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 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 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 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 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
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 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 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 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.