Check out some of the Best day trips from Madrid if you need a little break from the busy city. If you feel like you’ve taken in all that Madrid and its abundance of culture has to offer, then its time to venture out to the many surrounding cities so you can indulge yourself even more in the beauty of Spain. All within close proximity of the capital, here is a list of the 10 best day trips you can take from Madrid, taking you to UNESCO World Heritage Sites and romantic Spanish towns that you didn’t even know existed. In this article, find the best day trips from Madrid, how to get there and things to see.
Best Day Trips from Madrid
Once the capital of Spain, this medieval town is by far the most popular and essential day trip from Madrid. The whole city has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site as its aesthetic medieval beauty and rich Spanish history has stood the test of time to become one of Spain’s well-known tourist destinations. Walking its narrow streets will take you back in time and visiting its museums will enrich you on the three cultures – Christian, Muslim, and Jewish – that influenced the history of the city and of all Spain.
Make sure to check out the Sephardic Museum, Toledo Cathedral, Alcazar Fortress, as well as the great artwork of El Greco which can be found in his museum and the Church of Santo Tome. To top off your trip, don’t forget to cross the river to catch an incredible view of the city on the hill.
How to get to Toledo:
High-Speed Train: 30 mins from Atocha station (12.90€ one-way)
Bus: 45 mins from Plaza Elíptica (5€-6€ one-way)
Another medieval town famed for its UNESCO world heritage Roman Aqueduct, Segovia is a must-visit from Madrid. The city feels like a fairytale with castle Alcazar de Segovia and gothic Catedral de Segovia towering over the ancient cityscape. In addition to spectacular sights, Segovia also makes for one of the best day trips from Madrid for foodies! Be sure to try the city’s traditional conchillo asado (roast suckling pig), a delicious local delicacy that can’t be found anywhere else.
How to get to Segovia:
– High-Speed Train: 27 mins from Chamartin station (around 22€ round-trip)
– Bus (only on weekdays): 1 hour 20 mins from Moncloa (10€ round-trip)
3) El Escorial
A massive royal palace that showcases the grandiosity of 16th century Spanish monarchy, El Escorial is a marvelous way to spend a day outside Madrid. Built by Phillip II in 1559, this UNESCO world heritage castle/monastery features architectural and artistic novelty. Make sure to tour the interior as well as the surrounding grounds containing magnificent royal gardens and scenery of the countryside. The town of El Escorial is also worth a stroll, with many cafes and restaurants where you can relax and enjoy a meal before heading back to Madrid.
How to get to El Escorial:
– Suburban Train (Cercanías Renfe line C3): about 1 hour from Atocha (Metro Line 1), Sol (Metro Lines 1, 2, 3), Nuevos Ministerios (Metro Lines 6, 8, 10), or Chamartín (Metro Line 1) stations, 11€ round-trip.
A lesser-known yet very charming small town, Chinchon will give you a true feeling of life in a Spanish pueblo. The town has a gorgeous, amphitheater-like Plaza Mayor (central square), circled by antique buildings with wooden-balconies. Here you can try some Anis, a locally crafted anisette flavored liquor that the town is famous for. Take the stairs up the town’s 14th-century Torre de Reloj (clock tower) for an amazing view of the pueblo and the lovely Spanish countryside.
How to get to Chichón:
– Bus (Line 337): about 45 mins from Conde de Casal (8,40€ round-trip)
You can find another example of the golden age of Spanish monarchy by visiting the Aranjuez Royal Palace. Best to visit on a warm and sunny day, the palace is known for its wonderfully kept grounds featuring a dazzling array of gardens, trees, and vegetation. The inside of the palace is massive and is best accompanied by a tour or audio guide to fully appreciate the history and antiquity it contains. Equally worth a visit is the Old Quarter of Aranjuez town, which still to this day is reminiscent of a medieval Spanish city.
How to get to Aranjuez:
– Suburban Train (Cercanías Renfe line C3): 45 mins from Atocha (Metro Line 1), Sol (Metro Lines 1, 2, 3), Nuevos Ministerios (Metro Lines 6, 8, 10), or Chamartín (Metro Line 1) stations, 11€ round-trip.
Perched up on a rock face and surrounded by medieval walls is the town of Cuenca, a UNESCO world heritage city that makes for a spectacular day trip from Madrid. As you take a walk across the San Pablo Footbridge that leads you across a river gorge and into the city you can gaze upon the unbelievable Casas Colgadas hanging off the cliff’s edge. Once you enter the city and make your way around its cobblestone streets carved into the mountain you can check out one of the city’s renowned modern art museums, which are housed in some of the hanging buildings. Cuenca is nothing short of remarkable, and should not be overlooked as a day trip from Madrid.
How to get to Cuenca:
– High-Speed Train: 1 hour from Atocha station (Metro Line 1), around 40€ round-trip (note to get to the city center from the high-speed train station you will have to take a 30 min city bus which costs 1.25€ one-way).
– Bus: 2 hours 30 mins from Méndez Álvaro station (Metro Line 6), 26€ round-trip.
Avila is a genuinely gorgeous and picturesque city, famous for its medieval walls that enclose it. Visitors can explore the UNESCO world heritage site by walking around the 2.5 km of walls, towers, and main gates. Inside the city you can find beautiful plazas, the Cathedral of Avila, and the famous Covent of Santa Teresa illuminating Spain’s deep religious history. For a panoramic view of the city and the walls which light up magically in the night, head to the Mirador Cuatro Postes (Four Posts Viewing Point) before heading back to Madrid.
How to get to Ávila:
– Regional Train: 1 hour 30 mins from Príncipe Pio station (28€ round-trip)
– Bus: 1 hour 15 mins from Méndez Álvaro station (18€ round-trip)
8) Alcalá de Henares
An important UNESCO world heritage site of Spanish history, culture, and language, Alcala de Henares makes for a short and sweet day trip from Madrid. The town is famous for being the birthplace of Miguel Cervantes, the Shakespeare of the Spanish language and author of classic novel Don Quixote. You can visit the Cervantes House Museum to learn about his life and work. Also housing one of the oldest universities in Spain, the magnificent Colegio Mayor de San Ildefoso remains as a medieval gem of the city, in addition the many baroque and renaissance squares and churches scattered around the small historic center.
How to get to Álcala de Henares:
– Suburban Train (Cercanías Renfe Lines C2, C7, C8): 45 mins from Atocha (Metro Line 1), Nuevos Ministerios (Metro Lines 6, 8, 10), or Chamartín (Metro Line 1) stations, 6.80€ round-trip.
9) Manzanares el Real
Embark on a day trip from Madrid to Guadarrama National Park and Manzanares el Real Castle. One of the joys of exploring the mountains surrounding Madrid is stumbling on new towns and villages. Manzanares el Real, a 45 minutes drive away from Madrid, offers an intriguing fusion of the some of the best natural and cultural heritage of the Region. It provides access to the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park and houses Manzanares el Real Castle, without doubt, the best preserved in the region.
How to get to Manzanares el Real:
– Bus nº724: 45 mins from Plaza Castilla
10) Madrid’s Wine Country
Madrid wine region is a place offering fabulous wines as well as wonderful gastronomy and heritage sites. Indeed, Madrid is not only a lively city and the capital of Spain but also an outstanding wine region, believe it or not! There are dozens of wineries in the Madrid wine country and the winemaking history of this area dates back nearly a century. During a day trip to the wine region you not only have the opportunity to taste some of Spain’s best wines but to learn about grape cultivation, wine production and the history of this lush landscape too. This area is particularly famous for its Tempranillo grapes.
Quite apart from the endless array of brilliant things to do, restaurants and attractions within the city itself, Madrid is also an excellent base for exploring the rest of Spain – thanks in no small part to its location at the heart of the country. Plan your adventures with this list of the best day trips from Madrid.
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