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Tootling around Madrid by GoCar
Segways? So last year. Scooters? Yawn.
The latest way to get around Madrid is in a little yellow GoCar. Is it fun? You bet. Will you look stupid? Just look at me trying it out and make up your own mind. They made me wear that helmet, by the way.
So what are they actually?
GoCars are fitted with GPS and don’t just guide you around town, they tell you about the sights and other stuff too. It’s not all architecture and history either. Real people who live in Madrid do the soundtrack, and throw in tips on their favourite bars, restaurants and shops. Designed by Nathan Withrington, a British engineer based in California, GoCars were launched in San Francisco five years ago. In Europe they are currently buzzing around the streets of Barcelona, Valencia and Lisbon.
Although the cars are very simple to drive - really just a glorified moped – you are out on the streets with real mad madrilenian drivers, so it’s hardly surprising you need to have a driving licence.
Where do you go?
There are two basic routes. If you follow Madrid Antiguo, you take in the Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor, Plaza de la Cebada and Plaza Santa Ana. It’s much easier to negotiate the narrow streets of the city centre in a small vehicle, let me tell you.
On Cosmopolitan Madrid, you whizz around Plaza de Cibeles, the Puerta de Alcala, the Prado, Gran Via and the Chueca neighbourhood.
How long does it take?
You could do each route in an hour, but it’s more fun if you stop off and see places, have the odd drink and maybe lunch as well, so I’d allow at least three hours. There is no problem with parking, as you basically drive to where you want to go and stop. Oh hang on, that’s what drivers do in Madrid anyway. There is a lockable boot too, so you can stash your stuff safely while you wander off.
How can I have a go?
Read more information and book your GoCar on www.gocartours.es/en/madrid. Prices range from €35 for one hour to €99 for the whole day. You pick the cars up at Calle Santiago 20 (+34 91 5594535), between the Plaza Mayor and the Royal Palace.