8 best day trips from Madrid, Spain

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After living in Madrid for almost 10 months we chose to visit destinations close to home, using Madrid as our hub. We are not recommending to go to these places in a particular order because everyone has their own priorities and have different tastes and interests. Yet, we thought it came handy to have the eight best day trips from Madrid if you have either one or a couple spare days in Madrid. Enjoy!

Toledo
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Toledo is a beautiful small town, just an hour away from Madrid. Toledo is rich in history and is known for the Jewish, Muslim and Christian heritage. Toledo is the hometown of the Greco and you could visit his house which now hosts his museum. You could also visit different mosques and synagogues to get a better understanding of different cultures and how they used to live.

The main attractions are the Alcazar, the Cristo de la Luz Mosque, the Transito Synagogue, the cathedral and the Greco Museum.  We went to Toledo by Alsa Bus it costs us less than 10 euros both ways or you could also go via Renfe. Renfe is half the time and the price is about the same. It also depends which location within Madrid is more convenient to you. Alsa leaves from Av. de America.

El Escorial

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El Escorial is known for the great architectural of the Monastery. It used to be the residence of the king of Spain. It is about 45 minutes away from Madrid. You could take Cercanias (the train) for 8 euros both ways. We went by Cercanias and it took us about an hour and a half. Check the schedule so you can plan accordingly, the train leaves Madrid from Nuevos Ministerios and from Chamartin Station.

Segovia

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Segovia is a small town with a famous aqueduct. The main attractions in this little town are the Alcazar of Segovia, the Segovia Cathedral, the jewish quarter also know as Juderia, the old city, the mirador de la Pradera de San Marcos and the Casa de los Picos. You can get to Segovia by bus or Cercanias. We went by bus with La Sepulvedana, S.A. It costs about 15 euros and it leaves from Moncloa to Segovia Station. You can also go by Cercanias from Chamartin or from Atocha for less money but you might need to get a connection.

Cuenca

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Cuenca is known for its hanging houses from cliffs. You can get to Cuenca via bus or train. It is about 2 hours away from Madrid. The main attractions in Cuenca are the Plaza Mayor, Santa Maria de Gracia Cathedral, the hanging houses and the footbridge San Pablo, and the Mangana Tower.

New Castle of Manzanares el Real

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Manzanares el Real is home to El Castillo de los Mendoza, a 15th century fortress. The fortress is built entirely of granite, it has six floors and it is the perfect example of the Spanish military architecture. The castle is also the best medieval fortress preserved in the area. It is about an hour away from Madrid. To get to Manzanares el Real, you take bus 724 from Madrid’s Plaza de Castilla station. The ride only costs €3.50.

Avila

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Avila is known for having many gothic and roman churches and cathedrals as well for being inside a city wall. It has more cathedrals and churches per capita than any other city in Spain. Avila was also a city where Jews, Christians and Muslim used to live together. The main attractions of Avila are the city walls, the Avila Cathedral, the Saint Vincent Basilica, the Saint Peter Basilica, and the Royal Monastery of Saint Thomas between other small churches

You can get to Avila via bus or Renfe train. Bus is the same amount of time as the train and sometimes cheaper. If you chose via bus you could go with Jimenez Dorado for less than 17 euros both ways.

Aranjuez

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Aranjuez Palace was the chosen place for the monarchy of Spain to spend their spring months. Aranjuez Palace was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. Things to visit in Aranjuez are the old quarter, the royal palace, and of course the beautiful vast gardens. You can take Cercanias to get to Aranjuez.

Salamanca

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Salamanca is known for its Universities and the vibrant student life. The main attraction besides the University is the Plaza Mayor, the new and old Cathedral and the shell covered Spanish palace. It is only a two and a half hour ride from Madrid to Salamanca via train or bus.

43 thoughts on “8 best day trips from Madrid, Spain

  1. I didn’t know all these cities were so close to Madrid! Since I know a lot of Spanish people and they always talk about these towns, I always assumed they were all very far from each other. I always wanted to visit Segovia. I guess next time I go to Madrid, I’ll have to allocate extra time to visit other towns.

  2. If ever I get the opporunity to be in Madrid. I will definitely pay Toledo a visit. That place is so interesting and it really got my attention. How many days do you recommend there?

  3. The Madrid area looks abundant with history! I will be in Spain Sept/Oct while walking the Camino and will fly home from Madrid. Hopefully, I have time to check out some of these side trips you have recommended. Beautiful pictures!

  4. the images are exquisite, all lovely and am sure to point out Avila and Salamanca as the places to be… Madrid rocks alot.

  5. I’ve never been to Madrid, but now have another 8 reasons to get there and stay longer. Thanks for this nifty post, which at a glance gives me all the info I need to make a choice. Loving the sound of the gothic architecture in Avila.

  6. When I hear about Spain, I hear Barcelona! It is great to know that there are many more very impressive places around Madrid that we can see as tourists. Thank you for sharing. Its very informative. Mandanares El Real fort looks very gorgeous and fascinating.

  7. Wow, the hanging houses in Cuenca are interesting! I particularly love The New Castle and the city. I noticed that the building at each place has almost a total different style from one to another, so exciting! :) Hope to visit Spain one day. :)

  8. Agreed with all of them, amazing by their own right… I’ve visited and loved them all! And omg the food, the jamón in Salamanca, or the cochinillo in Segovia (where the aqueduct is the main attraction!!). You have to love these places!

  9. Great ideas for day trips from Madrid. I have been to Madrid a couple of times and seen the city so next time I’ll reference this post and select a new city to explore. Thanks for the information!

  10. Such a very splendid sites.. And those aqueducts are divine. Glad that these are still preserved and carefully maintained… and far from littering and vandalism.

  11. Wow, I Didn’t know those places were so close to Madrid, and I’ve been to Toledo, and it’s such an amazing city! Those posts are so good, because we learn so much!

  12. Hey! What a great guide filled with advice. I had not known that these were all day trip possibilities. We are going to Madrid next year so this is excellent for me. I am very glad to have seen this post.

  13. How did I not know about these spots? Where were you two years ago when I visited Madrid ;) I’d love to see the castles and Salamanca!

  14. I was in Madrid not so long ago, but did not manage to go to all of these destinations. I should definitely take one more trip to Madrid. Some very good suggestions.

  15. All of the trips promise a great experience. But I am fascinated by Toledo, it looks so charming, would love to stroll around this beautiful place.

  16. We have been to Barcelona but could only make it to Barcelona and we regret so much that we could not make it Madrid. Your post only gave many more reasons to regret now ;) Cuenca with its hanging houses definitely caught our interest.

  17. When you usually say Spain its only Barcelona and Madrid . But these destinations look great too. the New Castle especially caught my eyes. i would love to go there if possible. :)

  18. I have visited the Escorial and Aranjuez when I was in Madrid. These places are so lovely! I don’t know the other ones, but Segovia really impresses me. If only I could go everywhere :-D

  19. Madrid is definitely gorgeous, plus most of this places have a lot of history between their walls. El Escorial is definitely one of my favourites not only because of the monastery but the town itself is lovely.

  20. Toledo looks really nice. I did not know there was so much Jewish, Christian and Muslim heritage. I have to go there.

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