Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

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dundee
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Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by dundee » Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:39 pm

Dear Bogleheads,

DW and I are taking 1 week vacation to Madrid in mid April. We prefer to stay in one place and do some day trips. This is not meant to be a vacation to visit many places in Spain.

We would like to stay in Airbnb and spend between $100 - 150/day. The area should be walkable to a nice plaza with restaurants and cafe's. It would also be nice to have a decent view of some plaza or park etc. Should not be very far from downtown area. With those constraints - what area should we find an Airbnb in?

What foods do you recommend? We prefer fish usually, but, want to try local foods consisting of fish and meat.

What day trips would you recommend around Madrid?

Thank you, all.

neilpilot
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by neilpilot » Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:44 pm

In March 2016 we stayed for 3 nites in a nicely located B&B. It cost a total of 210 euro for the 3 nites.

Lapepa Chic b&b, Plaza de Las Cortes, 4, 7º dcha, Madrid, 28014, Spain. hola@lapepabnb.com

Tribonian
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by Tribonian » Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:39 pm

Plaza Herradores is just off Plaza Mayor and right around the corner from the Mercado de San Miguel which was full of food stalls- olive bars, tapas, paella, etc. Would not necessarily recommend seafood as Madrid is nowhere near the ocean. We stayed 3 days two nights for $289, but it was a two bedroom place.

Easy walk to the Royal Palace, theatres, las Cuevas, etc. and within walking distance of the Retiro, the Prado and the Reina Sofia.

Lots of good options. Near Plaza Mayor:
https://abnb.me/6QYfWf0DST
https://abnb.me/WzhLNtdEST
https://abnb.me/p1RYG29DST

If you really plan on day trips, you might want to stay closer to Atocha station, very close to Retiro Park and the Prado.

https://abnb.me/aHLhlJoEST

Second the recommendation for the Cortes neighborhood.

San Lorenzo de el Escorial is a great day trip, but it is usually packaged with Valle de los Caídos which is awful on many many levels. El Escorial is Phillip II’s Monastery and Palace complex built after he lost the Invincible Armada. He was still the richest man on earth and no expense was spared.

Maybe Burgos for a day trip. Spain’s rail system is like a wheel with Madrid at the hub and spokes radiating in all directions but I am not familiar with other destinations that are very close.

¡Buen viaje!
Last edited by Tribonian on Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

straws46
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by straws46 » Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:48 pm

We stayed at the Hyatt Centric which is centrally located. We walked to the Prado but the subways are very convenient. Prado was worth the two day pass which we bought the night before to avoid lines. The Sophia is also a wonderful art museum. Rick Steves' walking tour is worth following. One day we took the subway to the Chamartin train station (smaller than the Atocha station) and made a day trip to Segovia which was worth the effort. Also day tripped to Toledo. Nice historic town but lots of tourists (like me).

Elena
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by Elena » Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:57 pm

Madrid has the best seafood and fish in Spain. Just be ready to pay for it!
Source: I am from Madrid.
Quick recommendations:
- Excursions: Toledo, Segovia (1-day excursions), maybe El Escorial. Córdoba and Seville are on the fast train AVE route, but probably too far out unless you are very energetic and want to squeeze every hour of your stay. They are both amazing cities.
- Base area: near Palacio Real, which is centric but quiet, or alongside calle Miguel Ángel/Zurbano or the back of Paseo del Prado which is "boring" (not Huertas, as it gets noisy at night). Stay away from Atocha/Santa Isabel and Sol, as they are more populated with herd tourism.
- Food: I would go seasonal. Winter food in Castile is mainly roasted piglet or baby lamb, iberian ham, morcilla, cocido (garbanzos). Just go to Lardhy's and knock yourselves off, or Malacatín for cocido. Mercado de San Miguel is indeed very pretty, and has a very good assortment. If you must eat fish and seafood, go to O'Pazo. If foodies, Viridiana. Yes, I am sending you to expensive places :sharebeer

Elena
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by Elena » Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:00 pm

Tribonian wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:39 pm
Plaza Herradores is just off Plaza Mayor and right around the corner from the Mercado de San Miguel which was full of food stalls- olive bars, tapas, paella, etc. Would not necessarily recommend seafood as Madrid is nowhere near the ocean. We stayed 3 days two nights for $289, but it was a two bedroom place.

Easy walk to the Royal Palace, theatres, las Cuevas, etc. and within walking distance of the Retiro, the Prado and the Reina Sofia.

Lots of good options. Near Plaza Mayor:
https://abnb.me/6QYfWf0DST
https://abnb.me/WzhLNtdEST
https://abnb.me/p1RYG29DST

If you really plan on day trips, you might want to stay closer to Atocha station, very close to Retiro Park and the Prado.

https://abnb.me/aHLhlJoEST

Second the recommendation for the Cortes neighborhood.

San Lorenzo de el Escorial is a great day trip, but it is usually packaged with Valle de los Caídos which is awful on many many levels. El Escorial is Phillip II’s Monastery and Palace complex built after he lost the Invincible Armada. He was still the richest man on earth and no expense was spared.

Maybe Burgos for a day trip. Spain’s rail system is like a wheel with Madrid at the hub and spokes radiating in all directions but I am not familiar with other destinations that are very close.

¡Buen viaje!
I agree with skipping Valle de los Caídos. I never liked it, even as a child. But again, neither do I like Palacio Real. I do not like imperial aesthetics, not in Spain, Austria, Hungary, etc.
I like the smaller places. Toledo, Segovia, Pedraza, Burgos, Calatañazor, Támara de Campos, Numancia... go sleep in a castle or monastery, it is pretty cool!
I like the old, Medieval towns.

caffeperfavore
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by caffeperfavore » Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:53 pm

Yet another vote for Toledo and Segovia, with Toledo being the higher priority.

We've stayed in both Centro, just off the Gran Via, and the Salamanca neighborhoods. Centro has tons of great food and cafe options nearby and nearly everything you would want to do is within walking distance. However, we preferred Salamanca as it's quieter and less touristy. It is a hike by foot to many attractions, so you'll want to metro if you're heading to the Palacio Real, but the Prado and things nearby are an easy enough trek.

Shallowpockets
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by Shallowpockets » Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:05 pm

Make sure you go see a bull fight. Rent a pillow when you go in to sit on as the seats are all cold concrete. Beer is cheap in the bull ring. No need to pre game it.

michaeljc70
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:20 pm

Shallowpockets wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:05 pm
Make sure you go see a bull fight. Rent a pillow when you go in to sit on as the seats are all cold concrete. Beer is cheap in the bull ring. No need to pre game it.
I thought the bullfight in Madrid was rather long, drawn out and boring.

Elena
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by Elena » Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:28 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:20 pm
Shallowpockets wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:05 pm
Make sure you go see a bull fight. Rent a pillow when you go in to sit on as the seats are all cold concrete. Beer is cheap in the bull ring. No need to pre game it.
I thought the bullfight in Madrid was rather long, drawn out and boring.
I have never been, never will be. I would not recommend it unless you first read the Cossío, which would give you the rationale for all the techniques and the ritualitic aspect of bullfighting. I would rather study it all from theory, aesthetics and all, than actually go. Most turists who attend do not really "get it". My mom has spent many afternoons explaining what is happening to her tourist neighbors. Yes, it is very long, and it can get very hot or rain and be cancelled. On a cultural note, Hemingway was on his way to the bullring when it started pouring, so he took shelter in the Palace Hotel bar and wrote "The Killers". You can go to the bar instead of to the bullring (the English bar, not the big rotunda). Maybe you will see me there!

BigoteGato
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by BigoteGato » Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:38 pm

caffeperfavore wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:53 pm
Yet another vote for Toledo and Segovia, with Toledo being the higher priority.

We've stayed in both Centro, just off the Gran Via, and the Salamanca neighborhoods. Centro has tons of great food and cafe options nearby and nearly everything you would want to do is within walking distance. However, we preferred Salamanca as it's quieter and less touristy. It is a hike by foot to many attractions, so you'll want to metro if you're heading to the Palacio Real, but the Prado and things nearby are an easy enough trek.
Toledo is hands down best daytrip from Madrid. An incredible city with great art and atmosphere. Segovia is very nice as well. Go for the cochinillo asado (roasted piglet). It's even better than it sounds. I would recommend you spend time in Madrid itself if you don't know the city well. Escorial is OK, but I wasn't blown away (very spare and sober). Valle de los Caidos has very good views. OK as well, not must see. More memorable experiences staying in town, like going for a tapas crawl or seeing the Prado museum.
BigoteGato

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Peculiar_Investor
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by Peculiar_Investor » Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:55 pm

Yet another vote for day trips to both Toledo and Segovia using the train service. Both were fantastic. The Aqueduct of Segovia is a wonder.
Normal people… believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough features yet. – Scott Adams

Elena
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by Elena » Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:04 pm

We almost forgot Cuenca! Hanged houses. Spectacular by all means.

https://www.google.com/search?q=cuenca+ ... q_EQFW1XPM:

Mister A
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by Mister A » Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:05 pm

Toledo and Segovia are both charming day trips. I will second recommendations for Barrio Salamanca neighborhood, had an absolute blast there.

Ztx
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by Ztx » Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:53 pm

- Barrio Salamanca is a nice neighborhood, though a bit further away from city center. Madrid is very walkable though
- we stayed right in the center near Puerta Del Sol metro station and enjoyed it
- definitely recommend a day trip to Toledo... Stay a bit after sunset to wander medieval streets in the dark (but check the train schedule back to Madrid :) . we stayed a night in Toledo so I don't know if there are late trains returning back

Enjoy the trip!

Mickey7
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by Mickey7 » Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:54 pm

It really depends on what your needs are. I found the Chic B&B very basic, met my needs. It was walkable to the Prado and other museums along with the train station. Good neighborhood area. Try a quick train hop to Toledo or Segovia. Btw I am a single traveler and travel light.

michaeljc70
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:24 pm

I was there in Nov and stayed in Centro. Though I have taken the public trans in Madrid before and it is very good, I was able to walk everywhere I went. I don't mind walking a few miles. We stayed at the Circulo Gran Via Hotel, but my friend picked it. More pricey than I would have liked ($250/night).

We took public trans from the airport to our hotel. Going back to the airport my less than frugal friend suggested we take a cab. I think it was 2 transfers from the airport.

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Peter Foley
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by Peter Foley » Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:48 pm

I studied in Madrid as an undergrad and later as a grad student. I've been back as a tourist/tour guide a few times. For a place to stay we liked being in walking distance to the Prado. Retiro Park is also close by. Calle de Cervantes was the street if I remember correctly.

When we last went with friends we took a bus tour that included both Avila and Segovia. Both cities are worth visiting and the bus tour was a way to see both in one day.

camden
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by camden » Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:10 am

Would recommend El Escorial, but unlike some other posters, I strongly suggest you go to Valle de los Caidos as well (can do both easily in a day trip from Madrid). Yes, it has Franco’s tomb and was built by prison labor to glorify his regime. Yes, he was a vicious totalitarian dictator friendly with Hitler. Yes, I can certainly understand the negative emotions it stirs, especially among those (and their descendants) who suffered from his regime.

All the more reason to go there, learn about it, marvel at the interesting site, and think a little. I like to learn from history rather than hiding from it.

camden
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by camden » Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:20 am

Correction of above. Should have said that Valle de los Caidos HAD Franco’s tomb. Was moved from there recently, since I visited.

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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by Peculiar_Investor » Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:23 am

Another suggestion for Madrid although not where to stay but what to do. Make sure you visit the Royal Armoury of Madrid. When we visited the Palace there wasn't clear signage to indicate that it even existed, we stumbled upon it while exploring the courtyard. The displays are stunning.
Normal people… believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough features yet. – Scott Adams

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dundee
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by dundee » Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:38 am

This is OP. THank you friends for so many valuable suggestions. Helps us narrow down our focus.

Great feedback!

bighatnohorse
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by bighatnohorse » Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:56 am

We stayed at the "Only You Boutique Hotel Madrid" - it's centrally located, safe and economical. Use Booking.com to find it and many other hotels.
We also took a great cooking class and made paella - a Spanish favorite dish.
It's worth spending a little time in the Metro station to learn how it works - English is widely spoken - so find someone to help you if needed - the Metro is great - a cheap way to get around to many places.
It should be a great trip!

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Watty
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by Watty » Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:23 am

Peculiar_Investor wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:55 pm
Yet another vote for day trips to both Toledo and Segovia using the train service. Both were fantastic. The Aqueduct of Segovia is a wonder.
Another +1 on Segovia

We did not make it to Toledo.

While I appreciate it I am not really deeply into art but be sure to see The Garden of Earthly Delights at the Prado it is amazing especially since it was painted 500 years ago.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Garde ... y_Delights

I am a little vague about its location and don't know what it is called but a couple of blocks down the street from the Prado(I think) there is a building that they have have made a garden on the side of a building that is about four stories tall. I would not go a long ways just to see that but if you are in the area it is worth checking it out since it is so different.

MrsRoos
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by MrsRoos » Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:33 am

I was there last October and stayed in this Airbnb (https://abnb.me/Agg3XNCYUT). It is centrally located near the Gran Via station and fringing the colorful Chueca neighborhood. The whole city is very walkable.

I heard good things about Toledo. Unfortunately it didn't fit in my schedule to take a day trip out there. Make sure you double check. I think the Alcazar is closed on Mondays.

Things to see, do or eat in Madrid that was memorable for me: El Retiro Park and the Palacio de Cristal, a flamenco show, Reina Sofia museum (for Salvador Dali art) and La Casa Del Abuelo for the garlic shrimp. Have fun!
“Anyone who believes in indefinite growth in anything physical, on a physically finite planet, is either mad or an economist.” - Kenneth Boulding

caffeperfavore
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Re: Where to stay for 1 week in Madrid?

Post by caffeperfavore » Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:29 am

MrsRoos wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:33 am
Things to see, do or eat in Madrid that was memorable for me: El Retiro Park and the Palacio de Cristal, a flamenco show, Reina Sofia museum (for Salvador Dali art) and La Casa Del Abuelo for the garlic shrimp. Have fun!
Yes, the Reina Sofia is definitely worth a look if for no other reason than Picasso's Guernica. Although, the rest of the collection is great, but that was a must see for me in Madrid.

Don't forget about the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza either, which has a great collection of old masters and a smattering of everything between then and now. Between these two and the Prado, you could easily fill your week with nothing but art.

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