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Itinerary

South Pacific
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Itinerary

We are a party of 6 with 2 seniors (75 and 80 who can walk, but not strenuous walking), 2 adults, and 2 kids (5 and 10). This trip is in August. We are flying into Madrid at night, taking the train to Barcelona the next morning, and then back to Madrid. We are staying in a condo near the heart of the city center. We are trying not to pack too much in a day given that we have elderly and young in our party and know that it will be hot.

This is the proposed itinerary for when we return to Madrid via Barcelona. We arrive around 4 p.m. on Friday and leave very early

Friday

- evening: Reina Sofia or Prado Museum (free hours), stroll around Puerta del Sol

Saturday

- morning/afternoon: Palacio Real de Madrid, Sabatini Garden, Basilica of San Francisco el Grande

- evening: Reina Sofia or Prado Museum, stroll around Puerta del Sol (this is dependent on what we see the day before

Sunday

- morning: Plaza Mayor, Rastro Swap Meet

- afternoon: Retiro Park

- evening: flamenco show (Any recommendations on a flamenco show? Preferably one that is not too long given the ages of our children.)

Optional: Parque Europa (Any thoughts on Parque Europa? If so, when should we go? What would be the best way for a party of 6 to get there? This is the first time our kids have been to Europe and they do like looking at models of famous place at Legoland.)

Thanks so much for your input and suggestions!

Malaga, Spain
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1. Re: Itinerary

I do not recommend the free Prado Museum entrance. The queue goes around the block. Better to pay the entrance fee. The Prado is having a special exhibition of the Hispanic Society and this is a blockbuster exhibition, so it is better to buy the tickets ahead of time. The last day for this exhibition is Oct. 9.

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2. Re: Itinerary

Hi Umaga, in addition to what BennyMalaga says, I would give you a further recommendation: Since you'll be travelling in August, it's a good idea to do a good deal of indoor activities. During that month, particularly in the central hours of the day, temperatures in Madrid can reach 39 or 40 ºC (102-104 ºF). The atmosphere can get a bit stifling, and it's not a good idea that elders and children spend a lot of time outdoors.

Madrid, Spain
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3. Re: Itinerary

I agree with what Benny and Jose have said and the August heat is something to be aware of. The city is generally quieter in August as most locals head off on holiday for most of the month. Many of the smaller shops, bars and restaurants also close at this time, although there enough remain open to service the needs of those in the city during August.

You mention looking around Puerta del Sol twice. I fear that you could be a little disappointed! There really is not too much to see there. It has to be the most overrated place here. Also, IMO it is becoming increasing tacky with fast food/all you can eat type places and street sellers selling fakes. Far better to allocate your time to something else. On the Sunday, I suggest you visit the Rastro first as it is only open in the morning and can get very crowded, although in August not as much. Leave Plaza Mayor until after the Rastro. Near to the Plaza Mayor is Mercado San Miguel, where you can enjoy some tapas and sample some Spanish wines and sherry.

I also suggest the hop on hop off bus tour as you are travelling with a couple who have limited mobility. It is a nice way to see the city and you can get on and off wherever you wish, as many times as you wish. Retiro park is a nice place to visit where you can take boats out onto the lake, see the crystal palace and ornamental lake. There are many cafes in the park, but it is also a good place for a picnic in summer.

Charlottesville...
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4. Re: Itinerary

I'll add that it's a dry heat so depending where you'r coming from the south pacific you could be better suited to these temperatures since you're used to higher humidity than many other folks. Plan for it to be in the 37-40 (95-105) range for temps, but to be dry heat (this makes a difference for sure) during your time in Madrid. In the shade it will be cooler. And know that stopping for a cool drink at a terrace is also an enjoyable part of Spanish culture.

That said, I agree about the statements about Sol. There's not too much to see there and it's pretty boring unless you want to hop on the Metro. I disagree about the free hours. The lines are long but move quickly and we used to go all the time during free hours. Know that they will begin sweeping you out at 19:45 because they close at 20:00, but with young kids that's usually enough time.

El Rastro can be very overwhelming and crowded. Plan to have an escape plan if it gets too much. Make time for chocolate and churros (my son prefers porras which are thicker and chewier than churros). Hit up either Valor or Chocolateria San Gines for this. My favorite "fast food" in Madrid is found just off Plaza Mayor at Bar la Campana or Casa Rua and is a bocadillo de calamares (calamari sandwich). If the kids get hungry this is a fun thing to have. Otherwise do not eat on the Plaza because the food is bad and expensive. For flamenco, there is a place called Casapatas that is good. Another is Las Tablas. There use to be a place in La Latina called ArteBar where they had Flamenco Intimo but I don't know if they still do. They are on the earlier side. You'd have to check to see if they still do this show though.

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5. Re: Itinerary

Sol is ok but it's not a destination unto itself.

The biggest reason to its fame is that it's smack in the centre of the old city at least therefore you are bound to cross it more times then you can remember.

Sol is however a very historical landmark not just in Madrid but in the whole of Spain.

China
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6. Re: Itinerary

Hi,

I also visit Bulgaria in mid August. Does anybody know how to get from Veliko Tarnovo to Rose Valley/ Kazanlak? Any regular bus? After that, I will go to Sofia, I assume there will be regular buses or train. How about trains from Sofia to Belgrade? Many thanks.

surrey, england
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7. Re: Itinerary

Panda_china,

For info on bulgaria, i suggest you go to the bulgaria forum.

China
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8. Re: Itinerary

Sorry for the wrong posting, I did not notice it is about Madrid when the previous item is about Bulgaaria from the forum list.

South Pacific
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9. Re: Itinerary

Thanks so much everybody!!

10. Re: Itinerary

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