Although Madrid is a huge city with many options for tourists, there are some beautiful nearby destinations that are worth a day trip. The following day trips from Madrid are less than two hours away and can be reached by public transport. I always recommend including some of these visits on your trip to Madrid, because they are stunning places!
If I could only choose a single one day trip from Madrid, my choice would be Toledo. It’s one of the 10 best places to visit in Spain, that I listed here.
I’m in love with this city. Not only for its centuries-old architectural beauty but also for being a place brimming with history.
Toledo is known as “the City of the Three Cultures” since for centuries the three great western religions coexisted in it: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. When Madrid didn’t even exist, Toledo was already one of the most prominent cities on the Iberian Peninsula. Emperor Carlos V chose it as the main venue of his Court, and that is why Toledo is also known as “the Imperial City“.
You can buy your train ticket to Toledo here.
10 BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN SPAIN (AND TO FALL IN LOVE WITH)
Toledo is included in my list of the best places to visit in Spain.
Click here to find out more!
Aranjuez is the city where I live, so it’s absolutely impossible for me to be neutral. However, it’s a fact that this is one of the most popular day trips from Madrid.
For several centuries Aranjuez was the summer residence of the kings of Spain and a Royal Site since 1560. Today, the public can visit the interior of the Palace and admire the exuberance and luxury of some of its rooms.
But if something makes Aranjuez a unique destination, that’s its magnificent and huge Royal Gardens, with free admission, where you can wander for hours. But don’t get lost, the biggest of them are more than two miles from the entrance!
Aranjuez is located in the Madrid region, 45 minutes from the centre of Madrid and can be reached by commuter train. You can find information about public transport in Madrid region here.
Segovia is another popular day trip from Madrid. Located just one hour from the capital, by car or train, it has some of the most unique monuments in Spain.
Its most identifying monument is its aqueduct, considered the most important work of Roman civil engineering in Spain. This is one of the best-preserved monuments of the Roman Empire on the Iberian Peninsula.
The Alcazar of Segovia is also a charming and fairy tale place. In fact, it served as one of the templates for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle.
You can buy your train ticket to Segovia here.
4. El Escorial
El Escorial is a tourist place highlighted by two unique points: the Monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial and the Valley of the Fallen.
The Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial or Royal Site of San Lorenzo del Escorial is at the same time a monastery and a Royal Palace. Although it is one of the historic residences of the Royal Family, only King Felipe II, who ordered its construction, lived there.
It represents the power of the Spanish Empire in the 16th century and this imposing work is often considered the Eighth Wonder of the World. Although the interior of the Royal Palace is, by far, much soberer than the rest of the Royal residences, due to the strong religious influence, this colossal work takes your breath away.
The Valley of the Fallen is a basilica and a monumental memorial. The dictator Francisco Franco ordered its construction in memory of those who died during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and he remained buried here until the Spanish Government ordered their exhumation in 2019. The Sacred Cross of the Valley of the Fallen is the highest in the world and can be seen from more than 20 miles away.
You will not find any Spaniard who is indifferent to this imposing (and controversial) monument, which is reminiscent of one of the bloodiest and saddest times in recent Spanish history.
San Lorenzo del Escorial is one hour from the centre of Madrid. You can get there by commuter train to the Monastery, but from the Monastery to the Valley of the Fallen there is no public transport connection. The most comfortable option, in this case, is to rent a car or hire a tour.
Ávila is a charming city located just over an hour by car from Madrid, or an hour and a half by train.
Travelling to Ávila is like taking a trip back in time since the Old Town is completely enclosed by the Medieval Wall, built in the 11th century and perfectly preserved.
The city also claims to be the one with the largest number of churches in Spain. Both its prominent medieval wall and its churches remind us that the city was founded to protect the Christian territories from the attacks of the Moors.
You can buy your train ticket to Ávila here.
This is my selection of the 5 best day trips from Madrid. When you travel to Madrid try to include one of these destinations in your itinerary, they’re really worth it!
What is your favorite one? Tell me in comments! 👇
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