Madrid, Spain- You Gotta See It Once!
Madrid was an interesting city to visit, not a favorite, but interesting! I decided to go to Spain and Portugal while I was on Thanksgiving break but wasn't sure what cities I wanted to visit Spain as there are so many amazing cities. I decided on Madrid and Barcelona. I flew into Barcelona and knew that since I was flying out of Barcelona I wanted to end my trip there, which meant I had to get to Madrid to start my trip. I looked up how to get to Madrid from Barcelona and saw that the high-speed train was reasonably cheap so I thought I could buy a cheap ticket for the train when I got to train station. I was wrong. But first, let me give you the information on HOW to get to the train station. Below are a few methods to get from the Barcelona airport to the train station to take the AVE to Madrid. These methods are the same ones mentioned in the Barcelona blog, so no, your eyes are not deceiving you!
I flew into Barcelona with the purpose of taking the AVE which is the fast train, to Madrid to start my vacation. I spent three days in Madrid, three days in Lisbon, and three days in Barcelona. When I flew into the Barcelona airport I would need to find a way to the city center to take the AVE. From the Barcelona airport, there are a few ways you can get to the city center.
1. You can take the terminal shuttle to Terminal 1 which will take about 15 minutes, and from that point, you will take the train RENFE into the Barcelona Sants stop which is the city center. This ride will take you almost an hour and is around 4.10 euros.
2. You can take the metro from inside terminal 1. From the metro, you will take the gray line to Torrassa and from there the orange line to Barcelona Sants which is the city center. This will take about 30 minutes. The trains are nice and clean. Here is a great website about the different trains, costs, where they go, and other random information you might need.
a. At this point you will have decisions to make on the type of pass you will buy. You can buy a T10 ten ride pass for 10.65 euros, you can buy a single ride for 2.10 euros, or if you bought the Barcelona card (which you really should), the card comes with unlimited use of trains and buses the length you have the card. The card can be purchased online and the paper voucher taken to the Barcelona Card desk in the airport for redemption and immediate use.
3. You can take the TMB Airport Bus 46 bus into the city center and it will take a T10 ticket which is 2.10 euros.You can use the bus system, but this will take a little longer and have a few connections
4. Lastly, you can take the Aerobus (Express bus service) to Barcelona City Centre from Barcelona Airport and it is 5.90 euros one way.
If you have any other questions about the buses please read the Guide to Barcelona Airport Bus Options to Barcelona City Centre.
Barcelona Sants is the city center where all the transportation methods meet up.
As I mentioned before, I was VERY wrong the cost of a same-day ticket on the AVE can run you from 58 euro to 200 euro. But remember, the less available seats, the higher the price can go. My ticket on the AVE cost me 89 euros or over $100 dollars. My advice would be to look up flights to Madrid from Barcelona because they can be cheaper. Learn from my mistake, DO NOT attempt to buy a same-day AVE and expect a cheap ticket! For more information on the AVE click here.
Now that you have gotten to Madrid, it is time to get your local transportation card. The buses and metros within Madrid work very well. They are clean, quick, and cheap! The Spanish Tourism Website gives great information on traveling not only throughout Madrid but also Spain. Below is the information on bus and metro ticket prices from the website.
There are several tickets and passes available. A single ticket on the metro costs €1.50 (5 stations) or €2 (10 or more stations). You can also buy the combined ticket, valid throughout the Madrid Region metro network, for €3, and the Metrobus card, valid for both metro and bus services, €12.20 for 10 journeys. From 2018, all these travel passes will be combined in the reloadable Multi Card. They can be purchased and reloaded at tobacconists and other authorized points of sale, as well as metro stations, for €2.50. http://www.crtm.es/billetes-y-tarifas/tarjeta-multi.aspx
You can buy a single bus ticket from the bus driver for €1.50. http://www.emtmadrid.es/HomeFor the train you can either buy a single ticket for €1.70, or a 'bonotren' pass costing €10.00, valid for ten trips. http://www.crtm.es/billetes-y-tarifas/billetes-y-abonos/cercanias-renfe.aspx?idPestana=3
Another option is the tourist ticket. These can be used by the holder only and offer unlimited use of the metro, bus, and local train services. They are available for one, two, three, five or seven days, and prices range from €8.40 to €70.80. Children under 11 receive a 50% discount. There are two types: for travel within the city of Madrid only; and for travel throughout the whole region (T-Zone), including towns such as Alcalá de Henares, Aranjuez, El Escorial, Toledo and Guadalajara. Among other points, they can be purchased from the Regional Transport Consortium, in metro stations, at the Passenger Service Centre in the metro station at the airport, or via the Internet. http://www.esmadrid.com/abono-turistico-de-transporte-madrid
Tourist tickets can also be loaded onto a Multi Card. Also, if the first product loaded onto a Multi Card is a tourist ticket, you don’t need to pay the €2.50 cost of the card. The most convenient option. The best option will depend on where you are staying, the number of journeys you wish to make, and the number of people traveling. The central tourist area has excellent transport facilities, with numerous metro stops and bus routes. The vast majority of local people get about using the 10-journey Multi Card, which is much cheaper than getting single tickets. It lets the holder use both bus and metro services, has no expiry date, and is transferable, so it can be shared by more than one person.Tourist passes are only valid for one person and offer unlimited use of public transport for a specified period.
Using the local transportation will help you get around Madrid easily and cheaply!
Another way I got around Madrid was the hop-on-hop-off bus. These buses made it easy to tour Madrid as they had two different routes that took me all over Madrid, and they had wifi and power outlets to recharge your phone. The bus is decently priced, 19 euro for one day or 22 euro for two days. Below is the hop-on-hop-off bus map so you can see what the routes are.
I ate sandwiches occasionally, but my main source of food were churros. Just like in Barcelona, I tried to eat them as much as possible! I tried a few different places, and they seemed to taste the same, but what was different was the amount of churros you got for your money. Some of the places I tried were:
Las Farolas: This place gave the best deal for your money and the size of the churros.
Chocolateria' San Gines: This is a touristy place they all will tell you to go to. You can eat the churros there inside/outside or take them to go.
Chocolat: Had great basic churros. A good place to eat at if you can't find another place and you are in a time crunch.
Madrid has a few great places to sightsee in the city. I will be honest in that it wasn't one of my favorite cities, but it was great to go and see what the city was about. A few of the places I went to were:
Santiago Bernabéu Stadium aka the Real Madrid Club Football Stadium: This place was amazing in size. You can take tours of the inside for 18 euro. If you are interested go to this website.
Are you a Harry Potter fan? If so you will love all of the statues around Madrid dedicated to Harry Potter. I could appreciate the sculptures they had around.
The Rose Garden in Parque del Oeste: This was absolutely gorgeous. I went in November and there were still many flowers in bloom with the look and smell being stunning. I would have loved to have sat around with a book for hours. Here is more information on the garden and the best times to visit.
Parque del Oeste: It is a huge park in the middle of Madrid that has great green spaces for you to walk around in. It has great paths, green spaces, trees, and interesting statutes that allow you to leave the city while being in the city.
El Retiro Park: This is within Parque del Oeste and has a cute little lake where you can ride in boats.
Palacio de Cristal: Otherwise known as the Crystal Palace. It is a sight to be seen. I did not go in, but I believe they have different pieces of art within it.
Take a look at my pictures below of Madrid!
Lastly, I can appreciate how pro-immigration and pro refugees Madrid is. It just warmed my heart and made me want to go back. They made sure that anyone who was in Madrid understood how they felt and how welcome refugees are.
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