Many times I have been asked about safety in Madrid and I always give the same opinion: Madrid is as safe or unsafe as any other big city in the world (or at least in Europe). You only have to use your common sense, that's all.
For those who still worry about the safety in Madrid, I offer to have a look at the Useful Phone Numbers, under the General Tips section.
Madrid if rife with pickpockets, like many other European cities. One of my friends had her camera stolen from her purse while riding the Metro. She had let her over-the-shoulder bag hang behind her, instead of in front.
I noticed many Spanish women wearing their bags over their shoulders with the strap shortened to the point that it hung right by their rib-cages. You've gotta do what you've gotta do!
Don't let thieves spoil your fun. Carry bags as I've described above or right under your shoulder, make sure it has a zipper and be aware. And mostly.... do NOT be afraid to assume this position. Who'd wanna mess with a crazy person?
A little while ago we read about Spanish cash machines which in effect were stealing from British people visiting. Spanish banks have introduced confusing bank messages when using the ATM which direct people to say yes to dynamic currency conversion (DCC) or no to the Euro. This leaves people out of pocket. The same applies when paying by card in shops, you will be asked if you want to pay in sterling or in Euro. Say no, pay in Euro. The banks claim that they are doing this so that people know exactly how much money they have withdrawn. People are then going home and finding that they have lost out on the exchange rate. Nationwide has said that it believes that this costs the British £5 million a month.
Say so no
I don't know if this dual charging applies to people from other countries whilst visiting Spain.
They use to stay near to the main places and atractions (Puerta del Sol area, metro, Gran Via, etc). Madrid is not a dangerous city so you can walk safely by its streets, just be careful with them and keep your belongings on safe. If have an emergency just dial 112.
Suelen estar en los alrededores de los principales lugares (Puerta del Sol, Gran Vía, metro etc). Madrid no es una ciudad peligrosa y puedes caminar tranquilamente por sus calles. Si tienes emergencia marca 112.
Madrid has traffic jam on Friday as everyone is leaving the city. Try not to travel by car this day. As for taxis, they are obligated to leave the meter on, but they try to chat sometimes. you can avoid problems by asking a receit.
As we were in the Retiro park early morning we found some types lying in the bushes under trees who were "sjjj sjjj" at us, inviting us to have "chocolad" or alcahol. these people try to get you drunk or drugged and then rob you. nowadyas there is lots of police in el retiro but these people still try to hang around the park
We found out that the best deal in getting Euros is through ATM machines.
The exchange rate is better than if you go to a hotel's front desk, and they are everywhere.
The amount desired will of course be in Euros, and usually it will list the exchange rate on the reciept. Don't bother with airport exchange booths, they are a rip-off since the added service fee can be around $11.00 U.S.
The Madrid airport is huge, do not make a connection without giving yourself a minimum of 2 hours. This was the first time I ever missed a flight in 20 years of traveling, do not assume they will hold the flight for you, especially if you are flying on Iberia
No idea what this statue is about - but Fraser said the horse has one leg up so the Dude was wounded...............excellent Fraser!
The statue is of Carlos lll an 18th. century King who was responsible for transforming the city. Carlos was known as the Best Mayor of Madrid for his work in the construction of the Royal Palace & Puerta de Alcala. He also introduced a new sanitary system thus making the city cleaner & more beautiful
I have used the Metro numerous times while in Madrid. Never had any problems with pick - pockets but that does not mean someone else will have the same experience. I still travelled with a money belt under my clothing as well my shoulder bag was always infront of me never off to the side (one hand on it at all times). I have read horror stories from past travellers so I was very conscious of the problems riding the metro. But I travelled mid to late May which would could have something or nothing to do with why I experienced no problems. I never walked with a crowd if it could be avoided. When getting off a subway car I always waited for the crowd to pass and then I make my way to wherever I am going. Always have an occasional look behing you as well. Riding crowded subways cars with one suitcase should be fine as long as you are aware of what is going on around you. I travelled on the Metro with my suitcase early in the morning which was great b/c cars were not as crowded.
Pickpockets is a big trouble in Madrid. Try to keep your wallet in a safe place while walking around the city. I had my wallet stolen in Madrid on the subway. Fortunately, there was only about five euros in it.
The construction work going on out side the hotel was our early morning wake up call - more sight seeing time for us (Ken & Harry) the younger ones Grant Fraser & Alan never heard a thing until noon!!
I was only in Madrid for a day with some friends, but unfortunately we were robbed in the subway.
We were getting on and everyone except my friend were on the train. A man was blocking him from getting in because he was picking up some coins off of the floor, on his way up he grabbed my friend wallet and jumped off the train right before the doors shut. There was nothing we could. I great city otherwise!
When you are in Madrid if you are going to be in a lot of Museum or signifcant buildings like the Royal Palace be warned that camera flashes are not welcome!!
So a camera that takes good pics without a flash is important here.
I was on several tours and one in particular where people where on the last warning to be evicted if they didn't stop using a flash and there is plenty of security in these buildings to enforce the policy.
Madrid like many large european city does have its share of people just willing to take your money.
I was well warned before going to Madrid but do have a couple of experiences to share.
A colleague of mine was staring eye ball to eye ball with a well dressed man on the subway system. He didn't have a care in the world until he exited the train and realized several hundred dollars of his money was gone with his money clip. In this case he was somewhat at fault to have his money just sitting there unprotected in his pants pocket. This has to be the easiest way to loose your money.
My second experience was at the El Rastro. Nothing happened here however for several blocks I kept noticing the same guy on each corner staring at me and the people I was with. To me it was clearly obvious we were being followed, watched and targets to loose our money. Luckily we were aware enough to spot this, hung on tight and let them know we were aware of what was going on.
These people don't want an incident, that's not how they survive.
You can see from this picture people are glued together in some of these markets and everyone is being bumped making your pockets easy picking!
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