MADRID

Hello All. I have the good fortune to be accompanying my husband when he goes to Madrid for business in late May. Planning is in the early stages as yet, but I will have 3 or 4 weekdays to explore on my own. The hotel has not been mentioned yet, but I believe it is near the airport. So, although I am well-traveled, I almost always am with Mr.B. On my own, I am a slightly nervous and directionally challenged single. Can anyone suggest places I will be more comfortable seeing myself? Mr. B. will have only about one day with me. Museums and architecture are high on my list. I have taken a quick look at some Viotour options. Do you think they will want to come out to near the airport to collect me? I have never used Viotour before. I know I can call the hotel concierge when I find out where we are staying. Any help appreciated. Thank you

Comments

  • I feel sure you'll plan to visit most, if not all, of the places you'd have visited had you been with Tauck, so I won't go into suggesting those. However, we were with GCT when we were there, so we did visit a few places Tauck doesn't mention in their description. We were on our own prior to the start of our tour when we visited the royal palace. It has a cafeteria, so we lunched there after the tour. It was reasonable and good, but certainly not gourmet. Afterwards, we visited the royal armory, which while still in the palace, is in a completely different area. Be sure to do that. It was fascinating, and something I haven't seen before, despite the fact that we've visited several other royal palaces during our travels. We also toured El Escorial. It probably would be included in one of the Viatour options, and I would highly recommend it. On the way back from it to Madrid we visited the Valley of the Fallen, Franco's memorial to the war dead from the Spanish Civil War. Franco is buried in the crypt there. Back in Madrid, be sure to visit a coffee shop for chocolate churros, sinfully rich batter sticks dipped in hot chocolate. One day you might make a Viatour visit, or with another similar company, to Toledo. In addition to the cathedral, you'll probably be able to visit the Iglesia de Santo Tome to see El Greco's masterpiece "The Burial of Count Orgaz."

    Above all, please be aware that while you probably won't be physically harmed in Madrid, you must be extremely careful not to be the victim of a pickpocket. That is a very, very common crime in both Madrid, as well as in Lisbon. Our guide reminded us continually about that. Even so, on a trolley in Lisbon, one of our fellow tour members had his wallet and passport stolen. Leave valuables in your hotel safe!! A book I might suggest is the DK Top 10 Madrid guidebook. It's small, so it doesn't weigh much or take up a lot of room. It will give you lots of information about things to see and do in Madrid, as well as restaurant suggestions.
  • Thank you very much for taking the time to respond with such a detailed reply!
  • Hello!
    I've just visited Madrid and I would like to share my experience with you. The city is incredible, there are so many things to see and do. I have to visit it again. This city has everything, and it is not so expensive for a European capital.
    First day I got here I was walking around the center, and I spend the most of my day just chilling around. I also went to incredible Retiro park, and this is definitively must see in Madrid. It is enormous and very nice place to spend a day on the sun.
    The next day I was walking around the center again and I walked into a group of guides who were preparing to do a free walking tour, so I decided to join. I spend a very nice half of the day with very nice people, who discovered me the most beautiful sites of Madrid.
    In the evening I went to La Latina neighbourhood to have a dinner, and there I got amazing traditional tapas.
    The guides gave me a lot of very useful tips, so I found out that I can visit Prado and Reina Sofia museums for free the last two hours, so I did it.

    I really enjoyed Madrid, the food and art and very nice people.

    In case you go there, I recommend you to do the walking tour to get to know the city better. I did the tour with Madride travel company, I will leave you the web site, it may be helpful http://madride.net/free-tour-madrid/.

    Best regards!
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