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Madrid - tips?

4 of us going to Madrid for a city break. Any useful tips. We are 50's/60's so don't bother with night clubbing tips. Our hotel is near the palace. The sort of info that would help
1. Palace - in most cities usually best to get to these sort of places early as they get crowded later. Is this also true here. Also we don't normally bother with guided tours so presume we do the same. I have seen that we should allow 3 hours, is this about right?
2. Prado museo - similar questions
3. Bernabeu - is this worth a visit?
4. hop on hop off bus. In some cities these give a good overview, in others seem a waste of time. Any views on this for Madrid?
5. Restaurants to be recommended; dinner or light lunch. For dinner would be ideally in walking distance from palace area.
6. Day out. As we have 3 full days plus a couple of bits of days we are thinking of doing a day trip out. I have seen Toledo, Sergovia and El Escorial mentioned but not sure whether reasonable. If so would it better to go on an official tour from the city or a diy trip. If the latter how practicable?
7. any other useful info

Thanks in advance for any useful tips

Comments

  • Go to Lavapies to pick up some weed
  • Shithole my all accounts, shoulda gone Seville mate
  • ...full of angry puff heads by all accounts
  • Don't go out til 11pm as no one else does
  • Great place, great food, enjoy
  • Heard the Calderon is better than the Bernabeu.
  • ...full of angry puff heads by all accounts

    Contradiction in terms there pal.
  • Great city. I did the Bernabeu tour a month ago and it was very boring for me. But each to his own
    Toledo, Segovia and Avila all worth a look. There are always excursions available in the hotes.
  • On the Art scene; Get to the Prado early for the earthly delights of Bosch and take a side step away from Valasquith and try out Goya's dark period...incredible. If your gang are into art go to the Sophia Reina to see the Gernicka (Picasso). I would also recommend the Thysson but that would be an OD if you are not into art. The streets were packed after midnight when I was heading for slumberville.
  • edited May 15
    When are you going to be here? It's getting very hot now so that will influence what you will want to do during the day. The Palace and Prado are great but queues can be long and tough in the heat so might be best to get tickets in advance.

    I wouldn't bother personally with the tour bus or tours generally. It is a very walkable city and pretty compact so with a decent guide book you could get around and see the main sights. Pick up a ten ticket metro bus pass for €12.20 which you can share amongst the group until it runs out if you want to hop on the bus or metro - both are great services, clean and reliable.

    Will think of some restaurant tips but off the top of my head would say a place called La Opera de Madrid which is close to the palace. Lunch is main meal of the day here so go for that then go for tapas on Cava Baja at night or around Plaza Santa Ana.

    Although Real Madrid are horrible, a visit to the Bernabeu is very impressive. If you happen to be here in the football season go to Atletico instead. Much better atmosphere and they move to their new stadium at the start of next season.

    Best day trip for me is Segovia and very easy to get there. Lovely journey via the surrounding sierras to get there as well. Toledo is also lovely and well worth going to but I find it more touristy and crowded than Segovia.

    Last tip - learn a bit of Spanish before you come as not many staff in bars or restaurants speak English (unlike Barcelona, for example).

    Have a great time and let me know if you need anything else!
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  • Thanks for all the sensible tips so far. We fly out on 28th of this month so aren't expecting it to be too hot. I think even the Spanish football season has finished by then.

    As for eating I presume we would still be able to get a main meal in the evening if we wanted to or do not many restaurants cater for this?

    As for day trips to Sergovia or Toledo, how would you get there? Is it best to do a hotel tour, particularly as we don't speak Spanish.
  • colthe3rd said:

    ...full of angry puff heads by all accounts

    Contradiction in terms there pal.
    Alright, half full
  • colthe3rd said:

    ...full of angry puff heads by all accounts

    Contradiction in terms there pal.
    Alright, half full
    Ever the optimist.
  • redman said:

    Thanks for all the sensible tips so far. We fly out on 28th of this month so aren't expecting it to be too hot. I think even the Spanish football season has finished by then.

    As for eating I presume we would still be able to get a main meal in the evening if we wanted to or do not many restaurants cater for this?

    As for day trips to Sergovia or Toledo, how would you get there? Is it best to do a hotel tour, particularly as we don't speak Spanish.

    You can definitely get a meal in the evening but it's much more expensive so you might want to plan your main meal at lunch then share a few plates at dinner. Or you could get a nice meal no problem. Most people eat dinner about ten though, just be warned!

    You can get the high speed train to both Segovia or Toledo but their train stations are a bit out of town so.getting a bus is easier as it drops you off more central. There are dozens of bus stations in Madrid but I know the bus to Segovia goes from Moncloa and there is a ticket machine there. Toledo I think goes from Plaza Eliptica. I have seen tours advertised but I have never taken them so don't know if it's worth it but I have seen one advertised which is a combination of Segovia and Avila in the same day so that might be good, if a little rushed.

    There is usually a 'legends' game at the Bernabeu at the end of the season for €5 and this season it is against Roma. If it's on when you're here it would be well worth going to - Figo, Roberto Carlos, Zidane and Raul amongst others usually turn out for Real.
  • I went to the Palace last summer and the queue was only about 15 minutes so not too bad. Worth seeing, not too expensive. We also did the open top bus tour but that's mainly because my missus (Thai) was more interested in eating and shopping than sightseeing so I figured it'd be a good way to at least see the sights.

    There's some great food and even the restaurants in the touristy areas like the Plaza Mayor aren't horrendously priced.

    As said before, it's a late night city and most people were going out as we were going to bed, though my 11 year old daughter did insist we seek out hot chocolate and churros around midnight on the night we arrived.
  • The one place I have ever been mugged. By two little girls.

    Keep your wits about you - and it can be a lovely place, wasn't my cup of tea though (my company was far from amicable, too)
  • Day out to Toledo worth doing.
  • Love Madrid.

    Trips out are best done by train from Atocha. Segovia is about 100 minutes through the mountains; Toledo a little closer, and El Escorial about an hour. Salamanca and Cordoba are also within a couple of hours if you want to venture further. Toledo is a lovely walled city but you have to walk up the hill from the station (20 minutes), though there is a bus. Segovia has the aquaduct, and is nice. El Escorial is where you should go if you are into Spanish royalty, as that's where they are all buried (you should pair it with a trip to Franco's tomb close by at Valle de los Caídos). Also Aranjuez has a summer palace which is a good visit.

    Our favourite restaurant is El Botin just off Plaza Mayor; Hemingway's favourite restaurant too apparently, and great for suckling pig, garlic soup, and rustic food. We also really liked Posada de la Villa (on Calle Cava Baja). Plenty of good restaurants around but unless they are touristy, don't expect to see them open before 9pm, and certainly not busy until 11pm.

    Some nice bars on Calle Echegarry, and around Plaza Santa Ana.

    You can walk around Madrid without too many issues (usual pick pocket warnings aside), and there are plenty of bars and places to get tapas (light lunch option) - you can actually do tapas bar crawls and not have to worry about dinner if you want, the food is so plentiful! The metro system is also quite good, and on a par with London.

    The Parque des Attractiones (theme park) is great and opens at midday normally; if you get there early you get no queues for the rides. The ski lift thing at Casa de Campo is OK. Faunia - a Polar & jungle ecosystems in zoo with hundreds of animal species kept in their natural habitats - is another unexpected and unusual fun experience if you like animals.

    Have fun!
  • Ages since I've been there, but there were loads of good bars with tapas around Lope de Vega and Las huertas off the Paseo de Prado. While I could still eat prawns I remember one old bar that had sizzling prawns with garlic and sold vermouth on tap in that area.

    Really like Madrid, but the locals really are on a different time zone. Prado is a must, even if you're not massively into art. So many fantastic paintings.

    A trip out to the Sierra is also easily doable and there's some lovely walks. You might find it hotter than you imagine even in May.

    Just thinking about it makes me want to go back there.
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  • edited May 16
    Try to get to the Temple de Debod, just behind Plaza de España, for the sunset. It is a reconstructed Ancient Egyptian temple and is a stunning backdrop for when the sun goes down over the mountains.
  • Really enjoyed going around the palace when on a weekend trip to watch Real Madrid play , I think it only cost about 10 euros to have an English speaking tour guide, well worth it , 2500 rooms apparently!
  • Have a walk around roteiro park. Lovely place.
  • edited May 17
    10% standard, 15% if exceptional service... same as here really.
  • edited May 17

    10% standard, 15% if exceptional service... same as here really.

    People don't tip here, only ever round up the change. 10% would be well appreciated but completely unheard of and kept by the owner anyway!
  • redman said:

    4 of us going to Madrid for a city break. Any useful tips. We are 50's/60's so don't bother with night clubbing tips. Our hotel is near the palace. The sort of info that would help
    1. Palace - in most cities usually best to get to these sort of places early as they get crowded later. Is this also true here. Also we don't normally bother with guided tours so presume we do the same. I have seen that we should allow 3 hours, is this about right?
    2. Prado museo - similar questions
    3. Bernabeu - is this worth a visit?
    4. hop on hop off bus. In some cities these give a good overview, in others seem a waste of time. Any views on this for Madrid?
    5. Restaurants to be recommended; dinner or light lunch. For dinner would be ideally in walking distance from palace area.
    6. Day out. As we have 3 full days plus a couple of bits of days we are thinking of doing a day trip out. I have seen Toledo, Sergovia and El Escorial mentioned but not sure whether reasonable. If so would it better to go on an official tour from the city or a diy trip. If the latter how practicable?
    7. any other useful info

    Thanks in advance for any useful tips

    Go to an area called Malasana, it has a very relaxed bohemian feeling and out of the tourist trap.

    San Bernardo and Noviciado will take you there.
  • The Prado is boring AF.
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