Following quickly on the trail of my restaurant recommendation, I have received another suggestion from a visitor to Madrid. William Brunnel of Scotland often goes to Madrid and on his last trip he saw something that he had never seen before, a Segway tour of the city. Here’s what he told me:
"On my last trip in Jan 06 I saw a tour like I’ve never
seen before and thought you may
want to have a look at as there is
about it on your website.
I stopped the chap and asked ….ended up going on a tour of the city
centre on a Segway. Its brilliant, the best expierience I’ve had in a
If you don’t know what a Segway is, read this:
The Segway is the world’s first self-balancing transportation device.
Computers and motors in the base keep the Segway upright at all times.
Users lean forward to move forward, and back to move backwards.
The company that he went with is called Mad Segs and they offer tours of some of Madrid’s main tourist sites, like the Plaza Mayor, Royal Palace, the Prado Musem and the Templo de Debod on a Segway. Tours last 2 hours and cost 60 Euros (with a discount for groups over 4 people) – some take place at night.
Tour Update and Notice
As Alun has
mentioned early in my introduction, we hope in the near future to offer guided
tours of some of Madrid’s culinary treasures. Highlighting
both well-known monuments to food and more importantly, those little known
treasures – we hope to offer a unique perspective on the food scene in Madrid. To start with, we will be offering
2 formats for you to choose from based on your specific interests:
A Cook’s Tour
For anyone who likes to buy treats to bring
back home, or for those of you who might have a kitchen in the room you are
staying in, this is the tour for you. We will take you to 4 different shops in Madrid, where you will have the chance to
buy some of the finest food and wine Spain has to offer.
First, a wine shop
where we will get a chance to taste some wine while learning a little about
where it comes from and how it is made. Second, ever think that Manchego was
all Spain had to offer as far as cheese? Well, we’ll
prove that theory wrong as we walk up the street to a cathedral of all things
cheese. Walls lined with every type of fermented milk you can imagine. Following this, we will move on to a chocolate
shop whose reliquary holds some of the finest chocolates available to mortals! To round it all off, how about a stop at a Market
where you can have the chance to buy fresh ham, ripe vegetables, myriad fish, not
to mention much more. All in all, this
3 hour tour will show you some of the finer gourmet treats Madrid has to offer.
Tapas, Wine and Fun
Come stroll with us down Madrid’s streets stopping in at a select
few bars to try a variety of the typical flavors of Spain. During each stop you will have a choice
of wines all of which come accompanied by tapas. During this time you will learn something of
the history of tapas; have a chance to gather some recipes; and also learn something
about the wine regions that abound in Spain.
are in the process of setting up the dates, times and prices for these tours weI
want to make sure that no one is left out. If you are going to be in town in
the next month or are already here send us a note! We’ll work something out and
make sure that you don’t miss anything during your stay here in Madrid!
contact us at alunjohn (at) gmail.com with
any questions, or suggestions, that you might have.
Th City Council of Madrid is offering visitors, and citizens, of Madrid 37 guided tours of the City. The tours cover all interests and needs. The tours are set to run from February to June and cost around 3.10 Euros on foot or 6 Euros by bus/car. Here are a selection of them from the website:
- Madrid’s Barroque Churches
- Madrid’s Convents
- Panoramic Views of Madrid on Bike
- Goya in Madrid
- Legends of Old Madrid
- Medieval Madrid
- Classic Taverns of Madrid
However, all of the above information is in Spanish – I would assume that the tours will also be in Spanish. Should you wish, you can download an English version from the Descubre Madrid site.
Spain’s low cost airline Air Madrid will start flights to Buenos Aires from the 5th March. There will initially be 2 flights on the Airbus A330-200, with the cheapest tickets going for US$399 and Club Class costing US$1569.
I get quite a few emails from visitors to this site asking about travel wihtin Spain – the best, the quickest and the cheapest ways to get around. Most people think about using the bus or train but flight travel can also be cheap, too. A few days ago I was looking for flights to Tenerife from Madrid. Having loooked at Viajar.com and Iberia, I thought I’d check out Spanair and found that they offered the cheapest prices and best timetable. Though you wouldn’t go to Tenerife by bus or train, you will find that Spanair offer some competitive prices within mainland Spain (and no, I’m not getting any Euros for plugging them!).
From today, November 1st, a new travel pass will be issued in Madrid which will offer tourists the chance to sample some of the surrounding areas of Madrid. Tourists will have the option of buying 1, 2, 3, 5 or 7 day passes for travel within central Madrid and further afield. The towns of Aranjuez, El Escorial, Alcalá de Henares, and even the cities of Guadalajara and Toledo can be visited using this pass. The cost starts from 3.5 Euros for a central Madrid day pass to 36.70 Euros for a week pass. Tickets will only be available from these stations to begin: Barajas Airport, Méndez Álvaro, Chamartín and Atocha-Renfe, though it will be extended to include the whole network in the future. It will also be possible to purchase it at numerous tobacconists and news-stands; in tourist areas and through the Internet. More information can be found on Metro Madrid (English).
Toledo – Don Quijote, El Greco, Mosques and Synagogues
San Lorenzo de El Escorial and Valle de los Caidos
The Strawberry Train (Tren de la Fresa)
easyJet will soon be operating flights between Bristol and Madrid, which is fantastic news for those living in the South West of England and Wales, and who usually have to travel to the London airports or Manchester to get to Madrid. The first flights will take off on the 31st October and it looks like you can book them online now. On the same day easyJet will also start fights from Berlin and Paris Orly to Madrid Barajas.
Book a Hostal in Madrid from Mad About Madrid
Any visitor to Madrid should get to know and use the Madrid Metro. It covers virtually the whole city and every tourist destination can be reached by it. I have previously written an article, entitled Madrid – Metro and Bus Travel, so this should act as an update to that and provide supplementary information. The Madrid Metro website offers the English speaker the chance to view most information in English (see drop-down in upper right of Metro Website), though clicking on some will take you to pages where you will need to know a little Spanish.
I just came across a neat site, from QDQ, which allows you to type in a Madrid address and building number and it will return an image of what that building looks like. So if you’re booking a hotel or hostal, a restaurant or even to rent a new flat, simply type in the address and the website will return an image of that building. If you want to test it out, take a look at the shops listed on the Shopping Archives section of this site.
By reviewing my stats, I have noticed that a number of people have requested a map of Madrid. Well, here are a couple of suggestions that should keep most people happy:
Multimap – simply select Spain from the drop-down list, wait for the page to refresh and then type in you street name if you know it and city name. If you want to start from a central location, type in “Puerta del Sol”. You can easily move up, down and across to find other locations.
Maporama follows the same principle.
If you want a Metro Map, then take a look at the Madrid Metro site.
One alternative way of seeing Madrid, is by taking the cable car. From Madrid’s Pintor Rosales, in the Parque del Oeste, you will be able to catch the cable car (teleférico in Spanish) out to Madrid’s huge Casa de Campo, a massive park which goes on for kilometres, stretching out towards the east of the city. From the cable car, you will be able to see the Royal Palace, the famous ‘Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida‘, which Goya painted the ceilings for, the Egyptian Temple of Debod, the Air Ministry, the Almudena Cathedral and the church of San Francisco el Grande. Prices are around 3-4 Euros for a round trip.
Good tip: use map on the Metro station to find out how to get to the Teleférico.
Metro: Moncloa or Argüelles
Address: Paseo de Pintor Rosales
Getting around many of the main attractions in Madrid can be done quite easily on foot; for longer distances, or in hot weather, there’s always the Metro. Metro Madrid has undergone extensive development over the last 10-15 years and is now one of the finest in Europe. It is also one of the cheapest – single journeys cost around 1 Euro and a 10-ticket pass costs 5.20 Euros. The latter offers great value and also lets you use the bus services, too. The Metro is open from 6 a.m until 2 a.m.
Tickets can be bought from the Metro stations or from Tobacconists. If you’re coming from the airport, then you can take the Metro to almost the centre of Madrid. The Metro Madrid web site offers metro maps, street maps and timetables, amonsgt other things.
TIP You will find that pickpockets (often operating in groups of 3) do operate on the Metro, especially in the Puerta del Sol and Atocha area. Always be wary of people who have a coat slung over their arms or who tuck newspapers up in such a way to conceal stolen wallets. My advice is to keep your bags and wallets safe and make sure you don’t get into situations where you’re being pushed.
The companies that fly to Madrid, from the UK, can be split into the standard larger carriers like British Airways and the ‘no frills’ airlines, like Easy Jet. Let’s take a look at them:
British Airways and Iberia are the ones I usually fly with; the latter you need to book well in advance to get reasonable prices.
British Midland – I flew with them this summer but bought the ticket through Opodo, which worked out cheaper. Opodo is actually owned by the big European airlines.
I often find that flight bookers like Travelocity or Expedia offer better prices than the airlines themselves.