what to see for 2 weeks around madrid and surrounding area
Any guidebook will give you a good overview of what there is to see and do around Madrid. If you could give us some idea of what your interests and timing are, we will be better able to make suggestions that would suit you.
Certainly you will want to see Toledo. Then there are other highlights not too far away, Avila's wall; Segovia's aqueduct (and other sights). From there I'd probably keep going northwest. Salamanca and Valladolid are worth seeing as are the castle's La Mota, Penafiel, and Coca in the area. Another option might be a loop Segovia, Avila, Salamanca, Valladolid (and nearby castles), Burgos, San Sebastian, Pamplona (check out Olite castle nearby), Zaragoza, and back to Madrid. If you do that, you will see a lot of places tourists flock too but also some that are seldom visited. If you still have time, you may go toward France from either Pamplona or San Sebastian (Saint Jean de Luz and/or Saint Jean Pied de Port) - or head the other way to see more of Spanish Basque country.
Rick Steves Spain guidebook has a pretty good take on Madrid and surrounding areas. I think you should start there and get a feel as to what you want to see. If you don't want to buy a book, check one out at the library.
Since our responses are limited to 2000 characters (not words) it works best if you ask specific questions. Cannot write a guidebook for you. You need to do homework via local library, DVDs, etc. Attend our monthly travel meeting in Denver. We need to know what your likes, dislikes, etc are and what do you want to do.
I believe you can easily find enough to keep you fully occupied if you base yourself in Madrid for 2 weeks. Madrid itself, with ts three world class art museums and the Royal Palace will more than fill several days. There are at least three or four days trips that you could make that are within 90 minutes each way by train - Toledo, Segovia, Avila, and Salamanca. Toledo and perhaps segovia (of these) may be more enjoyable as an overnight. You could also, depending on your willingness tto ride trains, see Cordoba as a daytrip. It is abot 2 hours each way. Get a good Spain guide book (your public library should have several) and see what looks like will interest you within this area.
Thanks for the info. I bought the book and has a lot of info first time to Europe so am excited to go
Apparently, Spain sucks (according to Romney last night), so there's probably nothing worth seeing there. I'm just kidding...I'll add El Escorial as a half-day daytrip in addition to what others have suggested. Not to be missed if you have two weeks. Happy travels.
OOOOOHHHHH I'm so jealous of you right now! Anyway got three key places to see in Madrid: 1) Parke del retiro: (I think that's how it's spelled) Rent a boat at the lake there. Take a bottle of wine. Walk around. It's free. It's AMAZING! 2)El Tigre: (once again guessing at the spelling) You have to do the tapas thing while there and this place gives you a stacked plate and it stays busy with locals. Tell tell sign of a good spot. 3) Las Carboneras: The best flamenco spot in town (I suffered through 12 while there) this place is more intimate and the singing and dancing were enough to move even my jaded soul. Have fun(I Hate you)
See my reply to "A Week In Madrid" under this section heading. Also, The Moon Guide To Spain is the best travel guide I have found....amazon has it I am sure.