Toledo and Madrid Itinerary

Jan 16th, 2011, 04:03 AM
  #1  
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Toledo and Madrid Itinerary

Good morning Fodorites,

I will be traveling to Toledo and Madrid and this is my itinerary:

TOLEDO:
01. MONDAY: Arrival in Toledo in the afternoon.
02.TUESDAY: Stroll around around the city aimlessly to get my bearings. Cathedral, city gates and bridges.
03.WEDNESDAY: El Greco Museum and San Juan de los Reyes Monastery.

MADRID:
01. THURSDAY: Arrival in the morning. Afternoon devoted to Plaza Mayor and around, and Descalzas Reales Monastery.
02. FRIDAY: The area around Sol along with Chueca and Malasaña quarters.
03. SATURDAY: Salamanca quarter. Calle de Serrano and around.
04. SUNDAY: El Rastro Market and Museo del Prado for specific paintings.
05. MONDAY: Plaza Santa Ana and around, and Reina Sofía Museum for specific paintings.
06. TUESDAY: Retiro Park and rest of the day off to visit or do whatever I couldn't.

Back HOME on Wednesday.

What do you think about it?

Thank you... Orlando.
OrlandoFato is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 06:45 AM
  #2  
 
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On Sunday Museo del Prado is free which translates into big lines. If possible, use the "back door" entrance that faces the Botanical Gradens. I would consolidate Days 1 and 2 and Days 5 and 6 so that you could free up at least one day to get to travel for a day to either Segovia or Avila.

In Toledo, check if the Office of Tourism still offers the nice (free) Walking Tour; if so, take it. Toledo's streets are literally a maze; they were laid out in such manner by Moors to keep the surface heat in the winter and the coolness in the Summer (brilliant!). Either that or get a good map and good historical notes so you know what you are looking at. Do not miss Plaza (Square) de Zodocover. Once there, go by the Arco de Sangre ("Blood Arch"); most likely no guide will point this out for you, but it is literally one of the most fascinating structures in Toledo. This arch was built during Moorish domination and was once the ONLY open spot on the inner wall that surrounded the city. The name "blood arch" owes its name to the fact that all those on death row/waiting for the gallows were taken to a chapel right above the arch for the last rites/last words. BTW, the gallows were right on Plaza de Zodocover. Toledo is in the short list of most fascinating cities in Spain; enjoy!
Viajero2 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 07:07 AM
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IMO 3 nights in Toledo is too much, I'm sure others will disagree though. Agree with PP's recommendation that you consolidate some things in Madrid and visit Segovia as a day trip. I would also add the Royal Palace in Madrid.
For the Descalzas Reales, be aware that you have to visit as part of a guided visit which only allows a limited number of persons per visit. I arrived 15 mins prior to my desire visit only to be told there was no space, so had to settle for the later one.
cruiseluv is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 07:47 AM
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We spent 1.5 days in Toledo last year and it felt very rushed. I would have loved 2 nights, especially if one is jet-lagged the first day.

In Toledo, make sure you "plot" out the sights you want to see and pay attention to their opening hours -- many close down during lunch/siesta. You don't want to have to back-track across town, to and fro, to see things.

Don't miss the lovely little 10th-century Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz and the 2 Sinagoga: St. Maria Blanca and Transito. Just gorgeous.

For Madrid, search here on Fodor's for Revulgo's excellent Tapas Crawl report. We did a bit of it one night and had a fun time. We also loved the Sorolla Museum in Madrid.
NanBug is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 09:12 AM
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"IMO 3 nights in Toledo is too much,'

I agree. It is really small .

You might add a day to Madrid ; maybe use it for a day trip to Segovia.
danon is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 09:35 AM
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Hey... thanks for your suggestions!

What about this?

MADRID:
01. THURSDAY: Areas around Plaza Mayor, Plaza de Oriente and Sol (after checking in at hotel).
02. FRIDAY: Chueca and Malasana quarters.
03. SATURDAY: Salamanca quarter.
04. SUNDAY: Prado Museum and Retiro Park.
05. MONDAY: Area around Plaza Santa Ana and Reina Sofia Museum.
06. TUESDAY: excursion to Segovia, Avila or Escorial?

* I've just learned that El Greco Museum is closed until further notice due to restoration. I have decided to stay for three nights in Toledo because of jetlag and weather adjustment issues. Knowing that I only have "one day" to visit a place tends to make me rush it and I always end up not enjoying myself (this happened to me in Siena).

* I don't like guided tours (let alone being timed), so the Monastery of Descalzas Reales is out of the itinerary.

* Is the Rastro Market worth visiting? I love food markets, but "antiques" markets are not really my thing. I included it because it's supposed to be a must, but if cutting it out means that I can do an excursion or do more interesting things, I'm all for it.

Thank you!
OrlandoFato is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 10:03 AM
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Rastro is more of a junk and "antiques" market...

If you like food, visit Mercado de San Miguel, minutes from Plaza Mayor .

in the evening:
excellent flamingo at many venues in Madrid.
Cava Baja for taps

Segovia is lovely and easy to reach .
danon is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 10:10 AM
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I spent 3 nights in Toledo last spring for the same reasons you had outlined. I really only had 2 days. I arrived around 7pm after a transatlantic flight from the the West Coast of the U.S. so the first day was just getting my bearing and recovering from jetlag. On the second day I was able to take in more sights. I wasn't at all bored and still didn't see some of the more out of the way sights I had oriignally planned to visit. I don't regret spending these first 3 nights in Toledo.

With 6 nights for Madrid I'd definately visit Segovia for a daytrip. I'd also consider Avila, Siguenza or El Escorial if time permits.
CathyM is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 10:25 AM
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I have been numerous times to Madrid and never made it to El Rastro, so can't comment on that. Regarding markets, I recently learned about a food market in the Salamanca district called Mercado de La Paz. It's from the late 1800's. It's supposed to be a good food market to visit, maybe others can comment about it?
Last year I visited the recently reopened Mercado San Miguel. It's more of a gourmet market, but very nice nonetheless. It's open also at night and you can have very good tapas there.

Sunday may not be the best day to visit El Prado museum due to crowds.
cruiseluv is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 04:30 PM
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Agree with adding the Royal Palace at the expense of El Rastro if necessary...I also took one of the Walking Tours guided by the Madrid Office of Tourism that leaves from their Plaza Mayor office. At 2 Euros I thought it was phenomenal the amount of information they provided on Old Madrid. The guide took the small group out in many hidden gems of Old Madrid. Nothing like a good guide that knows what they are talking about to make a visit so much more worthwhile.....
Viajero2 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2011, 08:14 AM
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Would definitely include the Santa Cruz Museum when visiting Toledo.
bachslunch is offline  
Jan 17th, 2011, 01:03 PM
  #12  
kja
 
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I second NanBug's recommendation to visit the Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz in Toledo.

I don't like guided tours or being timed either, but I was very glad I visited the Monastery of Descalzas Reales.
kja is offline  
Jan 17th, 2011, 02:06 PM
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If you love food markets, Mercado de la Paz in Salamanca is a good, upscale one and not at all overwhelming in size. I bought quite a few food items there to bring home. Note that there are food markets in just about every neighborhood.

While Mercado de San Miguel near Plaza Mayor is lovely, it is very pricey and attracts many tourists. I did not see many locals shopping there but it IS popular for tapas.


http://www.mercadodesanmiguel.es/


If you have time, you might want to attempt Mercado de Maravillas. I did not have the time but will put it on my list for next trip:

http://www.mercadomaravillas.eu/

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...maravillas.cfm




I have a bit of food information in my ongoing trip report so you can take a peek at it if you have time to spare. Note that El Corte Ingles department store, in Sol, is a good place to shop for food that draws a lot of local trade.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 01:27 PM
  #14  
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Thank you, guys, for your tips!

I love markets, so thank you, Eks, for your opinion on that and the Corte Ingles.

Thank you also, everybody, for your opinion on the Royal Palace, the Rastro Market and religious buildings in Toledo.

I think that Segovia can definitely "happen" given your suggestions on "merging" some of my plans for two days into one.

Have a big, thank you hug on my behalf!
OrlandoFato is offline  

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