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Spain - Madrid

We are two Canadians doing an 11 day Sicily Rick Steve’s tour in mid May. We have booked two extra nights ahead of tour in Palermo. We were thinking we would fly to Madrid before the tour and stay sbout 3 to 4 nights before going to Italy. We have done Barcelona and realize we can’t do it all . We have done Italy mainland many times and want to go somewhere we have not been at all. . Is 4 nights enough? Will we have time to get to Toledo! Any suggestions. Our other option was a few days ahead in Zurich/Lucerne. We are trying to look at cities that make sense in terms of flights to Palermo and from Toronto? Suggestions?

Posted by
1524 posts

Janet - 4 nights are enough for Madrid. You can day trip to Toledo. However, as you mentioned "you are trying to look at cities that make sense in terms of flights to Palermo". Consider Nice in the South of France. You can tour the French Riviera then fly to Palermo from Nice. It will be a very short flight. The French Riviera offer a wealth of beauty and entertainment. You can visit cities like Cannes, Nice, Monaco, Villefranche-sur-Mer, and Antibes.

Posted by
20868 posts

Four nights will be just about enough for Madrid and Toledo if:

  • You're not big on art; the three major art museums in Madrid can consume close to two days.
  • You're OK with only day-tripping to Toledo.
  • You don't mind missing Segovia. And Cuenca.

What I would do is throw all of that extra time at Sicily, which really needs more time than you are planning to give it, even allowing for the fact that the tour will move you around quite efficiently. In addition to extra time in Palermo (which you will have), I'd want more time than the tour allows in Siracusa, and I'd want to see the Baroque villages in the southeast--Ragusa, Noto, Scicli, Modica.

Posted by
14792 posts

There's absolutely nothing wrong with spending 4 nights in Madrid. As acraven says, if you aren't big on art, there are day trips or you could spend 2 nights in Toledo (1/2 hour train ride). Depending on the time of your arrival or departure, you could go to Toledo on arrival or go to the airport from Toledo, changing trains in Madrid Atocha station. Toledo is much better as an overnight than a day trip but a day trip is better than nothing.

To look for flights I start by going to the wiki page for an airport. You'll find a table listing all the airlines and destinations. Look at Toronto and Palermo and see what cities they have in common.

I'm told that Zurich is the least interesting city in Switzerland.

Posted by
5221 posts

Four nights in Madrid would give you enough time for the major sights there, like the art museums, royal palace, Retiro Park, Plaza Mayor, and Puerta del Sol. Stay in the old center, which is pretty compact and walkable. There's regular bus service from the airport, or taxis. If you want to visit the Prado, an advance online ticket purchase will save time -- you have to commit to a date but not to an entry time. Toledo and Segovia are good day trips, in opposite directions from the city, if there's not enough to keep you busy in Madrid. With only three full days I'd stick to the city, but I like art museums. The "Explore Europe" link on this website will take you to a lot of info about Madrid and surroundings.

I haven't been to Sicily but acraven's advice may be better. RS tours are well designed, but there's always more to see and do than they include.