Madrid is one of the most enchanting cities in Europe, with it bustling streets, markets, and tapas bars. But we all know what it’s like when you’ve been stuck in the same city for a while and might wish to venture out to new locations and explore the areas outside of your not-so-new-anymore home. Have a look at our selection of Madrid day trips you absolutely must experience, brought to you by the Spotahome team.
San Lorenzo de El Escorial
Felipe II ordered the construction of this little town at the foothills of the mountains surrounding Madrid, back in the 16th century. Since then, the Unesco World Heritage palace and monastery have attracted many Madrileños, who come here for a relaxed weekend or a day trip. Inside the complex, there is one of the most famous rooms in Spanish royal history, the Pantheon of the Kings. Make sure to stroll around the many shops and restaurants and don’t forget to stop at the Jardin del Principe: the Casita del Principe is a stunning neoclassical building and its groomed gardens offer delightful shade in the warm summer months – and a perfect spot for a romantic Madrid getaway.How to get to San Lorenzo de El Escorial from Madrid:- Buses run every 15 minutes (30 at weekends) from the Intercambiador de Autobuses de Moncloa in Madrid.
- Driving only takes 40 minutes via the A6 highway to the M600.
- Renfe trains also run daily from Atocha or Chamartin.
A weekend in Chinchon is the best way to soak up this once small village that belongs to the past. The journey to Chinchón is probably half of the fun as the road winds through the hilly land with dramatic and stunning views of Madrid’s skyline being replaced by the dry Spanish countryside. Once there, make sure to sit down in Plaza Mayor, which in summer hosts the bull fights, and watch local people enjoy their own activities and interaction. Don’t forget to explore the Iglesia de la Asuncion and stop at the Castillo de los Condes on your way back to Madrid.How to get to Chinchon from Madrid: Buses run every half hour from Madrid’s Avenida del Mediterraneo (337 La Veloz)
- Driving is also possible by taking the N-IV motorway and then the M404.
Cercedilla and the Sierra de Guadarrama
This small village is the ideal spot to explore the wide and beautiful mountain range that surrounds Madrid. Cercedilla is, in fact, a very popular starting point of many hikes and mountain bike tracks. From here, you have plenty of options and grade of difficulty, but most of the walks and hikes offer a generous amount of mountain views, waterfalls, ponds, and lush forests. Our favourites are the calm Camino de Agua track (5km) which is suitable for everyone (kids included!) or, if you are looking for a longer hike, take the Los Miradores (9km) which is not very difficult but offers some of the best panoramic views.If you come here in winter, bring your skiing kit, Sierra de Guadamarra is a very popular destination for locals and international tourists.How to get to Cercedilla from Madrid: Bus line from Moncloa Intercambiador to Cercedilla (684) or the C-8 Cercanias line from Atocha Renfe to Cercedilla for about €5 each way.
- Driving is possible by taking the A-6 motorway
- Trains run from Chamartin (four daily)
An old legend says that this stunning Spanish city was founded by Hercules, but if you are skeptical and this sounds a bit too farfetched, you might want to believe that Walt Disney actually took his inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty’s castle on Segovia’s Alcazar. In fact, on the perimeter of the city lies the Alcazar, a stone al-qasr that served as a castle, state prison, and military academy. Climb the 152-step for stunning panoramic views of the entire town, the cathedral, and the surrounding countryside.The 894m stunning structure of the aqueducts was built by Romans during the 1st century AD and surround the 15th-century town with its 163 arches. A peculiar fact is that the 20,000 granite blocks are held together by genius engineering skills rather than mortar and cement. At the centre of the town, the gothic Cathedral of Santa María Built, which took over 200 years to be completed, dominates the Plaza Mayor.How to get to Segovia from Madrid: Buses run half-hourly from Madrid’s Paseo de la Florida
- There are two options for trains: the regional train costs fewer euros, but the journey lasts an extra hour and twenty minutes, while the avant, or express train will get you to Segovia in 27 minutes.
- If you like driving, opt for the N603 which will offer you more interesting and beautiful sceneries on the 97km drive.
Toledo: Best for mountainous landscapes
Toledo’s story is fascinating despite (or maybe because) it’s smallish size: it was initially chosen as the capital of the post-Roman Visigothic kingdom, but it was taken by the Moors in 711 and in 1085 Alfonso VI marched into the city while the Vatican made Toledo the base for the Spanish Church. At the beginning, the city coped really well with its multicultural and religious mix, but after Felipe II chose Madrid as its capital, Toledo stepped into a sad decline. Today, it’s a unique gem of that flourishing medieval melting pot it was: churches, synagogues and mosques all sit beautifully in a labyrinth of narrow streets and plazas.Make sure to visit the 15th-century Santa Iglesia Cathedral Primada de Toledo, a Gothic church that represents the history of the city within its walls: the current site has been a centre of worship for Muslims, then destroyed in 1085 but still remains a mix of styles and a fascinating building. Not too far from Santa Iglesia is the Museo El Greco, where 16th- and 17th-century Spanish painters’ artworks are on display.While you are in Toledo, make sure to stop at one of the many bakeries and get your ration of marzipan, a sugary treat originally made in the Jesus and Mary Monastery of Toledo. Bet you didn’t know that!How to get to Toledo from Madrid: Trains leave from Atocha approximately every hour and will get you to Toledo in 33 minutes.
- Buses depart from Madrid’s Plaza Eliptica every 30 minutes
- While driving to Toledo is a good option, driving in the old town can be a nightmare: we recommend you to park your vehicle at one of the many underground parking and then explore the city by foot or local public transports.
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