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5 days alone in Madrid. Is it a good place to go?

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5 days alone in Madrid. Is it a good place to go?

I will be visiting family in the UK and plan to take 5 days to visit somewere in Europe. Is Madrid an ideal destination to go alone or are there better places to go? I would like a friendly environment where it is possible to meet some acquaintances. I would also like a chance to relax and soak in the culture. Any advice woudl be greatly appreciated.

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1. Re: 5 days alone in Madrid. Is it a good place to go?

I suppose you could say I am totally biased but I think Madrid is a great place to go. People are friendly there are also lots of travellers you would meet as well. Its a fun city to visit!

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2. Re: 5 days alone in Madrid. Is it a good place to go?

Yep, absolutely! Madrid is a great place to visit. I´m biased like limoncilla, hehe. Nice thing about Madrid is that I don´t think it has been overrun by tourists as much as say Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam, etc.

The 3 major art museums alone could take up a lot of your time here, if that´s you´re thing.

People-wise, yep, you can find a lot of good clubs and places to go. If you speak Spanish, then all the better, otherwise that may limit your choices of clubs and nightspots. But there´s lots of places here that English-speakers are welcome, especially for intercambio (language exchange).

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3. Re: 5 days alone in Madrid. Is it a good place to go?

Yea, good idea Dobry, you can go to an intercambio night to meet Spanish and internationals. There is one on Wednesday night at Cafe Madrid (near Metro Opera) that lots of people go to and its free (well, the beers arent) :) Peope are really open and its fun to practice your Spanish too!

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4. Re: 5 days alone in Madrid. Is it a good place to go?

So what I am hearing here is that Madrid woud be a better choice than Barcelona for the single traveller? I've heard wonderful things about both cities so would love to hear some comparisons.

At first, I had thought of going to Ibiza but it seemed like a very expensive option and does not seem to offer the same cultural benefits.

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5. Re: 5 days alone in Madrid. Is it a good place to go?

Madrid is a good place - you can also get anywhere in the country from Madrid if you decide to do day trips or an overnight. I recommend taking the AVE to Sevilla for an overnight if you want to see another great city (personally I think Sevilla is the best in Spain!). 3 days in Madrid and 2 in Sevilla would be nice. If you don't want to do an overnight then I recommend day trips to Segovia or Toledo from Madrid. Ibiza is expensive.

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6. Re: 5 days alone in Madrid. Is it a good place to go?

Hi Britonmancer,

Like Dobry and Limoncilla, I am biased, but I think it's a great place for a independent traveller. One huge advantage is my opinion is that getting around can be mostly done on foot. Between the Arti Triangle, three museums in the same vicinity, mentioned above, and the Palacio Real lies the historic center. You can easily walk all of this area. You can quickly get the lay of the land and a feel for the city. Barcelona is much more sprawled out.

The intercambio idea of Limoncilla is a great one.

Of course, side trips are always a possibility, but I think a relaxing and/or energetic five days in Madrid in itself is a wonderful holiday. You can meet people (intercambio & tapas scene) and/or people watch from the sidewalk cafes.

IMadrid is a great city. Not the knock-out immediately, but after you take the time to know her, she is really most attractive than she appears at first sight.

.

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FBV
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7. Re: 5 days alone in Madrid. Is it a good place to go?

Hi, Britromancer. As you said that you wanted to read some comparisons between Madrid and Barcelona, here is one:

MADRID has great museums, some of them considered as some of the best museums in the world (El Prado, Reina Sofía, Thyssen-Bornemisza). It also has wonderful architecture, contrasting the old-medieval part of the city, with narrow streets and small squares, with the modern areas (XIX and XX centuries), that have big avenues and quite impressive buildings.

Some important monuments, appart from museums, are the Royal Palace and the Templo de Debod, an old egyptian temple of about 2000 years old.

If you want to relax, you have very extensive and cared parks, specially El Reitro and Parque del Oeste.

One of the best things of Madrid is its nightlife (during holidays, you can find traffic jams at 3:00 am!). There are many lively districts, such as Huertas (very touristic, here you can met a lot of people from different countries), Malasaña, Juan Bravo...

It has also a very good and cheap transportation system. Normally, it's a very safe city, altough you have to pay attention to pickpokets in central areas, transports and crowds (like everywhere).

Another advantage is that is in the very centre of Spain, so you can easily go to everywhere. There are some VERY interesting towns and monuments closer than 100 km. (60 miles) to the city, that you can visit in a day trip. The best ones are:

- Toledo, an old medieval city on a hillock, surrounded by the Tajo river. It has very old stone-made houses, a medieval wall, lots of churches, a cathedral...

- Segovia, a very beautiful medieval town north of Madrid. Its main landmark is a Roman aqueduct 2,000 years old. It has also an impressive medieval castle (Alcázar) and a nice cathedral.

- Royal Palace of San Lorenzo del Escorial. A massive building of more than 2000 rooms, built by the king Felipe II when Spain was a big empire. Close to it is the Valle de Los Caídos, a huge burial ground of Franco.

The main con of Madrid is its lack of coast. However, there are many good public swimming pools, spas and an artificial lake at Retiro park.

BARCELONA has the advantage of the sea. It's in the Mediterranean, and you can have a bath after a tiring day. The other great attraction are the building of Gaudí, especially the Sagrada Familia.

If you are looking for a lively district, go to the Ramblas. The gotic quarter, next to it, has lots of bars and the old cathedral.

On the other side, it has not as good museums as Madrid and the transportation system is much worse.

In both cities it's interesting to know some Spanish as we, the Spaniards, don't usually speak very good English. In Barcelona, they speak also a local language, catalan. However, generally speaking, people will do efforts to understand you in English.

Good luck!

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8. Re: 5 days alone in Madrid. Is it a good place to go?

FBV,

Excellent comparison. Keep on posting and making us wiser.

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9. Re: 5 days alone in Madrid. Is it a good place to go?

FBV,

Excellent post!

Houston, Texas
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10. Re: 5 days alone in Madrid. Is it a good place to go?

Thanks. These are great posts. The intercambio is of great interest and I would love to know more about it. I did'nt know they actually had an intercambio night where anyone can attend.

I may just stay 3 or 4 nights as a trip to a European city is an expensive proposition when coming from the US. I know this has been asked alot of times on this site, but what are your favorite places to stay? It seems that you need to be prepared to spend about 120 Euros for a reasonable place.