Is there anything (besides hotel) I need to book ahead for 4 days in Madrid in late April? Any performances or tours that you'd recommend but need to be booked?
Definitely the Picasso museum if that interests you. We didn’t and couldn’t get a time slot.
also the Palace, both days we passed by there was a long, long line. I booked the day before online and we walked right in.
The Prado of course. With regard to the Sofia Reina we booked free tickets on line but you can’t print anything. When you get to the entrance you still have to get in line to pick up those free tickets. We went about 20 minutes before opening and were about 15th on line. Ask the guard to make sure you are on the correct line.
We saw Picasso, picture then left. We had limited time.
Book a ticket ahead of time for a bullfight at Las Ventas stadium if you want to see a match. The stadium appeared to be sold out when I went. After I booked my ticket, it was sent to my hotel, and the ticket was there when I arrived. (Note: I strongly recommend a ticket in the shade if the Mediterranean sun would bother you.)
I also booked a ticket ahead to enter the Prado. Ironically, the morning I arrived, the line to enter the museum without a ticket wasn't long at all. However, I'd still book ahead.
I bought at the window of the Reina Sofia, but I'd book everything ahead when possible. However, if you don't want to load too many advanced purchases on your card, the Reina is the safest bet to buy at the ticket window, I found.
The only thing I've pre-booked for my trip to Madrid later this month is the Prado museum. I think I'll need to pre-book the The Royal Palace maybe the day before or even the day of. I still see quite a bit of availability for tomorrow, but I'm not sure if April will be more in-demand/busy.
Contrary to what Craig said, even during the main festivals, bullfight tickets (if they are of interest to you) are available at Las Ventas bullring. Just look for the numerous small booths in the plaza just outside the ring. Better to wait and get them the day of the fight than buy them and decide not to go.
Thanks everyone, very helpful. What about a flamenco show? How do we best do that? Also, we are debating about bullfighting. We are curious about this tradition, but on the other hand, ugh kinda traumatic I’d think. Go and leave before the end?
I saw a flamenco performance, but it was in Seville. I believe Seville is considered to be the home of flamenco where the art is truly followed and developed. If you want to see another Spanish city, the train between Madrid and Seville was only two hours or a bit less.
There are, however, flamenco performances in Madrid if you want to see one there. Look in a guidebook to see how to book a performance.
We dud go to a bullfight when we were there last october. We were curious and also figured it was very much part of their culture. There is no intermission during the bullifht and we were in the second section, about 4th row, with jnside seats. We also thought if it was too much we would leave. We were too wedged in and it would have been very difficult to climb over poeple.
The first kill was difficult to watch but when we put that behind us and concentrated on the pagentry and elegance of the matadors, it become more enjoyable.
PS, rent the cushion otherwise you are stting on stone. Oh, and the seats have no back.
I was interested in seeing the kitchens of the Royal palace, so we did pre-book that. Other than that we had our plans mapped out, but didn’t actually prebook much.
You might want to make reservations if you have interest in particular restaurants.
We were there last week and did not pre-book anything (other than hotel) and it was fine. The longest line was only two-persons deep, and that was at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. However, we skipped the Prado on this visit and I know the lines were much longer there just from what we saw from the outside.