Segovia & Tolego vs Madrid?

Oct 12th, 2006, 12:28 PM
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Segovia & Tolego vs Madrid?

We are planning a trip to Spain for three weeks in May '07. We will fly into Madrid. At first we were going to spend a couple of days in Madrid and then get a car and drive to the Basque region. Since reading posts and talking to friends, we think we would more enjoy going directly from the airport in Madrid to Toledo, spend a couple of days there and then drive to Segovia and spend a couple of days there. We enjoy cities, but only if they have distinguished architecture and a romantic allure (e.g., Paris, Venice). We will spend the last five days of this trip in Barcelona which sounds like a city more to our liking. This is our first trip to Spain. Your feedback would be most appreciated.
2d is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 12:29 PM
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Whoa! Tolego? NO! Toledo--sorry about that!!
2d is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 12:32 PM
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I haven't been to Toledo but I have heard it is nice. I went to Segovia for a day and thought that was plenty of time. I very much enjoy Madrid, more so than Barcelona, and I think it's an underrated city. I'd recommend some time there if you can.
JoeTro is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 12:53 PM
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Toledo and to a slightly lesser extent Segovia are two of Europe's most wondrous cities. Avila is also nice and close to Segovia as is El Estoral, one of Europe's most sumptious palaces, which during its halcyon days was a royal retreat. My relative was attacked on a Sunday morning around 8am right in front of Atocha train station and in threads here many people report pickpocketing and bag snatching.

I would spend a day or so in Madrid as though to me it's amongst my least romantic and old-world looking European capitals, it still has its pluses. but is also a big loud traffic and smog-plagued sprawling city, that, along with Barcelona, also has a reputation for being one of Europe's worst cities for street crime - muggings, rare in Europe, are too common here -
PalenqueBob is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 12:56 PM
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Actually you can day trip to Madrid via the high-speed AVE train in under an hour from Toledo - then you won't hassle with parking, etc.

But another gem quite close to Madrid is Aranjuez, called the Spanish Versailles - a Renaissance royal palace recently gloriously rehabbed - so a day in Tolego, a day in Aranjuez, a day in Segova and a day in Avila could be with zilch for Madrid.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 01:07 PM
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In one trip to Spain we did the Madrid, Toledo combo. On another, we followed almost exactly the group suggested by PalenqueBob and found it much more interesting. Toledo is a fascinating place particularly in the evening and night after the day trip folks leave, so plan for at least an overnighter. Explore the alley ways and out of the way shops. Same for Segovia and don't miss the Alcazar. For us, Avila was more interesting during the day.
basingstoke1 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 01:12 PM
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i agree it is quite convenient to car directly to toledo out of barajas.
lincasanova is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 01:14 PM
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We stayed several days in Madrid and agree with those who consider it underrated. Had a marvelous time there.

We also daytripped to both Segovia and Toledo, and enjoyed both excursions. I actually liked Segovia a little better...partially because it was such a gorgeous day!

You can read our full trip report here:
mr_go is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 02:15 PM
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I just returned from Spain, and on our trip my husband and I spent 4 nights in Madrid -- with 2 days being day trips to Toledo & Segovia. I may be in the minority, but Toledo wasn't my cup of tea. It was VERY touristy, the food was just so-so, and the shops seemed cheesy. (The cathedral here, however, was beautiful!) On the other hand, I did like Segovia. It felt like a more authentic place. I would vote for an overnight here rather than Toledo.
thezanmiller is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 02:59 PM
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Never been to Barcelona. I certainly thought Madrid a lovely city. Toledo and Segovia should not be missed (Toledo is lovely in the evening after all the day trippers have departed; did not stay overnight in Segovia but it probably is also an enchanting place at night). Now, if you can work Granada into your trip go there; the Alhambra is absolutely magical, in my opinion. With three weeks to play with on your trip you have many options
floydvic is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 03:16 PM
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A few years back I spent 3 months in spain, based in Madrid. You can fill many days wandering around Madrid, don't sell it short. I'm also in agreement with the other commenter who felt that a day each in Segovia and Toledo would give yo a good feel for them. Try to fit Salamanca into your schedule, it's FASCINATING. Barcelona is worth a couple of days as well.
Have a great time.
swidoc is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 03:31 PM
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It is unclear from your message why the desicion to skip Madrid all together, which I happen to disagree with . Madrid is a great city to visit, but not one to go without doing some homework. If you do your research, you'll find Madrid to be a unique, fascinating, wonderful destination. I've been to Paris many times, but there is an intimacy about Plaza Mayor, Royal Palace, Retiro Park, and many squares in Madrid that are very unique of this enigmatic capital. May is the time for the festivities of San Isidro, Patron Saint of Bullfighting, so the first two weeks of May in Madrid can be quite exciting (and yes, noisy as well).

The Basque region is a good choice. For Spain's first timers, however, Andalucia should be at the top of the list. More so if architecture and romantic allure is your idea of a great destination. Again, unclear why this region is not even mentioned in your message.

Other cities to consider based on your posted likes; Salamanca, Seville, Granada, and Leon. I should mention Segovia is spectacular when it comes to architecture, so great choice. The Roman Aqueduct, the Alcazar, and the Knights Templar Church of La Vera Cruz are breathtaking.

In a synopsis, three weeks in May is a great opportunity to explore this amazing country. I would allocate, at a mimimum, a couple of days to Madrid. Train over to Toledo, spend a couple of days, train to Seville for couple of days, day trip to Cordova, Granada for a couple of days. Fly Malaga-Barcelona, explore. Have fun planning!
Viajero2 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 08:50 PM
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I agree with others that Madrid is often underrated, although it certainly doesn't have the appeal to me that Barcelona and other cities in Spain have. But I think it's worth going there for the Prado and Sofia alone. While it's easy to make daytrips to Toledo and Segovia from Madrid, I think it's much more romantic to stay overnight in those places--I loved them both. Avila and Salamanca are also wonderful places to visit nearby.

Also, I don't know what your budget is, but you might check out the Paradors for this visit at
artlover is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 09:01 PM
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As one of the few people in the planet that doesn't like Barcelona, I would recommend that you don't skip Madrid. In addition to the jewels you find here as the museums , Plaza Mayor etc. I also enjoy spending a few hours relaxing in Parque del Retiro.
cruiseluv is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 12:07 AM
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According to your statement, I think you'll enjoy more your Toledo and Segovia schedule than Madrid. I like Madrid very much, but I perceive what you are looking for.
In Toledo don't miss the Cathedral, the Santa Cruz palace, and the San Juan de los Reyes church AND cloister. Food is great, but you simply have to skip tourist oriented rest. and do your homework. I may suggest La Catedral (a restaurant near the Cathedral!), Hierbabuena, Hotel Cardenal restaurant, and of course Adolfo (expensive).
About Segovia, I recommend Maribel guide, at (watch out the spelling, there are similar sites, but are not Maribel's)
josele is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 03:31 PM
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Thank you for your responses. We are trying not to spread ourselves too thin and therefore we are concentrating on northern Spain. We find that we feel more in touch with a country if we split our time between metro areas, small towns and countryside. Thus, we are electing to spend our metro time in Barcelona as DH is an architect in love with Gaudi's work. Of the two cities, Madrid and Barcelona, Barcelona sounds more interesting to us. We will do the south of Spain on another trip and maybe do Madrid at that time. Again, thanks so much for your help with decision-making for this first trip to Spain.

Wm is offline  
Oct 14th, 2006, 07:06 AM
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Toledo is known for its metalcraft, particularly exquisite, gold wire inlay work. It is sold everywhere, but when there, you may want to seek out workshops where it is made - some have small showrooms for sales. A beautiful and unique remembrance.
basingstoke1 is offline  
Oct 14th, 2006, 07:37 AM
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I was enthralled with Segovia and Toledo for all of about 4 hours each, but I'm a big city person. Madrid has great nightlife and an energetic, teeming vibe. No, it's not Europe's most beautiful capital, save for the Plaza Mayor, and Barcelona is my first choice among cities in Spain, but Madrid is a fun and fascinating place to visit.
martytravels is offline  
Oct 14th, 2006, 07:54 AM
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I went to Madrid and took day trips to both Segovia and Toledo. While I'm happy I took the day trips to them both, I did go back to Madrid wishing I had more time in both cities. And I will definitely be extending my time in Madrid the next time I go.

Plus, I have El Escorial and Aranjuez to add to my list...

Madrid is interesting to roam. I have to agree, not the most beautiful European city (in fact, I found it boring in the beginning), but still nice enough for me to plan a future trip there...
mcnyc is offline  
Oct 15th, 2006, 07:50 PM
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How do you daytrip to Toledo and Segovia?
cferrb is offline  

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