Top 5 Day Trips from Madrid

So you have seen the Spanish Capital and all it has to offer. You have sampled the nightlife and the busy, bustling city scene for days and you are looking for something refreshing. There are so many unique and interesting places to visit surround the city of Madrid. Each of these spots has something different for travellers, so it all depends what you are looking for. See for yourself!

1. Segovia

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How to get there:
• By train, you can travel from Madrid’s Chamartín Station (Time: 90mins approx. Fare: €8 approx)
• By bus, you can take the bus from Madrid’s Moncloa Station (Time: 75mins approx., Fare: €9)

The city of Segovia is perfect for a quick day trip from Madrid. With everything you need to be found in its historic centre, it is great for getting away from the hectic Madrid scene, instead serving up quaint historic streets and an insight into Spain’s more rural past.
In Segovia, the main sight to see is the Roman Aqueduct right in the centre of the city. The enormous structure is built with nothing to hold it together, besides the stones it is made from. This is your perfect photo opportunity as it is a real spectacle. Once you have taken it all in, make sure to take time to stroll around and enjoy the Segovian atmosphere.
Up along the edge of the Old Town is the impressive Alcázar of Segovia. Said to be a major influence in the design of Disney’s trademark Castle, this fortress costs only a few euro to enter. Inside, you will find beautifully decorated interiors, but it is the rooftop which provides the highlight of your visit to Segovia. You can see the whole city centre on one side, and the Castillian countryside on the other – it is awesome!

2. El Escorial

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How to get there:
• By bus, you can take the 661 or 664 from Moncloa Bus Station (Time: 1hr, Fare: €4 approx.)
• By train, you need to buy your tickets beforehand in the ticket office, for line C8A from Atocha Station (Time: 1hr, Fare: €3.50 approx.)

The small town of El Escorial is situated just northwest of Madrid and sits beside the Royal residence of the same name. The Monastery of El Escorial offers self-guided tours of its interior, from harrowed halls of royalty and ancient libraries to the crypts beneath. The tour provides an insight into the region’s varied history, as well as into the lives of the Spanish monarchy.
Once you have seen the El Escorial site, stopped off for a café con leche and tried some of the area’s local cuisine, you’re ready to head off to the Valle de los Caídos (“The Valley of the Fallen”). For just a few euros, you can take a bus up to this grand monument, one which pays tribute to those who lost their lives in the Spanish Civil War. This grand Basilica is built into the mountain and is an incredible sight to behold; it also happens to be the burial place of the Dictator Francisco Franco, one of Spanish history’s most prolific figures.

3. Toledo

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How to get there:
• By train, there is a direct line to Toledo from Madrid’s Atocha Station (Time: 30mins approx., Fare: €12 approx)
• By bus, you can take the bus from Madrid’s Plaza Elíptica Station (Time: 50mins approx., Fare: €5 approx)

Toledo, the former Capital of Spain, is one of the country’s most incredible cities for either a busy day trip or a weekend getaway. Most of your time will be spent in the historic centre, which is an impressive example of the cohabitation between differing religious and cultural backgrounds. The so-called “City of Three Cultures” holds Cathedrals, Mosques and Synagogues while remaining quintessentially Spanish at heart.
While you are strolling around taking in the impressive architecture, make sure to try of the amazing cuisine in Spain’s Gastronomic Capital of 2016! There is so much variety, but my favourite restaurant would have to be Cervecería Trebol, found just off the main square. Here you can try out some local dishes such as Carcamusas, a local tomato and beef stew, and Migas, made of garlic breadcrumbs, potatoes and a fried egg. Well worthwhile!
Make sure to find time for Toledo’s tourist train. The tour is a little bit cheesy, but if you are visiting for the day, it is great for seeing so much in your limited time! Also, the drive ends at the panoramic view over the entire historic centre – it is my absolute favourite place.

4. Cuenca

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How to get there:
• By train, you can take the train from Atocha Station in Madrid (Time: 1hr approx., Fare: €27 approx.)
• By bus, you can travel from Madrid’s Estación Sur (Time: 100mins approx., Fare: €10 approx.)

Cuenca is probably best known as the site of the Casas Colgadas, a group of houses seemingly hanging off a cliff’s edge. This day trip is one for those who want to escape from that industrial feel of Madrid city, as Cuenca will feel like a refreshing retreat from all the hustle and bustle. You can make your way to the top of the hill at the city limits and enjoy the view with a glass of sangria in hand, or you could stay in the winding streets of the Old Town and find old craft shops and quaint cafes along the way. This trip I actually really enjoyed, as there is museums and galleries to occupy yourself and enjoy some of the cool street art and natural feel of the city. Don’t miss out!

5. Salamanca

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How to get there:
• By bus, you can grab a bus from the Sur Station in Madrid (Time: 2hrs approx., Fare: €18 approx)
• I would not recommend taking a train to Salamanca, simply because it can be expensive depending on the route and it takes much longer than the bus.

This is a bit of a difficult one. Salamanca is quite a distance from Madrid City, but if you have a limited time for travelling in Spain it is well worthwhile to get up early and hop on a bus here.
Salamanca has a reputation for being a student city, but it should also be recognised as a city of deep cultural roots and an impressive architectural design. Many of the main sights are huge impressive structures such as the city’s main Cathedral (split into the New and Old Cathedral), the Casa de las Conchas (the “House of Shells”) and the enormous University Façade. The design work on the building is awe inspiring! You may also enjoy some of the cool galleries scattered around the city centre. Just make sure to see the “Cielo de Salamanca”, a huge mural over the ceiling of a central Univeristy building!
A day trip to Salamanca will not allow you to see everything, but for certain, you will not regret paying it a visit! The Plaza Mayor in the heart of the city centre has a ton of awesome bars and restaurants to chill for a while enjoying the views, and even strolling around the city will make your time there enjoyable.

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15 Replies to “Top 5 Day Trips from Madrid”

  1. So so glad to see you included Cuenca in your list. I spent 3 summers there studying and it was magical. Love the casas colgadas but the old city is full of beautiful architecture and history. The bridge over the river is the best place to get the best view of the casas, and the museum housed in the buildings is a nice side activity. The main church is brimming with art and beautiful windows. One of my favorite places in Spain.

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  2. I loved your pictures! Your post is a handy list for someone looking to do a quick getaway to Spain! Such posts offer insights into the touristy and the non-touristy gems of any place.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done this post is so good even I am from Spain I had never think about itinerary likes this, I couldn’t say which of these cities is the nicest but my favourite is Toledo. I will keep it in mind next time I visit Madrid

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Really great ideas- Cuenca looks especially quaint and like a place my husband and I would love! Thanks for including the distances, cost, and best ways to get to each. Very helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have been in different parts of Europe but never Spain and I hear a lot of good things, definitely putting in on my future list, you did a great job highlighting these places I am tempted to look them up. thanks for sharing.

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  6. This is great!! Thank you for sharing exactly how to get to each spot, this is so helpful 😀 I really want to visit Toledo.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great photos! Remember that you can take the high speed train and visit some other cities in no time. It’s not always the cheapest way to travel but it’s worth it!

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  8. I never was to Madrid but these photos really do make it amazing! i hope i can visit it this year.

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