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Visiting Madrid in Late April

by rcpilot Online Now Feb 27, 2012 at 3:19 PM

My wife and I (both in out mid 60's and from the USA) have booked a flight to Madrid in late April for a one week stay. We have also booked a hotel in the center of Madrid, on the Puerta del Sol. We are hoping to enjoy Madrid and also take a few day trips to other towns of interest such as Toledo. We are trying to prepare for our visit so as to get as much out of it as possible. We have already decided to take a taxi from the airport to our hotel. We can't figure out whether or not a City Tourist Card would be useful to purchase. These cards seem to be by zone, but I am not sure which is the best zone to cover, if we decide to purchase one. Do they cover the metro tickets also or not? Any suggestions/recommendations for our Madrid visit would be greatly appreciated, especially places to visit, restaurants to eat in, and any other useful information. We are really excited about going tapas bars but somewhat scared of not knowing what to ask for!

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15 Answers
  • Roadquill's Profile Photo

    Re: Visiting Madrid in Late April

    by Roadquill Online Now Feb 27, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    The Madrid Card seems a little costly for essentially is free admission to museums. For a week, you won't be going to that many museums, unless you do the one day pass and see the Big 3, Prado, Thyssen, Reina Sophia.. By doing all 3 in one day you are really shortchanging at least one. For the most part you will be using the metro to get around and it is very inexpensive and even then you will spend most of your time between Parc Ritiro on the East, Atocha Station on the South, Gran Via on the North and the Palace on the West. As to tapas bars, there will be a bunch of tapas lined up on a bar and you pick the ones that look good. Day trips to consider in addition to Toledo would be El Escorial, Segovia and Arunjuez. Karl

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  • Re: Visiting Madrid in Late April

    by rcpilot Online Now Feb 27, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Karl, Thank you very much for your quick and informative reply. What you say about the Tourist Card makes a lot of sense. We will definitely look into the other day trips you have mentioned. Thanks again. Jamshid

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  • TooTallFinn24's Profile Photo

    Re: Visiting Madrid in Late April

    by TooTallFinn24 Online Now Feb 27, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    I am going to Madrid and all over Spain beginning the third week of April. I looked into the Tourist Card but found that it didn't provide any real savings benefit. Most of the hotels in the central part of town are well served by the metro from what I have learned. You may want to contact your hotel and find out how far it is from the nearest metro station.

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  • risse73's Profile Photo

    Re: Visiting Madrid in Late April

    by risse73 Online Now Feb 27, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    If you booked a hotel in the city center by Puerta del Sol, then you have access to the Metro, so you don't really need the taxi from the airport to your hotel unless you decided to do so for whatever reason. You may want to forgo those tourist cards that pad up the benefits for a much higher fee. Just do what you can each day and try not to rush too much in seeing all there is to see in Madrid because there truly are lots to see. For a one week stay, I think you may want to squeeze in Reina Sofia and Prado museums, and check out other historical sites of interest on your own. Also, check out the San Miguel market where food offerings are abundant, but less so compared to the La Boqueria in Barcelona. There are various food stalls at said market where you can have a taste of various croqetas, cheese, wine, tapas, desserts, etc. For your Metro ride, just get the combined metro zone fare card with airport supplement (this depends on how many metro journeys you plan on taking) and call it a day. BTW, I loved Segovia and Avila for day trips outside of Madrid. Have to go to Toledo and El Escorial next time I'm there.

    Good Luck & Enjoy Historical Madrid!

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  • Redang's Profile Photo

    Re: Visiting Madrid in Late April

    by Redang Online Now Feb 27, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    - For the hotel, I also recommend to take the metro (www.metromadrid.es, with English version too). From/to the airport, apart from the "normal" ticket, you have to pay an extra Euro per person. If you plan to take metro or/and bus quite often (to be honest, not too necessary; you can buy a 10 trip ticket valid for metro and bus. Single ticket is 1,50 Euros; 10 rip ticket, 9,30 Euros.
    www.metromadrid.es/en/viaja_en_metro/index.html

    - Prado Museum is free from 6 pm

    - Places to visit: Museums (Prado, Thyssen, Reina Sofía, CaixaForum, this one, with excellent temporary exhibitons for free, all three, at a stone's throw from each other. Plus, Royal palace, Cathedral, Plaza de España with the Monument dedicated to Don Quijote, Retiro Park, Plaza Mayor and area as well as Puerta del Sol, Gran Vía (one of the most popular streets in Madrid, Plaza de Cibeles. Everything is quite close to each other, so, if you like walking, have a go!

    For museums and other places, take into account that maybe you get discount for people 60+ (check the sites).

    - Tapas: "Ir de tapeo, ir de tapas, tapear..." - Madrid Local Custom Tip by Redang

    - Restaurants: Excellent restaurants (but not cheap): Along Cava Baja street and some othe ones (you can check my page on Madrid)

    - Day trips: Toledo, Segovia, Aranjuez, San Lorenzo de El Escorial and Avila (a bit further but with breathtaking walls)

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: Visiting Madrid in Late April

    by leics Online Now Feb 27, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    European city cards are only worthwhile if you intend to take full advantage of their free and discounted entrances. I have never found one which benefits my personal tastes.

    Having just returned from Madrid I suggest you follow Redang's advice about transport from/to the airport. I'd also point out that central Madrid is very walkable and walking is by far the best way to see anywhere. I only used the Metro once, and the bus not at all (other than from/to the airport). You will see from my Madrid pages just how much ground I was able to cover.

    The Prado is free to enter from 6-8pm every day (except Sundays which is 5-7pm). Make sure you get there early though, if you want the full 2 hours. Queues a couple of weeks ago were quite long, but moved very swiftly once 6pm arrived and I was inside by 6.10.

    Don't worry about eating. I found Madrilenos to be very friendly and helpful, many with at least a little English. Take a good dictionary/phrasebook with you and you will be able to work out anything which does not have an English translation (written or oral).

    Madrid is a lovely city and getting to e.g. Toledo is very simple. Enjoy!

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  • Redang's Profile Photo

    Re: Visiting Madrid in Late April

    by Redang Online Now Feb 27, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    I forgot to say, that for trains (www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html), you can find good discounts following checking this link: www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/tarifas/index.html

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  • Redang's Profile Photo

    Re: Visiting Madrid in Late April

    by Redang Online Now Feb 27, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    Some links:

    - Museo del Prado: www.museodelprado.es/en/
    - Museo Thyssen: www.museothyssen.org/en/thyssen/home
    - Museo Reina Sofía: www.museoreinasofia.es/index_en.html
    - CaixaForum: obrasocial.lacaixa.es/laCaix...
    - Palacio Real: www.patrimonionacional.es/Home/Palacios-Reales/Palacio-Real-de-Madrid.aspx

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: Visiting Madrid in Late April

    by gwened Online Now Feb 28, 2012 at 1:16 AM

    you have good advice for my nostalgic city that once lived. Your location will be very central, so moving around walking is prefered you see more of the city, and if need to the metro is very extensive and inexpensive. Toledo is very nice as the other towns mentioned, even La Granja de San Idelfonso near Segovia the Spanish mini Versailles done by the grandson of louis XIV, Felipe IV who was born in Versailles. Lovely castle.

    The city card is offered in many cities but in my experience and reading of others its only good if you spend quite a bit of time in museums ,zone A is inner Madrid. here is the info in English http://www.madridcard.com/en/inicio

    For restos, places to visit, the first look is here at Destinations above right type in Madrid and have hundreds of tips by posters like us. Otherwise the Madrid tourist site can tell you, as there are so many for so many tastes.
    http://www.esmadrid.com/en/portal.do

    Enjoy Madrid, or the saying goes, From Madrid to heavens and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day.
    Cheers

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  • Redang's Profile Photo

    Re: Visiting Madrid in Late April

    by Redang Online Now Feb 28, 2012 at 1:39 AM

    And, on Sunday morning, El Rastro (Flea Market): "El Rastro (Flea Market)" - Madrid Shopping Tip by Redang

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  • Re: Visiting Madrid in Late April

    by alfred_the_great Online Now Feb 28, 2012 at 2:30 AM

    I love the artistry of Sorolla.
    Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida
    If you do not feel overloaded by the BIG 3 then while away some precious moments in his former gardens and admire his work. Walk on the sunlit beach with Sorolla.

    http://museosorolla.mcu.es/

    If you need to taste Flamenco get advice on which place is best. The one that many people are 'steered' towards is called El Corral de la Moreria and it has been going for years. This is a place where you can go eat then watch the show. I went to watch the show - stood at the bar - and it was well staged and professional. But depends on your taste for Flamenco. Some of the best artists come to Madrid to further there careers.
    corraldelamoreria.com/en/ind...

    If you had some nice weather and wanted a day to see Aranjuez and its Royal palaces then you can take the C-3 from Sol to Aranjuez in about 45 minutes. I think, and am not sure, that a special train starts end April called the Strawberry train. This is like a day trip out to Aranjuez using an old steam train. Maybe someone knows more ?
    renfe.com/viajeros/cercanias...

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  • hawkhead's Profile Photo

    Re: Visiting Madrid in Late April

    by hawkhead Online Now Feb 28, 2012 at 4:58 AM

    Re the discount for 60 and over. Check this when you go to a site, as it is usually for EU passport holders only - and btw, it is over 65. Despite the fact that we in the UK receive our pension at age 60, unless one has what amounts to a notorised and stamped and what have you piece of paper, along with all the bells and whistles, 65 is the age. That was our experience at the Prado - and very snippy about it they were too!! I was 'lucky' enough to be able to speak to the director of the museum about this, pointing out that it was not fair on UK citizens - he was sympathetic and it may well be that something has been done. I doubt it though!!

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  • Aitana's Profile Photo

    Re: Visiting Madrid in Late April

    by Aitana Online Now Feb 28, 2012 at 5:43 AM

    I also recommend the Sorolla museum. Sorolla was a fantastic painter who treated the light like no other artist. The big 3 are a must, but Sorolla museum is also worth the visit.

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  • hawkhead's Profile Photo

    Re: Visiting Madrid in Late April

    by hawkhead Online Now Feb 28, 2012 at 6:06 AM

    Just a gentle pointer, Jayhawk - no advertising, or promotion is allowed on VT, so perhaps in the future you could not put your website on the end of your replies to postings.

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: Visiting Madrid in Late April

    by leics Online Now Mar 11, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    The poster will find considerably more information, ad considerably more useful information, about Madrid bars, restaurants etc right here on VT.

    *All* Vt pages and tips are written by Vt locals and visitors, not by travel writers.

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