Quick guide to Madrid, Toledo, El Escorial, Segovia

Madrid, Toledo, El Escorial and Segovia are all magic cities! But you can only enjoy them if you really walk around. In Madrid, you will notice that old buildings are well preserved (ie painted), there are wide streets with lots of water fountains and little squares...and all are illuminated at night...Also, there are Metro stops everywhere. Food is inexpensive and the more non-touristic the place is, the better it tastes (but that is true for every city around the world)

This quick guide was prepared after a trip in April 2000. All prices mentioned were valid at that time. We welcome suggestions at

Welcome to Madrid
Buy at 10-ride MetroBus ticket. You insert the ticket in a machine at any bus or train. Also, get a free map of the Metro system. Travel agents and hotels give away free maps of the city. We did not see any Information office in Madrid (although there were information kiosks in Toledo and Segovia). Small stores close in the afternoon but department stores remain open. We have been told that you can leave luggage at Atocha station, but we can only tell you where you can NOT leave it: Aluche, Principe Pio, Moncloa, Colon (below the monument).


Palacio Real
Metro: Opera
Free to EU members on Wednesdays (must have passport) Go early in the morning. The waiting lines are usually long.

Cathedral de Nuestra Senora de la Almudena

Next to the Palacio Real Entrance: free

Paseo de Prado Museo
9-7pm, Closed Mondays Free Sat 2:30-7pm, Sun 9-2pm Go early in the morning. The waiting lines are usually long. Very big museum: must see Goya, Velazquez, Murillo, El Greco

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum
10-7pm. Closed Mondays Impressionists

Centro de Arte Reina Sofia National Museum

10-9pm, Free Sat 2:30-9pm Modern Art. Must see Picasso's Guernica.
Metro: Atocha Renfe (line 1)


Atocha Train station
Metro: Atocha Renfe (line 1) A nice, in-house, tropical garden (Across from Centro de Arte Reina Sofia National Museum)

Sunday "El Rastro" Flea Market
Metro: La Latina or Puerta de Toledo (line 5) Too many people after 11am

Puerta del Sol
A square for tourists… (Metro: Sol, lines 1,2,3) (Try not to eat here…)

Plaza de Mayor
Nice plaza with restaurants, cafes

Plaza de Santa Ana
Nice bars, nightlife. Do not go there before 11pm…

Calle Preciados
This street connects Plaza del Callao (Metro: Callao, line 3,5) with Puerta del Sol (Metro: Sol, lines 1,2,3). This is your regular priced shopping area.

Calle de Alfonso XII, Serrano or Goya
From Metro: Serrano (line 4) to Plaza de la Independencia. This is you up-market designer shops.

Plaza de la Cibeles
Metro: Banco de Espana (line 2) Nice building for photo.

Recommended walk:
From Palacio Real, Cathedral de la Almudena, take a left and go up Calle Mayor street. Go inside the Plaze Mayor and get out from the other side to reach Puerta del Sol (Metro: Sol). Walk on Calle de Alcala to reach Plaze de la Cibeles (Metro: Banco de Espana). Take a left, up Paseo del Prado till Plaza de Colon (Metro: Colon). Cross the street to see the water fountain bellow the monument. Cross the street back to where you where. Take a left again and walk up Calle de Genova. You will reach Plaza de Alonso Martinez (Metro: Alonso Martinez). Notice the buildings on the side streets. There are some bars there. There is a very nice house on the intersection of C. Fernando VI and C. Argensola (or about there). Walk to Carranze Glorieta de Bilbao (Metro: Bilbao). Have a coffee.

Madrid - Toledo (1 hour)
From Madrid: Estacion Sur de Autobuses Metro Station: Mendez Alvaro (line "6"). From the metro station, take the escalators up to the floor with the ticket counters. Busses every 30min Cost: around 600 each way. Buy tickets at the counter of the bus company "T.Galiano-Continental" Once you get the ticket, look at the electronic board for the gate number for the bus to Toledo. Go to the gate. Once you arrive at Toledo, you need to take a local bus to take to the top of the hill. The local bus station is 100meters away from the "regional" bus station. The final stop of the local bus is on a big square (Plaza de Zocodover). Look around the square if there is an information kiosk. They usually have free maps of the city. As you are looking at McDonalds, at this square, walk up the street (Cta. Carlos V) on the left side of McDonalds. On your left hand-side, you will reach "Alcazar of Toledo", a castle-museum. From there, walk back to the square, and this time take the big road on the right side of McDonald's (C. Comercio). You will notice lots of shops on this street. In about 300meters, you will see the Cathedral on your left hand-side. On the other side of the Cathedral you will find a nice square and an information office. Take the road on the right side of the Tourist office. It will take you to Plaza de El Salvador. Continue walking on (Sto. Tome). On your left hand side you will see the sign for the "Parroquia de Santo Tome" or "El Greco". You will see there El Greco's masterpiece "The Burial of Lord Orgaz". Hint: Before you go to the entrance to pay the ticket, go to the Exit and purchase from the shop a card with the explanation of the painting. This will help you when you are looking at the painting. From there, walk down to the Sinagoga del Transito. From there, take a left on Reyes Catolicos road and walk to Sinagoga de Sta Maria la Blanca and Monasterio San Juan de los Reyes . Now you can walk around the city and find your way back to Plaza de Zocodover where the local bus left you. From there you can either take the bus down, or walk down-hill to the regional bus stop (20min walk) Toledo is very famous for their Marzipan (dessert). Try it. In Greece we call it "indokarydo". Toledo is famous for its steel swords and weapons.

Madrid - El Escorial (1 hour) Metro station: Moncloa (line "3" and "6") Go up the escalators to the floor where the busses are. Ask at the information (they speak English) which bus goes to Escorial. Buy tickets at the bus. As you exit the station at El Escorial, walk to your left to the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de el escorial. Summer residence of Philip II and also Monastery. Here they bury the royal family. Be there early (10-11am) to bit the long lines of tourists. After you see the Monastery, walk around the town.
Escorial - El Valle de los Caidos or "Valley of the Fallen" (Franco monument) (15min) 1030pts return trip (tickets at the counter at Escorial). One bus a day. Departs around 3pm and returns to Escorial around 5:30pm. "Valley of the Fallen" refers to the Nationalist Spaniards that died during the Spanish Civil War. It is the burial place of dictator Franco and Jose Antonio (the founder of the fascist party in Spain). The Basilica was actually carved in granitic stone inside the mountain by thousands of Republican war prisoners and political dissidents. A place of confrontation during November 20th, the date Franco died in 1975. A cable car can take you to the Cross (for an extra fee).

Madrid - Segovia (1h) Metro Station: Principe Pio (line "10) From the Metro Station, go up to the street level and turn around the corner towards the river. You will see the garage where the busses are. Once you reach Segovia, walk on the pedestrian street across from the bus terminal. You will reach the Roman Aqueduct with height 29meters. It was build on 1st century a.c to carry water from 15 kilometers away. There is an information center on the left side of the Aqueduct where you can get a free city map. There are many churches in the city, including a huge Cathedral. There is also a castle "Alcazar" at the other end of the city.

Other information

Coffee: Ask for "CAFE LECHE Americano" for big cup of coffee with milk (Leche). Otherwise you get a small cup.

Ordering food: When ordering food try to specify what you want to the best of your communication abilities. You may want, say, one little plate with cheese, but because you are two, they may bring you one plate with double the cheese…which means double the price. In other words, you may get double the food you ordered. Very very very few people speak English. But they understand sign language…

Circular Bus Take the circular bus and stay on it until it completes a huge circle of Madrid (about 1-1:30 hours)

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