I don’t know which one to pick. We are looking at Jan/Feb time frame. What’s your favorite and why?
what do you like? what do you want to see?
Downtown Madrid is the Gran Via, which has many hotels, restaurants and stores. Most of the biggest attractions are all within a 2 km radius of each other. You can use Booking.com to screen hotels or apartments in this area (Madrid City Center). The most upscale area is the Barrio Salamanca (the safest barrio) and Calle Serrano is the 5th Avenue of Madrid. It is suggested to stay in Madrid for at least 4 days. One can do day trips to Toledo, Segovia and El Escorial. Read about these day trips in the top questions of the Madrid forum.
Must see places are the Royal Palace, Prado Museum, Thyssen Museum, Reina Sofia Museum, National Archaeological Museum, Sorolla Museum, Cerralbo Museum, Plaza Mayor, El Retiro Park, Basilica of San Francisco El Grande.
1. Botin (Calle Cuchilleros 17-19; Tel. 913-664-217) is the oldest restaurant in the world, since 1725 and has good Castilian food. Roast suckling pig is the specialty. There are many other traditional dishes such as lamb. This was Hemingway’s favorite restaurant.
2. Casa Lucio (Calle Cava Baja, 35; Tel. 913-653-252) is famous for its "huevos rotos" (broken eggs).
There are many good tapas bars at Calle Cava Baja. Do your own tapas tour here.
3. Platea (Calle Goya, 5-7) is a new gastronomic site with about 20 restaurants that are open every day, where one can eat tapas and different types of food in the food courts.
Shopping in the Barrio Salamanca: Calle Serrano, Claudio Coello, Ortega y Gassett, Calle Goya.
Shopping downtown: Gran Via, Calle Preciados, Calle Fuencarral.
Shopping in the Barrio Chueca: Calle del Barquillo has many good small boutiques.
El Corte Ingles is a large department store chain with branches at Calle Preciados, 3; Calle Serrano, 70.
my favorite is madrid. and you are in Madrid's forum. If you ask in Barcelona's forum you'll probably get a different average answer.
Still, both are great cities, and it is up to you to decide. Get a good travel guide, read articles on the internet, and decide for yourself which one you would like the most.
If you are into art museums I think it can be objectively said that Madrid is better for that. Unless you have a particular interest in what's in Barcelona. Otherwise both are great and it's way to subjective to say what another person would like. You need to learn and decide yourself.
Personally I enjoy both about equally.
Thank you so much. Typically, we like to eat, drink, “aimlessly” walk, take photos and take in the sights, sounds, smell and feel of a place. Museums are so so for us.
Walking aimlessly is pretty much what I spend the majority of my time doing in cities too. I really can't say I like one more than the other as far as that goes.
Flip a coin. Although perhaps weather might be a deciding factor in Jan/Feb. I've never been to either in those months so don't know if there is a meaningful difference or not.Edited: 29 September 2018, 01:45
I’ve been to both. Barcelona was far better to me. Madrid had dirty streets, homeless, and people in a rush. Kind of reminded me of NYC or any major city. Barcelona was very cosmopolitan. You have the Mediterranean Sea, culture, great food, and so many amazing sites you can do. I spent 4 nights in both and that was plenty to see both. I did a Toledo and Segovia trip in one day from Madrid. If you can’t do both to compare for yourself, I would definitely recommend Barcelona. You won’t be disappointed!!
Thank you for all your suggestions!