. This is a very nice, invigorating stroll.
I personally now avoid the Casa de Campo, despite the amusement park and zoo housed there, as it has, indeed, become a prostitution center, even in broad daylight, and it's hard to avoid the sleaze there. If you want to take the cable car, teleferico, that departs from the very pleasant Paseo Pintor Rosales (a nice walk itself), I'd just make a quick round trip.
Have a wonderful time in Madrid!
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Mar 30th, 2003, 08:22 AM
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Thanks Maribel, I think we'll give the zoo a miss then. It's not that I'm worried about the prostitutes themselves, it's more the sort of people that tend to hang around them when they're not in licensed areas, like they are in Amsterdam.

As for transport, the cost isn't really an issue, since we're staying in a Best Western and they run a free shuttle to and from the airport. I think that bearing in mind the change(s) of train and the fact that we'll be carrying all our worldly goods with us (well a suitcase and passports anyway), that's looking like the preferred option.
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Mar 30th, 2003, 08:51 AM
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Xenos,
Since you're staying at a Best Western, and they provided free airport transport, I'd certainly take advantage of it and avoid the hassle of multiple line changes/crowds of the metro. I take the metro to the airport myself but only to pick up arriving friends, then we either use a taxi or shuttle bus back to the city. I think the metro is best for those with just backpacks or for dedicated, experienced budgeteers.

Forgot to mention that if you're planning to use public transport during your 3 day stay, the 10 ride, 5,20 euro "bono transporte", also called the "metrobus", is good for busses and metro alike and a great money saver.
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