With so much to see and do, it’s easy to want to spend all your time in Madrid. But, there’s even more waiting for you just outside the city limits. From castles and cathedrals to mountains and medieval walls, this roundup has everything you need to know about the best Madrid day trips!
Best Madrid Day Trips #1: Toledo
Having trouble deciding which Madrid day trip is for you? You can’t go wrong with classic Toledo! It’s one of the most popular day trips from Madrid for a reason. The bus ride from the train station to the city center is enough to make you fall in love. Situated on a hill, Toledo offers stunning views of the Tagus River and surrounding valley. Spend a memorable afternoon wandering this medieval city’s narrow, winding streets.
What to do in Toledo
- Tour the Cathedral
- Built in the Gothic Style with a touch of French influence, many people say this is the most impressive building in the entire country.
- Hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday – Saturday; 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday
- Price: 12,50 €
- Cross the Puente de Sant Martín
- From this bridge, there is nice view of the old town.
- Take it all in from the Mirador de Valle
- From this viewpoint, you can see the river, the Alcázar (military fortress) and the Cathedral.
- Buy a sword
- Seriously! Toledo has a rich history in the production of medieval weaponry. Talk about a nifty souvenir.
How to get to Toledo from Madrid
Take the AVE high-speed train from Madrid’s Atocha station (22€ for a round-trip ticket). The journey to the Estación de Toledo takes 35 minutes, and there are approximately 12 trips daily. From there, take bus 5, 61 or 62 to Plaza de Zocodover (city center). If you fancy a stroll instead, it’s only 15 minutes to the center. Follow the river to start, then cross the drawbridge.
Best Madrid Day Trips #2: Segovia
Spend a day in Segovia, and visit one of the most famous Roman aqueducts in the world: el Aqueducto de Segovia. It’s just one of several impressive sights on this popular Madrid day trip. You also won’t want to miss the Alcázar , which is said to be the real life inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle.
What to do in Segovia
- Snap a picture in front of the Aqueduct
- Ask someone to take your photo because a selfie won’t do this magnificent monument justice.
- Eat roasted suckling pig
- You can’t visit Segovia without trying cochinillo asado. It’s cooked to such perfection the waiter is able to slice the meat with a plate.
- Visit the Alcázar de Segovia
- Hours: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. every day (April – October); 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (November – March)
- Price: 8€
How to get to Segovia from Madrid
Take the AVE high-speed train from Madrid’s Chamartín station (14-25€ for a round-trip ticket). The journey to Estación de Segovia-Guiomar takes 30 minutes. From there, take bus 11 to the Roman aqueduct.
Best Madrid Day Trips #3: Cercedilla
Nature lovers, this mountainous town is the best Madrid day trip for you! Escape the city, and enjoy the fresh air and dramatic scenery of the Sierra de Guadarrama. You can work up a sweat hiking, then go for a refreshing dip in the town’s natural swimming pool.
What to do in Cercedilla
- Go for a hike
- The Camino Schmidt, which begins at the Puerto de Navacerrada, is one of several popular routes. This 13 km-route (8 miles) is well marked and takes approximately four hours to complete.
- Take a dip in the natural swimming pool
- A hike in its own right, the pool is a 45-minute walk from the train station. Buses are available.
- Hours: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. during the summer
- Price: 5,50€ weekdays, 6,50€ weekends
How to get to Cercedilla from Madrid
Take the C2 commuter train (Cercanías) from Madrid’s Chamartín train station. The journey takes one hour and costs approximately 8€ for a round-trip ticket.
Best Madrid Day Trips #4: Ávila
This medieval, walled city is known for its…MEDIEVAL WALLS! Built in the 11th century, the walls have been well preserved since the middle ages. In total, Ávila’s walls measure 2.5 km (1.5 miles) long with 82 towers and 9 gates. Because Ávila is one of the best Madrid day trips, it can get pretty crowded up there on the walls. To avoid the crowds, plan your wall walk for either the very beginning or very end of the day.
What to do in Ávila
- Walk on the walls
- There is access in three different places: near the Cathedral, at Puerta del Puente and by the Alcázar.
- Hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (November – March); 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. (April – June and September – October); 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. (July – August)
- Price: 5€
- Walk outside the walls
- Most people think the best way to enjoy the walls is from outside the city.
- Cuatro Postes and the Basilica of San Vicente offer great views.
How to get to Ávila from Madrid
Take the Renfe train from Madrid’s Chamartín station (20€ for a round-trip ticket). The journey to Estación de Avíla takes 90 minutes. It’s a 12 to 15-minute walk to the city center.
Best Madrid Day Trips #5: Alcalá de Henares
Would this roundup of best Madrid day trips honestly be complete without a shout out to the hometown of the one Spanish author everyone knows?? You know who I’m talking about, right?? Miguel de Cervantes! Although he wasn’t living in Alcalá when he penned Don Quixote, you can still visit the church where Cervantes was baptized in 1547 (Church of Santa María).
What to do in Alcalá de Henares
- Wander around the University of Alcalá
- One of the oldest universities in the world, it’s a global leader in the study of Cervantes and his work.
- Enjoy *free* tapas in Plaza Miguel de Cervantes
- Alcalá is known for its generously-sized tapas. As long as you keep ordering drinks, you’ll keep getting food! Perhaps the city’s most famous tapas bar, El Índalo is a great place to start.
How to get to Alcalá de Henares from Madrid
Take the C2 or C7 commuter train (Cercanías) from Madrid’s Atocha, Chamartín or Nuevos Ministerios stations. The journey to Estación de Alcalá de Henares takes 45 minutes and costs approximately 6€ for a round-trip ticket. It’s a 10 to 12-minute walk to the city center.
More About Madrid Travel:
- Day Trip from Madrid to Cuenca, Spain
- 5 Reasons El Escorial is the BEST Madrid Day Trip
- 55 Non Touristy Things to Do in Madrid
- An Almost Local’s Guide to Madrid
- How to Spend the Perfect Sunday in Madrid
- How to Celebrate Christmas in Madrid
Which of these Madrid day trips is your favorite? Share your travel tips and recommendations below!
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