Overrated - overpriced - overtouristy....but REQUIRED.
Unique Suggestions: It seems like I always feel this way...I try to blend in and enjoy a more local flare to my journeys - but like St. Mark's in Venice, you must experience this once in your life. After walking for hours, we sauntered up to one of the many outdoor tables (disregarding several hawkers yelling at us to sit in their partitioned sections) and sat down to enjoy a warm afternoon with costly wine and 4 tapas plates for 90€.
When I was kid my father would bring my sister and I dolls from all over the world. (He was with the Merchant Marines.) We loved collecting and displaying them. My mother probably hated dusting them all! I've no idea what's become of all those dolls now. Too many moves on my part, my parents as well, plus a divorce thrown in somewhere along the line.
At any rate, it's nice to reminisce. Did I buy one? Oh hell no; I don't wanna dust 'em!
Sunday got its on rhythm in Madrid, and therefor , visiting the "El Rastro Market". Prepare yourself to long crowded day, together with a lot of Madrid people who search for,,,well, what not? Everything: antiquities, clothes,art, used things, pictures,old music records, and more.
In the last day in Madrid, I would defiantly take a long walk at Gran Via street and the Puerta del sol, Puerta del Alcala and Plaza de la cibeles (great photos to make).
Try to make some time for shoping . Why? cause Madrid holds the best combination between fashion, people who love fashion, and a price tag that fits to everybody. It is a winning combination in my eyes.
So, the most expensive is the Salamaca quarter , and for whomever that look for Haute couture and designer clothes it is the right place.
The popular street to do your shopping is in Calle De Serrano , and it is normal to find Spanish labels there.
Not tired yet? go to the Malasania quarter and enjoy the night life it can offers.
Day Tow - Art and Culture
Madrid is having an abundance of museums and in three days, it's hard to visit them all. However, visiting few Museum peacefully is the best way to get the Spanish art experience.
My favorites Museums in spain are:
1. Centro de Arte reina Sofia, located at Calle de Santa Isabel 52
2. Museo del Prado , located at Paseo del Prado. One time visit in that museum won't be enough, but I believe its a must while in Madrid.
3. Palacio Real - (the Royal Palace) also calls Palacio Oriente, and it is a biggest palace in Europe. It's where the royal family of Spain used to live. The exaggerated wealth is probably the reason why the present royal family decided not to live in that place. Go and enjoy beautiful gardens and the palace itself.
Day one - Walking, Eating, Drinking
Starting your travel from the Plaza Mayor is a good choise, since it is easy to walk from there to lot of places, with spending time looking for the right Metro or bus line.
Don't forget to make a stop at the little Cafe's that you can find at the Plaza, and, basically, in everywhere you go.
Spend lunch time at one of the restaurants that offers Tapas and typical Spanish food, and make sure to visit in one of the bar (there is a big range of them).
Go visit the Cava Baja street, cause you can enjoy here both dinner and a late night good drink.
Got only 3 days to stay at Madrid and you want to see the best of the city? my recommendation is the "Three days in Madrid", that I suggest my friend when they are out of time but with big desire to see the city..
There are many, many different internet shops available in Madrid. The most prevalent appear to be the shops of the KioscoCity chain.
These shops are convenience stores, tourist souvenir shops and upstairs have a room with a number of computers.
You have to decide in advance how much time you will want and pay for it up front. Then you get a password to connect to the internet. The minimum permitted is 1 hour, with increments of 1/2 hour each time e.g. 1 hour, 1 1/2 hours, 2 hours and so on.
I tried three of them. The internet connection is slow and the clocks run fast in all of them.
Unique Suggestions: Choose a different internet shop. There are many.
Fun Alternatives: Use the shops of the WorkCentre chain instead.
I had such a great time in Madrid, I didn't think I'd be able to come up with a tourist trap tip but one thing did bug me thoughout my entire trip: as a VTer, I must admit that I sometimes found it rather frustrating that I was not allowed to take pictures - even without the flash - in most museums, palaces and churches in and around Madrid. I can understand how taking pictures with the flash can damage certain pieces, but other than that... Since all the museums and historic sites in Paris allow people to take pictures even though they generally receive more visitors than the ones in Madrid, I can only guess that it's some sort of strategy to sell more postcards :o(
Spanish phones are very, very expensive when calling overseas. After spending in phone booths a lot of Euros, i learnt my lesson!
Fun Alternatives: A friend gave me a number that he uses and he gets much cheaper rates.
I call through this number which is 902 99 53 01, from any land line or phone booth, and all i pay is just 4 cents a minute at nights and weekends, or 6 cents at daytime. It is also so easy to use, i have been using it for 4 months now. highly recommended!!!
I've used it to call the US, UK, France, Italy and some other places where i have friends. I think they have more than 60 countries, so chances are yours will be listed.
When you dial the number, 902 99 53 01, and then get the operator, just press 1, and 00 plus your country code and your friends number. Believe is worth it! I think you can use it form a mobile phone also with rates around 20 cents a minute or something like that.
if you want details or list of countries the page is www.iCallCheap.com in English and www.TelefonoBarato.com in Spanish. just check it out, you'll thank me :)
Dont go to the Prado during weekdays. you can get in it for free on sundays. There is a long line, but you can enter via the temporary exibition room and than enter the temporary collection by the door on your left in the entrance hall.
I must admit that we have a nightmare in Madrid: Traffic jams. And if it rains, the nightmare becomes A NIGHTMARE. So, avoid the car or bus and take the Metro, it's faster and the network is very wide.
Gran Via is the other main street for people who need to satisfy the shopping bug. To me prices here were a bit high.
Unique Suggestions: Brush up on your haggling skills. In some places you can find really good deals.
Fun Alternatives: It is better trying your luck on Calle De Mayor. You can find better deals off the smaller streets that veer off from Peurta Del Sol or Gran Via
OK. We saw these people on the street and resisted them at first but it was so alluring! So we pay the price for 20 minutes (and you better believe I set my watch) and enjoyed a somewhat relaxing massage. Other than the arm pumping, it did rejuvenate me somewhat. However, I was very conscious of the thousands of eyes watching us as people walked by.
If your looking for a quick pick-me-up after walking around the city all morning or afternoon, this isn't a bad option.
This card includes,
Free entrance to 40 main museums
Use of the public transport (5 uses for the 1 or 2 days cards, and 10 uses for the 3 days one)
Free guide visit on Saturdays to the Madrid de los Austrias.
Use the Tourist bus Madrid Vision
One day 28 Euros
Two days 42 euros, 4 euros discount through web page
Three days, 55 euros. 5 euros discount through web page
10 trips on public transport 5.20 Euros
Visit to Palacio Real 7/8 Euros ...
If you are going to see the 40 museums, maybe it deserves. If not do it your own....
UPDATES .... i SAW ON FORUM THAT THEY HAVE INCLUDED MORE BUS TRIPS SO IT IS A GOOD OPTION ...
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