Win Prizes for Helping Me Plan My Trip! - Week One: 36 Hours in Madrid

Discussion in 'Travel Tips & Strategies' started by JoeD, Aug 30, 2018.

  1. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    As explained in more detail here, each week for the next 8 weeks, I'll be starting a forum thread asking readers to share their tips/suggestions/anecdotes about a destination I'll be visiting in the next couple of months.

    The author of the best comment (most useful, funniest, etc - as judged by me) will win a small prize and will also be entered into the Grand Prize draw with the other weekly winners, where you could win 2,000 Norwegian Reward CashPoints (worth ~£185).

    All contributions are welcome - particularly things like:
    • Recommendations on what to see/do/eat/drink
    • Thoughts on the best hotels (particularly sweetspots using points!)
    • Tips on how to get around
    • Best airport lounges and other airport info
    • Best ways to fly there using points/miles
    • Amusing/interesting stories about the destination/travelling there
    This week's destination is Madrid, where I'll be kicking off my next adventure with a 36-hour stopover (arriving in the evening on a Thursday, flying to my next destination on the Saturday morning).

    Where should I stay? Where are the best places to eat and drink? Is visiting the Velazquez Lounge worth getting up early on a Saturday morning?

    Share your knowledge, help me out, and maybe win a prize!
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
  2. KathyH

    KathyH New Member

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    Going on a budget ? try Museo de Jamon - a beer/wine and jamon bocadillo 2 Euros. Bigger budget it has to be Mercado San Miguel - OK so it is touristy but an experience all the same and finished off with chocolate and churros at Chocolateria San Gines.
     
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  3. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Cheers Kathy! - 2 Euros is amazing value!

    I'll try to check out both.
     
  4. beppo

    beppo Member

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    Hi Joe,
    some tips:

    I have enjoyed quite a lot the free walking tour which starts at Plaza Mayor and goes for 2-3 hours through most of the sights. I don't know if you are familiar with how it works, basically the guides (mostly students/long time expats- not professional guides) are young and passionate about the city and if you like the tour you can make a tip/donation, they can also provide you with many local recommendation if you ask.

    The Velasquez lounge (in TS4 I guess??) is nice, my best picks (in an early morning booze-free visit) are tortilla, queso fresco (I guess you don't need a translation with all the groupon.es buying/converting....) and Haagen-Dazs ice-creams.
    The Schengen area lounge lacks some food options (had no tortillas) but a good supply of ice-creams as well.

    Then I don't know how long you will stay, but Toledo is a great and easy day trip.
    EDIT: I read now 36 hours in Madrid, well.... Toledo will wait then.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
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  5. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Great tips Beppo - I've never actually been on a walking tour before (though spend a lot of time wandering round cities when travelling), so should probably give it a spin.

    Any thoughts on the best hotel/ part of town to stay? - I have hotel points with most chains (except Hyatt), but as I'll be by myself for this leg of the trip, I'm more interested in location/convenience than anything fancy. If I was arriving earlier in the day I'd probably get an Airbnb, but I doubt I'll get into town until after 22:00, so hotel is best.

    Haha, my Spanish has improved immeasurably thanks to the various Iberia promos! Aye, I reckon I'll check the lounge out - as long as Friday night doesn't end up being TOO late - haven't been for a few years.

    I'll add Toledo to my future trip list.
     
  6. BrianT

    BrianT New Member

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    Hi Joe,

    It all depends on where you are travelling from to go to Madrid.

    I like to hop on a local/city bus and just travel from one terminus to another. A great, cheap way of getting to see parts of a city most tourists don't. If you spot something of interest then your there.
     
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  7. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Cheers Brian - flying into Barajas in the evening, so probably just looking for something decent to eat and a few drinks that night. The next day I'll go for a bit of an explore - could definitely mix up a walking tour, as suggested by Beppo, with a bus ride.
     
  8. davef

    davef New Member

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    I adore Madrid.

    Stroll around the Templo de Debod at sunset for a spot of people watching and a great view. (it's a short walk from Gran Via)

    If you enjoy Segway tours or would like to try one, the guy at Madsegs is aptly named, great fun, see lots with little effort and he gives you photos of the city as a souvenier. If you've not done it before a segway is the best way to get a flavour of a city in 2 hours. (book in advance on the website as he's always pretty full)

    Spend some time in Retiro park, the boating lake is not to be missed for sheer opulence of the architecture. Wander around La Latina (the old area) for tapas and drinks.

    If you want to be right in the middle of the action/shops/noise and bustle then stay around Gran Via. I got an apartment right on it but it's LOUD. If you want peace and quiet then avoid it. Taxi from the airport to Gran Via was the simplest way to do it, (approx 20 euro if I remember) navigating public transport at a 10pm arrival would have been a bad idea.
    I arrived at my apartment after 10 and they charged a supplement for late check-in but they were fine with it.

    Don't get stuck in a starbucks behind a party of 20 American teenagers unless you want to waste an hour but I guess that goes for every city.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
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  9. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Fantastic tips Dave! - (I knew this would be a good idea!)

    Inexplicably I've never been on a segway before, despite always fancying a go, so that sounds perfect.Park/boats, then tapas/drinks are all definitely my sort of thing.

    Yeah, 20 euro taxi is fine in the evening for convenience/speed.

    Haha, queuing for Starbucks rather than a nice cafe con leche! What were you thinking?!
     
  10. mcwildcard

    mcwildcard New Member

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    Unmissable things in Madrid (I love Madrid, so there's a lot)

    San Miguel Market (great for social eating/drinking)

    San Gines Chocolateria (Best churros in Madrid)

    Bar Yambala (Amazing mojitos and next to San Gines!)

    Fatigas del querer (great food)

    Roof bar (great place in the evening - expensive though)

    Mercado de la Cebada (another great market)

    Retiro Park

    Secret silent nun cookies, google it, hard to find but worth it

    Good luck, and make sure you eat lots of pinchos and croquettes!

    I did post google map links to all of these, but I'm not allowed links because I have less than 10 posts :(
     
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  11. davef

    davef New Member

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    I doubt you've ever seen a boating lake like this one.

    Segways are amazing. I've done upwards of 15 cities. Great way to see all the important sites, get that quick photo and minimum effort when you're short on time, especially in hillly places like Rome or Lisbon.

    If there's spare space in Madrid they'll stick a statue/monument in it. If there isn't they'll build space. Middle of roundabouts, central reservations, don't forget to look up, they have them on rooftops of 10 storey buildings as well.

    Yeah, I know but it was right next to the apartment door and I don't even like starbucks.

    I don't remember much about the airport or lounge apart from it being a very pleasant experience. Flew on to Lima from there (Iberia business on avios obviously) for a whirlwind trip around South America.

    I've been 3 times, and for a capital city of 2 million people Madrid seems incredibly chilled and peaceful (away from Gran Via).
     
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  12. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Many thanks mcwildcard- more brilliant suggestions (and I'm seriously intrigued by secret silent nun cookies!!). I shall get googling in the morning!
     
  13. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Sounds great!

    I've been to the lounge there when passing through years ago and seem to remember it being pretty decent, so will try to stop by and hopefully do a quick review (depending on 'tiredness' after friday night!)
     
  14. Kxm

    Kxm New Member

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    JUANA LA LOCA does the most amazing Spanish omelette/tortilla I've ever tasted. The rest of the menu is decent too. I had a deliberate 5 hour stopover in Madrid just to go for lunch here. It's less than at minute walk from La Latina metro station.
     
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  15. KathyH

    KathyH New Member

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    I did the Segway tour and it was great but going up the Gran Via on a very, very busy Saturday afternoon needs nerves of steel. :) and loved the La Latina area too )sorry about second post).
     
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  16. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Sounds delicious! - I can see myself eating a lot in my short time there...
     
  17. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Haha, nice - I'll try my best not to run into anyone.
     
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  18. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Anyone got any suggestions for good bars? - I like everything from local dives to beautiful old hotel bars, so all suggestions are very welcome!
     
  19. mcwildcard

    mcwildcard New Member

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    El Viajero seemed pretty decent, although I was half cut at the time!
     
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  20. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Cheers!
     

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