DON'T whatever you do decide to walk from the coach station or the train station up into Toledo. From the train station there is an easily found bus stop; from the bus station there isn't. When you get off the bus or the train find the taxi rank asap. Ask the driver for Plaza Zocodover. At the station the rank is directly outside; at the bus station it is up the moving stairs, left though glass door, immediately right and keep straight on to the edge of the building. There are not all that many taxis. I say this because the walk up the hill to the city, especially in summer, is awful and when you get to the top is the time to start exploring. You can always walk back down! Cost of taxi 6€ - well worth it! (2013)
The Train de la Fresa (Strawberry Train) is a historical, cultural and gastronomic route between Madrid and Aranjuez which runs from the end of June until mid- July and from the 1st of September until the end of October. This journey, which started in 1851, transports you to an old age of train travel on an early 20th Century coal engine train trough scenic countryside. Ideal for families or for an interesting day out to Aranjuez.
It leaves from the Museo del Ferrocarril (Train Museum) at Atocha Station (Paseo de las Delicias 61) and takes about an hour to arrive into Aranjuez. During the trip, stewardesses dressed in period costume go round the train distributing boxes of strawberries for passengers to taste. The views from the train are of the beautiful countryside outside Madrid. Travellers are then taken by coach to Aranjuez for a guided visit to the Royal Palace, its beautiful gardens and the Museo de Faluas. Travellers can choose to remain in Aranjuez and return back to Madrid on a normal service train using the same ticket.
Aranjuez has many interesting sights, including the Royal Palace with its Royal gardens and the "Casita del Labrador" (Farmer’s House) a Royal pavilion built by King Charles IV.
Tren de la Fresa (return) tickets are around €29 for adults and €21 for children between 4 and 12 years old. Children under 4 years old travel free if they sit on their parents’ lap. The ticket includes the free guided tour of the palace and museum.
While in Madrid you can take a train to Aranzuez, around an hour's trip on which they celebrate and eat strawberries each spring, served by staff in costume, stopping in Aranzuez, a charming town that was a royal residential palace. You can tour this, or if preferred go to the Aranzuez gardens, the place that inspired Rodrigos' 'In the Gardens of Aranzuez' classical piece. On the same line you can continue your day trip to Toledo, around 40 minutes train ride or so, a fascinating fortified citadel on a lovely hill with a beautiful blue river in the valley below. Toledo has a history dating back to the Visigoths. Both Aranzuez and Toledo offer lovely resaurants and caffes and children are always welcomed as is delightfully usual. The same train line will return you to Madrid central station via Aranzuez. Fares are low, a little higher on the specific strawberry train, with strawberries provided of course! Allow a longish day as the trip really is interesting for all tastes and preferences. Madrid will still be open and buzzing when you return, into the small hours.
These are the most useful metro stops to tourists in Madrid. The name of the metro station and the nearest site(s) of interest it serves are all listed below:
Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, c/Mayor,
Plaza de la Villa, Casa de la Villa, Monasterio Descalzas Reales
GRAN VÍA -
Palacio Real, Catedral de la Almudena, Teatro Real, Jardines Campo del Moro
Plaza de Colón, Biblioteca Nacional,
PLAZA DE ESPAÑA -
Edificio España, Torre de Madrid,
Monumento a Cervantes, Templo de Debod, Palacio del Senado, museo Cerralbo
BANCO DE ESPAÑA -
Museo del Prado, Paseo del Prado, museo Thyssen, museo naval, iglesia San Jerónimos, Congreso de los Diputados, Fuente de Neptuno, Fuente de Cibeles, Palacio de Cibeles (the main post office is located in this building), Ayuntamiento
Puerta de Alcalá, Monumento a Alfonso XII, Palacio de Velázquez, Palacio de Cristal, Estatua del Ángel Caído
ATOCHA RENFE - Monumento victimas 11-M
Atocha train station, Reina Sofia art museum, Gta Emperador Carlos V, Caixaforum
PUERTA DE TOLEDO -
Puerta de Toledo, San Francisco el grande
LA LATINA - El Rastro market
SANTIAGO BERNABÉU -
Santiago Bernabéu football stadium
PLAZA DE CASTILLA -
Plaza de Castilla, Edificio Europa
BILBAO/IGLESIA - Anden 0
TRIBUNAL - Museo de Historia de Madrid
We have just arrived back in the UK from Spain having travelled entirely by trains and busses. On our return trip we paid the extra fare and went Grand Clase on an Elipsos Trenhotel.
We found that there are shortcomings to the promised service that spoiled the experience. These included no answer on the internal phones, very slow restaurant table service and an air conditioning system that didn’t work in our cabin.
But the real issues were to follow:
The overnight service from Madrid to Paris stopped en route during the night, the power went off and back on several times.
The breakfast table service was chaotic, only two waiters were struggling to cope with passengers demands. We decided that this may be due to the impending arrival in Paris and so abandoned the restaurant.
Confused about the lack of information we found (with the assistance of another passenger’s sat nav) that we were still 100 miles from Paris. No one from the company had bothered to let any of us know the train was running more than two hours late!
No staff from the so-called first class train hotel made their faces seen until our passports were returned at 10:00am; the train finally arrived at 10:30am. Some passengers also missed their Eurostar connections.
I have looked at the Elipsos.com website and cannot find any ‘contact us’ or ‘feedback’ links for me to use to complain about their failed service and communication standards.
I recommend using buses rather than trains for getting between towns and cities in Spain. They are both cheaper and quicker than the trains which tend to take indirect routes and are unreliable. The best routes to use the train for is between Barcelona to Madrid (2 hours) and Madrid to Seville (2 hours). These routes are covered by the AVE - an express train which covers the large distances between both points in a couple of hours rather than the usual 6-7 hours which the much slower regional 'express' trains take.
The Barajas Metro Line (number 8) takes only fifteen minutes to deposit passengers in the centre of Madrid's financial district (Nuevos Ministerios). Taxis are available from the airport, but be sure not to accept offers made inside the terminals.
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