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#91049 - 06/05/12 10:27 AM Visiting Madrid for the first time in a few weeks.
Ruby Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/01/12
Posts: 2
This is my first post. I looked around the forum and wanted to get the very latest info, and hopefully you all can help!

We are going to Madrid in a few weeks, (I'm tagging along on a business trip) and haven't had a lot of time to research or prepare! Neither of us speaks Spanish, but we would really like to enjoy all of the fantastic things in Madrid!

We are both foodies- though not wine drinkers (he gets migraines from red wine, I generally prefer an interesting beer) and I am interested in the art museums! A bullfight is a possibility, though I am not sure of our reaction to it.

I would definitely appreciate a recommend for a Tapas tour with an English speaking guide. We love exploring our hometown for all kinds of the BEST food- from street food to fine dining- so that is probably the most important question.

Transportation, hotel, etc. is already arranged.

Suggestions for do-able day trips are also a possibility, and general cautions and advice are greatly appreciated too.

Thank you so much for your time!!! So excited to visit!

#91051 - 06/05/12 12:35 PM Re: Visiting Madrid for the first time in a few weeks. [Re: Ruby]
Bill from NYC Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 10/04/04
Posts: 657
Loc: New York City
Do not worry about research. You cannot do it all for a city like Madrid that has plenty to offer, you will be unprepared will all the research.

For Daytrips I think Segovia is a must, but since you have not said how long you are visited Madrid there are others but for me Segovia is the daytrip I will do again when visiting Spain.

For tapas tour I can recommend Walks in Spain Tapas Tour which I done on my third visit to Madrid.

I thought was great tour for myself and enjoy myself the night of the tour. I did it because I could not recommend any tapas tours for Madrid as I already had some places I go to for tapas when I in Madrid.

Andres’s tour took us to various local bars, where we were the only tourists to be seen. During the tour we tasted different wines, sherries, meats, fish and cheeses. I even got a small history lesson on Madrid too and found out that I enjoyed sherry which I have not try in Madrid. Probably because I was ordering Rioja and Vermouth. But sherry? I never would have thought of ordering sherry until the tour.

I think a first time visitor to Madrid, Andres tour is a must as it a first time visitor an intro of the tapas scene in Madrid. From talking to the others on the tour, there was like 12 other people, mostly from the U.S., I knew most would not have try the food/drink we had on the tour on their own.
For me those are the best tours to open you mind or taste buds like this tapas tour, to try new things and learn things about yourself too.

Since you are foodies, visit the market in Spain on an empty stomach, El Mercado de San Miguel. It is close by Plaza Mayor. Here you can try different wines and foods and it was the wow factor. As soon as you walk in the first time you say “Wow!” and “Where do we start?”
William Bert Photography

#91052 - 06/05/12 01:41 PM Re: Visiting Madrid for the first time in a few weeks. [Re: Bill from NYC]
Rodolfo Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 05/19/05
Posts: 220
Loc: Stockton,Ca.
Welcome Ruby

First off, try to learn the most basic Spanish words and phrases. It will make your visit more enjoyable. Learn: yes/no, please, thank you, how much does this cost, do you speak English. The effort will be greatly appreciated.

Day trips: Segovia and Toledo are safe bets. Both are only 30 minutes by train. You don't say how long your visit will be but I would recommend buying your train tickets the day before you plan to travel. The easiest place (for me) to purchase is at the El Corte Ingles store in Puerta del Sol (they have a travel agency) or just go to the train station. Note that if you go to Segovia, you'll depart from the Chamartin station. Toledo bound trains leave from the Atocha Renfe station.

For Tapas, go with Bill's suggestion of the Walks in Spain Tour and definitely do not miss El Mercado de San Miguel. Some of my favorites there are the oysters, tuna, and pastries.

Things to be cautious about: Keep your valuables in your front pockets, don't leave your bags/belonging on the floor or draped over your chair at restaurants, and don't sign anything. There is a scam in town where someone asks you to sign a petition then they want a large donation. Just keep walking and say "no gracias". Madrid is a safe city. Violent crimes are very few and far between.

My best advice as to how to enjoy your stay is to just walk around and discover what the next block has to offer. It's a magnificent city. Also, take the metro at least once while you're there. Very efficient and economical way to get from one side of town to the other. Be cautious of pick-pocks though.

#91053 - 06/05/12 02:45 PM Re: Visiting Madrid for the first time in a few weeks. [Re: Rodolfo]
Crisco Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/30/09
Posts: 78
Stop by the tourist office in the Plaza Mayor to pick up maps,info on what's happening in Madrid and check out the excellent walking tours they offer throughout the day at a very reasonable price.They also have a handout on the times of the bus/train trips out of Madrid

#91056 - 06/05/12 03:35 PM Re: Visiting Madrid for the first time in a few weeks. [Re: Crisco]
teachertraveler8 Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 11/20/09
Posts: 373
Loc: Detroit, Michigan
If you are uncertain about bullfighting, but possibly interested, you can take a marvelous tour of the bullring. The tour is conducted in English and Spanish. You get to explore the building and hear about the art of bullfighting without seeing any bulls die in the ring. Unless things have changed, this is a morning only activity. When I showed up a couple years ago in the afternoon, the tours were done for the day.

Enjoy Madrid!

#91060 - 06/05/12 04:34 PM Re: Visiting Madrid for the first time in a few weeks. [Re: teachertraveler8]
Crisco Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/30/09
Posts: 78
The tours are not given on the days of scheduled bullfights

#91065 - 06/05/12 09:48 PM Re: Visiting Madrid for the first time in a few weeks. [Re: Crisco]
Ruby Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/01/12
Posts: 2
Thank you all for the suggestions! And any more you all have to offer!

#91084 - 06/08/12 09:49 AM Re: Visiting Madrid for the first time in a few weeks. [Re: Ruby]
pedmar Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 1445
Loc: Morbihan, France
well welcome to MM site, if you come to Spain this is the site to read. Spain is everything under the Sun.

You have so much in Madrid and as the center of Spain wonderful possibilities to see plenty. You have been told of Segovia, my favorite, but also nearby La Granja de San IDelfonso, a mini versailles. then Aranjuez a princely city. It is best to walk Madrid from puerta de alcala to puerta del hierro there a whole country of tapas, no need for a tour, let the locals bring you in, very friendly people we are.

For the best patatas bravas (need to say it) go to Docamar, metro line 5 Quintana my old neighborhood and there since 1963. Same line takes you to Ventas and the Monumental arena of Madrid for bullfights,and a taurino bullfight museum in the back. Museum you have plenty and the wonderful Prado, is tops.

You will see why Madrid is heavens and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday.

#91087 - 06/08/12 05:07 PM Re: Visiting Madrid for the first time in a few weeks. [Re: pedmar]
laduque Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 10/02/00
Posts: 596
Loc: San Diego, CA, USA
May I make a recommendation for a tapas tour you can do by yourself. Take Cava Baja right out of Plaza Mayor and end up at the Plaza San Andres. YOu will not be disappointed by any of the places you pop into on that street. A personal favorite and you don't need a tour guide.
Learn a few Spanish words for the food and drinks and you will be fine@!

Have Fun!!!!


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