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Day Trips from Madrid

Take an excursion from Spain's capital

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Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial  San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Madrid, Spain.
Arturo R Montesinos @armk flickr.com Creative Commons License
Segovia aqueduct

Segovia aqueduct

Image: Damian Corrigan
Toledo

Toledo

Image: Damian Corrigan

Madrid has some of the best day trips in all of Spain. If you are visiting Madrid, you must visit at least one of these. This list of day trips from Madrid should help you decide where to go when you're bored of tall buildings.

See also:

The question of which of these trips to do when time is limited is hotly debated on internet forums. Of the two 'main' day trips, Segovia and Toledo, I'd pick Segovia as it's relatively easy to combine it with a half-day in El Escorial or Avila, whereas Toledo is a little more isolated, to the south of Madrid.

All of these day trips can be undertaken by public transport, but you can save some time by hiring a car: Compare Prices on Hire Cars in Spain.

Wine Day Trips from Madrid

Madrid is close enough to the famous Ribera del Duero wine region for an day excursion. It also has its own wines. Check out this page on Wine Tours from Madrid for some tour ideas.  

Twenty Best Madrid Day Trips

  1. Barcelona (by AVE) The fact that you can visit Barcelona as a day trip from Madrid is an incredible testament to Spain's excellent high-speed train system. I've made it my best day trip from Madrid with two major provisos - taking two high-speed trains in a day makes your trip quite expensive, and Barcelona really deserves more than a day.
    Book a Day Trip to Barcelona from Madrid (book direct)
     
  2. Toledo The former capital of Spain, Toledo has retained its medieval charm, with its city walls and winding streets.
    Book a Toledo Guided Tour (book direct)
    Book a Toledo Guided Tour With Winery Visit (book direct)
     
  3. Seville (by AVE) Seville is quite a long way from Madrid, but that's what the AVE train was invented for. Take this guided tours of Seville from Madrid and be back in time for bed. It's the most expensive trip here, but that's because the train tickets are included in the price.
    Book Day Trip to Seville by AVE (book direct)
     
  4. Segovia The twin charms of Segovia's fairytale castle and Roman aqueduct make Segovia an essential day trip from Madrid.
    Book a Segovia and Avila Guided Tour (book direct)
    Book a Segovia Tour with Winery Visit (book direct)
     
  5. El Escorial El Escorial's monastery and kings' crypt (where the majority of Spain's kings for the past 400 years are buried) are a nice alternative to tourist-heavy Segovia and Toledo.
    Book an El Escorial and Valley of the Fallen Guided Tour (book direct)
     
  6. El Valle de los Caidos Controversial burial ground for former dictator, General Franco, complete with magnificent stone cross and basilica, built by Franco's prisoners of war from the Spanish Civil War. Close to El Escorial to make a perfect combined day trip. English name is 'The Valley of the Fallen'
    Book an El Escorial and Valley of the Fallen Guided Tour (book direct)

    Note The above tour is highly recommended, as it is not easy to get to see both of these sights in one day by public transport. There is only one bus from El Escorial to El Valle de los Caidos and one back again. If you don't take this tour, I suggest you hire a car. Compare Prices on Hire Cars in Spain.
     
  7. Avila Often overlooked city between Madrid and Salamanca, with some of the best preserved medieval city walls in Europe.
    Book a Segovia and Avila Guided Tour (book direct)
     
  8. Consuegra Windmills and saffron - two of Spain's most famous sights can be found in this one town.
    Book a La Mancha Wine Tour with Short Stop at Consuegra's Windmills (book direct)
     
  9. Cordoba (by AVE) The high-speed train from Madrid also passes through Cordoba. It's an ideal day trip from Madrid, or as a stop on the way to Madrid. Read about how to get from Madrid to Cordoba or consider taking this Two-Day Trip to Seville and Cordoba.
     
  10. Valencia (by AVE) Madrid's high-speed rail network reached Spain's third biggest city in December 2010, making a day trip to Valencia quite doable. With this development, Valencia also became Madrid's nearest beach.
    Book a High-Speed Train to Valencia (book direct)
     
  11. Aranjuez A royal residence, easily reached by train from Madrid.
    La Mancha Wine Tour via Aranjuez (book direct)
     
  12. Salamanca The university city of Salamanca is a bit further from Madrid than many other day trips (two-and-a-half hours away by bus or train) and it warrants at least a night there, but if pressed for time, it is certainly possible in a day trip.
     
  13. Cuenca Town famous for its 'casas colgantes', houses that hang off the edge of a precipice! Gulp!
     
  14. El Pardo Country retreat of former dictator General Franco.
     
  15. Warner Brothers Theme Park Amuse the kids with this movie-themed amusement park.
     
  16. Chinchon A circular Plaza Mayor and excellent restaurants (much cheaper than in Madrid).
     
  17. Alcala de Henares Classic university town and birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quijote.
     
  18. Manzanares El Real The well preserved Castle of the Mendoza is the main attraction here.
     
  19. Buitrago A meeting point of the diverse cultures (Christian, Jewish and Muslim) that made Spain the melting pot it is today.
     
  20. Siguenza Home to a fine cathedral. The medieval train that Renfe puts on to get to Siguenza is an attraction in itself.
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