So while visiting Madrid, Spain, I had just a few hours to spend seeing everything I could. What seems like the most logical solution was to take the metro or hop on, hop off tour bus everywhere. However, beside the extra cost and not getting lost, could there be any other negatives to be found with this way of thinking.
The answer is YES. This trip I opted for the self tour, as Madrid is a very easy city to navigate. I of course had all the same sites that the tour company’s herd you like cattle to, but I was able to go off the beaten path, down side streets and find those quite tucked away places that only the locals know about. You find yourself far away from the souvenir shops, facile glasses and purse, and mass produced foods. I found this leads to a much more of a authentic taste of the city. In a little under 8 hrs I had seen most of the major sites, but I had also had authentic paella, seen a Flamingo show and had peaceful time to reflect. Also you will find more authentic and meaningful souvenirs and entertainment.
Now I’m not advocating for you to explore all parts of every city, what I’m am saying is to do a little research and find those cities that are safe and inviting for this type of exploration.
Some of the sites I saw, cost just some calories:
- Plaza Mayor
- Plaza de España
- El Retiro Park
- Royal Palace
- Santa Maria Church
- Casa Patas
- Gran Via
- Puerto Del Sol
- Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid
- Plaza de Neptuno