“ Sightseeing Type: Tours „
Having seen this review when searching dooyoo for information on Madrid I was intrigued and signed us up for a morning segway tour on our short trip to the city. I am so pleased I did because it was a real highlight of our visit to Madrid and would highly recommend it as an easy and fun way to get an idea of the geography and highlights of the city.
WHAT IS A SEGWAY?
A segway is a battery-powered personal transporter that is a unique means of getting around; almost noiseless and is controlled by movements of your body - if you bend slightly forwards the segway moves forwards and if you lean slightly backwards it will go into reverse; if you stand upright and still the segway will remain motionless. You stand on a platform and hold onto handles although I think these are more for your own feelings of security rather than essential - it is the movement of your body that propels you so I guess you could operate the segway without using your hands at all.
Instructions on where to meet Anthony who is the guide are clear and easy and you are given a good opportunity to practice getting on and off the segway and work out how it operates before the tour starts. The tour lasted for just over 3 hours and cost 60 euros which given how much we enjoyed it I think was great value and did include a beer and generous plate of sandwiches and crisps at a cafe stop.
The tour took in some of the most famous sights of the city and Anthony gave us lots of information about the history of the buildings while keeping a careful eye on us, pointing out potential hazards, and making sure we didn't crash into any pedestrians! Anthony is a Scot now living in Madrid and is very enthusiastic about the city and about segways! When we finished the tour we were given a dvd full of pictures of us on the segways and some video footage of us showing off our skills.
The tour would be suitable for all ages including sensible children, I think as long as you can stand straight you would find it really easy. A backpack rather than a handbag would be a good idea - and no high heels.
Unfortunately segways are not legal for use in the UK or I would be keen to get one!
When planning our trip to Madrid, one of our first thoughts was to find out whether or not there were any Segway tours in the city. Having previously been on a Segway tour in Paris we knew it would be a fantastic way to see the city and discover areas that we would like to explore further. Using Google I found a few sites offering Segway tours in Madrid only one of them, however, had information in English (www.madsegs.com) so it seemed to us to be the obvious tour to go with.
Madsegs claims to be the oldest Segway company in Madrid and is owned and managed by Antony Bruce, a native English speaker who now lives in Madrid. During the Summer (Mar-Oct) you can take part in a morning (10am) or afternoon (4pm) glide, during the Winter months (Nov-Feb) glides are less frequent and start at 2pm. Throughout the tour Tony will take photos and at the end you will receive a disc of digital photos, documenting your Segway experience and the different sites of Madrid. A short refreshment break is also included in the price of the tour. Tour groups are a maximum of 8 people; it will usually be a group of 6 though. We were fortunate enough to have an even smaller group of just 4. The cost is Euro60 per person for a 3 hour tour/glide and if you have been on the Madsegs tour before you will be given a 50% discount as a returning customer.
As we visited Madrid at the end of March we opted to take part in the afternoon tour, we were a little concerned about being able to find the meeting place at Plaza de Espana and didn't want to have to rush around in the morning to get there. As it turned out the meeting place was very easy to find and we had nothing to worry about. Tony has put a picture of the meeting place on his website which helped, but even without this we would have found Plaza de Espana without any difficulty. It is within easy walking distance of many of the popular tourist spots and easily accessible via the Metro. Finding Tony himself will not be difficult either, he arrives at the meeting point with a couple of Segways which are impossible to miss!
Once all the participants of the tour gather Tony will take you back to his offices, a short journey from the meeting point and, if you have never used a Segway before, give you some basic training. For those who have never used one before the idea of an electrical, self balancing transport machine may seem a little daunting. Any apprehension, however, is usually short-lived and most people love the experience of easy, safe and effortless gliding. To move forward you simply need to lean forward slightly and to stop/move back put a small amount of pressure on your heels. Steering is simple, you just twist the end of the handle bars although there is occassionally the desire to grab the handles and try to steer using those rather than the lever. The Segway will have a speed limiter on so that you can only travel at a safe speed. You will initially start off on the beginner setting however Tony will change the settings to intermediate if requested so that you will be able travel slightly faster if you are confident and comfortable with the Segway. Safety helmets are available but not mandatory so you can choose whether or not you want to wear one.
Tony is extremely flexible when it comes to tours, while he does list a number of tourist attractions on his website there is no set route. If there is anywhere you'd particularly like to see, just ask and so long as the rest of the group are happy he will take you there. You'll find that Tony isn't a traditional tour guide, he knows a lot about the city and can give you interesting facts about different sights but he won't overload you with information. It is a much more relaxed and informal tour of a beautiful, fascinating city and an ideal way to see lots of different sights in a short space of time, perfect to give you an idea of where you'd like to see in more depth. During the tour there will be frequent stops and you will be encouraged to step off the Segway and stretch your legs, if there are any attractions you would like to go into then just say and Tony will wait outside with the Segways.
On our tour we managed to explore the majority of the city and take in sights such as the Temple de Debod, Palacio Real, Parque de Oueste, Plaza Mayor, Botin Restaurant (the oldest restaurant in the World) and Cibeles Square (to name but a few!). You will also pass many of the numerous museums and art galleries that Madrid has to offer. The tour culminated in some play time on the Segways when we were able to whiz around to our hearts content and try to learn some tricks, before heading back to the office to pay and collect our souvenir photos on disc. Our tour actually lasted longer than the 3 hours we booked, as mentioned earlier Tony is flexible and, if he can, he is happy to extend the tour at no extra cost.
All in all I would thoroughly recommend Madsegs as a fantastic experience, in my opinion it was the perfect way to see the City whilst also having a lot of fun. Both adults and children (aged 10+) alike will love the effortless glide. Your calves and feet may ache by the end of it but the experience is well worth it!
Tour Madrid on segways / Reservations: (+34) 659824499 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.