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Toledo vs. El Escorial vs. Segovia

Old May 1st, 2012, 06:31 PM
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Toledo vs. El Escorial vs. Segovia

Hi,

We will be in Madrid in late summer and unfortunately have limited time and thus are trying to decide between day trips to one of: Toledo, El Escorial/Valley of Fallen, or Segovia. We like history, art, and architecture, and all three seem appealing. Based on some research, it sounds that while all 3 would be worth visiting, Toledo is probably the best choice for us given its historical importance and art, but any thoughts would be much appreciated. Its tough to get a sense for the cities/sites from just reading/pictures.

Also, if we end up doing Toledo, is a day trip sufficient to see the major sites? I realize its far from ideal and we wont have the chance to fully appreciate the city and its charms, but given other travel constraints, we have limited time and don't think we'll be back in Spain for many years (we are traveling from the US)

Thanks!
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Old May 1st, 2012, 06:56 PM
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As you say, all 3 are worth visiting for those with interests in history, art, and architecture. FWIW, I'd put Toledo 1st, followed by Segovia, with El Escorial/Valley of the Fallen as a distant 3rd. (Art and architecture are among my highest priorities when traveling; for me, ambience generally edges out history per se - not an issue with Toledo! The significance of Toledo to the history of Spain, in combination with its art and architecture and aura, made it one of my highest priorities for Spain as a whole.) I was very glad to have 2 full days in Toledo, but from what I read, many people experience its highlights in a day trip from Madrid. Just be sure to think through your priorities and plan a route ahead of time. (Toledo's central core is small, but it is not laid out on a perfect grid, so it is surprisingly easy - if wonderful in its own right - to get lost.)

Hope that helps!
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Old May 1st, 2012, 07:15 PM
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First, you know that only thing open now in Valley of the Fallen is the church? The monument is currently closed.

I have been to all three. Toledo would be the one I would return again as it offers more variety and the number of attractions. It also retains that medieval city feeling better than Segovia.
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Old May 1st, 2012, 07:53 PM
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Segovia is charming with a lovely central plaza, Roman Aquaduct, castle, Late Gothic cathedral, etc. but for Architecture and Art on a world class level, it has to be Toledo, Toledo and Toledo. I've mentioned it so many times on this forum, it has probably become tiresome, but no words can describe the wonder of the interior of the cathedral in Toledo. Walking beneath the transparente makes me stop breathing every time. So, the cathedral alone would make Toledo first choice. Then, there is the collection of the El Greco paintings and the marvelous city of Toledo, itself.
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Old May 2nd, 2012, 02:46 AM
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Can't go wrong with either Toledo or Segovia. I had three nights in each and was very glad but they are both small enough that with a full day you can certainly see most of either of them. My photos might give you a feel for both places - http://www.pbase.com/annforcier/spai...lamanca_toledo
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Old May 2nd, 2012, 03:50 AM
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I certainly would not want to miss El Greco's "The Burial of Count Orgaz" in San Tome Church in Toledo. It is a masterpiece.

I also loved walking around Toledo looking at all the beautiful doors. If you are interested in design or are yourself a creative person, you would find the doors of Toledo to be fascinating. Toledo is such an atmospheric place.

I liked Segovia--known for its roast pig dishes--but the town doesn't have the atmosphere that Toledo has.

El Escorial was a blur to me.

Thin
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Old May 2nd, 2012, 05:41 PM
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Thanks everyone, your responses are all very helpful. Toledo sounds perfect for us. I wish we had more time to also visit Segovia, hopefully sometime in the future
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