Though Madrid is in the very center of Spain and a long way from cities such as Barcelona
, it has a number of excellent places that are visitable in a day or two.
The thing is, with so much to see and do in and around Madrid, it isn't easy to get to see everything. The guided tours on this page allow you to see some of the cities around Madrid quickly and easily.
The old mosque/cathedral in Cordoba. (c) Damian Corrigan
No, you haven't got confused - Seville and Cordoba are indeed nowhere near Madrid. So how can you visit them both in just two days? With the AVE, Spain's high-speed rail network. Read more about the AVE Train in Spain
On the outward journeys, this trip is by coach. After half a day in Cordoba you are driven on to Seville, where you will sleep and have the whole following day to explore. Then you get the AVE train back.
If you've already been to Cordoba, or you're just not interested, there's a variation that takes you to Caceres instead: Seville and Cordoba from Madrid.
The walls of Avila. (c) Damian Corrigan
Segovia is an excellent city to visit, with two of Spain's most famous sights - the Aqueduct
and its fairytale Alcázar
. However, with its proximity to the stunning city walls of Avila
, it seems a shame to miss them out. With this tour you can get to see both in one day.
The colossal cross of the Valle de los Caidos. (c) Damian Corrigan
See the final resting place of four-hundred-years' worth of Spanish kings and queens at El Escorial
followed by the most recently deceased and controversial of them all, General Franco, at El Valle de los Caídos
This is the best combined tour on offer, for two reasons: (a) you don't need a day in each, so the compactness of the tour is ideal and (b) it is difficult to get to El Valle de los Caídos when trying to get there by public transport (you have to go via El Escorial and then there is only one bus per day that will take you all the way to the monument).
Toledo. (c) Damian Corrigan
Toledo is probably Madrid's most popular day trip and is worth a full day. But if you prefer to fit more in, you could do this tour that adds in the Royal Palace and gardens of Aranjuez too.
It is also possible to combined Toledo and El Escorial. This combines two of Madrid's most popular day trips into one, but it means you don't get to see El Valle de los Caidos (see above). I would take the tour that includes El Valle and then do Toledo separately, either this combined tour with Aranjuez or a Half-Day in Toledo.