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5 hour layover in Madrid...and I don't want to spend it in the airport

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Is this enough time to go to the city center and have a quick (1- 1/2 hr or so) meal? I would love to find a place that is beautiful, historical, and typically Madrid. Mid-range would keep the time factor down, you think? Is this enough time to walk around a bit afterwards?

As an alternative plan, is there somewhere near the airport worth eating at? Parameters are about the same, I suppose.

We are flying in from Tenerife, and flying to Frankfurt or Berlin, if this makes a difference in layover time. We arrive at 3 pm and our plane out leaves at 8 pm. Please don't let me eat airport food!

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  1. You can definitely do this. Metro from the airport to Plaza del Sol is less than 45
    minutes. The problem is, meal times are pretty rigid and you'll be arriving too late for
    lunch and too early for dinner. My suggestion would be to get to Sol, wander generally
    southeast to Plaza Santa Ana, eating and drinking your way through the many tapas
    places you'll find on the way and there.

    1. If you have a 5 hour total of layover time, that would probably leave about 3 1/2 hours for travel time from aiport to city center and something to eat. As stated in the above post, it is doable but it will require some planning, especially if this is your first time in Madrid. Metro is fast and easy but, for some unkown reason, there is no direct train from Baraja to Sol; it requires 2 transfers which is easy but may not be for everyone. Taxis is around 25E each way to the center and would take about 25 minutes if the traffic co-operates, otherwise, it would be no faster than the metro. I would pick somewhere easy and fun rather getting the best food or setting. The above suggestion of tapas around Sol is your best bet. Though the food may not be the best but it is right in the center of historic Madrid and very lively. The outdoor tables on Pl. Santa Ana are terrific for people watching. The food in the nearby Plaza Mayor is not very good but the plaza is beautiful, historical, lively and sitting at an outside table can be very pleasant. An alternative is to stroll around central Madrid and then pick up something to eat for the plane. There are many good take away places around Sol. If you decide on this, reply and you will get some good recommendations.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PBSF

        I have to say, if I was doing this, I would not worry about coming in all the way to Sol

        The beauty of Madrid is that each neighbourhood is packed with bars and places to eat

        If I recall the metro correctly, you can be from the airport ot Neuvo Ministerias in about 20 mins ( trains come every two minutes - buy a return- you have to pay a EU1 supplement for the airport) and there are a stack of places to eat and drink around there

        Leave Sol etc for when you have more time

        S

      2. Head downtown and do not take a cab -ride the Metro!!! It's cheap,it's modern,clean and reliable (15 minute ride)

        Go try "Sacha" (right nex to Real Madrid's fooball stadium) or, If you want to see some of old Madrid (Royal Palace and stuff),something good and typical is "Casa Lucio".

        Have a nice trip!

        Saludos.

        3 Replies
        1. re: vioredum

          Casa Lucio, according to their website, like most restaurants in Spain, is closed from 4pm until 9pm. It will be very difficult to get a decent sit-down meal during the time you have available. However, with almost no effort at all you will be able to have a phenomenally great stand-up meal by doing what everyone else is doing in those hours: wandering from bar to bar munching on stuff.

          1. re: Chuckles the Clone

            Most tapas bars are closed from 4-9, too... Madrileños really don't do any major eating during that time, just a little merienda for the kids and older folks around 5-6ish. If you want a real lunch, I think your best bet would be to take a cab to somewhere really closeby like Barajas pueblo (assuming you could get to the restaurant by 3:30 at the latest.

            1. re: butterfly

              Well, despite your wonderful suggestions, I just found out that our layover is now less than two hours. Which probably is just as well, as I had not thought about meal time rigidity. I experienced this in France as well, and was perpetually in near panic state if I thought we might miss lunch.

              I guess the best solution is to dedicate some decent time to visiting the fair city on my own terms. There was a moment there where I thought I might be lucky enough to get a taste of it though! Thanks for your help, all!