No, not a soccer match up. I just wanted to compare my experiences. We spent about ten days in Barcelona and loved it. We reduced the Madrid portion from three to two days to drop Segovia off he itinerary. Segovia was supposed to be a bus or tourist bus from Madrid to visit the aqueduct and city but after we saw the aqueduct in Tarragona we decided that was good enough.
So back to the question at hand, did we shortchange Madrid? Is Madrid worth visiting? For me one of the primary goals of the trip was to visit the Prado which we did today. So we had to visit Madrid. I also enjoyed seeing the Palace and Plaza Mayor.
Here are some of the differences:
- Madrid is larger and more urban.
- Barcelona has the sea.
- More police in Madrid.
- Madrid has the Prado and other major art museums
- Barcelona is more art (Gaudi house, etc)
- It is harder to find agua con gas (hostal owner told me this)
- Barcelona has Spanish and Catalan making language a little more confusing at times.
I think all in all you would not miss too much if you visited Barcelona and not Madrid. The overall experience of the shops and sights is similar.